Archives for category: Music

justin townes earle single mothersJustin Townes Earle continues a musical dialog between his fans and his Book of Life with his most recent venture Single Mothers.

Enough has been said in interviews about the influence on songs like “Single Mothers” which talks about absent fathers and what he had to deal with on a personal basis.

Rather than do a track by track analysis, let’s just get down to what I see flipping through this new deck of cards.

Justin has had a love/ hate relationship with Nashville going back to The Good Life when I met him after the release at The Basement when Justin was doing one of those small gigs right before things really took off. It looks like Nashville is back on deck for this one and is not found lacking what it did before.

Recorded at extremely yellow Quad Studios, Single Mothers screams Nashville, particularly East Nashville with its vibe and current subject matter. This album spotlights what makes Nashville such a cool place right now; Something old, something new, something borrowed (not sure about this one other than maybe a little Jonathan Richman vocal motif), something blue.

While it sounds like a stripped down Nashville Skyline, dripping with Paul Niehaus’ pedal steel and sounding like right before closing time at Robert’s Western World after the last call, much of the actual song structure is very classic Muscle Shoals era Alabama soul ballads.

Justin seems to have found that the Nashville era of 2007 has changed for the better and is now flexible enough to become his playground again.

I have enjoyed the changes that have gone into all of his catalog as the last several years have gone by. Single Mothers seems to flow right off Midnight At The Movies in a very de-structured way. The tracks almost sound like clean demos with the lyrics loud enough to decide how the actual music will feel later. It reminds me of how Keith Richards described in his autobiography, Life, about The Rolling Stones recording process. Keith said that much of what was released in at least the middle period with Mick Taylor were actually demos and they would always talk about recording a proper version of the song later. In the end, they would decide they couldn’t improve upon the original jam and they would release it as is.

Everything about this represents the best of Nashville even down to the photos by Nashville’s very own music photographer, Joshua Black Wilkins.

There was a time when music was a true reflection of the guy who put the album on the turntable. Somehow, multitudes of people found a connection in what certain artists were saying and felt a certain rhythm in their life that flowed between their clothes, car, friends, hanging out and music. Justin Townes Earle is one of the few that really makes that happen now in the same way Bob Dylan and Neil Young did back when.

Justin Townes Earle, The State Room, Salt Lake City, 2009 - opening for Jason Isbell  Photo / Brad Hardisty

Justin Townes Earle, The State Room, Salt Lake City, 2009 – opening for Jason Isbell Photo / Brad Hardisty

There is a small circle of current musicians that have been able to transcend all the volleys and Justin Townes Earle and Ryan Bingham are at the forefront for the same reasons that come with life experience and a fine tuned sense of balance between pessimism and optimism reflecting on what is life and what makes it worthwhile and real.

Favorites: “My Baby Drives”, “Picture In A Drawer”, “Burning Pictures”

  • Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

TANYA TUCKER: STRONG ENOUGH TO BEND

OPENS NOVEMBER 14 AT

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM

photo courtesy Tanya Tucker

photo courtesy Tanya Tucker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 16, 2014) – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will explore the career of superstar Tanya Tucker with the exhibition Tanya Tucker: Strong Enough to Bend, which opens November 14, 2014, and runs through May 2015.

Tanya Tucker’s talent blossomed early, despite being born into poverty in Texas and raised in ramshackle apartments and trailers in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. She began performing on local shows at age six, and within years was a regular on a Phoenix TV program. A Las Vegas agent sent a demo recording to Billy Sherrill, who quickly signed Tucker to Columbia Records. She was thirteen years old.

At the time, few child performers had achieved success in country music. But the singer’s husky voice and audacious confidence made her seem more grown-up. She proved as much when she walked into a Nashville studio, in March 1972, and announced to Sherrill and the veteran musicians, “Well, I know my part, boys. Do you know yours?” She proceeded to belt out “Delta Dawn” like a seasoned pro, and by summer the song was a hit.

Tucker assured her success by releasing six consecutive Top Ten hits—including the #1s “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” and “Would You Lay With Me (in a Field of Stone)”—in two years, all produced by Sherrill. The narrative songs told daring stories that courted controversy, and Tucker’s mature-beyond-her-years vocal style brought out the drama and emotion in each.

Tanya Tucker on the cover of the Rolling Stone

Tanya Tucker on the cover of the Rolling Stone

Two years into her singing career, Tucker appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine—a rare national media spotlight for a country star in 1974. To her parents, Beau and Juanita Tucker, such recognition signified that their teen daughter had crossover potential that could take her beyond the country audience.

On October 10, 1974—Tucker’s sixteenth birthday—she signed a $1.4 million contract with MCA Records, a deal brokered by her ambitious father. Her seven years on MCA yielded the #1 hits “Lizzie and the Rainman.” “San Antonio Stroll,” and “Here’s Some Love.” In 1978, she recorded the rock-influenced album T.N.T. in Los Angeles.

In California, Tucker began dating singer Glen Campbell, twenty-two years her senior; their fiery, tabloid-filled relationship ended in acrimony. After a stint with Arista Records, Tucker signed with Capitol Records and reunited with producer Jerry Crutchfield, with whom she had worked at MCA.

TANYA TUCKER ©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

TANYA TUCKER
©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

Tucker’s 1986 album, Girl Like Me, featured four Top Ten hits, including the #1 “Just Another Love.” She enjoyed a long run of success on Capitol (and sister label Liberty), with a string of Top Ten hits through 1997, including three consecutive #1s, “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love,” “If It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Strong Enough to Bend.”

Tanya Tucker heard her name called as the 1991 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year while lying in a hospital bed, watching the awards show on TV. Earlier the same day, she had delivered her second child, Beau.

Her first child, daughter Presley, was born in July 1989—a year after Tucker had checked herself into the Betty Ford Center over issues with substance abuse. Her third child, Layla, arrived in 1999.

For Tucker, the CMA award came at a time when some radio stations refused to play her music while criticizing her choice to be a single mother. The CMA award, the first of her career, proved that the country music industry at large continued to support her. The national media cited Tucker’s win, and her eighteen Top Ten hits between 1988 and 1994, as signs that country music reflected the evolving roles of women in American society.

Tucker detailed her colorful life story in her 1997 autobiography, Nickel Dreams: My Life. The singer also starred in her own reality show, Tuckerville, on cable network TLC. “Every one of us has good and bad times in our lives,” Tucker wrote in Nickel Dreams. “In my case, they have been to extremes.”

TANYA TUCKER ©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

TANYA TUCKER
©2009 photograph by Alan Messer

Modern Ozark Mountain Daredevils Bring Forth Loaded Baked Potatoes From Americana Dirt

pawns_or_kings_press_picture“The process of finishing this album was the hardest experience of our life. With equipment failure, the original album files being erased and three years of struggling with nothing to show, we can finally give you the album you guys deserve.”

“We offer this piece of us in hopes that it would pick you up when you are down or be there to celebrate the good times alongside you. Every second of every track was an independent effort by members of this band. We truly and humbly hope you enjoy it.”- Pawns Or Kings

Hailing from the Ozark area of Southern Missouri, Pawns or Kings have a unique take on the popular folk revival that is sweeping the world.

“Without the Ozark Mountains… there would simply be no Pawns or Kings” said Stengel during a recent interview. Members of the band grew up playing music together ever since junior high and have been shaped by a variety of influences from classic rock like Led Zeppelin to bluegrass legends like Ricky Skaggs.

Pomme De Terrre puts Pawns Or Kings in a realm inhabited by the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and The Decemberists.

Preview Pawns Or Kings Pomme De Terre Here

pawns or kings pomme_de_terre

 

The End proudly presents Balance and Composure this Wednesday night along with Seahaven and Creepoid.

photo courtesy Balance and Composure

photo courtesy Balance and Composure

The band’s latest record The Things We Think We’re Missing debuted at #51 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart and has been very well received in the media, garnering coverage from Pitchfork, Spin, Stereogum, MTV and Rolling Stone.

Balance and Composure rides the line between noise pop like Sonic Youth and the reflective inner sanctum of Nirvana.

Frontman Jon Simmons likes to deliver visual stories with the tone of Dennis Wilson and the mindset of a wave riding Billy Corgan on a dark beach set endless six footer drifting to the right.

The intervweaving guitars set the tone for this Pennsylvania quartet.

Their videos are always well executed,

balance and composure album cover-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

 

 

SAMMY KERSHAW GOES VINTAGE VINYL WITH

GEORGE JONES TRIBUTE ALBUM

 Vinyl Edition of Kershaw’s ‘Do You Know Me? – A Tribute to George Jones’ Available Now

 

photo courtesy Sammy Kershaw

photo courtesy Sammy Kershaw

Nashville, Tenn. (September 11, 2014) – As critics continue to rave about SAMMY KERSHAWs new George Jones tribute album, Do You Know Me?, the country music star is now making the album available in vinyl form.  The vinyl edition contains two LPs and is available now in select record stores and online at Amazon.com. “I decided to make this album available on vinyl because it seemed appropriate,” says Kershaw.  “Jones released all of his early records on vinyl because there wasn’t any other way to do it.  Vinyl gave his records that vintage sound that can’t be replicated so on my tribute to him, I wanted to do the same thing.” Kershaw tackles some of Jones’ biggest career songs on the 14-track album. The tribute includes Kershaw’s renditions of “White Lightning,” “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” “The Grand Tour,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “The Race Is On,” among others. Two all new songs, inspired by Jones, are also included and Kershaw recruited the “Possum’s” daughter Georgette Jones for the classic duet, “Near You.” 

Do You Know Me? was released on July 22 and debuted at #37 on the Billboard Top Country Music Albums Chart, landing Kershaw his first Billboard Top 40 album in more than a decade.

The tribute to Jones is produced by Kershaw and available through his label, Big Hit Records.

 

For additional information on Sammy Kershaw, visit www.sammykershaw.com or his official Facebook Page.

 

Dead Fingers 2014 Interview

Dead Fingers, photo Courtesy Pipe and Gun

Dead Fingers, photo Courtesy Pipe and Gun

Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor better known as Birmingham, Alabama’s Dead Fingers took a few minutes to reflect on their adventures that took about two years and resulted in their sophomore release Big Black Dog on Birmingham’s Communicating Vessels .

Taylor and Kate took a much needed break when they became first time parents and found themselves with new material at a crossroads in the music business that is affecting even smaller regional labels.

After much reflection and at a point where they felt like they were ready to get out on the road, they ended up working with Birmingham, Alabama’s Communicating Vessels which has had national success with The Great Book Of John as well as regional favorites like The Grenadines.

The album was recorded in Mississippi with Bruce Watson [Fat Possum/ Big Legal Mess] long before the release date and label decisions were made and finally released with Bruce’s blessing right in Taylor and Kate’s own backyard.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: I have been listening to this album and it seems to be more organized then the first release in the sense that it is not as random as the other album. Does that make sense?

Taylor Hollingsworth / Dead Fingers: Yeah, I could see that for sure, yeah. We tried to have a direction, you know, in the recording. We tried to have, like a cohesive sound.

TNB: There are more concentration on the harmonies and also more of a focus on the country sound.

TH: I decided I am just a country musician you know. I’m like psychedelic country.

TNB: It works. I liked how you put “Big Black Dog” on the front end because that was kind of like the most off-beat and different from the rest. It looks like the first push is with “Free Tonight.”

TH: Yeah.

TNB: You’ve been around for at least a decade now. As a solo artist, you were with Brash Music out of Georgia. You worked with Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band . You’ve been with Big Legal Mess / Fat Possum out of Mississippi and now you are working with Communicating Vessels out of Birmingham. I guess it makes it a little bit easier to work with distribution and all of that.

TH: Not necessarily on the distribution, but it makes it easier for like, I don’t know, I thought it was making it easier until the last couple of days. No, I’m just kidding, I mean , it’s like easier when we can go to the office and actually discuss things face to face rather than by e-mail or just a phone call. I can bug them more frequently and make sure things are like getting done, I guess.

TNB: Communicating Vessels has pretty decent distribution. I remember seeing The Great Book of John and some of their other releases here in Nashville. They also concentrate on doing some vinyl, don’t they?

TH: Yeah, they are definitely doing vinyl. They are really cool people that do the label. I have really been excited about doing it. I hope that they can survive in this day and age in the music business. Obviously, it’s like a f*****n’ s**t show out there.

TNB: It’s weird. Jack White made an album that had three speeds on it to create more interest and it ended up being number 1 on Billboard. Lazaretto sold like 40,000 copies the first week. But, it’s like a piece of art.

TH: Well, he’s on a whole ‘nother plane.

TNB: When you guys tour are you going out with any other Alabama bands or just going out by yourselves?

Dead Fingers, Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Dead Fingers, Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

TH: We just have this one tour booked as of right now and that’s just us by ourselves with local support in all the cities. I think that is usually good, you know, because you get local bands that help you with the draw.

TNB: Are you doing recording pretty much the way you used to, like, are you pretty much taking control of your work?

TH: This new album we did over at the Fat Possum studio at the same place as we did the first Dead Fingers album with Bruce Watson. We both kind of, you know, produced it like I come up with a lot of ideas of arrangement type stuff and instrumentation. Like adding certain things to make it sound a certain way, but I really don’t have anything to do with, like, what mic we are going to use or what stuff like that. Bruce is on top of that because I’ll just grab any kind of mic there is and just put’em on shit to record, but he knows which mic to use and to do it the proper way.

TNB: Well, he’s worked on a lot of stuff. My favorite Black Keys album was Chulahoma, the Junior Kimbrough stuff. That was awesome.

TH: Yeah man, Bruce has got his name on some cool records.

TNB: Ok, so you did it over there, was it originally going to be on his label, or?

TH: Yeah. The music business is eating them alive like he is losing money on a lot of records. He lost money on our first record. So, he was kind of thinking we would just release this record just digitally then I said there is a Birmingham label. I told him about Communicating Vessels. I was like, what if we got them to do the vinyl and you do the digital, but it kind of got to be like nobody is going to want to spend all this money on vinyl and not have the digital release so, we just decided to go with Communicating Vessels. We thought about it and they kind of offered us to do the vinyl and offered to help us with some of the core stuff. We also liked the idea of them just being down the street from us. I mean they are literally like a two minute drive so, we talked to Bruce and he was totally cool with the whole thing. I mean he was like I would love to say I could give you enough money to do all that but he just can’t.

TNB: It is kind of weird how Birmingham had evolved into where there were a lot of great bands that came out at a certain period of time. Like beitthemeans, Model Citizen, Universal Joint and your band The Spider Eaters. I can think of at least a dozen bands; Through The Sparks has made it through that whole thing. But, now Birmingham has its own label and other things going on so they can promote their own scene, which is kind of cool.

TH: Yes, it’s really cool, you know, I hope that they can expand beyond Birmingham. They certainly are trying real hard. They are goin’ through the motions. They are living and learning. They are hiring all kinds of publicists and radio people and I mean they are doing it.

TNB: Are they trying to get over to England?

TH: Yeah. They are actually hiring print over in England.

TNB: I was thinking, how say like The Drive By Truckers broke over there as well as Kings of Leon.

TH: Yeah, we went to Europe last year. On our last record, we had a European label as well as the Stateside label and we did a European tour which went over really well for us on our level. But, the label we were on, over there, went under. They lost their ass on every one of their records and now we don’t have a label over there. Labels are just going under right and left.

TNB: Jack White’s Third Man Records can sell a lot of his own records but he has recorded a lot of other people that don’t do much like even the Neil Young record he did is way down on the charts so it’s maybe selling like a couple of thousand.

TH: Bruce just told me they released the Iggy & The Stooges new album and didn’t even sell 10,000 copies. Iggy & the f*****g Stooges! That is insane and they spent a fortune on that record.

TNB: I know Infinity Cat put their label right behind the United Record Pressing plant here in town.

TH: Yeah, that is where we pressed our last record.

TNB: They have got things going on where they do limited runs on everything and they keep changing it up whether it is the type of vinyl or the sleeve. They change it up every tour because they have core buyers. They have guys that will buy three different versions of the same record to just get the different covers of a Jeff The Brotherhood release.

TH: Well the truth is the reason we are not on Bruce’s label is what really happened on the business end and that his distribution was losing so much money on all these small records that weren’t selling enough numbers and they were getting shipped back from stores. They had to change their way, so their new approach in order to distribute your record is to have you buy a package plan and it was four grand for just the cheapest package. That was just to get your record into the store and that added four grand to our cost which used to not be a cost at all. They made money per record off a percentage but now they don’t take a percentage they charge a flat fee because those records weren’t even selling enough for them to make a percentage. You know what I mean? Not making anything, losing money.

TNB: It’s kind of the trend right now that they are putting everything back on the artist. I was talking to Ryan Hurtgen [former Nashvillian in Rene Breton]of Perfect Beings and he said out there in California, the pluggers are charging the bands and you don’t know if they are out plugging your music or not. They are trying to suck the musicians dry…Hey Kate, are you there?

Kate Taylor / Dead Fingers: I’m here.

TNB: You kind of have your own thing, but it fits more with Folk Alliance or the Americana Music Festival here in Nashville for promoting, you know what I mean? I didn’t know if you were going to try to get into some of those things. The Americana Music Festival here in town is huge. People are flying in from all over the world.

TH: Is that where I played with The Dexateens last year?

TNB: You probably did. I know the Dexateens are pretty solid. I didn’t go last year.

TH: Yeah. I would love to do that.

TNB: Is the new album stuff you worked on a while back or is at all new?

TH: I don’t think we had it written during the last album but it is now like two years old though. I mean, most of the songs I wrote before our daughter was born. Kate, your songs are probably before she was born too?

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Kate: Yeah, we were probably working on that album just as we just finished the tour of the first album. We had just come out from there and I was pregnant. So, when we finished the tour we just went straight back into the studio. Knowing you’re pregnant you are anticipating the lull. I mean, we obviously had to take a little time off from touring and not be able to work as much. So, even when we were on tour we went back and forth to Mississippi every other weekend while I was still pregnant and then we finished it. I think Taylor ended up going one or maybe two times after she was born. I mean she was just teeny tiny like three weeks old or something. We went back a couple of times to finish everything up. But, then there was the switching of labels and all that kind of stuff and that ended up taking much longer than we had anticipated.

TNB: So you are like ready to record again, probably?

TH: Yeah, we haven’t written any songs.

Kate: Yeah, we had the baby and stuff.

TH: I was going through my notebook last night and I realized I probably have an albums worth of stuff written. Old songs from back then.

Kate: We are just getting to the point where we can record again. You know, our daughter is getting to be not quite two actually, she will be in November. Just like little things, you know, even right now. She is usually not a night owl. We don’t have to wait until forever and ever, at bedtime she goes to bed.

Taylor: That just now started.

TNB: Life kind of changes when you got kids, that’s for sure.

Kate: So, we are just getting to a point where we can get the things out in front and start working again. Like at first, we were not writing anymore and not playing anymore.

TH: I’m about ready to start playing full time, just like locally you know.

TNB: What are you doing locally nowadays? Are doing like acoustic gigs somewhere? Or kicking it with a band?

TH: I have a cover band that I am playing with and stuff and then I work. I’ll do some acoustic gigs like, I do every second Friday at Parkside Cafe in the back bar up there. It’s like the cool bar now in Birmingham. All of our friends are hanging there. Lauren, from The Grenadines, tends bar at Parkside. It’s a bunch of cool folks. I think I am going to put together kind of like my own songs but then a bunch of country songs, cover songs that I can just play at bars to make a living. Make enough to get by without working the road. That is what I hope for.

TNB: Sounds good. It is a challenge. It’s kind of weird because it’s like when you released Tragic City, you were right on the edge of when the whole music business was goin’ down. I remember Tower Records was getting behind that album and then they went bankrupt.

TH: Yeah, they had a lot at Tower Records and like I remember it was like in Best Buy and shit like that. It was really getting pushed out there, but it was all right there at the end. I didn’t have a business minded head on my shoulder whatsoever anyway.

TNB: You were pushing everything at 100%.

TH: I just didn’t have the team behind me.

TNB: I definitely promote Birmingham when I get the chance.

TH: Yeah, I know you do.

TNB: Dude, good to hear that you guys are still pressing on. I was going to tell you that one of the highlights for me in Birmingham, probably 2006. You were playing with the Spider Eaters and Matt Patton from Model Citizen…

TH: Oh yeah Matt.

TNB: Yeah, he got up on stage and you guys did Ramones’ “Commando.” That was cool. It was good talking to you. Wish you the best man.

Taylor: Alright man, always good to talk to you.

Kate: Thank you so much.

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Pipe and Gun

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Pipe and Gun

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

 

NAMM is almost upon us!

Brad Hardisty with The Starlite Desperation, 2005, Pittsburg, PA, opening for The Donnas

Brad Hardisty with The Starlite Desperation, 2005, Pittsburg, PA, opening for The Donnas

If you haven’t noticed, changes have been the norm this year. Performer Magazine has changed their format and no longer carry the local “scene” page every month like they used to. I had been writing the Nashville page almost every consecutive month for nearly three years. Performer is doing a monthly online edition but with the realities of today’s readership, is only publishing a physical edition bi-monthly.

Brad Hardisty with Allison Robertson, The Donnas, Desert Moon event at Pappy & Harriets, Joshua Tree, CA, 2005

Brad Hardisty with Allison Robertson, The Donnas, Desert Moon event at Pappy & Harriets, Joshua Tree, CA, 2005

My interview with The Black Lips was featured on the cover just a couple of months ago. Performer has improved every year and has increased its national relevancy year after year. It is a first rate publication for the gigging and recording musician, especially for the artist that is trying to break out and can look behind the curtains at what other bands and artists are doing to get their message out.

Brad Hardisty, stage debut, tap dancing at age 5, San Jose, CA. The Beach Boys were scheduled at the same venue the following night.

Brad Hardisty, stage debut, tap dancing at age 5, San Jose, CA. The Beach Boys were scheduled at the same venue the following night.

Performer magazine Editor Benjamin Ricci, has been a great person to work with over the last three years and I hope to be involved albeit on a more limited basis in the future.

Brad Hardisty with Joe Buck, The Jackalope, Salt Lake City, UT, 2009

Brad Hardisty with Joe Buck, The Jackalope, Salt Lake City, UT, 2009

Due to several commitments, my goal will be to post at least one great interview per month as well as photos, occasional reviews and some editorial pundit talk on the state of all things music.

I still get great information via email from bands and publicists and hope to get current information out regarding Nashville and regionals artists.

Brad Hardisty, Tootsies, Nashville, TN, with Violet Moon's Guitar Strap- On custom guitar strap.

Brad Hardisty, Tootsies, Nashville, TN, with Violet Moon’s Guitar Strap- On custom guitar strap.

NAMM is next month and I will have some friends involved in the music business visiting from the music business, one of which is my friend Dana Marie from Violet Moon’s Guitar Strap Ons who will be in town for NAMM for the second time in three years. She designed an incredible guitar strap that I have been using for the past four years. She has designed straps for artists ranging from James Williamson [The Stooges] to J.R. Blackmore [son of Ritchie Blackmore] and is able to do incredible work right down to intricate detail as requested by the musician.

Still to come are pictures from Record Store Day!

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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