Archives for category: Corb Lund

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


Trouble in Mind Two Years Strong

It has been two years since the release of “Trouble in Mind” on Lost Highway and Hayes Carll is still garnering recognition by both his peers and the Americana Music Association. He has been compared to Townes Van Zandt in the tradition of the best songwriters Texas has to offer.

I couldn’t believe his set was the first night, Wednesday at the earliest time slot of 8pm at the smallest venue of the Americana Music Festival, The Basement, which can only hold about 100 fully packed. I was tied up at work until 8PM and rushed over in 10 minutes flat to get in as soon as possible. I ran into a couple who travelled from Australia who were rushing like me over to The Basement. They had come for the Festival, but more specifically, to see Hayes Carll play. I was surprised they knew about him. They said,” you can find Hayes Carll CD’s in Australia but it’s not easy.”

Hayes had won AMA Song of the Year in 2008 with “She Left me for Jesus” one of the cleverest songs that at one point is irreverent but at the same time you can’t help laughing with lines like “She says he’s perfect, well how can I compete?” This was my first time to see him since finding “Trouble in Mind” eight months ago while rummaging through all the links Amazon had when I put in Texas songwriters.

Neon Glow Hayes at The Basement

The album “Trouble in Mind” has taken Hayes Carll about as far as any artist could.  He not only won “Emerging Artist” this year at The Americana Music Association Awards, but, Ray Wylie Hubbard was up for song of the year for a cover of another song off that album, “Drunken Poet’s Dream” which opened up “Trouble in Mind” written by Hayes and Ray.

Ray Wylie Hubbard at Mercy Lounge

 In fact, I left the show at The Basement and was at Mercy Lounge listening to Ray play it onstage 3 minutes after I arrived. If I had left any later, I would have missed it. What a Karma moment with Ray playing Hayes and his song with Ray’s son, Lucas, being featured on lead guitar. Maybe, Robert Plant would be the surprise guest the next night at the awards and overshadow what was going on, but Hayes’ had the Karma and Mojo.

The song didn’t win, but, it was up against Ryan Bingham’s “The Weary Kind” the theme song from “Crazy Heart”.  It is hard to argue with success and T Bone Burnett.  Ryan may have opened more doors for Americana and Country music, but, maybe not as big as “Urban Cowboy” did way back when.

The funny thing is “Crazy Heart” did open the door for the Texas charts. Maybe that is what T Bone Burnett wanted to do since true Country music can be found in Texas under the banner of “Americana Music” in these day and times. The banner of “Americana” is the revolution and Hayes Carll and fellow writer, Texas raised, Ryan Bingham are leading the way.

Hayes did a great set, I was squished in the secondary room with just a glance of the stage here and there. It was absolutely awful, but I could say I was there with the rest of the sardines. Hayes did a slow interpretation of “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart”. It was a great set that was with a full band that featured tour mate Bonnie Whitmore of Nashville on Bass. Hayes was one of the sardines as you can see from the sweat dripping off as he made his way out after the set.

I was standing between media reps from KPIG out of Santa Cruz, California (Santa Cruz was at the forefront of the hippie scene, surf music and Punk so only fitting to hear this, a good barometer), who said “Trouble in Mind” was the only album they have played every cut and a guy from Mother Earth News who couldn’t stop saying good things about Hayes. There were plenty of Aussies and a few Englishmen.

If I had only one set I could make it to, with the exception of Wanda Jackson, it was to see Hayes.  He has a great sense of self deprecating humor, non cliché lyrics and a unique voice that will carry him for years. He may be the big crossover between Americana, Folk and Country as time passes.

Brad, Hayes Carll, the Basement, Nashville

After the show, I was able to meet up with him briefly. I told him it would be good to see him on a package tour with Ryan Bingham. Hayes shared he had “talked to Ryan but they haven’t got together yet”. My feeling is that they were both unique in their own way but complimented each other’s style to build on each fan base.  

Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Lucinda Williams and Hayes' Parents

The next time I caught up with him was after the Americana Awards where his Mom was hanging onto his award for him. It looks like Gibson Guitar had a hand in making the awards with the Gibson logo headstock coming out of the wooden base. Each award was hand painted and featured some artifacts of the artist.
It was cool being considered an emerging artist, yes; “Trouble in Mind” has legs and now can be considered a great album that stood the test of time now two years strong. I kind of joked about him getting the “Emerging Artist” award which he got since it has been eight years since his first album release. The thing is the award was not for “New” artist and after all, it is a great recognition from such a widespread community of artists that this album got a lot of airplay and will probably get more as the anticipation for the next release is getting strong.

Emerging Artist 2010

I would have liked to ask more questions, but, it was a big night and his parents were there to share the moment. I can always call management and schedule a follow up interview later. Congratulations, Hayes, it was a whirlwind weekend, but, hopefully will create some momentum this year. Please get on Lost Highway to update some photos and stuff on your website. After all, you deserve it. There is nothing like recognition from your peers. Good luck on the follow up.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

September 9, 2010, Nashville, TN, The Ryman Auditorium

Courtyard Hounds in the Alley

Just as Robert Plant was finishing up his surprise guest slot at The Americana Music Association Awards Show, former Dixie Chicks, as of late, Courtyard Hounds, Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson were emptying out the famed side door of The Ryman, signing autographs and taking pictures with a few of the media and locals that wandered down the beer light lit alley where John Ritter played as a boy while his father, Tex Ritter would be performing in the Mother Church, the home of The Grand Ole Opry.

Brad with Martie Maguire

I asked Martie if they were the surprise guests being talked about and she said “Nope, it was Robert Plant”. After which, I let her know that we had a general consensus that is who it would be. Yes, every time the stage door would open to the back door at the top of the stairs, there was no mistaking the voice of the Golden God.

It appears this could be a big turning point for the Americana Scene as it increases the sheer volume of styles and talent. WSM 650, “The Legend” will not only play the “Americana Files” on AM radio but will stream a 24/7 Americana Channel starting next week.  It is amazing that a radio station that was there in the beginning is leading the way into the future.

Peter Buck (REM), Brad

Other performers and presenters began streaming out after Robert Plant had finished his Buddy Miller lead set. Peter Buck stopped briefly on the misty asphalt for a couple of pictures. It seemed that Artists from Country and Nashville understood what the side door of The Ryman meant. It was where Elvis, Bill Monroe, Lefty Frizell and others used to disappear into the backdoor of Tootsies and other Lower Broad watering holes back in the day after performing before sold out crowds. It has been a place where a few fans would chance to meet the Entertainers from the Saturday night airwaves.

Lucinda Williams slowly made it down the stairs, appearing to be a little exhausted, maybe a little travel weary. Lucinda made time to talk, sign, take pics and hang out with the few of us who had gathered to greet them in the late dewy air of The Ryman.  Lucinda was Indie before there was “Americana” helping to define the genre by being fiercely independent in her songwriting and delivery.

Lucinda Williams at The Ryman, Brad

Lucinda expressed concern about what was going on in the Country, she felt she had never been this concerned before. We discussed the Pastor who was planning on having a Koran burning on 9/11. Lucinda was relieved to find out he wasn’t going through with it.

A few more people came through the alley and lined up about 4 or 5 long with a man in a fresh clean promotional shirt of some new upcoming Country Artist at the very end. He waited patiently as he approached Lucinda with a piece of paper he found to get her autograph.  He had a big smile on his face. A little luck had come his way this time as he walked the back alley.

He could have been a homeless man or a local African-American maybe from the Southside. Who knows but he is a part of the Carnival feel that attracts even those with not much to hang down on Lower Broad.

He politely asked for her autograph and shared some words with her. As he wandered west towards Tootsies, Lucinda was a little reflective and teary eyed. She said “Excuse me” as she tried to regain her composure. Lucinda lived in Nashville for nine years and I am sure some things still have not changed. I just said, “he kind of touched you didn’t he?”  She responded, “He probably wasn’t even at the show, if I had known, somehow, you know I would have gotten him in somehow… his name was Perry”. 

She was very reflective for a moment. I said “You never know.  There may be a song in that”. Her Manager said, “There can always be a song in something”.  Lucinda noted “You know it’s one of those things where what if Jesus was somebody in the crowd that nobody paid any attention to”.  We all seemed to think about it for a moment. Lucinda shared a little of her thoughts and some “Real Love“.  What a big heart.

I said, “You ought to move back to Nashville.” Lucinda just came back, “Too many cloudy days, I need sunshine”. Well, it has been cloudy this week but then again they always say “It Never Rains in Southern California ”.

Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Lucinda, Hayes' Parents

As she left, a few others streamed out. We soon found out Robert Plant decided to make a rock star escape out one of the other doors after security had cleared the quad and he jumped into a waiting Hummer. Not quite the “rub shoulders with Country fans” type of thing, but, hey, he is a famous person who values his privacy.

As I was getting ready to leave for the next big show, Lucinda’s new friend came wandering down the alley again. I smiled at him “Hey Perry how’s it goin?” He stopped and smiled and said “How do you know my name?” I said “ Lucinda told me.  You made a big impression on her”.

Perry smiled and said “it’s not every day you get to meet somebody famous”. He put his hand on my shoulder for a minute and smiled at me. It was there that I realized what Lucinda saw. The eyes don’t lie. He had a smile that penetrated your soul.  He was as common as anybody down at the Mission with a couple of missing teeth, but, he had that “One of Gods Children” vibe that only a person with a pure soul could have.  As he backed away, he stared at the Press badge with my name on it for a minute and strolled down the same path he was on before. In God’s hands.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN