Archives for category: Rock Music

The Ryan Hurtgen Interview via The West Coast

Photo courtesy Perfect Beings

Photo courtesy Perfect Beings

Perfect Beings [My Sonic Temple]brings together elements that are well reminiscent of GenesisThe Lamb Lies Down On Broadway /  YesGoing For The One era Prog Rock with a new twist to a new era of sound with the spontaneous yet well thought out instrumentation recorded almost completely live with  strong vocals plotting out a rock opera for the modern chip ready times.

While Perfect Beings played it safe at first by posting the more ballad oriented “Walkabout” to YouTube, this only eludes to the multi-textured beast of greatness that goes from “Helicopter” with its “Going For The One” modern arena prog rock that could touch a lot of fans of the genre in the sweet spot of the ears that has been missing in music for thirty plus years to the 2112/Neil Peart style of ideas within the mammoth “Removal of The Identity Chip”  which could be a modern take on “Watcher Of The Skies”.

Johannes Luley during recording session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Johannes Luley during recording session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Founded upon the nucleus of guitarist, Johannes Luley [Moth Vellum] and vocalist / songwriter,  Ryan Hurtgen [Rene Breton], Perfect Beings does not disappoint on their freshmen release with like minded musicians, Dicki Fliszar [Bruce Dickinson] on drums, Jesse Nason  on keys while Chris Tristram [Slash, Marjorie Fair] manages some Chris Squire – Rickenbacker Bass squawk on some lines.

Although it is easy to reference some of the original prog era giants, Perfect Beings manages to hit some touchstones without sounding retro. It sounds fresh in 2014 and has been reviewed all over the web with very favorable quotes and every review, so far, on Amazon has given the album five stars.

To be honest, this will be the greatest prog album this year not only because they will make happy ears among die hard adherents, but, in fact, this is a great performance album that can sit on the top shelf with the above mentioned works as well as maybe Pink FloydWish You Were Here and it’s “Welcome To The Machine” motif.

Vocalist, Ryan Hurtgen is well known in East Nashville circles from a couple of years ago with his Rene Breton project. He made the move to California and in the end it has proven to be a really productive time.  Maybe it’s because he gets to surf quite often, or maybe it’s the So Cal attitude that works well. In any case, Ryan caught up with The Nashville Bridge to talk about this latest project and the meaning of music in these tumultuous unknown times in the music business.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: How did you get involved in this project?

Ryan Hurtgen during Perfect Beings session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Ryan Hurtgen during Perfect Beings session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Ryan Hurtgen / Perfect Beings: Johannes had two others guys that he had on a prog rock project that he wanted me to come in and sing on. I said yes but, I never even met those two other guys. They dropped out.  The other two guys that he was going to start the band with dropped out and they couldn’t do it anymore. They had kids so, Johannes was like, “why don’t you and I start our own project?”

TNB: So, you were in from the beginning of this project?

RH: Yeah, we found the other band members through the web and started the band.

TNB: Was the prerequisite that they had to have a feel for doing the prog thing?

RH: Oh yeah. It just happened to be that the drummer, Dicki, who has played with Bruce Dickinson, has a daughter that goes to school with Johannes’s son here in L.A. and they met at a school function and they were talking about it. Johannes said, “why don’t you come jam with us?” Dicki came and we got the concept and so then there were three of us and then he knew Jesse from when he was in another band and he was totally into Prog keyboard things and decided to join the band too. So, we needed a bass player.We tried probably ten bass players and we found Chris Tristram on YouTube playing along to a Yes song and he had like a 100,000 views and it was just sick!  Johannes was like this is the guy that replied to one of our craigslist adds and that is how we found him.

TNB: I noticed that Chris sounds like, right off the bat, half way through the first song “Canyon Hill” like a little bit of Chris Squire.

RH: Exactly. That was exactly the style we were going for and he uses a Rickenbacker bass. So, we were going to go with this other guy just because we had to get the project going and then he contacted us and we were like, sure. Automatically

TNB: A lot of the ideas are like sci-fi but they are real like “Removal of The Indentity Chip.” That is physically something that could happen ten years from now. Did you guys kind of look at it that way?

Perfect Beings cover art. Courtesy of Perfect Beings.

Perfect Beings cover art. Courtesy of Perfect Beings.

RH: It’s based off the 2013 book by Suhail Rafidi, TJ and Tosc that was based on the future and it is fairly possible you know? In twenty years. We understand what is going to happen, you know how globally with the international concern how they use the tool for future ideas. Asia kind of understands this so, things are based on darkness and light and the idea would make it easy for us to communicate through.

TNB: Tell me about some of the other ideas, like “Program Kid” and things like that.

RH: Well, it’s an Opera that revolves around TJ and Tosc. So, it’s a story from the beginning and  I wanted to keep the idea of maybe dying like the portal from life to death.

TNB: Have you guys been gigging out in LA yet or?

RH: We have been opening shows out here.

TNB: Are some of the established bands aware of what you are doing?

RH: Well, we are number one on the Prog Archives. We are definitely getting a lot of really good recognition.

TNB: The thing is it fits that style but it is not a regression to the 70’s, it’s like a modern take on it really.

RH: I think it’s pretty unique, I think there are melodies with production skills, I can break it apart and then build it back up. We didn’t want to make Pop songs. We wanted to make an operatic piece of music.  I almost think that the Rock community needs to get out of the past a little bit and kind of see what is happening in the future and see places in the future. I feel like they’re really stuck in the 70’s like nothing is ever going to get as good as the golden age. You know what I’m saying? Progressive has a lot to offer like Dream Theater

TNB: I think of what like King Crimson did. Twenty years later, they sounded totally different then when they started, in other words, they are always looking at a new approach.

RH:  It’s kind of funny because, we are like mining the past in order to tell a story about the future, but it’s time to be in the present.

TNB: You are one of the most interesting people I have met. I thoroughly enjoy your progression of what you are doing and the different things that you are trying to do.

Dick Fliszar, Drums, Perfect Beings in session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Dick Fliszar, Drums, Perfect Beings in session. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

RH: In this day and age, as far as a label, it’s like everything I’ve done is just like because I was interested in going in a certain direction. Johannes and I have encouraged them to do a drum solo and play just as hard and as fast as you can in a certain section and we are going to embrace the feeling of the day. We are just trying to have fun with it so then let’s make it as complicated as we can, you know. We are not thinking like “we need to have a radio single”. We are thinking, no, we don’t need to have to have a radio single.

TNB: It was the same thing as with Rush on 2112 when they were told by the label that they need something commercial  and they went totally the opposite.

RH: I remember that. It was a different culture back then. It would have been interesting to be a part of, you know. You’d have to dog your manager. I don’t know if that’s smart but, you know, artists really know what they are doing. I mean, the music industry  had these old cigar smoking guys trying to figure out what was going, so they just trusted the artist to know what was popular and what was good so you know, they got a lot of good music out at the time. Nowadays, it’s like the A&R people and the label think they know what people like and they have taken it away from artistic integrity, you know.

TNB: Yes. I think it is even more so with Engineers and Producers because of what you can do with Pro Tools.

RH: Right.

TNB: Imagine if they had “quantized” Exile On Main Street or if they had pitch-corrected Billy Holiday?

RH: Right, yeah totally.

TNB: I saw the clip on you tube about how you guys recorded and I assume you recorded live.

RH: It was a live recording, right. There is no manipulation. We did overdub but…

TNB: I know you have excellent pitch and I don’t know if you tweeked it a little but, if you did, it was a minor change because there is no metallic sheen on your voice other than a special effect on your voice on the one song.

RH: We wanted the effect of a machine so you can hear that effect but, those other songs, I sang those.

TNB:  Any ideas about touring or doing any gigs around California?

RH: We have to get some people involved first. We don’t have any kind of management or booking so everything has just been done by us. All of the recording process. We are doing all of our own booking. We all have jobs. Some of us have jobs that would make it pretty hard to be out on the road right now.

TNB: That can be difficult.

RH: Yeah. I don’t know what is going to happen.  It is going to take some time to make it happen. If it does, it will be mainly in Europe. We are getting a publicist.

TNB: Europe, that would be cool.

RH: I want to play but there are a lot of things that we need to do before we are out there touring.

TNB: All you need is money.

RH:  Why isn’t creativity, why aren’t real artists honored with money now? Why can’t artists make money now with the internet? Information is free and there is a plethora of noise you know.

Photo art courtesy of Perfect Beings.

Photo art courtesy of Perfect Beings.

TNB: It’s a scary thought. One guy is releasing his album on a satellite and Wu Tang Clan is doing only one vinyl pressing and they are going to take it around on tour and then they are going to sell it for a million dollars to recoup their cost. It’s just bizarre. In a perfect world you guys would be on Atlantic Records working with some A&R guy who is into Yes who would be calling every FM radio station to get you guys on the air. There would be stacks of records at Tower Records when the release comes out.

RH: Yeah, totally. You are right. It feels really strange to me because we just released it and like we have just gotten incredible five star reviews around the board. I think it’s a masterpiece of music.

TNB: I think it’s sits with the best symphonic rock albums.

RH: I haven’t gotten any call from any labels. I can’t get people to call me back in the industry. People who have got it and listen to it, have given us incredible praise. I have been doing this music thing for a while now. I haven’t really asked for much, I have recorded on my own, I have toured on my own, I have put out records thinking that at some point I will make something really good and I am going to get better and better and then eventually it is going to be recognized and I am going to have a career.

TNB: The only real way now to make money is selling your music to commercials or like ESPN like this local band MODOC did.

RH: Yeah, this record is a Progressive Science Fiction Rock Opera, like let’s go out and sell a Pepsi.

TNB: It’s right in there with masterpieces like The Wall.

RH: Yeah, our culture needs stuff like that.

TNB: It’s like you have to find satisfaction in what you do for yourself.

RH:  All I can say is as an artist I am going to continue making more music that is more challenging and that is why I wanted to do a Prog Rock project, because it was challenging. I don’t want to play into that mainstream system based around commercialism.

TNB: Hopefully it pays off.  There should be a double gatefold copy of Perfect Beings around.

Jesse Nason, Keyboards, Perfect Beings. During recording of the new album. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

Jesse Nason, Keyboards, Perfect Beings. During recording of the new album. Photo courtesy Perfect Beings.

RH: I guess at this point in life I can say whatever I want and just say who cares. It’s not like I’m mad anymore. It’s almost a shame  because of what’s happening with the internet and illegal down loading, record companies have shut down, but, it’s not just record companies, a bunch  of artists have lost money. A lot of studios have closed down. Not only that, but it is people in hometowns in record stores. There’s no Blockbuster video anymore. There is no local record store. You know, those were jobs for local kids. Those businesses employed local kids in small towns all across America. They worked at a record store and not only did they work at a record store but they perpetuated good music to other kids in that community. There was a place in that community for people to hang out and I think it is interesting that we wrote this record and that is has all of these dystopian concepts in it and yet you see it happening now even with art itself.

TNB: It’s almost like half of the people that buy records now are musicians themselves.

RH: Musicians have become the commodity. Now, photographers and everything, it’s like, now I have a licensing company, pay me so many dollars a month and I’ll pitch your song, but there is no guarantee you’ll get anything. So, it’s like you have predatory music companies that have popped up all around and for good reason because everybody has Garage Band [software] and everybody can make their own record now in their own room with beats and whatever. It’s like, “I made a record and I’m going to be on a TV show.” They will never get a placement but they are paying a $100 per month and these guys are making money off of them. I don’t mean to be all negative. I am happy that we were able to make this record and there are people into this and there is absolutely a lot of beauty in the world.

TNB: We really need a product that is going to save the music business whether it is music or whatever.

Chris Tristram, Perfect Beings during recording session, photo courtesy Perfect Beings

Chris Tristram, Perfect Beings during recording session, photo courtesy Perfect Beings

RH: Well, Neil Young is coming out with PONO now.  The PONO thing is a cool thing and how cool is it that we are getting away from MP3’s? I mean, talk about saving the music industry. It really makes music sound good again. The listening experience is really important to people now and people are really excited about listening to vinyl with really good speakers and having listening parties and shit. Until people change the concept of, “I can listen to this on my iphone!” and just plug it in and have MP3’s then it won’t improve.

TNB: It’s like, I have been collecting a lot of vinyl over the last couple of years. I will pull out Bob Marley and people say it sounds like “full spectrum”. I will do a side-by-side of “Is This Love” on a CD remaster and the original vinyl and you can see the bits of Bob Marley’s voice that are missing on the digital copy.

RH: That’s vinyl, man.

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

The Luke Foley Interview

Luke Foley / Farewell Flight at The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley / Farewell Flight at The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Farewell Flight showcased new music off I Was A Ghost to a packed house at The High Watt last Thursday night with a strong bill that featured The Joy of Painting and Lorien marking the first release after reaching a decade as a band with a March drop date.

Farewell Flight at The High Watt, Feb. 2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Farewell Flight at The High Watt, Feb. 2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley, looking like a happier version of Jim Morrison’s “LA Woman” final Doors sessions era poet,  has developed into a full fledge Songwriter / Performer veteran that was at ease and ready to express fresh autobiographical lyrics about his “Quarter Life Crisis” that make up the new release.

farewell flight i was a ghostCITGO has featured the song “Places We’ll Go” from I Was A Ghost in their recent “Fueling Good” national ad campaign and Farewell Flight has become a favorite on Lightning 100 since moving from Pennsylvania to Nashville over two years ago.

Rabbit Campbell, Farewell Flight at The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rabbit Campbell, Farewell Flight at The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

The band is now built solidly around the core of Luke Foley as well as Caleb Allensworth [drums, samples] and “Rabbit” Campbell  on lead guitar in much the same way Genesis became and ”then there were three” after Peter Gabriel’s departure.

Before the show, The Nashville Bridge spoke with Luke Foley about overcoming the anxiety of being an independent band with the realization of how strong their core fan base is after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: The lyrics seem like a mini storytelling Opera about events you have gone through. Is it really personal?

Luke Foley - Farewell Flight, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley – Farewell Flight, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley / Farewell Flight: Yeah I think it is. The stories pretty much stretch over the last three years, but also are reflecting on the previous ten.  So, it’s  very nostalgic in a sense since it is about me for the last few years, but it’s about myself for a good ten years leading up to that moment.

TNB: Two themes I really like are from “Breaking My Heart” where it talks about being 25 and “Quarter Life Crisis” which is a term I have never heard before. Also, “I Was A Ghost” where you are looking into the past then changes pulls you into the present.

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight at The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight at The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke:  I think everything, every person you meet is for a season and sometimes a season is for a really long time perhaps it is for your whole life. I think that even though you have people that come into your life for a short period, you can become incredibly close to people in that short period of time. It’s still in the natural and normal progression for them to move out of your life.  People end up kind of doing it eventually and that song is about that, no matter how natural and normal it is, it is hard to do.

TNB: As far as the recording congratulations because Farewell Flight has been together for over ten years now.

Farewell Flight, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Farewell Flight, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke: It’s been quite a while. I was actually looking it up last night because I was trying to remember how long we have been a band like when was the first show or something.  But, I think 2003 is a ballpark. That would be my best guess.

TNB: I know you guys have gone through a lot of personnel changes. How long with have you worked with the two other members of the current lineup?

Caleb Allensworth series of 3, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, photos - Brad Hardisty

Caleb Allensworth series of 3, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, photos – Brad Hardisty

farewell flight 02201412farewell flight 02201411Luke:  My guitarist, “Rabbit” Campbell has been with me since the end of 2008, I think. My drummer, Caleb Allensworth currently started with me at the end of 2011 and we are currently a three piece. We just parted ways with our bassist who was willing to come back when my drummer did in 2011-2012. He still lives here in Nashville. He is actually a roommate of the other two guys in the band. He wanted to do some different stuff.

TNB: I know you had been with Mono vs Stereo, but I guess there were financial problems and they got around to releasing your album in 2011. This time around you are Independent and financed this album with a Kickstarter campaign. Was that kind of a gut wrenching thing, realizing that you are going to have to do it on your own?

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke: I had really mixed feelings. So, yeah, Kickstarter… you know it was really hard and really easy to do at the same time.  We signed with Mono vs Stereo actually twice. We signed with them once and then the guy that ran the label, that signed us, left the label and we were left without a champion there and it gave us the option of: if you want to leave you can and so we decided to leave and then we were independent for a while. Then, the label was revived by these two guys. They really wanted to sign us, but they wanted to release an old record which we kind of fought against for a while, but I don’t know, we rolled the dice. We thought it would be a lot better having a connection with them, but it ended up turning out to be, you know, they are great guys, but it probably was not a great fit. So, once we left that label we went back to square one, although we are not just a band that just formed yesterday. We don’t have a record label, but at the same time it’s freeing to know that after six months [there was four months of planning and then executing Kickstarter] you don’t have other people involved and you are just able to do it all on your own timeline. It’s just really freeing and we really enjoyed doing that. It felt we were back to square one, but we really weren’t because over the years we have toured so much and we really had a great network of friends and fans that were able to get behind us and really help make the record happen. It is amazing to see how many people are still interested in what we are doing after all this time. It’s very humbling.

TNB: I remember when Mono vs Stereo wanted to change your name to Indian Summer and your fans fought it. That showed me that you had a strong base so that later on when you did this Kickstarter campaign you had somewhere to start.

Farewell Flight, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Farewell Flight, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke: Yeah, It’s definitely been very good. It’s cool. We don’t have a ton of fans, but our fans are very loyal and very fierce.  I think they really love what we do. I think it is because the music really connects with them on a very personal level. I think a lot of our fans relate to a lot of things that I have experienced. It’s like biographical tools for the people that listen to it. A lot of people have kind of adopted it as their own, kind of like, music for a movie. It’s like a score for their own personal life. I think that most people that listen to it kind of have that experience. I think that is why people are so fiercely loyal about our band even if there are not a whole lot of them.

TNB: “Places We’ll Go,” that reminds me of a Farewell Flight song, but you also took a lot of chances on this album.

Rabbit Campbell / Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rabbit Campbell / Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke: Yeah, I think one of the biggest influences for me was the movie Drive.  I just love that movie and the soundtrack and then listening to a lot more “late 80’s” and “early 90’s” pop hits: the stuff I listened to when I was growing up. I didn’t know who the artists were. I just listened to the songs and I was just a little kid. There are songs by Phil Collins and Cyndi Lauper, even Springsteen stuff, you know, when you are growing up that you hear, but you don’t know who the people are. The songs are like a soundtrack to your life when you are little and so I think in keeping with the whole nostalgic thing, I think I was listening to the songs of my childhood and just a lot of that kind of music. I think that has a big play in what we do. I really wanted to lean heavily on synths and keyboards and drum machines on this record. I think that my own path is actually very acoustic stuff, so it‘s very hard. It was very difficult to get the emotion and the passion of what I was trying to say or get across with this new record. I think we accomplished trying to just get that rawness across.

TNB: It kind of has a little Prog or complexity in some of the songs.

Luke Foley - Farewell Flight,  The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley – Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke: Yeah.

TNB:  You relocated to Nashville in 2012. What brought you to Nashville?

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke:  I wanted to try something new. We toured for a good seven or eight years and we never had a booking agent. We did around 800 shows or something like that, completely independent and we always thought that was what was going to get us to the next level. It’s always a tough picture. We were working really hard, but it didn’t vacillate into anything happening.  I just kind of viewed that as “I can’t just keeping doing this over and over and expect different results to occur.” I was losing my mind. I had tried everything I could possibly do. What could I do differently? I thought; we have never tried relocating to a new area.  I made connections and built relationships, kind of like, you know, being in the right place at the right time or at least being in the right place all the time. That was our goal in moving to Nashville and I think it is already paying off. I think that a lot of the friendships and relationships that we are building have been very comfortable and helpful to our career.   A couple of things have happened here. I got our first placement on the CITGO ad. I got it from a person that I waited table on.  She just asked me what I was doing further than just living in Nashville. She was like, “So what are you doing here in Nashville other than wait tables?” and I said I write songs and play in band and stuff and she said, “send me your best track.” So I sent her “Places We’ll Go” and she placed it in a CITGO commercial. That doesn’t happen every day and I don’t really bring stuff up like that as a waiter like, oh well, I have a band check me out, you know, but I think that could never happen anywhere else except maybe L.A. or  New York maybe Seattle or Austin, but that never would have happened back in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The move was just to make connections with people.

Caleb Allensworth - Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Caleb Allensworth – Farewell Flight, The High Watt, 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: You are right. The thing that is interesting is Nashville is evolving into where some of the things that would happen in L.A. or Seattle are starting to happen here.  You came at a good time.

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, Nashville, TN 2/6/2014, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luke Foley, Farewell Flight, The High Watt, Nashville, TN 2/6/2014, photo – Brad Hardisty

Luke: I am very glad to be here. It is such a cool place to live even if you are not doing music. My wife is not a musician, she is an artist and there are so many creative opportunities here for someone like her or anybody who does something creative. It is a very creative place to be and I am happy to be living in Nashville.

Farewell Flight, photo - Brad Hardisty

Farewell Flight, photo – Brad Hardisty

- Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Tristen performing at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tristen performing at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

2013 proved to be a year where Nashville didn’t make as  big an impact nationally as it should have with no major album from either Country or Nashville sub-genres making any real impact on any national or international best-of lists from Rolling Stone Magazine [other than Keith Urban noted] to Mojo or anything else in-between.

It’s not that there were not any releases with big expectations from our region, but apparently they didn’t catch on nationally or internationally for that matter. Missing in action on the best of lists were Kings Of Leon, Paramore, Jack White, The Black Keys, Taylor Swift and pretty much every record that Nashville Scene listed as the best this year including releases by Tristen and Diarrhea Planet.

Zac Brown continues to chart his own path in the Country music scene with his Southern Ground Festival, Southern Ground group of artists that is now headquartered in Nashville  and charting records that have more to tell; just recently putting out the Dave Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, the problem is, can one list a four song EP as an album? As an artist, I definitely can give Zac kudos for songwriting, performance and outright tenaciousness.

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

It’s not to say that these were not good records, but it shows the deepening divide between well crafted music and the ability to get it out there in some way where it becomes part of the collective consciousness and not just affect the local pub crawl or mini festival.

Most stateside best-of lists had Vampire Weekend at or near the top of their lists whereas in the rest of the world they might have made the Top ten in one major publication and barely scratch the Top 40 in other important music rags and blogs outside the United States.

Luther Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars, Cannery Ballroom 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luther Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars, Cannery Ballroom 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rolling Stone probably had one of the most bi-polar lists that included everything from real music artists to “entertainers” such as Miley Cyrus – Bangerz in their Top 40 list whereas Miley Cyrus isn’t on any major serious list outside the United States. Henry Rollins had a polite way of putting it this way: there is a lot of stuff that Rolling Stone writes about that isn’t on his radar.  Rolling Stone has gotten so far away from its original intent that the 360 label controlled deal signed Entertainers make the front cover regularly as well as politicians and a great amount of type space is spent driving home the Editors personal political point of view. I can’t fault them completely; there is the occasional Ginger Baker or Merle Haggard interview perfection. They even have a great local Nashville writer, Adam Gold, who doesn’t really get to write that much about the real Nashville. In a town where a 1600 word piece could be written every week about records being made and shows being played by regional Artists, nine out of ten articles are reviews of the previous Nashville TV Show plot.  Why don’t they give Adam free reign and really show what this town has to offer?

Tim Easton & JD Simo at Grimey's 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tim Easton & JD Simo at Grimey’s 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

As far as America’s perception of Nashville, I can’t fault the Nashville TV Show. There are some great aspects that I enjoy such as the cityscape backdrops and watching the “Live” performances to see who is playing in the band as well as T Bone Burnetts choices for locally written music. I always like to see folks like Colin Linden or Jim Lauderdale on the small screen!  I am still waiting to see JD Simo, Kenny Vaughan or maybe Dave Roe. Of course, if they put Joe Fick on there, he would probably steal the thunder away from the movie star. Honestly, Hayden Panetierre does really well playing a damaged girl that is trying to do her best to be good / bad at the same time. She has a heart of gold and a heart of stone that makes yin and yang seem as normal as Corned Beef Hash and Shrimp and Grits on the same plate. It just seems that when she tries to do something good she ends up screwing it up. I’m not sure if she is suppose to be bi-polar or her Mother smoked crack while she was in the womb but she sure does need the reassurance of her fans.

Mojo is probably the best music major publication in the world and they managed to have a list that was almost devoid of pop schlock and had an Artist, Bill Callahan – Dream River at number one that didn’t even make a stateside list.

In Mojo, Memphis inspired Mavis Staples – One True Vine sat at number 21 whereas it was not featured on any lists in any major American publications. What used to be true is still true, foreign music fans seem to appreciate real American Artists more than we do ourselves. Guy Clark’s My Favorite Picture Of You  as well as Jason Isbell’ Southeastern cracked some great lists without making a whisper on any stateside lists outside of Americana specific publications.

lorde pure heroineOkay, the Artist that probably really got the short end of the stick in all the lists was Lorde. Lorde’s Pure Heroine probably had more impact than any other record this year whether I like it or anybody else does. Lorde has already been ripped off by K-Tel style sound-a-like commercials for Boss and Victoria’s Secret.  They ripped her off as blatantly as if somebody had tried to write a commercial that sounded like “Honky Tonk Women” or “Brown Sugar” back in the day and just call it advertising Muzak. Lorde definitely brings more to the table than Lady Gaga’s “Fashion” going after David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” instead of previous attempts at Madonna’s eighties catalog.

Okay, as far as local goes. I think Nashville Scene got it right for the most part, but, what about Ricky Skaggs or Modoc’s new albums?  There is a much larger alternative scene in Nashville than even where Nashville Scene went with its own list.

DeRobert & the Half Truths at The High Watt 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

DeRobert & the Half Truths at The High Watt 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Although regional albums didn’t seem to impact national lists this year, there are prospects coming up in 2014. For one, Nikki Lane has those Dan Auerbach produced tracks still waiting for a drop date. GED Soul is putting out their first full length vinyl, De Robert & The Half Truths – I’m Tryin’ on January 14th. Jack White is putting out new music by The Dead Weather.  One could hope for a new Kenny Vaughan album or even a revolutionary new Country album like Miranda Lambert’s Revolution  or how about a historical Live recording like Jerry Lee Lewis Live at Third Man from a couple of years ago.

Probably my biggest anticipated Nashville area release will be the new Mike Farris album which has been a couple of years in the making and should get a release date some time in 2014.

With the prospect that album buying is an ever shrinking source of revenue and has started to become a vanity project for almost everybody but a major label 360 signed Artist / Entertainer /  Dancer / Avatar, will the “best of” album lists start to disappear and be replaced by the “best live” performances since that is where the hopes for revenue are? I can’t answer that one. I still buy CD’s and vinyl and I don’t buy shrill sounding MP3’s. That is my line in the sand. I like liner notes, credits and photos so downloads don’t do much for me.

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

It seems that music in people’s lives is as important as ever, yet twenty million views on You Tube might only translate into 80,000 units sold.  In this kind of environment, an Artist might be safer to build a following in a sub-genre such as Americana, Blues or Bluegrass and tour on that specific festival circuit rather than to try to get a grass roots following on some new angle of Indie music and try to build up from the clubs. The prospect of never getting bigger than the clubs and eternally couch surfing are enormous in the current all-music –should- be- free- to- listen- to conundrum.

I have to admit that bands are becoming creative.  The Cult talks about sending out “capsules” of music in the future such as three new songs every quarter. Jack White has printed different band names on the CD’s he has taken on tour to sell to make collectibles out of “tour bought” merchandise. Infinity Cat has put out different covers or changed up colored vinyl to keep its catalog collectible among label followers. Creative marketing is as important as creative songwriting nowadays. A limited quantity of whatever seems to be a “buy” even though it may only bring in a limited amount of money.

Will there ever be a big budget grandiose masterpiece like Rumours or Dark Side of The Moon in the future? Maybe not but, if so, it would probably come out of a big budget Kickstarter campaign for a complete vanity piece that may only sell 20,000 units due to current radio formats and the free listening or subscription services now available. If there are less units of such a great masterpiece out there than the original Ramones album, will it be found and enjoyed 20 years down the road?

I can’t give up on the fact that somehow the music business will survive in some fashion that will keep creative people out there producing something new. I love going to see a band live but, will there ever be a budget for Quincy Jones style production on real music and not the flavor of the month?

Anyways, my best of list is based on a couple of criteria. I like it and it is regional, as in, from the south or with ties to the south and not necessarily middle Tennessee. I’ll keep it to ten because there are 20 and 30 and 40 lists; why not just make it essential?

andy t nick nixonNumber 10: The Andy T Band and Nick Nixon – Drink Drank Drunk

Andy T has been a regular guitar slinger on the blues scene all around town after arriving here via California and Houston, Texas. Nick Nixon is a native son following in the tradition of the Jefferson Street scene. This mix of a stew of standards produced and mixed by Texan Anson Funderburgh was the strongest Nashville Blues record out this year with a definite Gatemouth Texas Swing Blues influence and got the two with their band on Blues Festivals nationwide in 2013. Stand-out tracks: “Midnight Hour” “Drink Drank Drunk” “Have You Seen My Monkey?”

ricky skaggs bruce hornsby coverNumber 9: Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby – Cluck Ol’ Hen Live

Ricky Skaggs has been an Ambassador of Bluegrass to the world and his collaboration with Bruce Hornsby on piano turned out to be one of the greatest live events of the past few years. This recording captured from a couple of those shows features some great jamming with Bruce Hornsby kind of going to the roots after having toured with The Grateful Dead years ago. The in-between banter gives the feel of really being there. Stand-out tracks: “How Mountain Girls Can Love” “The Way It Is” “The Dreaded Spoon.”

MODOC_AlbumArtNumber 8: MODOC

MODOC has had great song placement in the last year or so that has put their music on television.  MODOC just plain rocks and “Runnin” has been all over the local airwaves. This album still has some legs after its release in August and will get a vinyl release after the first of the year. The Indiana natives have really stuck to their guns since arriving in Nashville about three years ago and have really improved their song craft and play every date they can.  A solid album is the pay dirt. Stand – out tracks: “Runnin” “Coward” “I Want You”

patty griffin american kidNumber 7: Patty Griffin – American Kid       

You could say Patty Griffin is from Austin and you could say that Robert Plant is from England, but let’s be real, they spend a lot of time here in Nashville and therefore are just as much Nashvillian as most of us who come from everywhere from California to Australia and spend perhaps a good majority of our lives here in pursuit of musical nirvana.  This may be Patty’s current album as the reigning Queen of Americana, but Robert makes enough guest appearances to let you know he is there without calling it a duet album. The North Mississippi Allstars make an appearance as well. Stand-out tracks “Don’t Let me Die In Florida,” “Ohio” and “Highway Song.”

jason isbell southeasternNumber 6: Jason Isbell – Southeastern

215 reviews and this album is still five stars on Amazon. Southeastern should be on every Top ten list this year.  Unfortunately, this was mostly shunned by American media while in Britain and Europe, where The Drive By Truckers were treated like The Rolling Stones, this gets what it deserves. Muscle Shoals will live on forever and Jason is definitely one of the favorite sons.  There are guest spots by Kim Richey (“Stockholm”) and Amanda Shires on “Travelling Alone.” There are a couple of southern rockers but most of this set would go over well at The Bluebird Cafe. Stand-out tracks “Flying Over Water,” “New South Wales,” and “Super 8.”

tim easton not coolNumber 5: Tim Easton – Not Cool

Tim encapsulizes everything cool about Nashville in one album that includes members of Robert’s regulars from The Don Kelley Band, Joe Fick [The Dempseys} on bass and JD Simo on guitar. The recording puts you front and center listening to real new Nashville Honky Honk music. What a concept! People travel from all over the world to hear it, so why not put it out to the airwaves.  If you missed the in-store that featured JD on guitar at Grimey’s, you missed one of the best in-stores of 2013. The songwriting has some gritty stories and moves things out past toney East Nashville to Riverside.  The old plywood acoustic sits in the middle of the mix. This one sits somewhere between Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and John Mellencamp’s Sun records effort a couple of years ago.  Stand out tracks include “Little Doggie (1962)” and “Four Queens.” “Troubled Times”

north mississippi allstars world boogieNumber 4: North Mississippi Allstars – World Boogie Is Coming

What can you say when the first two tracks start out with Robert Plant on harmonica recorded at Royal in Memphis? The Dickinsons along with Lightnin’ Malcolm are taking us for a ride through Holly Springs on this essentially covers album that plays out like a Midsummer Night’s Dream where R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough are still alive and Junior’s Place is still open for all night jams and ribs. Although Blues can let out your frustrations, this one puts on a smile and gets your groove going. Stand-out tracks

“Snake Drive,” Meet Me In The City” and “Goin’ To Brownsville.”

diarrhea planet artwork 2013Number 3: Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Diarrhea Planet is probably the best live show in Nashville right now, especially if you like guitar. They one up Lynyrd Skynyrd with four guitars. I repeat, FOUR GUITARS!  Watching them is like watching a Jack Black music skit on SNL, but the guitar work is pretty good and they are always entertaining and have some strong music that is designed for live consumption. Stand out tracks:  “Separations” “Ugliest Son” “The Sound Of My Ceiling Fan”

guy clark my favorite picture of youNumber 2: Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You

Guy Clark pays tribute to his wife and wears his heart on his sleeve and his favorite picture of his wife on the cover. My Favorite Picture of You is an introspective soul searching masterpiece that makes one stop after every song and process the lyrics they just listened to. If Nashville is about songwriting then this is this year’s litmus test. Stand-out tracks, “My Favorite Picture of You” “Cornmeal Waltz”“Heroes”

tristen cavesNumber 1: Tristen – Caves

Tristen proves a point that you can follow your muse no matter what style in Nashville and create something cohesive, beautiful and unique. If this doesn’t become the huge record it should then it will become a cult album that everybody will want to show their friend and turn them onto. If Mojo ever gets a hold of this one, Tristen will be over in England and Europe playing to sold out crowds for the next year and it will be tough to ever see her play in the backyard at The Groove on Record Store Day again.  Tristen comes from the world where Pop means great songs like The Beatles, The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac or Blondie. Stand out tracks: “No One’s Gonnna Know” “House of War” “Dark Matter” “Monster”

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

MODOC Selected as FOX Sports Artist of the Month, iTunes “New and Noteworthy” Artist

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Music to be featured across all FOX sports programming during the month of December, including college football and NFL coverage

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, 2013, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, 2013, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC returned to Nashville and was caught Live in the act at Soulshine Pizza by Brad Hardisty playing to a packed house out on the deck all sealed up from the extremely cold weather after getting major local radio airplay.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

(Nashville, Tenn. – Dec. 10, 2013) Nashville rock band MODOC has been named FOX Sports’ Artist of the Month, with the television network currently airing the band’s music in a variety of its December sports programming.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

Following Pearl Jam as FOX’s featured November artist, MODOC’s music has been licensed to appear across all FOX Sports properties in December, including College Football on FOX, College Basketball on FOX, NFL on FOX, MLB on Fox, FA Cup on FOX, UEFA, UFC, NASCAR on FOX and Fox Sports 1. “Fortune and Fame,” “My Way” and “Runnin’” are among the songs from the band’s most recent release that have been licensed for use.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

Additionally, MODOC has been selected as one of iTunes’ “New and Noteworthy” Alternative artists, beginning December 10. The band is currently offering its new self-titled album via iTunes for only $7.99 as a special promotion through the end of the year.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

“We’re really excited to finish out 2013 with these feature placements with FOX and iTunes,” says MODOC manager Eric Hurt. “This has been a big year for the band in its growth, and we’re really starting to open people’s eyes to the next big rock band coming out of Music City. I’m absolutely thrilled with how things are shaping up for 2014 and where MODOC is headed.”

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

“Joe Rangel from Hitcher Music called me and said, ‘I have a band you are going to love’ and sent me MODOC’s music,” says Janine Kerr, VP/FOX Sports Music. “I listened, loved what I heard and called him back immediately to let him know that the band definitely has a cool, unique sound. We are very excited to showcase MODOC as our December Artist of the Month.”

IMG_2361 small

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

The band released its first Daytrotter session on December 2 and will be issuing a limited edition run of MODOC on vinyl LP in January. MODOC was also selected as the featured daily artist on the worldwide music discovery app Band of the Day on October 24.

MODOC, photo, Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo, Brad Hardisty

MODOC is: Clint Culberson (vocals, guitars), Kyle Addison (lead guitar, vocals), Caleb Crockett (bass, vocals) and John Carlson (drums, vocals).

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Nashville Bridge – Darrell Marrier Interview

Darrell Marrier with Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, photo - Brad Hardisty

Darrell Marrier with Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rose water brought their conceptual Americana style Country – Rock hybrid Opera, Shotgun Wedding to Third and Lindsley  in Nashville, Tennessee with a six piece band  that featured duet vocals by lead singer Darrell Marrier and Jenika Marion that kicked off with a mock shotgun wedding with the “father” leading Darrell to the stage with gun pointed letting him know that he better marry his daughter after apparently taking things a little too far in a Romeo and Juliet type love affair.

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Jenika then comes onstage in a short wedding dress with a bouquet and begins singing duets with Darrell reminiscent of the Robert Plant / Allison Krauss project with a visual straight out of real American life in the 1930’s with music and a story line rooted in times gone by when the parents got involved to make things right and make sure the young man married the daughter after taking advantage of a situation as they saw it.

Through the songs and music, you can really tell these kids are in love and want to tell the story from their perspective. There are hints of everything from Johnny Cash and Tom Petty to reggae type inspiration in the actual orchestration.

Chancey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Chancey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Each song has its own tale but the production is strung together in kind of a Sergeant Pepper meets Tommy sort of way where Jenika finally tosses the bouquet to an audience that comes from today’s world where marriage is a big question mark that many don’t want to deal with.

Adam Box, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Box, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

A shotgun wedding was a way to demand a young man show honor and respect and was usually answered in the affirmative. The concert itself was a benefit to Room In The Inn, transitional housing for homeless families and individuals. Attendees were requested to dress in 1930’s shotgun wedding attire and bring an item to donate to Room In The Inn.

Carl Torgerson, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Carl Torgerson, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rosewater is a side project built out of song concepts that lead singer/ songwriter Darrell Marrier started formulating a few years ago and consist of members of the rock band Fragile, a band from Wisconsin and Minneapolis area with ties to Nashville.

Ryan Jasurda, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsely, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Jasurda, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsely, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Marrier Brothers, Darrell and Chauncey have worked with their parents and friends to build, restore or work on  well over a hundred homes in the U.S. and Mexico through their 501c non-profit known as the Hands Foundation. They decided to turn their attention to the homeless Veterans this time around and their shows now feature a benefit aspect that give fans an opportunity to participate in giving. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the show in Nashville went to a local homeless transitional housing project, Room In The Inn.

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Nashville Bridge caught up with Lead singer and instigator of this new project Darrell Marrier backstage after the show.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: When you started writing this project, you were thinking about how Cash wrote?

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashviille, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashviille, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Darrell Marrier / Rosewater: It started way back with a buddy of mine, Bret Spears, who’s here at the show and came all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma tonight. He and I were involved in a shotgun wedding of sorts.  We were involved in that situation and it stuck to us that day standing outside this little chapel [laughs] and we said to ourselves, “We need to start a band called Shotgun Wedding.” It was he and another buddy and I. I knew they were not really serious about it. It was just kind of joke. But, in my mind something clicked. So, from that day forward I started working on songs just here and there. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it or if anything was going to come of it. I thought that just down the line I would just try it out. It was “roots” kind of music. As I developed it, the idea for the story came first of what these two people would go through, where they might be from, what might happen in the story then I started writing lyrics. It kind of developed from there.

TNB: Do you think that the Country Music aspect came out because of the storytelling?

Christopher Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Christopher Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: It did.  That is why I wanted to set it in that time period. We set it in the “30’s.” That was kind of the era we wanted to be in with this project. Now, the music doesn’t always sound like it’s from that time but that’s when the story takes place, during a time when a shotgun wedding would have happened with an actual shotgun. It was that idea that got me thinkin’. The first sound I wanted to reference on the project was Johnny Cash. It was those old simple “train” songs as you call them, I just wanted to go back to telling stories. I hadn’t heard enough of that, you know, recently in modern stuff. It [Modern Country Music] doesn’t tell enough stories. It’s more about being “poppy” and trying to come up with some new beat.

TNB: Like “Red Solo Cup.”

Matt Osowski, Rosewater at #rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Matt Osowski, Rosewater at #rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Yeah. Exactly, a lot of this Pop Country is not doing anything. They are losing the “roots” you know.  So, the thing is there are some people doing it [real storytelling] but in my mind I wasn’t hearing enough of it. So, Cash was the first thing that was on my mind and that’s the first few tracks. The first track that I wrote was “Shotgun.”  It was based on that “train” beat.

TNB: The snare.

DM: Yeah, that shuffle with the Bass.

TNB: The only time outside of a Cash type thing that you hear that was probably on Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.”

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: [laugh] Exactly, that was the thing. So, that was the first song that I ever tried to put together. I was writing kind of wherever I could write. I would just try to demo songs out then one day..

TNB: You came here three years ago and you had no “Tennessee” in you.

DM: No.

TNB: It was good Rock and Roll very reminiscent of some Hard Rock bands from the “70’s.” Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you would have a connection with Tennessee?

Adam Box, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Box, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: No. Not at all. At that point, three years ago we were doing that Rock thing. We had that record out with Fragile. It was just at that point that we took a break from that. It was not a hiatus or anything. All the bands use the hiatus thing, “We are on a hiatus” but, we just thought it was a natural break. You play for and try to push the thing as far as it can go and it comes to a stop and this time we had a longer break than usual. So, I was getting kind of restless and just sitting around and I decided it was time to try this thing outand demo some songs At first, I was just doing it for fun, to see if it would go anywhere. As it developed I decided it might be time to show it to some people. I showed it to the boys [from Fragile] to see what we could put together and that’s when it started. They all jumped on. I was lucky enough that they wanted to try this thing out with me. That’s how it happened. I pitched them five demos and then we got the band together and put a show together in our hometown at a local placed called Munson Bridge Winery, a nice outdoor show. As we developed the sound it became a theme and the record was going to be a concept record.

TNB: What is interesting about that is there are not a lot of Country concept records.

DM: Right.

TNB: I’m trying to think and it’s really hard to think of one.

Ryan Torgerson, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Torgerson, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Yeah, not right off the top of my head. I know concept records are not the most popular thing right now. Complete records are not very popular right now. Everybody wants a single and done.

TNB: But the whole thing is this project is very cohesive.

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Right, I knew it had to be that way.  So, whether it was the popular thing to do or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s what is going to happen. It’s what the story is meant to be. So, I started writing in an “Arc,” which is not real easy because you have to fill in all the pieces of the music but not make it sound like it is just telling the one story. I wanted each song individually to be its own thing. So, I tried to do the best I could. It was really difficult but a great challenge. I was really excited about it and then it started coming together and I would just pick out a title from somewhere. I would pick out a title like we need a song about this and I would just write the song based on the song title. Once I got inside the story, you know, just inside the character, this wave of creativity just hit me and I couldn’t stop writing songs. I still can’t.

TNB: Do you feel like it is a path now?

Christopher Marion, Rosewater at 3rd and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Christopher Marion, Rosewater at 3rd and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: It is. I think so.  We haven’t stopped or quit the other band [Fragile] we are in, I just feel like we are all pretty committed to try this thing out because it just kind of blends everything together that we have always wanted to do and adds the storytelling element and the thread of the story that we are telling and it is pretty exciting to play. Also, adding some of these “roots” elements is exciting to us.

TNB: I still hear Rock influences, a little bit of Robert Plant…

DM: Oh yeah.

TNB: A little bit of reggae in there.

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Always Plant, another thing that was a big influence on me was the Robert Plant and Allison Krauss project Raising Sand.

TNB: How did you decide to do the duets?

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: That was something right away that I figured out right after the story came to me. It was like when we’re doing live shows we gotta be able to play it out that way so I knew we would need a female singer and Jenika was the first choice.

TNB: Now you have Robert Plant & Allison Krauss going on.

Jenika Marion, Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashviille, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashviille, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Yeah, it was that early on during writing that that record [Raising Sand] was hitting me at the right time. All of that album is so good, you know and the way they blended that; he’s a rock and roll man and they blended his vocals with hers and that sweet bluegrass voice of hers is unbelievable and then of course, T Bone Burnett [producer, Raising Sand] is a mind blower on that. He set the foundation for all of that.

TNB: He has done that for a lot of Artists. I didn’t know if you knew that he is the Music Director for the Nashville TV series.

DM: I do. I have kind of followed him ever since. I mean I kind of knew about him before Raising Sand.

TNB: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.

Matt Osowski, Carl Torgerson, Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Matt Osowski, Carl Torgerson, Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Yes, that was another one that was on my radar but that Raising Sand was a big thing at that point and I started hearing the way the duet thing would work. It was perfect, that’s it.

TNB: It also had electric and the acoustic thing blended up.

DM: Exactly, it’s got all of it and that was what I was after and that was the perfect timing. I heard that record backwards [Raising Sand track listing]. My buddy imported that way by accident, which changes the whole record.  I’ve heard it both ways but I like it better backwards opening with “Your Long Journey.” I’m not sure if it would have had the same impact if I’d had heard it in the right order.

TNB: Did you listen to the Band Of Joy album at all?

Jenika Marion, Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: I did. Another one I really liked.

TNB: Buddy Miller was the bandleader. Darrell Scott, who is a phenomenal songwriter, is like the Utility player.

DM:  Carl, our lead guitar player is a huge fan of Buddy Miller.

TNB: Buddy Miller can do anything from Gospel to Rock.

DM: He’s one of those guys. So, I was listening to that and watching what was going on. It was with those kinds of things in mind that I started setting the tone of what I wanted this thing to sound like, definitely the duet vocals, the blend, the man and woman duet thing. You know, whatever was right. A lot of this record is going to have that.

TNB: Did you work with Chauncey [brother, guitarist] on the songwriting or instrumentation? Who did you work with?

DM: I did  the songwriting on these tracks. I would put the demos together the best I could structurally and then send them to everyone. For instrumentation, I would go through Chauncey and Chris.

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashvillle, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashvillle, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: You got your brother on the mandolin.

DM: That is when I started adding those guys. I said this is what I am after.

TNB: Do you think it’s interesting that your keyboardist / violinist, Christopher Marion, is living down here now?

Adam Box, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Box, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Yes, and so is his sister. Our drummer Adam Box that we have had since 2010, is from here as well. As quick as I could, I brought the demos to these guys and we basically had the trio with my brother who is always the guy I write with and Chris the Fiddle man.

TNB: That is the core of the songwriting right there.

Christopher Marion, Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Christopher Marion, Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: That is the core. It is the orchestration. In the rock and roll project [Fragile] it’s the three of us. The project happened to be something that I was cooking up on the side. So, songwriting  was done by me on this. But, as far as instrumentation and production goes, those are the guys you want.  It’s hard to say enough about Chris and Chauncey, they are incredible players.

TNB: They [Jenika and Chris] are from up there, right?

Matt Osowski, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Matt Osowski, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: They are from up North and they just moved here. Those were the two I immediately wanted for the project. In fact, all the people in the band are people I knew I wanted. It’s basically all the guys from Fragile with the addition of three more. I wanted Jenika to sing, no doubt about it, because she did some stuff with us in Fragile. When we were playing, she would come up on stage and we would cover that song, “As Long As I Can See The Light” and she would just blow everybody away, you know.  We all kind of grew up together. I’m a bit older than they are but I grew up knowing Chris, Jenika, Ryan and Matt. Carl is part of my family. He married my wife’s cousin, you know what I mean? So, it’s just all a family thing.

TNB:  You have great vocal range and are able to do a lot of things but what I notice that is different from Fragile is the challenge of the melodies, having enough distinction between songs. Do you feel the same way?

Ryan Torgerson, Rosewater at 3rd and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Torgerson, Rosewater at 3rd and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Oh, definitely. It was a welcome challenge to create those melodies like you are talking about. It was very important, because sometimes you are relying on the same kind of chord structure and they can come across as simpler sounds underneath. You’ve got to come up with a melody over the top of that thing to make it interesting.

TNB: How do you feel your songwriting process evolved through this project? Has it helped you improve your songwriting process?

rosewater gig posterDM: Yeah, big time. I got into more storytelling. Fragile was kind of the same way. There was some storytelling going on but not to this depth and type.

TNB: There was more of an esoteric poetry approach with Fragile.

BH: Yeah.

TNB: In other words, you would sit down with Fragile and think about what you were writing instead of this style, where you are actually telling an American story.

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: That’s better than I can say it. Fragile was actually more abstract. That’s exactly right and this is meant to be things that you can relate to. Things you know immediately. You don’t have to hunt and fish around for what it means. It’s right there for you and that’s what I liked about it because it changes the whole way you write so it wasn’t only a challenge but it frees’ you up to just anything. So now, going forward, I think it’s definitely becomes easier. It’s like this: I got this musical section. I need a verse over it and click it just happens.

TNB: I  could see that the way you are doing songwriting  now that it is going to be easier to say” I’m thinking about this story,” and on you go. It is just a natural process, like; next year is another album of Rosewater.

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: I’m thinking ahead already. In my mind, it kind of opened the floodgates. I am about an album and a half ahead. I have an EP planned.  A side story. This story could go and go. So, in my mind it just keeps going on.  So, I have an EP planned and a second record that I am already working on: A full length thing. I know full length things are not popular, but who knows about that. Who can explain how to release music or how to make it in music?

TNB: It’s like if it’s collectible vinyl it’s put out on Record Store Day, who knows. Things like that.

Ryan Jasurda, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Jasurda, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: We are going to release this on vinyl. It will have the download thing with it but vinyl was what this was meant for so maybe we are going back where this probably isn’t the best thing to do in modern music.

TNB: Who cares?

DM: Exactly, this is what it is suppose to be. We don’t want people to lose the roots where are all this stuff came from and that’s what this project is about. You know, we put together a little family band and making the music that I think is really important; the history of music. The stuff that set up all the stuff that is happening now and we can’t just all forget that stuff. So that is what is important now.

TNB: Obviously  you are from Wisconsin and the band has some Minneapolis roots and you have all of that support up there and you have this thing going on with Tennessee now for about three  years and now you have a couple of band  members down here …

DM: I know.

TNB: When are you guys moving down here?

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashviille, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashviille, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Little by little, man! Piece by piece, it seems like people just get drawn to Nashville. Our bassist, Matt Osowski is drawn here. He’s like “I don’t know, every time we come down here, it’s like, what are we doin’? Why don’t we just stay?” I don’t know. It’s very possible because this is a great town. We always have a great time when we are here. Amazing things happen when we are here. The people you run into. The people you meet.

TNB: I could really see you guys really fitting in down here with what you are doing now.

DM: Yeah.

TNB: It would work very well.

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Darrell Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: We are going to try to be down here as much as we can. This is where we wanted to kind of send this thing.

TNB: I was talking to your Mom and I told her you need to get a Condo down here.

DM: [laughs] You talked to Mama?

TNB: Yeah, you need to move down here for at least a year.

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Chauncey Marrier, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DM: Yeah, no, I agree. I think to make this thing work we are going to really have to, we are going to push it and we are going to need to be down here a lot. That is definitely our target. This is the place for this sound to be at.

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jenika Marion, Rosewater at 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Rock ‘n Roll’s Roots Run Almost As Deep As Country in the History of Music City USA.

col parker elvis 02NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Arguably, many of the biggest entertainment deals of the 20th century took place in a fairly modest stone house in a Nashville suburb that served as home/office for Elvis’ infamous manager Colonel Tom Parker.

While audiences around the world associate the ‘Music City’ moniker with country music, one of Nashville’s best kept secrets, in the suburb of Madison, stands as an understated testament to the high-flying rock ‘n roll business deals of the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. Today, interested buyers — some from as far away as Denmark — are lining up to see if they can tap into Parker’s Mojo as the home / office is now for sale.

colonel tom parker 001Colonel Tom Parker – known as the business brain behind the Elvis Presley phenomenon – wielded his own brand of power management when it came to pushing rock n roll to the forefront of pop culture. From his office (or perhaps another room in his 4,000 sq. foot home), the man known simply as “the Colonel” was an industry trailblazer in driving hard bargains with all who sought to associate their film studio, television network, theater or any other entertainment venue with his most sought-after client, the “King of Rock n Roll”.

While the Grand Ole Opry was being beamed into countless homes across the nation’s airwaves, Colonel Parker was busy exploring and exploiting both national and international media platforms – all from his small basement office – that would present the Tupelo sensation to millions of hungry fans.

colonel tom parkerOne iconic media outlet, the renowned Ed Sullivan show on CBS, proved to be quite a coup for not only the young Presley, but also the masterful negotiating Parker. As told by attorney Steve North, current owner of the former Parker home/office, the Colonel had repeatedly made overtures to the Sullivan show – to no avail – to arrange a guest appearance for Elvis. Then, suddenly, and much to Parker’s surprise, Sullivan himself called and offered a prime performance spot for the young rock ‘n roller on an upcoming show. According to North’s re-telling of the story, after considerable discussion of the scheduling particulars, Sullivan proudly stated that he (and his CBS bosses) were prepared to pay Elvis “far more than any other performer had ever been paid for appearing on the show!” “Colonel, how does $50,000 dollars sound?” Sullivan asked – fully expecting an immediate confirmation from Parker. “Well, “that sounds pretty good to me,” the Colonel responded after a long pause, “but what about my boy?”

Whether fact, fiction or perhaps a little of both, the story illustrates Parker’s well-known reputation for wheeling and dealing. His wrangling of variety show host Ed Sullivan served as a template for similarly lucrative deals throughout the next 30+ years for not only Elvis, but also other artist business managers – in both the Country and Rock n Roll genres` – who sought to emulate the Colonel’s managerial moxie.

It was here in late night music, television, film and merchandise meetings that Elvis found shelter from the publicity storm that awaited him whenever he attempted to venture out into public life. According to Tom Diskin, Col. Parker’s long-time close friend and associate, on multiple occasions Elvis would shower and sleep – sometimes after a night on the town – in the virtually unchanged combination home/office that sits on the now busy Gallatin Pike thoroughfare in Nashville suburb, Madison TN.

col parker elvis 03The stately stone-veneer building still retains the original 1950’s charm during the time Elvis rose from regional to international stardom to become the greatest selling recording artist of all time. From the management decisions executed by Col Tom Parker, Elvis would go on to sell over a billion records worldwide. “It is hard to fathom,” stated Stephen Shutts, Rockology, LLC president and Col.Parker office sales agent, “that one man’s career – which literally changed the course of music and pop culture around the world – was directed within the walls of this unassuming but no-less historic home-office.”

Colonel Tom Parker’s home – office is located at 1215 Gallatin Pike in Madison. The property is being showcased with strict financial criteria. Private tours will be available to a select qualified few during the duration of the sale. The property is zoned for multiple use.

The Clint Culberson Interview

Modoc, photo-Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

Modoc, photo-Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

We are really excited that local stations are willing to put us out there and help support what we are doing.” – Clint Culberson, MODOC.

MODOC has seen their fortunes rise after moving from Indiana to Nashville a couple of years ago. While most of the Hard Rock scene has faded, they have had a chance to write with Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes and had their song, “Devil On My Shoulder” featured in the promo for last year’s TV show, 666 Park Avenue.

Clint Culberson took some time to relate on the benefits of being part of the Nashville music community and what has turned MODOC from one of the members of the local scene into current real Rock, no-frills torchbearers on the verge of something even bigger.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Are you in Nashville right now?

Clint Culberson, Lead Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter- MODOC: Yeah, we are home.  We are leaving on Thursday for Alabama.

TNB: Where do you play in Alabama, I think I saw Tuscaloosa?

CC: Yeah, we are in Tuscaloosa and then we are heading to Arkansas for a couple of days.

TNB: Then you are back here on the 18th?

CC: Yes. We are back here in town on the 18th and then Bowling Green the 19th, I think.

TNB: You guys have a good wheel going on (around Nashville)?

CC: We are trying for sure.  We’ve got some good guys working for us.

TNB: As far as MODOC, the first time I saw you was during the last good Next Big Nashville Conference a couple of years ago at The 5 Spot. How long had you been in town?

CC: I think we were here for a little while. We had probably been in town for a year. We really changed when Caleb, our original bass player, came down from Indiana and we took it a little more seriously once he got down here. We said we really want to do this for a living and go after it.

TNB: So Caleb is actually your original bass player?

Clint Culberson, Modoc, photo - Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

Clint Culberson, Modoc, photo – Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

CC: Yes, he was the original bass player and he had decided he was going to stay back home for a girl and not move down here. We were not really sure where we were at as a band at that point. We had a guy step in for a little bit and we are still really good friends with him but, he was…you know, we kind of had to come to a mutual agreement. I hate to say it wasn’t mutual but, he wasn’t going to quit so we had to do one of those things that is never easy to do.

TNB: I would say that is definitely some strong bass that Caleb is playing on the album. I listened to the video you guys have up the other day recorded at Smoakstack. Is that where you did the new album?

CC: No, we just did a couple of live videos in there and what-not to have. This new album we did on our own, so, we recorded that record everywhere. We went from my garage to living rooms to bedrooms, kitchens where ever we could find good sound.

TNB: Is MODOC situated in East Nashville?

CC: Two of us are in East Nashville and two of us are in West Nashville.

TNB: So you are kind of involved on both sides of Nashville.

CC: Yeah. We cover the whole market.

TNB: So how do you like Nashville after being transplants, like everybody else, I should say.

CC: I feel like we have become, you know, part of this town.  It is home for us. We have met a lot of people, so that’s a little more exciting than the hills of Indiana. I think I would say I’m probably the most country out of all of us. I feel like I’ve probably picked up the accent more than anybody.  I don’t mind it.

 TNB: Are you the main lyricist or does the band work together?

CC: Mainly, I do most of the lyrics and writing on that side of things. But, the guys always have something. John comes to me most of the time, out of the three of them, with lyrics and what-not. You know, there are some songs that I’m kind of strugglin’ and not sure where to go with this and we will sit down and figure it out and it seems well and it makes sense. It is still coming from an honest direction, I guess.

TNB: Well, I love MODOC’s sound but, for me that’s the core. I have always liked bands that have come out of here [the south] like The Black Crowes, but also some of the newer bands like American Minor that was around a couple of years ago also American Bang which used to be Bang Bang Bang.

CC: Oh yeah.

TNB: Do you guys feel like you are getting really good local support? Are you getting radio support?

MODOC_AlbumArtCC: Yeah we are getting a little bit from Lightning 100 but also, lately; The Buzz has really been supporting us a lot actually. They were playing us before we even knew it. They were super into it, so, it is really awesome to know that they were picking it up before we even talked to them about what else we could do with them.  We are really excited that local stations are willing to put us out there and help support what we are doing.

TNB: Do you see any core areas in the Country that are starting to come back or come up with the real Hard Rock thing?

 CC: I think it comes and goes, I think a lot of people get excited for a bit and I feel like even though we have only been here for a few years, I feel like a lot of the bands that were doing somewhat close to what we were doing when we first got down here are no longer out there and so I feel like somewhat in a good way that we’re not the only rock and roll band, of course not, but, you know sometimes I feel like we don’t wear a funny hat or costumes so we are the only ones like us. That’s it.

TNB: I see you guys where you are at now, your songwriting is a lot more polished. I like it because it has some variety to it and it sounds like you guys are having a really good time, especially over the last year. What was the turning point? Was it songwriting here in Nashville?

photo - Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

photo – Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

CC: I think we are all aspiring songwriters anyway and we’ve always said the best song is what is going to go on that record and we had written a lot of songs. I think it just takes practice and we don’t want to limit ourselves on any specific kind of song or genre. You know, of course we are going to play electric guitar and play loud, but, I think we have been good about saying make the song be what it’s about and then worry about whether or not we are going to do it. So, we just finished a good album and we put it out there. We need to sound like us. We need to stop worrying about that. Early on, I think we did a good job of getting that out of the way and stopped worrying about songs being different and whether they mesh or not and it just depended on how it was recorded that makes it sound like you. What Ryan Adams has done over the last decade, a lot of his sounds are completely different and we are big fans of all of them and he gets a lot of shit for that, or he did. But, they couldn’t stick him into a particular genre and well… good for him. He can do whatever the hell he wants to and have a good time. It’s much more important to have a good time.

TNB: If I were to say where you guys are at right now, MODOC is like the bridge between The Black Crowes and Kings Of Leon because you are a little heavier Rock than the Kings Of Leon but you still have that depth of, you know, where American Bang was a little more of party mode, Modoc is more of a thinking band about lyrics and structure.

CC: Yeah, totally and I appreciate that. A lot of people compare us to Kings Of Leon and I just want to say thank you. A lot of people don’t know what to expect when they tell me that and I’m just, no, that’s an honor those guys are doing great.

TNB: You are more rocking. MODOC is leaning more towards The Black Crowes but you still have kind of that thinking mode plus some of your song structure is more modern.

CC: Right, yeah, we are big fans of those guys too. We actually got to write with Rich Robinson.

TNB: Did you cut anything that you actually wrote with him?

CC: We haven’t. It’s been kind of…not a bummer but we weren’t sure what we were wanting to do with it and he was wanting to Produce the songs that we co-wrote, so, rather than try to hurry up and get a bunch of songs done for he and I  or for the band… it’s kind of tough… he lives in Atlanta and he is also doing solo stuff and The [Black]Crowes now so it’s very difficult to schedule and I hope to write with him again but, for now, that is kind of on hold. I still have those recordings of what we had written on my hard drive and I go back once in a while and make sure I still remember those songs because they are good songs. We just have to find a place for them.

TNB: How did the song end up in the beginning of the TV show (666 Park Avenue)?

CC:  We were cutting a song that John had written and I had a good idea for a chorus so we knew that it was a good song and it was a dark song. We had heard that the Twilight people were looking for songs for the movie soundtrack for their last movie, so, we thought, well, why don’t we go cut it and see if we can get on that, you know, like every other fuckin’ band in the world. Obviously, it didn’t get chosen for that but, it actually worked out well to be put on the front of that promo for 666 Park Avenue. We just kind of pitched it to ABC right after we found out the Twilight people had passed on it. We put it on this record as well because we were happy how the song turned out for us.

TNB: Which song was it?

CC: “Devil On My Shoulder”

TNB: Oh, yeah, great song.

CC: Thanks man. I think we are going to do a video for it this fall. We kind of have to hurry up.

TNB: There are a lot of things you could do with that in a video.

CC: Oh man, I’m really excited about the idea. We have a really good Director. He used to be a good musician friend of ours but, he has turned into a pretty bad ass Director so, hopefully we can work with him on that.

TNB: That sounds great. Do you think you will probably ride on this album for another year before you cut something again?

CC: Yeah, I would say we will probably. We have had some talks and we might even go in the studio this winter to have an even bigger release next fall. It’s crazy, because we go in cycles of writing so differently so we try to catch that. If we are all writing on the same thing for a while and we are all in the same mode we definitely want to capture that all together and have some really good songs that go together that are all in the same time frame. There can be some similar things going on and tell a story in an album of where we were at, at the time. It’s hard not to want to record when you are writing if you have something to say and we usually do.

TNB: It’s good that you have ways of saying “let’s work on this” and “we’ll cut that.” I guess you have friends with different pieces of gear to record when you need to.

CC: Yeah, basically. Nashville is a big town with a lot of people with a lot of music gear so it’s not really that difficult to get a hold of some good stuff and make sure we have a big sounding record.

TNB: I hope you have something ready for Record Store Day because Electric Guitars and Guitar Amps always sound better on vinyl.

CC: When is Record Store Day?

TNB: It’s in April. It’s like a national Holiday here in Nashville. I mean, there are bands playing everywhere all day long.

CC: Yeah, I’m going to have to remember when because I feel like it’s kind of a blur. I’ve been to a couple of those over at Grimey’s.

TNB: The Groove was awesome last year. They had Chromepony and they had all the G.E.D. Soul Records crew.

Modoc, photo - Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

Modoc, photo – Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

CC: Chromepony fuckin rules! We actually played with those guys down in Baton Rouge last year on the way to SXSW. We are good buddies with those guys. We are definitely getting our record cut to vinyl here very soon. I think it is through a company out of Cincinnati called Soul Step.

TNB: Is it going to be available locally?

CC: It will be online for sure through them and I am thinking we will have the ability once we get those done and get our hands on them to get them to Grimey’s and other record stores as well. I’m not sure of the logistics on that. I am just excited to have it on vinyl period. It’s something that we have been wanting to do forever and it has just been trying to find a way to do it that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg. I think it’s very good “branding” for the band as well to say “we like to listen to good music too and on a good source.”

TNB: What do you think the release date is going to be?

CC: I would imagine in the next couple of months. I think the deal worked out with them just this last week so I would say in the next month or so. I am waiting with baited breath.

TNB: I think Nashville was a good move for you guys.

CC: Thanks, man.

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

upcoming shows

10/12/2013 Conway, AR Bear’s Den Details   Oct 12 2013 at Bear’s Den in Conway, AR
10/13/2013 Nashville, TN 102.9 The Buzz Details   The Local Buzz Interview
10/18/2013 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge- 102.9 The Buzz presents “This Is Nashville” Details   Nashville, TN
10/19/2013 Bowling Green, KY Brews and Tunes Festival Details   Bowling Green, KY
10/31/2013 Indianapolis, IN Irving Theater Details   Indianapolis, IN
11/1/2013 Chicago, IL TBA Details   Chicago, IL
11/2/2013 Columbus, OH Victory’s Details   Columbus, OH
11/7/2013 Knoxville, TN Preservation Pub Details   Knoxville, TN
11/9/2013 Greenville, SC Radio Room

backtoback recordRecord Store Day has been a major phenomenon not just for the resurgence of vinyl, but, for musicologists and developing a deeper palette for this emerging generation.

One of the big features are Back-to-Back 7inch releases which have usually been two different bands performing the same song such as this year’s Deep Purple “Highway Star” with the flip side being Type O Negative’s version of “Highway Star.”

One release that could have been improved upon would have been The Stooges’ “No Fun” backed by the cover version by The Black Keyes. The current  relativity of The Black Keyes should not have been overshadowed by The Sex Pistols performance of “No Fun” as the only song performed at their final gig not only in the United States, but, as a band where Johnny Rotten stated ”We will perform one song and one song only…No Fun.”  At the end of the song Johnny is heard saying, “Have you ever felt you’ve been cheated?” That singular performance ignited the Northern California punk scene that brought forth The Avengers, MX-80 Sound and the Dead Kennedys to name a few. The Sex Pistols should have been the flip side. Can you music company tastemakers get it right? We shall see.

Let’s start with some serious suggestions for future 7 inch releases.

(Hyperlinks will get you a listen)

backtoback terry reidTerry Reid – Rich Kid’s Blues  / The Raconteurs – Rich Kid’s Blues

Terry Reid was Jimmy Page’s first choice for The New Yardbirds. Terry was busy enough with his solo career and suggested Jimmy Page check out Robert Plant who was in a band called Band Of Joy. The Raconteurs did a spot on rendition on their second album. This would be an easier one to see happen since Jack White has the label and reissue experience to make this one. “Rich Kid’s Blues” could be a great first introduction to most people for little known Terry Reid in the United States.

backtoback jimiChuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode / Jimi Hendrix – Johnny B. Goode

Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” could be the de facto rock and roll song. It is a 1-4-5 in major chords instead of 7th’s like the blues and the beat was fast. This was the song that any band could sit down and jam to see if things would work back in the 60’s and 70’s. When Jimi Hendrix performed “Johnny B. Goode” in Berkeley, California, it was caught on film and featured on Hendrix In The West and Jimi Plays Berkeley.  Jimi did “Johnny B. Goode” like he did “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, this was a total barnburner not only showcasing his ability, but, there may even be more of a mental back story then you know. Jimi’s mother named him Johnny when he was born while his Dad was away in the war. One of the last places Jimi was known as Johnny was staying with relatives in Berkeley, California before he went back to Seattle and his father legally changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix.  He wasn’t too happy about it. He insisted on being called “Buster” after a character from Flash Gordon.  So, in a way, Jimi is the real Johnny B. Goode in disguise.

backtoback hey judeThe Beatles – Hey Jude / Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude

Okay, while The Beatles “Hey Jude” may be one the longest singles ever and had a great story about Paul McCartney writing a piece of music for John’s son, Julian to help him get over his parent’s divorce, being a great supportive “uncle”’ Wilson Pickett’s version has an interesting twist as well.

It goes like this. Wilson Pickett was in the middle of recording an album at Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama when the band decided to take a break and head out to go get some food and drinks. Wilson decided to hang out in the studio because he was black and didn’t feel like getting harassed by the locals and Duane Allman who was playing guitar on the session stayed with Wilson because he had long hair and would face some teasing by local folks as well. So, Wilson started jamming on the organ the recently released Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and Duane liked what he was doing, putting a little gospel soul into the British rock ballad. He started laying some guitar on Wilson and by the time the band got back in the morning, Duane and Wilson had the making of one heck of a “Hey Jude” cover. It was not only a great cover, but, is considered the record that started southern rock. The groundswell hit that spawned the Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band and countless other Capricorn Records.

Okay how about some call and response 7inch?

backtoback bear catBig Mama Thornton – Hound Dog / Rufus Thomas – Bear Cat

Okay, we all know about Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”, but, let’s go with the original on this. Big Mama Thornton singing something that Elvis’ probably heard on the “Red, Hot and Blue” radio show in Memphis. Well, Sam Phillip’s over at Sun decided it would be good to put out a response to “Hound Dog” with the cut “Bear Cat.” The only problem was it was too close to the original and “Bear Cat” ended up in a big lawsuit at the time. Now this all happened before Elvis recorded at Sun.

Okay here is a call and response that is a really sly one. Let’s see if you caught this one.

backtoback the holliesThe Hollies – The Air That I Breathe  / Pink Floyd – Breathe

Both songs move at similar tempo and feature some lucid beautiful guitar. The Hollies have almost that slow Eric Clapton sans George Harrison lead while Pink Floyd has the flowing pedal steel going on.  It’s almost like Pink Floyd came up with the idea while listening to The Hollies. They say that Pink Floyd may have been watching film of The Wizard of Oz, but, maybe it was The Hollies as Pink Floyd sang, “Breathe, breathe in the air, don’t be afraid to care, leave but don’t leave me,” was really lead-n bridge as the first lines after the chorus by The Hollies, “Sometime all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.”

Hey here is a debate I started.

freecovers.netQueen – Bohemian Rhapsody / Mott The Hoople – Marionette

You really need to know the back story on this to see a link. Queen and Mott The Hoople used to tour together in England before Queen really broke big.  They really got along well and Queen even referenced Mott in the song “Now I’m Here” off of Sheer Heart Attack in the line, “Down in the city just Hoople and me.” One time while enjoying “Marionette” which was written a couple of years before “Bohemian Rhapsody” I was really paying attention to the story line in the song. “Marionette” was similarly like a mini rock opera piece with changes in tempo and dynamics and told the story of a person trying to keep from selling-out, told in first person it starts out, “No Puppet, no liar, won’t bend my lips to wire.”  Before going to the chorus, “Marionette – I Aint One Yet, Teacher’s pet – will you better forget it.” Before the outro, “They gambled, with my life and now I’ve lost my will to fight, Oh God these wires are so tight … I’m just a Marionette.” It is a whole conceived story that could be with a true to yourself musician eventually losing his soul to the corporate music entity, but, the way the story is told is really resembles how Queen went through structuring a “song” like Bohemian Rhapsody” another mini-opera.

I decided to contact Ian Hunter directly through his website and the interactive Horses Mouth page to see if he ever felt Queen got the idea to do “Bohemian Rhapsody” from touring together and Mott doing “Marionette?”  Ian Hunter responded, “I’ve no idea. You’d have to ask them. You know Freddie was kinda like that anyway. They were what they were and we were what we were. We got on famously though. Still do.”

Okay, how about similar riffs?

back to back xX – White Girl / Nirvana – Come As You Are

Okay, the verse parts include similar almost dead-on riffs. X, who was considered the flag bearers of the Los Angeles punk scene, included “White Girl” on their second critically acclaimed album Wild Gift in 1981 while Nirvana slowed the riff down a little and featured “Come As You Are” on their second album for major label Geffen, oh, I mean DGC. While Nirvana did do a song called “About A Girl” I could never find a cover version of “White Girl.” The part where Nirvana sings, “No, I don’t have a gun,” is almost like X’s tag of “She’s a white girl, but I’m living with a white girl.”  Kurt Cobain described “Come As You Are” as lyrics about “people and what they’re expected to act like”. “White Girl” was John Doe’s ode to The Germs’ bassist – Lorna Doom.  John was dealing with attraction and good ol’ Catholic guilt being married to Exene.  While, he may have cheated a little “mentally” it was not John’s “Norwegian Wood” since Exene knew what it was all about at the time.

backtoback black sabbathRed Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away / Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf

Okay, hey, Red Hot Chili Peppers sampled “White Girl” in one of their songs off of Mother’s Milk, so, were they just funkin’ thing up a bit while listening to Sweet Leaf off Masters of Reality? Hey Rick Rubin was producing the thing. Rick was also working with Slayer around the same time and he just produced the new Black Sabbath album. Rick was known for mashing things up like sampling Led Zeppelin on Beastie Boys tracks. Okay, here is my presumptive back story. Rick throws Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” up loud and lets the Chili Peppers jam with it until they come up with their own funky masterpiece.

Dude, you don’t want me running your record company because I’ll be too creative with these back to back 7 inch records and your mind won’t be able to handle it.

Well, the “Iko,Iko” super secret release was not bad.

-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, Tn     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

tyler bryant exitin 145 smallTyler Bryant & The Shakedown played a solid set returning from the road to a Nashville hometown two hundred plus crowd at Exit/In on Rock Block last Friday night.

tyler bryant exitin 108 smallAlthough Tyler Bryant was spotted early on by Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck a few years ago, this band has really solidified as a unit out on the road.

tyler bryant exitin 101 smallThe dual guitar work of Tyler Bryant and Graham Whitford builds instead of clashes with roots in blues rock, but, coming from two different angles.

tyler bryant exitin 070 smallGraham definitely has some solid tone and fingerboard finesse like his father, Brad Whitford, but, he proved himself worthy when he was in the top 5 of a national Guitar Center competition out of 4000 entries at the age of 17. Graham’s tone was impeccable through a custom shop 18 Watt Marshall as well as a brown tolex Mr. Fender favoring the Les Paul Burst. Graham’s playing even had a little Paul Kossoff vibrato bends going on as well.

tyler bryant exitin 043 smallTyler, on the other hand, had a pink Strat, Les Paul Juniors as well as some other toys like some clean Metal Resonator with a pick-up with some serious finger picking going on going through a pair of vintage reissue Fender Deluxe Twin tweeds.

tyler bryant exitin 093 smallOne local who has seen the band several times said he could tell that they were slowing things down a bit and creating more dynamics and groove.

tyler bryant exitin 091 smallAs a band, they just keep improving.

 

Graham Whitford at Exit/In, April 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Graham Whitford at Exit/In, April 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

There is nothing that can replace time on the road the way it has always been done.

tyler bryant exitin 042 smallA band is really a sense of community and while Tyler is a quintessential front man with Steve Marriott looks with a voice somewhere between Eric Martin and John Waite, he was always quick to shine the spotlight on his other band members, drummer and Belmont University neighborhood musician, Caleb Crosby, bassist Noah Denney who also has Belmont University experience, but, most especially was quick to share the spotlight with co-gunslinger Graham Whitford.

tyler bryant exitin 090 smallYou can tell these guys have the chops, the girls and are having fun the way Elvis and The Beatles started out.

tyler bryant exitin 143 smallIf one wanted to compare them to Aerosmith you would have to really stretch.They would be a closer comparison to Humble Pie during the Frampton years with a Johnny Winter heart.

tyler bryant exitin 120 smallTyler and Graham both show a penchant for Texas and boogie blues as well as Classic Rock.

tyler bryant exitin 053 smalltyler bryant exitin 085 smallThe crowd was quite diverse both in age and male/female split since anybody in their right mind could connect to solid guitar playing and a good night out.

tyler bryant exitin 144 smallThey may not be The original Yardbirds, but, in the same vein that Phil Lynott said he wanted Thin Lizzy to be a modern Yardbirds known for strong guitar players, this is the real deal. If they can hold it together for a couple of years, this will be the guitar tag team to be reckoned with.

tyler bryant exitin 135 smallElectric Blues infused up to date rock is just what the doctor ordered and in the words of Steve Marriott, “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”

tyler bryant exitin 131 smalltyler bryant exitin 149 small-          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

all photos (c) Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo- Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo- Brad Hardisty

Friday January 18th, The High Watt walls were rumbling to Bang Ok Bang in celebration of their new video release in support of “Always For You” off their recently released first EP revelating through a heavy groove dirge that can only be described as Trance Industrial Metal Blues.

Ben Lowry - Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ben Lowry – Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ben Lowry was whipping his guitars, both 6 and 7 string varieties through a Bass amp and Marshall half stack pumping the juice through the newly minted High Watt PA system, splattering bass all over the floor and rattling midrange through all the other gear sitting to the left of the stage.

Abby Hairston - Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo - Brad Hardisty

Abby Hairston – Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo – Brad Hardisty

Abby Hairston is probably the most passionate drummer in Nashville today. You can literally anticipate each crack, snap and UH! and determine the pace and dynamic as she throws her hair and weight all over the kit. Abby’s every crack of the stick seems determined much like Hill Country Blues drummer, Cedric Burnside.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

Pulling songs from their EP such as “Chemicals Pt. 1 & 2,” and “Above The Surface,” Bang Ok Bang paced through a complete set that showed major growth and tightness since first kicking it out several months ago.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

The set featured new songs that show how to take the heavy two piece into even more sonic space.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

The crowd was an interesting mix of post high school, post EMO less than twenty somethings for opener ForeverandNever that was losing their bass player after this show and a crowd more akin to a singles bar for headliner BREE.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

Somehow, it looked like each group of Apprecianados found something they liked in each set even though the three bands fit three distinctly different cliques and mind sets.

Abby Hairston, photo - Brad Hardisty

Abby Hairston, photo – Brad Hardisty

One of the most amazing things was how tight the two have got to matching each other in the slow down mid song breaks as well as groove changes with ease.

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang may be ready for David Letterman in 2013.

The High Watt, Joe Strummer on Mens Room Door, photo - Brad Hardisty

The High Watt, Joe Strummer on Mens Room Door, photo – Brad Hardisty

- Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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