Archives for category: Nashville

LOCASH Signs to Label; Key Team Members Announced

Pictured: (L-R back row) Sony Red's Dewayne Brown, Webster PR's Kirt Webster, Paradigm's Brian Hill, Butch Waugh, Star Farm's Matt Corbin, Conway Ent. Group's Tony Conway, Paradigm's Bob Kinkead and Star Farm's Michael Powers.  (L-R front row): Chris Lucas, Reviver President/CEO David Ross, Preston Brust

Pictured: (L-R back row) Sony Red’s Dewayne Brown, Webster PR’s Kirt Webster, Paradigm’s Brian Hill, Butch Waugh, Star Farm’s Matt Corbin, Conway Ent. Group’s Tony Conway, Paradigm’s Bob Kinkead and Star Farm’s Michael Powers.
(L-R front row): Chris Lucas, Reviver President/CEO David Ross, Preston Brust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 1, 2014) – What do you get when you take one of Nashville’s biggest all-star lineups of music professionals and partner them up with one of the hardest working acts in the business? You call that Reviver Records, which opens up its’ Nashville operation today.

Longtime music industry executive David Ross will lead the team at Reviver as President/CEO. With a career history that began at Alpha Distributors and has flourished over the years with stops at S* Management, College Music Journal, and Vertis, Ross has helped add pages to the legendary careers of such acts as Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Alabama and The Judds.

Ross leads a team that includes some of the most successful members of the Nashville music community. Butch Waugh – who built his name during a decades-long run at Sony, will serve as strategic advisor to Reviver. Waugh has been a key player in the career story of such country acts as Carrie Underwood, Alabama, Kenny Chesney, and Martina McBride as well as Bruce Hornsby and The Dave Matthews Band. Longtime promotion veterans Michael Powers and Matt Corbin (from Star Farm Nashville) will lead Reviver’s charge at radio, while Kirt Webster (from Webster Public Relations) currently handles publicity for LOCASH.

Industry favorites LOCASH (formerly known as The LoCash Cowboys), who have already gained airplay with singles such as “Here Comes Summer,” “Keep In Mind,” “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.,” and “Best Seat In The House,” are among the initial artists signed to the Reviver roster. Their most recent album, a self-titled effort, made it to the top half of the genre-encompassing Billboard 200 album chart. Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, who comprise the duo, have also written chart hits for Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah”) and Keith Urban (“You Gonna Fly”). Working with LOCASH will be Nashville power manager Tony Conway and Paradigm Talent Agency’s Bob Kinkead will handle booking for the duo. Distribution for the label will be handled through Dewayne Brown at Sony RED.

Ross says that he is passionate about the music that LOCASH will soon be releasing through the Reviver label, as well as the team he has assembled. “I feel that we have put together a group of people that have the experience and the success stories to lead this team all the way into the stratosphere,” he said. “And, I think that the industry is going to be blown away by what Chris and Preston have coming down the line. We’re ready to take this town by storm.”

Reviver Records, LLC is based in New Jersey and is comprised of the record label, Reviver Music, and a Production and Management Company.

Resource Reviver Records: http://www.revivermusic.com

Resource LOCASH: http://www.locashmusic.com

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

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

Catching Up With Everybody

John Hatton backstage at The Mercy Lounge, The Billy Block Show, May 2014 , photo - Brad Hardisty

John Hatton backstage at The Mercy Lounge, The Billy Block Show, May 2014 , photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose was back in town working on her album and returned to The Billy Block Show at Mercy Lounge sounding better than ever. I was caught by surprise when I got a message from her current bassist,Johnny “Spazz” Hatton [Brian Setzer Orchestra] letting me know about the set that night.

Nettie was decked out like a prohibition era June Carter speakeasy chanteuse. John was sharing some of his knowledge on the upright with Billy’s son, Rocky Block who hosted later that night. Speaking of Billy Block, he looks to be recovering very well and was sitting in on the drums midway through the night with another group.

Billy was featured on the cover of Nashville Scene magazine recently behind the drum kit and everybody is happy that he is doing well.

John Oates, Record Store Day 2014, Grimey's, photo - Brad Hardisty

John Oates, Record Store Day 2014, Grimey’s, photo – Brad Hardisty

Record Store Day was another great success this year with the Groove featuring Nikki Lane who brought several copies of her new album on vinyl to be available only at The Groove until the official drop date several weeks later. The New West label vinyl sounded great and features local picker Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart) and Dave Roe (Johnny Cash) on bass. The album was recorded with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) at the helm really is a local Nashville tour-de-force.

photo courtesy of Ryan Hurtgen

photo courtesy of Ryan Hurtgen

More photos and stories from Record Store Day will be forthcoming as well as an extended interview with Ryan Hurtgen [former band Rene Breton during his Nashville days] and his new project out in California called Perfect Beings. The new recording done almost completely live sounds close to a modern take on 70’s prog like Yes, Gentle Giant and early Genesis. It has already been touted as the “Prog Rock Album of The Year” in some reviews.

Franklin, Tennessee is set for an extended Americana Music Festival dubbed the Americana Experience beginning on May 22nd and running for ten days! The Franklin Theater has featured several artists known for the genre such as Darrell Scott over the last couple of years.

There are so many events that have developed in the local area that Nashville Scene dedicated a month to month guide is this current week’s issue to help plan the summer months festivities.

On the short list, CMA Fest and Bonnaroo coming up next month followed by East Nashville’s Hot Chicken Festival on the 4th of July and the Tomato Festival not too long after that.

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013 photo 1, photo - Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013 photo 1, photo – Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro is one of the best old time music festivals and competition in the country and features some great jams in the park July 11th-13th.

NAMM returns in July with KISS and Def Leppard playing the Bridgestone Arena on opening night.

I just got my second magazine cover with Performer Magazine in April that featured an interview with Atlanta’s Black Lips that was supposed to be about the new album production but ended up being about their recent tour of the Middle East that was made into an Indie film and seemed to be a mind blowing experience all these months later.

Tristan Dunn, jamming with The Tim Boykin Blues Band, Birmingham, AL, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tristan Dunn, jamming with The Tim Boykin Blues Band, Birmingham, AL, photo – Brad Hardisty

Birmingham utility musician and vocalist Tristan Dunn is staying under my roof for the month of May and jamming on blues harp and vocals with just about every band on Lower Broad as well as Printer’s Alley. Tristan is gigging with current American Idol alumnus Casey Thrasher in Tuscaloosa, Alabama tonight.

Outside commitments are keeping me busy and spread a little thin lately but I will get some things up real soon! It’s always a good day to buy a vintage tube amp or

- Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

 

Alex Levine on The Kinks, New York Mayor Ed Koch and Underdogs

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos are clever without being cheeky, sincere without being preachy, self-aware but never too in on their own joke. Still, their most endearing trait is a simple one: They make murderously catchy, endorphin-boosting, shout-along guitar music with vigor and zeal. – Pitchfork, Zach Kelly

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos wear New York on their sleeves as a band of brothers that have been playing together since they were Wee Brooklyn Lads, taking in the sights and sounds of Nirvana and the social angst of the 90’s as well as The Beastie Boys and mixing it with New York’s best punk pioneers, The Dictators, The Ramones with the interweaving guitar techniques of Television and put them in a modern context of socially conscious East Coast Kinks with Hip Hop lyrics.

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

While at The End this past Monday night, Alex made the comment that they thought about moving to Nashville. Nashville has changed and The So So Glos would bring a different slice of pie to Music City. Alex is not only busy with the band but with Adam Reich and Shea Stadium Studio in New York.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Tell me what is going on at Shea Stadium.

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine / The So So Glos: Every band that comes through Shea Stadium is documented and they are recorded by our Producer, Adam Reich who records all the bands and puts them up  at Live at Shea Stadium and archives them all.

TNB: Is it similar to the video you had that you did on KEXP Seattle that I saw on YouTube?

Adam Reich, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Reich, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: Yeah, yeah, it’s like that but, it’s just that all the bands at Shea are up there. You can look at full sets.

TNB: My favorite cut was “Diss Town.” I don’t think you have released that as a single.

Zach Staggers, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Zach Staggers, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: It’s going to be the next single. I think.

TNB: I do like the video of “Son Of An American.” I guess that kinda shows you guys growing up playing instruments and all that kind of stuff, right?

AL: Yeah, that’s the way we started. We’ve been together for a while.

TNB: Yeah, you and your brother Ryan and I guess Zach ended up being your step-brother right?

AL: That’s how it all came together. It’s kind of the story of the band in the early stages.

TNB: As far as the sound, I was going to ask you how much Punk rock is around in New York or Brooklyn anymore? Is there a scene?

AL: We started the band about six years ago and we were definitely not in fashion or in style.  We were caught up in a lot of the Art scene and a lot of music shit parties and we were kind of always outcasts. There was noise rock or really hip shit. So, we kind of got into the DIY scene in Brooklyn and we helped  expand it. It seems like every day I see a new Punk band come out so I guess we were ahead of the times? I don’t know what to say about that.

TNB: Well to me, you are kind of a bridge because, obviously you have newer influences but, when you think of the original Punk that started in New York, I can hear that in your music  like The Dictators and a little bit of Television with the interactive guitar work that you guys do.

AL: Yeah, yeah totally.

TNB: I mean do you guys feel you are flying the flag for New York in a way?

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: In some way. I think the mentality of all punkers is not necessarily what genre you play but, the energy and we are bringing a lot of different styles to the table. We’ve got Hip Hop. I don’t know if you hear that but, a lot of my lyrics are influenced a lot by Hip Hop. We are at the stage in music where  it kinda goes and it is just all mixed up in the Pop. But, the energy is Punk Rock. You know, pushing it a little bit toward the future. It is such a community between Rock and Roll and Punk Rock.  When it comes to music, I think we try to focus on a lot of different styles and there has been a lot of different kinds of music that we have been into from Motown to Country and Hip Hop as well as Punk Rock and Rock and Roll.

TNB: It is really upbeat stuff.

AL: Yeah.

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: When Punk Rock started out, it wasn’t all like bands like Fear and stuff. There were all different kinds of styles. Dictators were kind of cornball and they were having a good time.

AL: Yeah, my favorite stuff that they did was when they had those bittersweet undertones, you know.     The Kinks pulled that off a lot, like heavy social commentary and yet it was very poppy and happy in a big way but the subject is this really dark topic. I always like a bittersweet marriage between darkness and lightness, a walk on that thin line.

TNB: I think that is a good comparison with The Kinks. You guys name check a lot of things that put you where your band is from.

AL: Yeah.

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB:  The Kinks talked about socio-economic things in a fun way about where they were from.

AL: Totally. I don’t think there are too many bands that talk about what they see nowadays for better or for worse, you know. They are always trying to do something simple. I think it is in our personalities to talk about it.

TNB:  I’ll tell you, starting your video off with Mayor Koch really cracked me up.

AL: Ha ha!

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: It was like how did you find that? How did you get permission? It was just hilarious.

AL: It was The Beastie Boys style that got us to think about using it.

TNB: Yeah, the video kind of reminded me of like a Beastie Boys video thing.

AL: Ed Koch, you know, kind of represented the whole of what New York is all about. In New York, you have such a perpetual underdog. We kind of see ourselves as underdogs in the whole music game because, you know, we don’t really have that much of a gimmick. We are what we are. We are not trying to sell much. We are just trying to live with the truth. A big deal to us is being underdogs.

TNB: When I looked at you guys you have this sense of dressing like uptown Beastie Boys but, also kind of like Television, where Television really didn’t have a look after Richard Hell left. They were just a band from New York and this is what we do.

AL: Yeah.

TNB: Anything coming up?

AL: Nothing really, just happy being back in Nashville and having a fun time.

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

The Tony Gerber Interview

debbie bond cbb_soulshiningcdcov_med_hr-2The Cotton Blossom Band sets a new bar in uncharted waters by mixing true Space Music with old time tunes and Hill Country Blues lead by Tony Gerber, Nashville’s true Space music pioneer for three decades and Mason Stevens whose ability on anything with strings lends to the crossover technique that demands everything from cigar box guitar to electric guitar with multiple effects.

The two are joined by Michael Doster who played bass for B.B. King for over fifteen years on upright bass as well as Roy “Futureman” Wooten [ of Flecktones fame] on acoustic and electric percussion.

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

An interview with Tony Gerber can go in any direction since he has proven to be the Renaissance man of Nashville’s music underground. You may not have even known that Nashville has its own Space Music epicenter but Gerber’s Space for Music project began in 1985 as a listening group following the weekly radio broadcast of Music From the Hearts of Space. The space music genre was just beginning to take shape, influenced by the groundbreaking ambient works of Brian Eno, Krautrockers like Kraftwerk, and electronic artists like Cluster.

As a member of the trailblazing electronic music band SPACECRAFT, owner of the Internet-based Space for Music record label and most recently as his premier Second Life music mogul, Cypress Rosewood, Gerber has helped popularize space music across the United States, Canada, Europe and far reaches of the globe through his prolific musical releases and hundreds of live internet broadcast concerts online and into the virtual world platform.

The Cotton Blossom Band is keeping busy since their first release came out this year. Upcoming events include a taped performance on March 16th at The Old Time Pickin’ Parlor followed by a performance at Noteable Blends on March 21st.

Brad Hardisty/ The Nashville Bridge: What was the genesis of starting the Cotton Blossom Band?

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

Tony Gerber / the Cotton Blossom Band: It was almost like there were a couple because there’s a radio show here in town, The Mando Blues Show.  When Whit Hubner started Mando Blues, it happened to be real close to where I live. I’ve known him for almost thirty years, so he is almost kind of like family. He asked me in the very beginning when he started the show, “You ought to come up with something so you can play on the show.” This was after we [Nashville] had flooded out from the 2010 flood so I am kind of like, Wow! I can actually play blues with that real life event but the truth of the matter is when I was about seven or eight years old, I started guitar with the fingerpicking styles of Leadbelly and stuff like that.

TNB: So, you started out on guitar and with early blues music?

Mason Stevens, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mason Stevens, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: I was attracted to that kind of old style blues, but over the years I have just been doing electronic music. I was pretty excited by the idea of putting together a blues project.  The first incarnation was actually with my good friend Doug Dillard from The Andy Griffith Show [The Darlings] and the real life Dillards and Tom Shinness who plays here in town and so the three of us originally played as a trio on the Mando Blues Show without any official name. At the end of year, I believe, Mason Stevens, who plays diddly bow and guitar in The Cotton Blossom Band got together with me. We’ve known each other since about 1986 and we have been playing together and staying in contact all these years. I really love his guitar playing, so we got together and just kinda tested out this new recording setup that I had.  I had my synthesizer and I had my Native American Flute in my hand and I just started singing an R.L. Burnside song called “Jumper on The Line.” When I did that, we stopped and looked at each other and got real excited about what we had just done and we said you know that really had a hybrid sound that was real exciting. We ended up starting the band as a result of doing that song. Mixing the synthesizers with the flutes, voice  was the actually the genesis point doing “Delta Space Blues.”

TNB: So R.L. Burnside has a hand in this new interstellar form of the blues?

Michael Doster, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Michael Doster, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: That song is the signature part of what the sound is, but to take it one step further, during our concerts and on our album we kind of start out acoustic and we get a little more spacey as the concert goes with a mix of space blues/space jazz. You know it takes people into a little different realm and then we bring them back at the end with a couple of songs that are more space blues that we wrote.

TNB: What got you interested in Space Music?

Roy "Futureman" Wooten, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Roy “Futureman” Wooten, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: I built a synthesizer when I was about fourteen years old and recorded sound on sound. The problem with Space Music is people just don’t know about it. There has never been like a real popular group other than maybe The Grateful Dead who had their own space out sessions.  Lots of times people comment that it reminds them of that a little but nobody has really brought Space Music into the forefront.

TNB: How does that tie into The Cotton Blossom Band project?

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: One of the by-products of The Cotton Blossom Band is to introduce people to what Space Music or Ambient music is. So, that is exciting to me on a couple of levels you know.

TNB: One of the things that I noticed that really hit me was the Burnside song “Jumper On The Line” because of conversations I have had with Mississippi Blues musicians. They talk about where exactly the blues comes from; obviously the 7ths, well that comes from Egyptian music going back to Egypt. Also, the progression of how the blues feels.  A lot of them talk about their ancestors being scared because the Native Americans would be chanting and they played drums, of course. Black Americans played their drums hidden out in the Grove or whatever. They said that Indians actually scared them because of the Indian chants and that was also part of the blues and how it felt. When I heard you on the Native American flute, I thought of Othar Turner and the fife and drum African stuff. Did you think of that Native American aspect?

Michael Doster, Futureman,The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Michael Doster, Futureman,The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: To be honest with you, no I didn’t because at that moment that we did that I had been playing Native American Flute, heavily, for the last twelve years or so. It is a natural thing for me to blend it in. They are pentatonic instruments so when you play the blues on the Native American Flute it is very natural.  I have studied a lot about Black Native Americans and it’s really a complicated “Pandora’s Box” that we are opening up surrounding that stuff. I mean a lot of people were going back and forth and Native Americans were going over to Africa and Vikings came up here and were picking up Native American women and going back over there to where you have Nordic roots music that sounds like Native American music. You’ve got teepees and different dwellings on the West Coast of Africa. People were travelling back and forth and sharing music for a long time.

TNB: Nobody knows where it all starts because even in Mississippi they have pyramid mound cities all up and down along the Mississippi and they don’t know who those people were.

Michael Doster, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Michael Doster, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: Last year, I was with the Washitaw tribe. The Washitaw tribe goes back to ancient America like 4000 years ago. The mound dwellers, just like you said they were the mound builders.  The Washitaw were a very dark skinned tribe and they pretty much had the Louisiana Purchase. That was their land. You can look at old maps and you can see the name Washitaw. It shows up all over the place: mountains and rivers and all kinds of stuff. There are mountains that have been called that for who knows how long, you know I mean?  It’s an interesting kind of thing to think about for me, I guess, partly to because I am a mix. I am a true American. I am a mixed bag. I’m part Native American, there may even be some African American, I don’t know about the genetics thing but it is interesting how some of the music comes out. For me, I have just had this inner pulse thing that music, someone said I had, well you definitely have some African in you. I know that I am part Native American but it would ring true if how I feel music and how I am able to express it. 

TNB: The Cotton Blossom Band is a real change up for you.

Mason Stevens, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mason Stevens, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: The first album is Soulshining. We are trying to decide how to even release it or what to do with it. I mean it is not even officially out there yet because we are trying to decide if we want a label or how we are going to treat it, so before we do a blast of sending it out to radio stations and stuff, we want to make sure it is aggregated out there so people can buy it when they hear it. The Soulshining album is the first album that I have replicated and put out that has me singing on it.

TNB: Really.

Futureman, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

Futureman, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG:  I started singing on the radio at nine years old. I have been writing music all these years but I have never really went that route with the music. There have been a couple of projects that I did where we have the masters but they have never been released.  I have heard the “man’s” voice being optimum in your Fifties. I feel that, so I am enjoying using my voice and singing some of these songs that have been with me like “One Meat Ball” or “Summertime,” Some of these songs have been with me since I was nine, ten, eleven years old. The covers songs we did were kind interpretations that have been inside of me for all those years and now coming out to where I can see a passion.

TNB: You worked with Mason before and he also plays with some Delta musicians. Michael Doster worked with BB King so he has a solid blues background and then of course Roy “Futureman” Wooten who does about anything. How did you decide who to work with?

The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Brad Hardisty

TG: Ok, well Mason and I started working together first and we did a few rehearsals and kind of came up with a few songs. We wrote a couple, two or three songs and worked up some arrangements on some of these others. I think I had posted something about that work on Facebook. I posted a song or things I was just working on, some blues pieces and Michael Doster commented on it and was really interested. When I talked about The Cotton Blossom Band he kept commenting and of course, I live on Cotton Blossom so that is where our name comes from because we rehearse here and that is where it was conceived.

TNB: Did you play with Michael Doster before?

TG:  Doster and I played together on a blues project called Aashid Himons’ Mountain Soul Band so I had known him since the late 80’s.

TNB: When does Roy “Futureman” Wooten come into the picture?

The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Steven Wilson

The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Steven Wilson

TG: I have known “Futureman” for a long time as well. When we originally conceived the project, I said we need to have a Cajon player in this project. It wasn’t till a year after, when we did a couple of gigs and stuff that I just kind of re-acquainted with Roy. We had a lot of weird stuff happen anyway and we just started to do stuff together. He would come over to my house and we would do Space Music together. Since The Flecktones have broken up, he has had a lot more time to do other projects. I did a black history month project for him.  I did a recording of his last broadcast for the virtual world and the recording turned out absolutely phenomenal. We recorded on this system that I am using based around an iPad and Presonus Mic pres and Auria. When I am onstage, I am actually mixing and multi tracking while I am doing all this stuff.   I have just been blown away by all the stuff that we record so I am just going to keep on doing it.

TNB: Roy could have overplayed, but it was like he tapped into what you are trying to do and he fit it right in there.

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Patrick Sheehan

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Patrick Sheehan

TG: Absolutely. Well, part of it is the simplicity of the Cajon. I mean he added a cymbal which he didn’t have the last time we did the show and of course the Wave Drum.

TNB: Are you going to add anybody else into the mix?

Tony Gerber and Futureman, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Patrick Sheehan

Tony Gerber and Futureman, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Patrick Sheehan

TG:  I am hoping that an old friend of mine Billy Robinson who is a lap steel player who played with Hank Williams back in the 40’s and 50’s and has been playing with Chris Scruggs will be with us for a gig or two starting with The Old Time Pickin’ Parlor on March 16th.

TNB: Any International plans?

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo - Patrick Sheehan

Tony Gerber, The Cotton Blossom Band, photo – Patrick Sheehan

TG:  I would like to take the group to Europe but it has to financially work for everybody because everybody is working and doing their own thing. I know that they would really dig it over there because Europe is into my electronic music more than in the United States and they love the Blues.

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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