Posts Tagged ‘Vince Gaetano’

Album Review – – Jill Sissel’s “Haunted Highway”

January 25, 2011

By Vince Gaetano

I think it was Groucho Marx who said, “Good will always find an audience.” Or maybe it was something I once heard in a dream. Either way, I believe in the sentiment wholeheartedly; anything of considerable quality has a way of drawing a crowd — it’s unavoidable. And I have little doubt that Jill Sissel’s crowd is drawing closer every day, and in a big way.

Her voice is soft and alluring, her guitar playing is solid, and her lyrics are evocative with a slightly playful undertone. To make that long story a bit shorter, Jill Sissel’s got it. The proverbial “it.” Not just talent—although she certainly has enough of that to go around—but a drive and earnestness that so many talented people seem to lack in today’s music industry. Just looking at the liner notes is enough to make me feel inadequate. Jill Sissel is the lead vocalist; she’s the guitarist (acoustic and electric); she plays the keyboard, the bass, the mandolin; she either wrote or co-wrote every song on the album. Is there anything she can’t do?

And there are no tricks with this album. What you hear is what was played, what was sung. In a time of auto-tuned number-one hit singles and the Lady Gaga’s of the world using image as a stand-in for talent, it’s nice to hear something as raw and unprocessed as this. It’s refreshing, I think, to know that there are still musicians out there who don’t use twenty years of recording technology as a crutch.

But like the old saying goes — and this one I’m almost positive I didn’t make up — “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Well, in this case, her band is a strong link, indeed, and its strength is undeniable. It would seem that Jill Sissel insists on only working with musicians as obviously talented as she. And it shows.

Haunted Highway may not be the best thing since sliced bread, but so what?  It’s good. Arguably, it’s very good. And shouldn’t that be enough? I think so, and I hope you do, too.

Jill Sissel will be performing live at the 315 Bar and Grille in Nashville, TN on February 3; LaHacienda in Franklin, TN on February 19; and Richard’s Louisiana Café in Whites Creek, TN on April 2. Visit for details.

Vince Gaetano is an aspiring screenwriter and director who has written film and album reviews for ‘Shake! Magazine’ and ‘Underground Nashville.’ He graduated with honors from SUNY Oneonta with a major in video production, and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and copywriter.


Part II – – Interview with the “Couchcast” dudes

June 3, 2010

It was a real struggle, but I got the three “Couchcast” dudes off the couch one more time—for what seemed like an endless two minutes to them—so they could complete their interview with “Underground Nashville.”   Part II of the interview is below.

“Couchcast” is a regular podcast featuring Vince Gaetano, Nick Benson, and Kenny Fisch, who have never once referred to themselves as “the three amigos.” You can listen to past and future shows at The guys’ latest installment, “Robbing from Kevin Costner,” finds them talking about Robin Hood and offering their edgy, off-beat predictions about Prince of Persia.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: How is your “Couchcast” podcast distinct from Roger Ebert-style movie-review shows we’re accustomed to?

VINCE GAETANO: Well, for starters, I don’t consider “Couchcast” to be a review show. That is to say, reviewing movies isn’t our main goal. Really, it’s just our take on the movie business—our opinions presented in a light-hearted manner with the occasional fart joke thrown in to get a laugh. That, I suppose, would be the core difference: We don’t put entertainment above or below information. We keep it as equal as possible. Now, whether or not people actually find us funny is neither here nor there. The point is, we’re trying.

NICK BENSON: First of all, it’s a show. Most movie reviews are written and then you have to read them, which is really un-American if you ask me. Speaking of fascism, Roger Ebert and Peter Travers are the two primary movie reviewers of our time, and they are also like 90 years old. So our podcast is a bit more down-to-earth and accessible to a younger audience. We are not really telling you what to watch or getting all artsy on your ass. We are just having a conversation about movies and hope that the listener will be able to form their own opinion based on what we discuss. We don’t take it too seriously and we are certainly not above anyone’s heads. If anything we are very, very beneath you.

KENNY FISCH: I’ve never seen Roger Ebert review anything, so I assume our show is much different than his.

UN: What do you hope listeners will get out of each podcast?

VINCE: In a word, fun. Honestly, we didn’t start this podcast to change anything. We’re not trying to make any sort of impact. Most of the time, we’re not being serious. We’re just having a good time. And we hope you’re having one, too.

NICK: I hope that they will have fun and get a laugh. That’s the primary purpose of any form of entertainment: enjoyment. A bonus would be if they get some useful information out of it. It’s just another place to go to for some information on movies. I’d like people to be able to start e-mailing us and saying, “Hey, I actually really liked Avatar and you and Vince can go blow me.”

KENNY: I hope they have a good time, a couple of laughs, and [that they] don’t unsubscribe. Even if they think it’s stupid, in the end, at least it’s different than other reviews.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

Three underground film critics—who refuse to call themselves that—launch “Couchcast” podcast

May 31, 2010

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew


Middle Tennessee has been devastated by flooding from which it will take months—in some cases years—to recover. Please join the recovery effort by contacting Hands on Nashville at or by calling (in Nashville) 211. Otherwise, please call 800-318-9355. You can also support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts by going to of calling 800-725-2769.  Thank you.


Three underground film critics—who refuse to call themselves that—launch “Couchcast” podcast

By Dave Carew

Three budding film critics—okay, change that to three dudes who dig movies and like to talk about them—have launched “Couchcast,” a regular podcast featuring their take on recent flicks, not-so-recent flicks, and, basically, “all things movie.”  You can listen to past and future shows at

The three dudes on the couch are Vince Gaetano, Nick Benson, and Kenny Fisch, and the latest installment, “Robbing from Kevin Costner,” finds them talking about Robin Hood and offering their edgy, off-beat predictions about Prince of Persia.

Underground Nashville
recently was able to get the guys off the couch just long enough to interview them about their new podcast.  Part I of the interview is below, with Part II coming later this week:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What compelled you guys to launch “Couchcast”?

VINCE GAETANO: Nick compelled me to launch the podcast. Nick said to me, “I think we should do a podcast,” and after a lengthy explanation (and subsequent re-explanation) of what a podcast was, I was on board.

NICE BENSON: I think it was a combination of frustration and boredom. I was getting increasingly fed up with job hunting. Vince and I would call each other over Skype once a week and just talk about movies and vent about our lives. Eventually I thought it might be a good idea to record this and try to make something out of it. Podcasting is an unexplored market and I think we will be seeing much more of it in the future. Worst case scenario is that we chalk it up to experience; best case is we get some listeners and have a good time.

KENNY FISCH: I don’t really care about movies, but [Vince, Nick, and I] don’t get to talk as much these days, so it was a way to stay in touch and have fun at the same time. I think my role is partially comic relief, and the other part is to remind Nick and Vince that not everyone dissects movies as much as they do.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground
Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

Film Review by Vince Gaetano – – “The Last Picture Show”

March 20, 2010


Directed by Peter Bogdanovich

Released: 1971

A review by Vince Gaetano

Boredom is a powerful motivator. People do stupid things when they’re bored. Emergency rooms across America are filled with the horrific, sometimes humorous (other times both) results of children with nothing better to do. Eventually, everyone gets bored; and eventually, boredom passes.

But what if it didn’t? What if you were stuck in a rut of perpetual tedium, and knew full well that it was never going to end?

That’s the nightmare faced by nearly every character in “The Last Picture Show.”

The story is simple enough: so simple, in fact, one can argue that there isn’t a story. “The Last Picture Show” plays more like a series of vignettes, all connected by the town of Archer City, Texas and its residents.  Throughout the film, friendships will be made, broken, and rekindled, affairs will be had by the young and the old, deaths will occur, and all of it will be gossiped by the various busybodies that seem to crawl from the woodwork for every juicy detail. Though they all act immoral, it is not an accepted level of immorality that drives their actions. It’s boredom, plain and simple. None of them have anything better to do with their lives, and they know they never will. It’s a very freeing realization. It keeps them from ever having to worry about the inevitable consequences of their actions. These people are not immoral by sheer virtue of the fact that they have no idea what morality is. There is no “right” or “wrong”. There is only “boredom” and “anything else”; and in Archer City, Texas, “anything else” is always the better choice.

Take, for instance, Jacy Farrow (Cybil Shepherd), whose only real skill in life is manipulation. It’s not so surprising. She has the looks, the charm, and the flashy eyes to get anything she wants. But her father is, without question, the wealthiest man in town — she already has everything she wants. It’s quite a dilemma. So she decides to manipulate without purpose, getting people to bend to her will because it’s the only thing she knows how to do. It’s pathetic, even to her.

Her boyfriend, Duane (Jeff Bridges), is similarly afflicted. Unfortunately for him, the only thing he knows is Jacy. You can see how this might be a problem. He, on the other hand, does not.

The only person in the community with any resemblance of a conscience is Sonny (Timothy Bottoms). Unfortunately, he’s just as bored as everyone else, and so he tries his hand at an affair with an older, married woman. It’s a temporary fix, and a bad one at that. He’s much too nice a person to not let the infidelity get to him, and it does. It hits him hard, in a way he never saw coming.

The film opens with a title card: “The Last Picture Show.” Unlike most movies, this is not a reminder to the audience, lest anyone forgets what they’re watching two minutes after sitting down. Instead, the title serves as a declaration: “This is what you’re about to see.” I felt like a second title card should have been inserted directly after, one that read: “Deal with it.”

Because the movie never veers away from itself, never gets lost in a message or moral. This is a movie without a moral. This is a slice of life, whether it be the writer’s, the director’s, the actors’, or, more likely, a combination thereof. It’s very true to itself.

By the movie’s end, I was very uncomfortable. What I saw was too real and much too ambiguous. I felt like a peeping tom. Few movies can do that to a person. “The Last Picture Show” does it well. Maybe too well.

Does that make it a good movie? I can’t say. Much like life, it all depends on what you’ve taken away from it.

I can say this though: Watching it is an experience. One I think that’s worth having.

Vincent Gaetano is an aspiring screenwriter and director who graduated with honors from SUNY Oneonta with a major in video production. He currently resides in Rochester, NY.