Archives for category: Americana Music

So Cal Tale Weaving  Nettie Rose at The Billy Block Show

Billy Block Into - Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Billy Block Into – Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose is a cross between a young June Carter growing up in Modern So Cal, instead of the Smoky Mountains with a Laurel Canyon era Graham Parsons partner Emmylou Harris singing thru the lens of a Gold rush street fightin’ San Fran Saloon Chanteuse.

Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose debuted on The Billy Block Show live from Mercy Lounge Tuesday night weaving tales from the San Francisco gold rush days to sharing her own stories of modern

Nettie Rose, Billy Block Show at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose, Billy Block Show at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Her voice is part plaintive Wildwood Flower , Wanda Jackson “Fuji Yama Mama” with a little scratch tickling the throat and sometimes pure catfight from a Boomtown Dance Hall girl that has been through too many “love ‘em and leave ‘em” romances from a transient California strike it rich past.

Nettie Rose at Billy Block Show, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Billy Block Show, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose had been in Nashville the past few days recording new songs, one of which ”Deaf Cowboy” was debuted during the six song set that gave Nashville a taste of California’s history and country music heritage as well as the first song she wrote, the sing-a-long “Ride, Ride, Ride.”

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Current mentor and co-writer, Fred Sokolow was featured on some pre-Bakersfield Sound style Tele work as well as “Speedy West” Electric Hawaiian tone that played like on old California Town Hall Party 78 record.

John "Spazz" Hatton, with Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

John “Spazz” Hatton, with Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Upright bassist extraordinaire, John “Spazz” Hatton, who has played with Brian Setzer, kept the bottom end somewhere between early Bob Wills and Sun Records’ Tennessee Two percussive slaps when needed, like they were goin’ to play the Grand Ole Opry in 1952 and couldn’t use a drummer.

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad  Hardisty

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Lynn Shipley Sokolow on banjo gave the quartet a pre-war Americana feel to the evening.

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose referenced Ernest Tubb as an inspiration on one song as she seemed to pull back the concrete jungle of modern Bay Area Cali and The Sunset Strip to reveal a parallel universe where Nettie Rose seemed to be an ether conduit for hard living gold rush era women telling their story of living from Mendocino and Oakland [“Last Chance Saloon”] on down to pre-highway Southern California where somebody was on horseback trying to outrun the law going over the “Grapevine.”

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose did a cover of “Don’t Fence Me In” which fit the vintage motif although many songs reflected the current state of affairs written from a hanging out at McCabe’s Guitar Store point of view rather than partying with the ecstasy crowd.

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The poetic lyrics reflect a well-read deep thinker rather than an insipid “throw your hands up in the air” refrain and this will remind listeners that California is also the land of Lucinda Williams and Ryan Bingham as well as the growing up years of songwriters’ Darrell Scott and Jeffrey Steel.

California is also the birthright of Tele’s and Fender Amps, Bigsby tailpieces, Dobro guitars and The Byrds’ “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” as well as Rose Maddox’ pre-Rockabilly pumped up Hillbilly muse.

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The one thing Nettie Rose accomplishes better than just about any muddy roots artist out there today is that she is able to weave modern tales and vintage sounds like they can co-exist without some weird juxtapose which doesn’t box her in like, say for example San Joaquin Valley throwback Frank Fairfield who can give a definitive 110 year old style from the top down on a Thompson Square 10 inch but, has a style that is very hard to translate into a modern storyline.  

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The advance copy of People I Know shows diversity in storylines that go concurrently with real time to the California that the first Pioneers, Gold Miners and Okies experienced over the last two hundred years when it was the Wild, Wild, West. Colin Linden has production credits and is currently part of the team working with T Bone Burnett making music for the hit TV show Nashville

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose appears to have a good West Coast based team of musicians, music business friends and a three generation music family that are supportive of her quest and it appears that will be helpful in her effort to be a genuine West Coast modern Bob Dylanesque storyteller of the rough and tumble life of California’s golden years.

Nettie Rose preachin' the Cali Blues, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose preachin’ the Cali Blues, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

charles butlerVery Entertaining Records Artist Charles Butler took his banjo for a ride on Daft Punk’s “ Get Lucky” a few days ago and posted it to YouTube on May 25th and after a few links by random bloggers, Huffington Post took notice and now the East Nashville banjo style version is nearing a million hits.

Charles Butler posted May 27th on YouTube, “A heartfelt thanks to everyone who left words of encouragement! And thank you to Daft Punk. Random Access Memories is amazing, go get it. I am going to cut a new version of this to offer as a free download, and produce some banjo tab for those who are interested, probably within a week or so.”

There are now videos of people watching his version on YouTube.

Very Entertaining Records Bill Davis is excited about the light being shined on his label mate and friend.

How far can this go? How about a kickstarter campaign to press a back to back 7 inch of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Charles Butler? For information on Charles Butler and Very Entertaining Records contact

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Charles Butler photo courtesy Very Entertaining Records

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

Somewhere in Texas, The Nashville Bridge caught up with Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band  as they  geared up for SXSW following a successful first leg of the Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour with Jimbo Mathus, purveyor off all things “Southern” and Alvin Youngblood Hart.

The latest album the Side One Dummy Records release Between The Ditches which debuted at Number One on the iTunes Blues Charts the week of its release, has caught on all over the country after 250 shows a year that has left blood, sweat and tears on stages all over North America

The first single, “Devils Look like Angels,” featured a great video and has been popular on YouTube and Blues and Americana radio.

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

Nashville has been a regular stop for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band after finding a solid supportive crowd with their mix of Country Blues that sits somewhere between Blues, Country and the local Americana Scene. The Reverend will be stopping through Nashville March 20th at Exit/ In on Nashville’s Rock Block with wife, Breezy Peyton on washboard and his cousin Aaron Persinger on drums continuing The Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour with a full entourage and possible special guests.

Reverend Peyton shared some insight about why they have been doing so well this year.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Where are you guys at right now?

Reverend Peyton: We are two hours from Dallas. Texarkana, I Believe.

TNB: Well you are in the south.

RP: Yeah. We were in Little Rock, Arkansas last night and now we are heading out towards our SXSW shows.

TNB: That is coming up here pretty quick.

RP: Yeah, we just did the first leg of the Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour. It will pick back up in Nashville (Exit/In March 20th) after SXSW.

TNB: You make Nashville a regular stop.

RP: We have.  We have played a lot of different venues in Nashville. We’ve played so many of ‘em and I think Exit/In is the best one. I love that place.

TNB: I have heard a lot about you guys around town. I’m sure you’ve done the Grimey’s in-store.

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: Oh Yeah, we’ve played a Grimey’s in-store…two or three of ‘em. I just love Mike. He’s a fan and The Basement’s really cool too!  It’s an intimate place and you know Grimey’s is just such a great place. Mike is such a music fan, you know.  Like, all the bands that come through there and all the people that he deals with and he’s still a fan, you know. He’s cool.

TNB: The Basement is pretty cool, that is where Justin Townes Earle used to play there all the time when he first started with The Good Life and all that.  Even Metallica did a Live At Grimey’s disc at The Basement. They wanted to play Grimey’s but it was too small so they played at The Basement below the store. I was going to say, your band is at an interesting crossroads. You can play straight up blues festivals, Bonaroo and The Americana Music Festival. You are kind of in an interesting position, don’t you think?

RP:  Yeah, we are looking that way. It’s kind of weird because sometimes people don’t know what to classify us as or where to put us, but, it has really been a blessing because we can play anywhere, you know. There are certain bands, like a punk band, they can play a punk rock club and that’s it, you know, or if you are even just a straight up Country Honky Tonk band you’re running that way. We can play everywhere, you know.  We can play a regular rock fest and blues fest and folk fest, country fest and you name it.  It is sort of funny too. A lot of people, they don’t even quite understand what kind of music it is that we play; it’s country blues, you know, that’s what it is.

TNB: I’ve got some friends out in Mississippi. I can see your sound is mostly what they would call Boogie Blues if it was coming out of Mississippi.  It’s not straight up Hill Country; it’s got a little bit of Hill Country. What do you guys think where you are coming from? What are you after?

RP: Well, I just call it Country Blues. For Hill Country, there is a certain trance aspect. It’s kind of raggedy. Old Delta stuff.  We are a little bit of that mixed up.  I have been a student of it all since I was a little kid. I sort of have my way of playing and it kind of mixes it up all together and also, a lot of times we are playing straight up blues and blues stuff, but, the difference is nobody’s writing songs anymore. They just focus on being guitar gunslingers. You know. I want to be someone who writes song from the heart. You know what I mean. That is the most important thing.

TNB: I think that is what keeps the blues alive. Have you met “Blind Boy” Paxton?

RP: No, I don’t think I know him.

TNB: He made the cover of Living Blues Magazine. He plays old time Charlie Patton style or earlier. He’s probably the best acoustic blues musician right now, but, he won’t write anything. It’s like the music was written in a certain time period and that is where it fits. You are one of the only songwriters that I can see where, it’s like you are not copying Burnside, Kimbrough.  You really are not copying anybody even though it has that aged feel. It’s your own stuff. Do you get that feeling?

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: Here’s the deal, man. If you are not making new music then go home. Because, nobody is going to do it as good as Charlie Patton did it anyway. You know what I mean? Nobody can play Charlie Patton better than Charlie Patton.  You are not going to play Son House better than Son House. So, my songs are what I am going to play, you know, otherwise you are just kind of like a museum piece, like a throwback like someone in costume that is just showing up to play a part in a movie or something.  I think music should be from the heart. I’ve always believed that. That is why Muddy Waters was so good. That’s why John Fogerty is so good. The best music comes from a personal place.  Some people copy things and change the names, I don’t even do that. You know, for me, that’s what it’s all about. Music that’s fresh and new but maybe it sounds like it’s old, like timeless music that’s new. I guess so, if that makes sense.  It’s hard to do. Blues has been around for almost a hundred years and I’ve been playing it for you know, most of my life. It’s hard to sort of write new stuff because so much has been done, but, it’s a quest that I will be forever on; to write new songs that are timeless still. Songs that still fit in with the annals of blues going back to Charlie Patton, you know.

TNB:  It’s interesting; you do go back and do Charlie Patton covers, which is way back.

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: He is my patron saint. I did that record, Peyton on Patton because I want people to know who he is because I feel like I have a problem with the blues world. Not enough people know who Charlie Patton is. I think if you know who Charlie Patton is then you have to start with him. I think that music in general starts to get more into focus. You start to understand where people like Muddy Waters and where I am coming from. I just want to make sure people know about Charlie Patton.  In his day, he was super famous you know. In his day, he was the guy. It’s sort of like he influenced Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. In his day, Charlie was the hero; He was the one they all wanted to be. He drove around in good cars; he played a Gibson Guitar with a hard case.  He was the one that was truly successful, you know and the music is amazing. In my opinion, he was the best there ever was.  I think the reason his playing is not that well known is because the recordings were so raw. That’s why I did that record that way. I wanted to do it his way. I kept it sort of raw. I didn’t put too much of myself into the record. Anyway, I wanted to try to use his rawness and play it the way he would play a song. I wanted to play the way he played them so people could hear his guitar pickin’.  So they could have appreciation for what he was on guitar. He was just about songs you know.

TNB: You guys have been around for about four or five albums now?

RP: Yeah, we have made five records I think.

TNB: Things are really starting to pick up the last couple of years.

RP: Yeah, it has been a slow and steady ride. I think the last records have got a lot more attention it has been exponential, especially after the Charlie Patton record. People in like the traditional blues world sort of heard that one and started saying, “maybe we should have been paying attention to these fellas.”

TNB: That is kind of how it happens sometimes. What is ground zero for you guys?

RP: Well, I don’t know. We have pockets all over the place where it’s big. The West Coast is really good:  lots of stuff there. It has kind of blown up in Cincinnati and, of course, southern Indiana, Burlington. Indianapolis; big time there. Kansas City has been a huge place.  I think for us it has always been just one fan at a time. More word of mouth than anything else. It has been fans just coming out and telling their friends and then they buy the record and they’re spinning it. A lot of barbecuing or whatever and I think has been the secret for us.

TNB: One of the most interesting things was that I saw you played a big motorcycle rally. Was that at Sturgis?

RP: We have done Sturgis a couple of times. We did a Bike fest in Arkansas. It’s no big deal. We do a Biker fest and then we will turn around and do the Vans Warped Tour. The kids on the Warped Tour are like 13 and those kids are fun to play for! They go nuts! Then we will go and play a festival at Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado. Denver is a big town for us. It might be one of the biggest. They are such a great crowd.

TNB: They do have a good acoustic scene.

RP: That’s true.

TNB: Real quick, any new albums this year or just touring what is going to happen.

RP: I’m not sure. We will be touring on the Blues Revolution Tour which has been going strong.  There are going to be festivals. We’d like to get in there and do some recording. I think it’s something I just we’ve made, kind of like, once a year for a while, so, I foresee us doing something.

TNB: Have you had any guests come up and jam on encores?

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: Oh yeah on the Blues Revolution Tour we have been doing jams where it’s just the three of us those two guys and me then the Big Damn Band and Jimbo’s band. I think in Nashville… I don’t wanna say who…but, there is likely going to be some specials guests coming up that are Nashville locals.

TNB: When you jam, are you doing old time blues or…

RP: Yeah, we have been jamming on stuff like that and just trade it up, like, maybe one or two Jimbo songs or like some Charlie Patton stuff. Different things. It changes every night.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Michael Des Barres and Brad Hardisty at Americana Festival

This Sunday Dec. 2nd, at 11AM Central Time, that would be 10 AM Mountain Time, 9AM in sunny California and 12 Noon in Atlanta, Brad Hardisty of The Nashville Bridge and Performer Magazine is live on the air with Music News With Kat Pat on Blog Talk Radio.

Brad Hardisty, Tootsie’s on Lower Broad, photo – Tristan Dunn

“Recently, I interviewed Ricky Skaggs for Performer Magazine and it was kind of a mind expansion experience talking about Bill Monroe, Emmylou Harris, Barry Gibb and recording with Jack White and The Raconteurs all in the same hour. I look forward to talking to Kat Pat about that as a preview to the January edition as well as Nashville, Music City, today and the explosion of all things happening musically from Punk Rock to the Blues. I don’t have any idea where we will stray and ramble; there are so many different directions we can go. There is a lot of new music around here and then there is always history like Jimi Hendrix at The Del Morocco. I’m looking forward to this.” – Brad Hardisty, The Nashville Bridge, Performer Magazine

Kat Pat has a couple of rare guitar tracks of Brad Hardisty as well as a never before heard version of “Spark The Flame” recorded live at The Nick in Birmingham, Alabama in 2006 with the band Furthermore featuring Brad on guitar as well as Danny Everitt on Bass, Peter Davenport on vocals and Daniel Long on drums.

Listeners can call in at (818) 369-0352.

Brad with Southside Gentlemens Club, Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Salt Lake City, 2009

Kat Pat has interviewed several bands including regional acts, Skinny Molly (featuring Mike Estes of Lynyrd Skynyrd) and Robert Nix, one of the founders of The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

You can get to information here.

Also you can link to Music News with Kat Pat here.

The interview will be up for some time after Sunday for later listening.

Brad Hardisty Live at The Nick, Birmingham, AL with Furthermore, 2006

– The Nashville Bridge, Nashville, TN

Ryan Bingham at Marathon, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ryan Bingham received a warm welcome in Nashville on October 9th at the recently opened Marathon Music Works, an old industrial space revamped into a room about twice the size of The Cannery Ballroom with the stage exactly where it needs to be; right in the middle of the eastern wall, with a great view and sound from just about anywhere.

Ryan is out on tour with a Nashvillian band in support of Tomorrowland on his own imprint Axster Bingham Records, which is an even bigger turn in tone from the T-Bone Burnett produced Junky Star.

It can be said that Ryan was anxious for the show with the new band, having left on his twitter page, “NASHVILLE! Just got in & ready for the show at Marathon Music Works tomorrow. Come party with us! Tuesday Funday!!!” @RyanBingham.

As far as the band goes, they sounded big; there would be something to his set that a fan of The Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Wallflowers or anything in that vicinity would like.

Ryan Bingham in Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

Even though he got an Oscar for “The Weary Kind,” Ryan avoided that like Jack White avoids, “Fell In Love With A Girl.”

The set was heavy on the new album starting out with the new single, “Guess Who’s Knocking.”  The good size crowd was into the set early on, but, if there was a “Honky Tonk Women” for Ryan, it would be “Hard Times” from the 2007 Lost Highway release Mescalito.

In fact, it seemed like Mescalito hung heavy in the room, since it appeared that the Nashville crowd made it known that it is the favorite so far, with the crowd almost drowning out Ryan in a sing-along to “Hard Times” as well as “Southside of Heaven.”  In fact although the set continued to build in enthusiasm, for the crowd “Hard Times” was the peak coming in at song number three in the set.

It would have been more appropriate if “Hard Times” had been the closer.

It was interesting to see what was in the set. It was either brand new or before 2008 except for “Hallelujah” off of Junky Star.

Ryan made reference to living in Houston at one time, which gives that link to the Texas-Red Dirt scene  as well as remembering living in a van down by the river before going into a solo number as part of the encore.

Ryan Bingham, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ryan’s voice really is John Kay from Steppenwolf, but with the poetics of modern day Hayes Carll and Justin Townes Earle coming to mind with the rock band sensibilities now of The Wallflowers.

Ryan is probably the strongest of the new crowd of writers, he could be the one that continues to grow crowds of followers and be around ten years from now. The challenge may be that while he continues to broaden his approach with albums like Tomorrowland is to come up with an album in the future that connects as well as Mescalito did.

Ryan Bingham with La Santa Cecilia in Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

All around it was a strong show that included a rendition of “Boracho Station” with members of opening act, La Santa Cecilia, featuring Jose Carlos on accordion and singer Marisoul, with her strong thick voice was a good mix with Ryan. It would be interesting see a future recorded duet.

After a couple of acoustic numbers, the rest of the band came out to finish off the crowd with another strong cut from Mescalito, “Bread and Water.”

La Santa Cecilia in Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

La Santa Cecilia  opened up mixing Spanish with English as much as they mixed Conjunto and Tejano with Jazz and the nineties rock classic, “Tainted Love.”

I don’t think Nashville has seen quite anything like them. They would be an interesting group in East L.A.; they were mind opening in Nashville.  Marisoul had a great voice with traditional conjunto and bossa nova inflections and the depth of Roberta Flack, “Tainted Love” was like an Alfa Romeo taco truck driving through Gwen Stefani’s teenage bedroom in Anaheim.

If No Doubt was a conjunto band, they might be La Santa Cecilia. La Santa Cecilia, named after the patron saint of musicians, basically took everything they like having grown up on the West Coast and rolled it into an “everything but the kitchen sink” burrito.

Three members of La Santa Cecilia after the opening set, photo – Brad Hardisty

They kept the crowd captivated with the mainly acoustic instrument interplay and the strong vocals, everything even a bluegrasser could love. Hopefully, La Santa Cecilia will be back sooner than later.

Ryan Bingham set list:

  1. Guess Who’s Knocking
  2. Heart of Rhythm
  3. Hard Times
  4. Sunrise
  5. Keep It Together
  6. Heard’Em Say
  7. Southside of Heaven
  8. Beg For Broken Legs
  9. Western Shore
  10. Dollar A day
  11. Day Is Done
  12. Never Far Behind


  1. Boracho Station (Ryan acoustic w/ members of La Santa Cecilia)
  2. Tell My Mother I Miss Her So
  3. Hallelujah
  4. Ever Wonder Why
  5. Sunshine
  6. Bread and Water

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

2010, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Lucinda Willianms, Hayes’ parents.

September used to be back to school month, now that school starts early, September is not only when the CMA’s hit Nashville, but, when the world comes for Americana, Bluegrass and where Next Big Nashville morphed into Soundland and moved to October.

While Nashville may be known for the CMA’s , Eric Church and Taylor Swift, it is also known for what Rolling Stone called the “coolest music festival in the world”, The Americana Music Festival hits the city for the ultimate pub crawl from September 12th-15th.

Dan Baird with Brad, 2010, Cannery Ballroom, Stones Tribute

Past years have seen everybody from Don Was to Robert Plant to Nashville’s Own, Justin Townes Earle put on some great showcases.  Last years’ awards show mashed up Gregg Allman, Robert Plant with The Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars and Mumford and Sons (sorry, the name reminds me of Sanford and Son). In fact, it seemed like a hybrid MTV awards show where music mattered and all sugar pop was left at the end caps in Wal Mart.

This year proves to be no exception, some notable sets will be Memphis night at The Rutledge featuring sets by Jim Lauderdale and the Mississippi All-Stars, okay, yes, I’ll say it again, Jim Lauderdale and The Mississippi All-Stars also a late set featuring an all-star jam playing the music of Big Star.

For those with a traditional view of what is “Americana”, Corb Lund will be at Mercy Lounge this Wednesday followed by a tribute to the late Levon Helm. In fact the line-up seems to be all inclusive with The Wallflowers, Mindy Smith, Chris Scruggs, Rodney Crowell among others playing all over the place for several nights.

As far as Americana goes, the easiest party route is to hang between Mercy Lounge and The Cannery Ballroom with an occasional run to The Basement for some harder to find sets.

Don Was, photo – Brad Hardisty

The problem is, this year, there are some great line-ups at The Rutledge and the Station Inn that will make that shuttle route a little difficult and may necessitate borrowing somebody’s 20-speed bike to get around each night.

Peelander-Z at Exit/In, NBN 2010 – photo – Brad Hardisty

The awards show at the end of the event, always proves to be a magical evening at The Ryman. This year should be no different. I am rooting for Alabama Shakes in the Emerging Artist category as well as Jason Isbell (Alabama represent!) & The 400 Unit with Album of the Year, Here We Rest.

The Dillards, IBMA 2010, photo – Brad Hardisty

Not to be outdone, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Week runs from 24th-30th at, for convenience, The Nashville Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel. The IBMA Convention is not just about showcases, but, people are encouraged to carry around their guitars, fiddles, mandolins  and join in the jam sessions that run almost till the sun comes up every night.

You could say Ricky Skaggs is our local Bluegrass patron Saint, with yearly residencies at The Ryman and a new album, Music to My Ears coming out this month, but, there are many new young artists playing traditional bluegrass as well as pulling in some modern ideas and pre-war non-bluegrass styles.

This is the real rebellion. While the music industry is finding a million ways to make computers sing and dance and auto-tune any Disney character into stardom, both the Americana Music Festival and the IBMA World of Bluegrass celebrate real musicianship, communal collaboration and a reason for a Luthier to keep honing his skills in search of the perfect tone wood.

This recipe continues to build both communities with younger generations every year.

After all, how many times can the music business reinvent the 70’s and the 80’s?

Mike Farris hanging at Mercy Lounge, Americana 2010, photo – Brad Hardisty

So, while commercial Country is now going to be shown every week in the night time soap, Nashville, basically re-spinning the movie Country Strong, “Americana,” which can claim anything from pre-war anthems to Red Dirt scene country and Bluegrass, New Grass and all its modern heirs are really the new cool. These two celebrations are really the underground cool.

As far as Soundland? What happened? Well, it’s now on October 6th and after a peak year three years ago that featured major music business players talking about the next generation of music delivery and several days of new music, it is now one day down by the river with bands that already play Lollapalooza and other big festivals.

Wanda Jackson signing autographs at Mercy Lounge after Jack White produced album showcase, Americana 2010.

There are only a few locals, when Nashville could really do a Next Big Nashville with such a burgeoning Indie Rock and other type Music Scene, we get Soundland with just a couple of token Nashvillians, PUJOL and Nikki Lane.  I guess we are going for national respect and now start-ups like Secret Stages in Birmingham are filling in the gap. Can I just say…huh?

– Brad Hardisty, Nashviille, TN

Meadownoise at The Groove, Aug. 25th, all photos-Brad Hardisty

Meadow noise , a solo project by Matt Glassmeyer, released a new Seven inch vinyl – CD combo in limited signed handmade numbers with an in-store at The Groove in East Nashville last Saturday, August 25th, with a solid set of new material.

With beer on tap and moderate temps, The Groove hosted what could have been called more of a house party than an in-store at their current location.  The Groove fits in with a neighborhood chalk-full of the new Nashville, an ever changing local scene of new songwriters, that while serious on storytelling, don’t have any Country twang and live in a cross culture of the classic “Leave It To Beaver” neighborhood with modern urban eateries.

Meadownoise is a one man “combo” taking a Billy Preston meets Bruce Hornsby approach to a post Five For Fighting world played out on an old studio furniture prize, a fifty year old Wurlitzer Electric Piano with some mild changes in delay textures and a backbeat of self-created looped rhythms that Matt creates by beating on a guitar with some metal works on the body and then twists the heck out of a parametric EQ to create beat machine style audio.

The biggest piece of Meadownoise is the word pictures that seem to make you think in new ways with new lines, kind of like when Jeni’s moved into the neighborhood and forced patrons to describe Ice Cream in new terminologies for the triple scoop.

The songs ran the gamut, like a verbal historical narrative of a Nashvillian middle age soldier viewing the changes as the Civil War was starting. Nashville was taken over by the Yankees very early on and it was a strange site to paraphrase, “The blues are coming.”  The blues were coming, but, in a different way that would change the south.

Even Toddlers got the beat! Meadownoise at The Groove.

I guess the real songplay came with “Get Back at My Girlfriend” with a beat reminiscent of The Beatles, “Get Back” and Billy Preston’s Electric Piano driving a very new chord structured Indie groove.  

Meadownoise publicly thanked family, friends and a laundry list of supporters that helped to make the release happen as well as inviting everybody over for an after party at his house as well as a late night gig at the Secret Identities Art Show.

It really was a neighborhood show,  a tight village of eclectic musicians and songwriters on every block with a studio nearby that produced Robert Plant’s last album. An enclave where people eat handfuls of crunchy things, buy locally sourced meat and where change and a classic 40’s style neighborhood intersect.

Meadownoise, handcrafted packaging, limited run, 7 inch- CD combo.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

David Andersen

While the Honky Tonks beckon tourists from all over the world, there are two ambassadors that get right at eye level and can play with skill, discuss and share the heritage of Nashville. That is David Andersen in the lobby of The Country Music Hall of Fame, whose recordings are available in the gift shop and “ Mandolin Mike” Slusser with his weathered mandolin usually somewhere near Gruhn Guitars down on Lower Broad.

Both are top quality musicians. Both tell the story of Nashville through their playing, their interaction and approachability.

“Mandolin Mike” Slusser photo- Brad Hardisty

The difference is Mike is no longer allowed to sell CD’s out of his guitar case when he plays. Never mind the fact that the bands that play in the Honky Tonks, who also play for tips, sell their CD’s at the foot of the stage in the same manner.

Slowly but surely, the true Street Musicians have almost disappeared.  

Just four years ago, prior to the recession, a musician could survive on tips while connecting with tourists, other local musicians and figure out how to make it in Nashville.

Townes Van Zandt once commented that he made more money playing for tips on Lower Broad than gigging around town.

J D Simo at Robert’s photo- Collings Guitars

In the last few years, J D Simo did some street gigging before landing a spot with the Don Kelley Band at Robert’s. J.D. has gained notoriety for some great guitar playing and is now seen in ads for Collings Guitars in guitar magazines.

Years ago, Lower Broad attracted tourists because that is where the hit songwriters and musicians hung out. Lower Broad has continued to develop as a tourist playground while the street ambassadors, The Nashville Street Musicians are dwindling and getting no support from City Hall.

The ability to make it as a street musician has been severely affected by The Contributor vendors (not to put down a unique effort), the economic downturn and the fact that more and more tourists and locals do not carry cash.

There has to be a way to support and develop a healthy community of street musicians.

It is possible to develop a hybrid vendor license similar to the system used in Memphis on Beale Street.

“Mandolin Mike” Slusser with tourists Andrew and Rachel Downs from Birmingham, AL – photo – Brad Hardisty

It could be quite simple either by utilizing the downtown ambassadors or a non-profit street musicians union that collects license fees either monthly or yearly for specific locations. The fee needs to be low, as an example maybe $75 per year since musicians earn about 1/3 of what they used to.

The musician or group would receive a license that could be worn like a badge with a strap like a trade show or be displayed in the guitar or instrument case and be assigned to a specific spot like Beale Street in Memphis. A committee could get the spots cleared with the approval of local businesses where they would not be blocking any doors or foot traffic.

There could also be a few spots for weekenders that would need to stop in and get a weekend license and claim the spot.

This would stop random musicians from showing up and creating a nuisance without understanding local ordinances.  Musicians would also need to audition to show some sort of musical viability that honors the traditions of Nashville or shows strong performance, songwriting or playing ability.

I feel this could actually help to build on a great Nashville tradition without throwing musicians into the same category as panhandlers and vagrants.

My 1936 Gibson Electric Hawaiian, Soldano cabinet and Custom handmade early Samamp 45 watt all tube head made in Birmingham, Alabama by Sam Timberlake.

When I first came to Nashville, I got out on the block for fun, usually playing in front of Lawrence Record Shop, because, I wanted the experience and it was a way to develop chops and make a little money. One of my personal high points was when Little Jimmy Dickens stood and watched me play my 1936 Gibson Electric Hawaiian (that I purchased at Gruhn Guitars in 2007)through a little Roland Street amp and after about ten minutes, threw a $20 bill in the case and said, smiling,”Keep it up.”

Tristan Dunn at Cash Wall, sometime street musician, sit in with local bands. photo – Brad Hardisty

Their needs to be an advocate for the street musicians, true musicians that bring music up close and can discuss what it is all about with tourists and locals. It could be a benefit to downtown Nashville in the Lower Broad Entertainment District.

While Homeless Photographers and Writers are able to develop talents and abilities through The Contributor, homeless musicians and true troubadours are made to feel unwelcome and have all but disappeared.

Somebody start the discussion! We need to make it possible for musicians to be safe and able to ply their trade, making tips, selling CD’s, photos and buttons (making available, not verbally asking to buy) in the Lower Broad District. It can be tough surviving as a musician even with talent and ability.

It would be simple to kick out random wanderers if we had a vendor’s badge system and there were assigned areas along the route. Police would not have to make it rough for everybody, only those operating outside the guidelines.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Eclectic Singer/Songwriter, Brent Byrd is hitting Nashville for some serious showcases and good times.

Brent Byrd – Photo courtesy Morning Sock Studios

30 second Bio?

 I was born, didn’t start living until 12…when I got my first guitar, started a horrible band, had no money, joined the army, got out of the army, started a not so bad band and began this long, long journey of becoming a full time musician. I’ve lived and played music all over the US from San Diego to Miami and have performed with many great artists some of which have long forgotten about me and some of which I have long forgotten about, I live in St. Augustine Florida but very rarely and I still have no money!  Ahhh, the life of a musician.
What have you been up to lately?

 Well, lately I spend most of the time cruising my RV from town to town playing music. I just finished up my 2nd solo CD “ Evolution Of The Free” and just trying to get it heard by as many    people as possible. So yeah, lately my eyes have just been glued to the pavement!
Why Nashville?

 I’ve never been much of a follower and there are tons of really good musicians that head to Nashville with the hopes and dreams of being a full time musician.  I’ve been building a good fan base throughout the Southeast and Midwest over the past 2 years and I’ve kind of avoided Nashville because of that reason but I think it was inevitable. I mean, it is ” Music City” so of course I finally had to throw myself right in the fire and I love it. The vibe, the scene, the musicians, the food, not so much the heat but being around all these musicians just makes me strive to be a better musician. (note- Brent, it is not usually this hot, but, the humidity is good for your guitar and makes for fluid playing and good vocal chords! Ha!- The Nashville sound!)

Found any good food or venues you like to hang at?

The National Underground has given me the opportunity to play there every Thursday through Sept. so I have been hanging out there quite a bit.  They have great burgers and the staff is very cool but I’ve been walking around Broadway going into anywhere that has music, which of course is almost everywhere. I also really like Jacks BBQ and Crema is a cool place to hang out.  I am in search of a great sushi place although I am on a pretty tight budget so PBR’s have become a staple lately.

Brent Byrd – Photo courtesy Morning Sock Studios

What should we know about your music?

It’s folk infused rock with a dash of reggae served with a side of southern jam…music that is! I write about real things, my life experiences, my views and mainly I want people to stop and think about life and how we live it. 
Favorite gear?

 Well, I recently just purchased a new Boss RC-300 loop pedal which has really enabled me to take my show to a new level. I have been using loops with my performances for the past 3 years but with this new one I can add multiple instruments and control them individually. I tour with a Martin acoustic but I have a Gibson J-200 which by far is my favorite…I just can’t leave her sitting in the RV so she stays home but I did give her a cell phone so we can still talk.
Any favorite local songwriters or artists?

 I’ve been really trying to network with some local artists and experience Nashville to the fullest.  I really like Tim Boucher, he is currently touring but I have performed with him at The National Underground and just enjoy his music and talent. I actually grew up with Joshua Jones from Steel Magnolias but I haven’t reconnected with him yet, but we are from the same hometown and he always wanted to play my Gibson at open mic nights…which of course I let him but watch him like a hawk.
What would you tell others that would be helpful about coming to Nashville? Preparation?

Watch other bands, get to your show early and support the musicians playing before and after you, don’t show up 2 minutes before your gig and leave right after your gig, thank the sound tech and staff and play your ass off…how’s that!

Upcoming gigs?

I will be performing at The National Underground every Thursday at 7pm in August and September 2012 as well as at Two Old Hippies on Wed. Sept 12th, 2012 at 6 pm.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Infinity Cat 10th Anniversary, Night 2 at The Zombie Shop – all photos / Brad Hardisty

At Exit/In, the night before, night one of the Infinity Cat Records 10th  Anniversary celebration , it was announced that things would start at The Zombie Shop,  Saturday night at 5PM. When I got there, some of the crew was heading out to eat instead of loading in. I stopped them and asked if it was still on. They said it would definitely start by 9 because there were several bands lined up.

This was definitely a casual 5PM start.  I headed over to Panera near Vanderbilt to check my email and chill for a while. I took them at their word and didn’t get back till after 10PM.

I didn’t get home till 3PM from the Exit/In show and I was low on body and mind fuel. This was not going to be an all-nighter when I got back to The Zombie Shop.  The Zombie Shop sits in an area where any pre-2011 buildings’ days are numbered. Just ask the Musicians Hall of Fame (or once was but now is not).

The Zombie Shop, Mopeds all over the back

The Zombie Shop sits directly south of the new Music City Center, with all its curves and gargantuan size, looking somewhat like a super- sized version of the Experience Music Project (home of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia). In the renderings of the new center, the area that comprises the Zombie Shop, looks like it is either new “swanky” office and mixed use (outrageously expensive) space or a new tree-lined boulevard.

One can only hope that the owners of the Zombie Shop get what this large warehouse style workshop with enough open area outside for about 50 cars get what it’s worth and not the shaft like the Musicians Hall of Fame.

To give you an idea, this area of town sits between the homeless shelter (a converted Sears store), Third Man Records on the backside of that and what used to be older cheap use industrial buildings slinking north towards the bright lights, big city of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bridgestone Arena and Lower Broad Honky-Tonks.

This has been essentially no-man’s land where homeless, vagabonds of the western world and punk and metal bands attracting local non-tourists who dare to venture. It was an area where you could be left alone.

Now, the city fathers have decided all things must be come new. So, like the Station Inn that now sits like an old RCA Victrola squashed by all the new zippity doo dah Gulch pricy lofts and swanky shops, this area is quickly being lost to development.

The Zombie Shop has been an all ages venue/hang out for a while and this was perfect for Infinity Cat.  This lineup included the more fast, loud, punk rock side of the label, like Cy Barkley and Heavy Cream along with Breast Massage, Slammers, Denney and The Jets, No Regrets Coyote and Dirty Dreams.

It was an all ages celebration with skateboards, broke down mopeds in the back, young kids, older punk mainstays and label supporters from all over the country.  Saturday saw an even larger crowd than at the Exit/In show.  This is the future of the label. There are a lot of kids buying Infinity Cat stuff that were not old enough to make it into the Exit/In 18+ show.

Cy Barkley & The Wayoutsiders

Cy Barkley & The Wayoutsiders were finishing their set when I got there.

Taking a look at the T-Shirts, I really wanted one of the sky blue T’s with a print of a cat with JEFF The Brotherhood underneath, but none in 2X. In fact, no 2X T’s! Man I can’t help it. I know I need to lose some weight, but, can’t get a 2X? There are more of us than just me.

Thinking about the Skyblazer album, I thought, I want it on CD so I can listen to the long jams while cruising along 65 at night when I head to Birmingham or Florida. It’s only on vinyl for now. Hey, I totally understand. Maybe, I’ll just have to get the vinyl. I still think MP3’s are wannabes. The only time I get MP3’s are when friends send them to me. I like my music to not sound like a BLT without the bacon and extra lettuce.

I ran into a lot of the Infinity Cat strays from Exit/In plus another 200 friends in one of the best house party style gatherings. Enjoy it while it lasts. This type of party might end up having to move out near Little Hamilton or something within five years.  I guess progress means jobs and I can’t fault that part of the equation.

Heavy Cream load in time!

The last time I saw Heavy Cream was almost two years ago, Jessica was in the catsuit and they played at Third Man during Next Big Nashville. That was almost a manic call during those times. The future of Nashville is anybody’s guess with all the “for sale” signs going up on Music Row. Alternative and Punk may not fully take the place of what the music business is losing, but, it makes the Nashville Music Scene more balanced where everybody is welcome.

Heavy Cream kick out the jams at The Zombie Shop, 7/21/2012

This may be Heavy Cream Mach II or III, with a new bass player and drummer, Tiffany Minton, providing a solid ticking away of the timing, not missing a beat. They were locked perfectly. I noticed I’m not the only one who thinks that. I read some reviews online from other shows this morning and they give the same green light. It seemed like the early Heavy Cream version was a group fighting against itself, timing and rhythm wise, which is an easy mistake playing very fast straightforward punk.

Underneath the Infinity Cat banner!

Heavy Cream reminds me of the loud raw energy of Raw Power era Iggy Pop & The Stooges with the comedic lyrical bent of really early Donnas or even pre-Donnas’ Ragady Anne.

Hit the floor!

Jessica has got that “Iggy Pop glare” going on where you don’t know what she is going to do next. If the crowd aint doing enough, Jessica gets in the crowd and starts egging them on. She wants a reaction. I can’t see her smearing peanut butter all over herself, but, she has that “Iggy style front girl bully pulpit” thing better than anybody else in town. Watch out, she can stare you down without blinking.

Everybody was in the cavernous garage when the girls hit the stage. Heavy Cream ripped through a lot of new material from Super Treatment, like “Louise,”recorded in San Francisco with Producer, Ty Segall. The new songs have that raw, loud tightness of other bay area punkers like the Dead Kennedys– “California Uber Alles” and the original MX-80 SoundSomeday You’ll Be King “ that was on The Residents, Ralph Records back in 1979.

Jessica McFarland / Heavy Cream / The Zombie Shop 7/12/2012

Super Treatment, with its almost other worldliness relation to the cover of The CrampsBad Music for Bad People may be the defining Nashville Punk album, much in the same way as Justin Townes Earle’s, The Good Life when it set off true Nashville Americana edge. Super Treatment fits within the true family tree bridging the Nashville Punk scene with West Coast and East Coast Bad Brains grit and swagger.


Heavy Cream closed their set with Alice Cooper’s, “Is It My Body” done more in a “what-are-you-staring-at-leave-me-alone” kind of way and finally their biggest song to date, “Watusi” which got the frontline in a friendly Nashville style  slam dance frenzy.

Heavy Cream do the Watusi!

Infinity Cat hung on the back wall, overseeing the crowd as they exited into the dark streets with the new Gotham City Music Center hanging like a dark cloud over the night.

Infinity and beyond!

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN