Archives for category: FNA Records

My endorsement shot for Violet Moon Guitar Strap Ons

In Nashville, there is so much music press; it’s hard to know what people really like to read about. In having my own site, I’ve noticed I get readers from all over the world. I do get to write for other publications, such as Performer, Shake and Sleaze Roxx, but, on my own site, many times I just get to write what is on my mind.

Here are a few of the top articles this year, if you didn’t get a chance to read what others are reading.

Parrish with sister Stacy

I felt it was really up to me to write the tribute piece about guitarist Parrish Hultquist. The Utah rock scene, although very insular, had a lot of local bands in the 80’s. I met Parrish while we were still in high school and he is still considered the greatest guitarist to ever come out of that state. I not only wrote this piece for my site, but, another one that went out to Sleaze Roxx and was republished throughout the world on several Rock music sites including Hungary. His band Megattack, at the time was considered a supergroup by creating a band from members of The Jack, Mannequin and other well know Utah rock groups, their first shows were at the Utah Fairgrounds with capacity crowds of close to two thousand people before signing a record deal and releasing Raw Delivery on Dream Records in France. They got together for a reunion album Save The Nations in 2006 and two reunion shows before drummer Brian Sorenson went into a coma and Parrish returned to Spokane with health issues, which eventually took his life early this year.

The radio show on PureRockRadio.net in tribute to Parrish after his death was the biggest in Pure Rock Radio based out of Las Vegas, Nevada history. I was able to get in contact with former band members, who reminisced, while tracks from three bands he was a member of, Moviescreen, Megattack and Wolfgang played.

This is not only the biggest read article this year, but the most read all time, other than those who regularly go to my front page to see what is new. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, here is the quick link: Parrish Hultquist, Utah’s Greatest Guitarist Gone at 48

Evanescence Guitar rig at War Memorial show

In August I was invited to cover local band Fools For Rowan opening for Evanescence at the War Memorial. Armed with just my Smartphone, not able to locate a photographer in time, this article was linked to multiple Evanescence fan bulletin boards and was the most read show revue of the year. I’m sure it got interest in Fools For Rowan while giving Evanescence fans worldwide a little taste of the War Memorial gig, The funniest thing; I never know how shots from my phone are going to work. The best shot was the stage left shot of the guitarist rig before the Evanescence set.

Enjoy:  Fools For Rowan Open Evanescence Nashville Show

Jimi in Kentucky, Screaming Eagles

Jimi Hendrix will never cease to amaze people. I read a local interview that Bassist Billy Cox did about Jimi Hendrix time after being in the military in Kentucky. He was down in Nashville, playing on Jefferson Street, Nashville’s Beale Street, long before he went to New York City. I started doing Jimi citings, finding the places he stayed and where he used to play. In the late last year release, West Coast Seattle Boy, a DVD was part of the package that talked more about his time in Nashville.

 Although written late last year, I included this, because it is the second all time read article.  Brad Schreiber wrote an incredible book entitled Becoming Jimi Hendrix that really explained what Jimi was doing before going to England.  Jimi left his mark here. After talking to Civil Rights Photographer, Ernest Wither’s daughter, I was invited to speak in Memphis earlier this year about Jimi’s time in Tennessee. I did want to research more on the subject, but, I felt the one person who could really talk about those times would be Billy Cox, who still lives in Nashville. I spoke to Billy briefly about the invitation to speak in Memphis and invited him to speak about Jimi. Billy was not able to do that with the upcoming commitments of the Experience Tour this year. I eventually decided to leave the invitation to rest. Hopefully, Billy can speak about those early days, pre-New York in the future.

Jimi Hendrix in Nashville: Jimi Hendrix: The Nashville Connection

The August at Douglas Corner Cafe

I don’t write a lot about Country music since it is so well covered here in Nashville. I do like to write about breaking artists though. Especially when they are “that” good. One such group is The August who moved down here from Chicago. This article was the biggest read Country music article for the year.

The August with Jacky Dustin Sweet Emotion at Douglas

Eddie Hinton and Muscle Shoals nuff said

I picked up a copy of The Oxford American issue on Alabama Music. I was a part of the Alabama scene for several years playing not only with my band Furthermore, but with other local songwriters like Nathan Whitmore and Adam Guthrie. I consider those years in Birmingham to be some of my favorite times. I was shocked when I didn’t see word one about Eddie Hinton. Most of the musicians in Alabama would vote him numero uno when you talk about Alabama Music. This open letter was a huge read.

An Open Bama Letter to Oxford American

Anthony Corder, Tora Tora Live at Snowden Glen 2011

Last but not least, the most read interview here on this site was with Anthony Corder after the release of Tora Tora’s Revolution Day. This was an album recorded almost two decades ago, but, was never released until this year on Nashville’s FnA Records.  Tora Tora was the 80’s band that made it out of Memphis. They recorded all three albums at Ardent Studios in Memphis and always have a little bit of the soul and blues in the mix.

Anthony Corder on Tora Tora’s Revolution Day

One thing is for sure, there is no way to plan out what article is going to be big. It could go big because I wrote from the heart or because the band is bigger overseas. It could be for any reason and none in particular, but, music is still important to all of us and reading about the things that matter still has a place in Nashville.

As for next year, the biggest thing on my plate is my first band biography that I am writing under contract. It should be completed next year. That is about all I can reveal about that right now.

Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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Strange Karma on Nashville set - Fade to Black

Monday Night saw Nashville State Community College’s PEG Studio rocking the campus with Aussie’s Strange Karma on a stopover between live dates in Chicago and Detroit before heading to the West Coast.

To be featured on an upcoming episode of Local TV Show Fade To Black, Strange Karma performed four numbers with hints of classic hard rock such as Led Zeppelin to Aussie style heavy Midnight Oil Rhythms of “America”, this is the first Nashville will get to see of Strange Karma live as well as an interview with show host, Steve Lockett and yours truly.

Jason McDonald - Strange Karma

Jason McDonald sat behind a DW double bass kit reminiscent of Cozy Powell, laying down solid percussion, wearing his DW sponsorship proudly with a full tattoo on his arm of the drum kit. Jason was playing in Australian Van Halen and Led Zeppelin tribute bands before hooking up with brothers Martin and Paul Strange.

Paul, was running his 58’ Classic Ebony Black Les Paul almost straight into the Marshall JCM800 half stack, employing just a couple of pedals, leaving a dense analog wall of sound, with nods to Jimmy Page as well as Paul Kossoff.

Martin & Paul Strange

Brother, Martin Strange fronted the band with a Jim Morrison presence and a little Robert Plant thrown in for good measure. These references may be a little over the top, but, in actual fact this is original Hard Rock with all the grit and none of the digital high end squelch ring of busy activity associated with so much computer processed ADD Ear Candy in today’s metal.

Bassist, Doe Prijono, of Indonesian descent who arrived in Australia in his youth, provides not only six string bass prowess, but, acts as the guy that everybody likes in the band. Everybody wants to hang with Doe, with a demeanor as smooth as a mountain lake and matching musical depth, the four members of Strange Karma spur each other on to higher climes.

Local band, Scarey Larry, had finished a TV taping of their episode of Fade To Black just prior and decided to hang for the Aussie’s set. It has to be said, every time I get the chance to hang with Aussies, the more I want to visit Australia. It may be that they are the only people on par for friendliness with Southerners. The only difference is they still have that daredevil west coast attitude as well.

Australians like to conquer the world and Strange Karma is willing to do it one American fan at a time.  Although their music is rooted in solid hard rock roots, it is their own thing with enough in the mix not to be associated with just one of the branches in the tree.

Dutch, Steve, Paul, Nashville South, Doe, Jason, Martin, Nashville North on Lower Broad

With just a short time between dates up north then on to two Texas shows, 11/24 & 11/25 before headlining a gig at The Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood on November 30th, Strange Karma wanted to make the most of their night in Nashville by celebrating Doe’s Birthday down on Lower Broad, cruising through Legend’s Corner, Roberts, where Eric Clapton found five vintage Stratocasters and built “Blackie” out of three of them when it was partly known as Sho-Bud Guitars, as well as The Stage before ending up at Full Moon Saloon where Megan Ellis just blew away the whole band doing everything from Patsy Cline to Stevie Nicks. The band was immovable till it was time to go crash before heading to Memphis to visit Graceland then head southwest to Austin, Texas.

Strange Karma plans on making a return visit to Nashville in the near future, especially with plans for a new album in the coming year, the current FnA Records release, Volume One is available now and the Fade To Black episode will be aired soon on NECAT Channel 19 in Davidson County and probably YouTube on a computer near you.

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

One of the cool things about having a great Indie Rock label like FnA Records near Nashville is that I get the opportunity to cross paths with everybody from Tora Tora, with roots in Memphis to interviewing Rock bands all over the world.

My newest interview was with Paul Strange of Strange Karma who recently released Volume One on Fna Records for Sleazeroxx.com.

 

You can read it here.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvilllebridge@hotmail.com

Leo Kottke burst onto the scene at the beginning of the Seventies with a fresh approach to the acoustic guitar, especially with open tuned fingerpicking style on 12 string that influenced generations of Guitarists after him, such as Pat Metheny, Michael Hedges and Tommy Emmanuel.  AEG Live/ The Messina Group will bring the Player’s Player live to TPAC’s James K. Polk Theater on Wednesday, March 16th.

Leo is best known for his Polyphonic Syncopated Melodies and use of detuned obscure chords. His first album recorded in 1969, 6 and 12 String Guitar on Takoma Records, has been reissued many times as it was a blue print for what was possible, thinking outside the box, Leo was the Allan Holdsworth of the steel string acoustic.

Leo was so amazing as a solo performer and recording Artist that he was picked up by Capitol Records in the Seventies, releasing five albums by 1975 including Dreams and All That Stuff which peaked at #45 on the Billboard Charts. Leo then moved on to Chrysalis Records until 1983. The music business finally caught up with Leo’s forward process when he moved to New Age Label, Private Music in 1986. This was a productive time with a community of musicians looking for inventive composition achieving one of his highest chart positions with That’s What at #24 on the Billboard Charts.

Leo has worked with several Artists including Lyle Lovett, Rickie Lee Jones, Chet Atkins, David Hidalgo and most recently released two critically acclaimed albums with Phish Bassist, Mike Gordon , Clone and Sixty Six Steps. Sixty Six Steps featured some interesting covers of “Sweet Emotion” the classic Aerosmith song as well as “Oh Well” the Peter Green penned Fleetwood Mac song.

Leo who was born in Athens, Georgia and grew up learning to play the style of Mississippi John Hurt in Muscogee, Oklahoma, eventually incorporated many influences from Delta Blues, Jazz and Folk Music. In much the same way as Mandolin Player Sam Bush and Banjo Man Bela Fleck he has always sought to re interpret traditional American Music in an ever expanding portfolio of methods.

When Leo had problems with tendonitis, he learned to find new tones without using fingerpicks, developing a more jazz fingered style method, as well as going the way of the Singer/Songwriter at times.  Despite being so advanced in his own style, Leo still is amazed at some of the prowess out there, “I hear people playing who baffle me. I can’t see how they’re doing it — either so soon because they’re so young or despite being laid up because they’re so old. It’s frustrating, this bafflement, only because I’ve never really done my homework, the quotidian, day-to-day scut work of concentrated study, and I owe it to people like Federico [Franco], or Snoozer [Quinn], to do that … they did. I admire these players”.

Leo’s life has been one of an ever changing music chameleon having started during the time of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix through the New Age Music Era and in a way going full circle working with Jam Band Alumni Mike Gordon, the guitar has been there always,” It saved my life when I was a kid. I’d been sick. Now it is my life. I wouldn’t call it joy, but that’s in there. It’s more than joy — and it gives me the creeps just saying that — but it’s true.”

 Leo has played on several makes and types of guitars over the years before finally becoming a Signature Artist for Taylor Guitars with his own co-designed 12 string model.  The TPAC Polk Theater will be a great forum to connect with a guitar community for the most essential element to Nashville is the guitar and there are more guitar players in Nashville than anywhere else in the world and the best of the best will no doubt be in attendance on March 16th for the inspired playing and improvisation of Leo Kottke.

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

FnA Records will officially release the long anticipated Tora Tora follow up to Wild America; Revolution Day on February 28th on purerockradio.com at 8:30 PM Pacific Time live on the air from Las Vegas, Nevada with DJ Cory Draper playing some of the tracks and celebrating with all the original members of the band; Anthony Corder, Keith Douglas, Patrick Francis and John Patterson.

It has been a while since 1994 when this gem was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee just like the previous two albums. Anthony and I sat down for an Indian Lunch buffet at Tamarind on Demonbreum, just off Music Row in Nashville to reflect back on that time.  Tora Tora has been lucky over the last few years doing reunion shows and playing Rocklahoma in 2008.

The release of Revolution Day has been long anticipated since the fans have been getting their first taste of the music from Revolution Day live over the last couple of years. Tora Tora fans, especially in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee were excited to know that Revolution Day was going to see the light of day.

Brad: Everybody in the band is still nearby?

Anthony: Yeah everybody is still based out of Memphis. We actually ended on great terms when the record deal was done. Our A&R Guy Brian was a great guy, he also signed Soundgarden.

B: So who was your Management then?

A: We were with Loud n Proud which was based out of Brooklyn. L’amour’s was a big heavy metal club and we used to go there and rehearse for a first tour which was our first trip out of town, when we were going to promote our record, it was our first big tour. We would go there and stay out on Staten Island in some Loft apartments, with three of our crew guys; there were seven of us staying there in a one bedroom apartment.  So we’re driving into Brooklyn every day to rehearse at L’amour’s and go by the management office.

B: You were recording at Ardent, right? But, rehearsing in New York?

A: Yeah, we went out for eight weeks after the first record I think. We worked our way on from Pennsylvania, out in the boonies, places like the Cat Club, Vinnie’s,

B: And this was right after the first release?

A: Yeah after Surprise Attack. At the end we were with Bill Graham Management. About the time we were ready to wrap the third record, Brian (A&R) was offered a very lucrative contract to go with another label.

B: How did you get signed?

Tora Tora at Ardent during Wild America

A: Ardent had signed us to a production deal and they kept bringing A&R guys to Memphis to see us and A&M showed the most interest. They seemed the most genuinely interested in what was going on with the band. Brian (Artist Relations with A&M) was always really encouraging; he liked to hang out with us after our thing (in Memphis). We used to have this warehouse where we would showcase.

B: Was that like your practice space?

A: Yeah, we hung black garbage bags all over the wall and the front of the stage. Keith’s Dad had these 55 gallon blue barrels and we built a stage out of them. We put plywood on top of them and painted it. We would just recruit some of the Football players like from Ole Miss and they would run the door for us. They were security and the local DJ would announce us on the radio. He would say, “Hey tonight, don’t forget Tora Tora”. They would bring like long chairs and all kinds of stuff and just hang out and we would jam out all night. That’s where the record label came to see us play.

B: Did you have other bands playing gigs with you there?

A: Our first show was on Halloween and we had an opening act but after that we pretty much did our own thing.

B: Did you do the warehouse thing because there was pretty much one club or you had to open for a big name act?

A: The biggest problem was our crowd was under age so playing bars; they wouldn’t be able to get in. So it was a place, if you were under age where you could go and hang out and listen to lots of music. It was kinda cool. We did play at The New Daisy on Beale Street a lot. It’s like a little thousand seat Theater. We actually just played there in 2009 I think. It was kind of great to go back there and play in a place you grew up.

B: So what was going on around the time you did Revolution Day after a few years on the road?

A: About the time we got finished with recording our last, the third (Revolution Day) record, Keith our guitarist, was getting ready to have a Son, so he was thinking I don’t know if I’m up for doing another run on the road, maybe I’ll do the record, and of course we wanted him to go with us, we just said if you’re not going to go then we’re not going either. You know we had been playing together since we were kids.

B: So he didn’t think he would be able to do it?

A: Well, he just had a child that he wanted to be around. It was a big decision and at the time the other three of us weren’t married. Not to bring up anything negative, but it seemed like the timing was right to take a break, Brian (at A&M) was going and Keith was wanting to take some time off, so we were like you know what let’s just take a break and we’ll pick up where we left off or if we want to get back together we will.

B: So you kind of took a hiatus?

A: Yeah, and so we decided to do that and it took us I don’t know how long, fourteen years or something like that to get back. Everybody got back into their own life and had their things going on. I wanted to keep singing and I kept pounding it out with some other guys.

B: Were any of the guys playing in any bands or doing anything after Tora Tora?

A: Patrick actually did, he went on and did a thing with a band called Rail.

B: Was it the Rail that was on MTV and stuff back in the early eighties that won some contest and toured with Heart?

A: I don’t think so. Oh no.

B: When you started Tora Tora and got signed did you ever find out there were any other bands called Tora Tora?

A: We did, from the seventies I think.

B: Were they a U.S. Band?

A: Yeah, they were and they had a record called Made in Japan. It was funny.  I guess with the length of time and everything since their release we got permission and everything to get the rights to the name and go for it.

B: Nowadays with the internet, it is a lot easier to find out, but back then you would have to look through a library or for trademarks or something. Back then you wouldn’t know there was another band with your name unless you crossed regions. With a name like Tora Tora there was that possibility.

A: Right, we kind of found out on the back end, but it was enough time before we got the record deal and everything going.

B: When you were writing the music for Revolution Day there is a marked confidence in the playing.

A: We had grown so much out on the road. I mean on our first record we had never travelled. We didn’t have a lot of life experience. We just thought about dating girls, maybe catching a buzz or something. It was pretty limited but after our first record we spent two years out on the road and you could tell our eyes were just like opening.

B: Who were you touring with at the time?

A: We did a lot of touring on our own. We were brand new. We wanted to get out and get the chops, get our own crowd. It was about being in front of people, you know you can rehearse to death in a rehearsal room and hit every mark and great but when you play in front of people it turns into its own thing.

B: Now kids want to get in and do all these recordings and videos but what Rock and Roll is all about is going out and joining the circus.

A: Yeah we took three guys as our crew and went out and our A&R guy was there.

B: Did your A&R guy do merch for you?

A: No, He just wanted to go out with us on the road. It was great fun. I don’t know how other people work but he was pretty hands on.

B: That is really good though.

A: Yeah even Keith our guitar player got kind of close would hang with him. He would come up with all kinds of crazy stuff. One of my Birthdays, we were on our way to North Carolina or whatever and he would get ideas to go do stuff. There is nothing like being in a band together and just going out and doing stuff you like to do. We were getting so much better out on the road.

B: Well, when you think of the trilogy of Tora Tora albums it makes me think about Van Halen, on Van Halen it was just killer, and then when you get to Van Halen II, hey they have been out on the road, there just kind of more loose, relaxed and then Van Halen III it was like they thought we can do some crazy stuff, like with the drum beats and where they were going. It was kind of like Tora Tora was getting there, like now we can try some crazy stuff.

A: Yeah, we always rehearsed a lot so that when we got to the studio there were never any snares. Keith was always the perfectionist.  You know how it is, he was always creative. We were growing musically, but on that third record practiced a lot at an old studio around the corner from Ardent. We actually had done a lot of pre-production there for the Wild America record as well.

B: Are the first two A&M records still in print?

A: The first one (Surprise Attack) is, the second one is not. I think they only made about 300,000 units or something.

B: So what about Revolution Day?

A: I think we did stretch out musically.  We had a warehouse that was over by the airport and it was great we could get as loud as we want and there were planes like taking off. This was during the third record.

B: Did you know Rock City Angels when they were recording over at Ardent?

A: Yeah we knew them very well. I remember Bobby Durango and all those guys. Anyways, when we were at the warehouse, one of our crew guys had worked at Ardent and he was a great like Engineer guy and he could fix like anything in the world and he helped us mic up everything and did preproduction demos on 8 track cassette. That was some of the stuff we released on FnA Records.

B: Yeah some people are so into deep catalog stuff they are looking for stuff like that.

A: Yeah, I told FnA Records that was great even for us to have just to document that time.  We worked on that record for a long time and there are songs like “Little Texas” which is about this place in Mississippi where they are still toting stuff around it’s a farm area, a town called Little Texas, Mississippi. Lyrically it had stuff about my roots, more introspective.

B: So “Little Texas” is about where you grew up?

A: Yeah, a little bit. I mean the real place I’m from is called Avalon, Mississippi. It’s where Mississippi John Hurt is from, and you know cotton gins and little stores,

B: You know talking about Mississippi John Hurt; that was one of the blues players they went back to in the sixties like Son House.

A: My Granddad knew him. When I grew up, my family on my Mom’s side, they were all like porch players and my Mom played piano and my Uncle played guitar. The other Aunt sang.

B: Porch players? Like hanging out on the porch and jamming?

A: Yeah, porch pickers, they would all play and they got my Uncle to learn the John Hurt way of playing. So he would do it and play just like him. My Aunt could do it. I don’t realize it was something unique growing up there with my family jamming and stuff. My friends would come down with me to visit and they would be like, your family is playing this Mississippi John Hurt style and I would be like, no, let’s get out of here. I would never sing in front of my family. When I was about fifteen, a guy down the street from me was playing guitar and I’ll never forget, he got a Jackson, like he was all about it, it was pink and the slanted neck and all that. He got it and he was listening to a bunch of Dokken and all these things and I went down and he said you should sing or something. At first he got a snare, bass drum and a High hat and I was jamming with him and I was yelling over the drums. That is when I very first started singing.

B: Before that did you sing in the shower or anything like that?

A: No, I listened to a lot of top 40 radio and my parents listened to a lot of R&B and the bluesy stuff and they did Gospel. It was really important, because they were like strict Southern Baptist and we were at church every Sunday singing in church and stuff like that. It was definitely something different when I started singing with them and we started this group called Pioneer.

B: That was your first band?

A: We had done a couple of talent shows and a couple of Battle of the Bands things and then Patrick the bass player from Tora Tora talked to me one day. We saw each other at the Mall or something.

B: This was how Tora Tora started?

A: Yeah, he said we are going to have some auditions for the band and we wanted to know if you wanted to come by and sing. They were like into Iron Maiden and Rush, things I weren’t super clear with, and I knew some of the stuff.

B: You brought kind of the blues thing into it, kind of like they were these Metalheads?

A: Yeah, it wasn’t something like hey this is what we are going to do. It just kind of developed. They were playing like Cheap Trick, Rush 2112 and Iron Maiden.

B: This is a lot different than “Guilty”.

A: They had a following before I came in but it was more heavy kind of a Judas Priest thing. It turned into something a little bit different. After the first couple of times practicing it started changing and they were really teaching me a lot of things because I really didn’t know much about singing. I mean like timing and all that stuff. It was hilarious. I remember our first show we played out, like I didn’t move.  I stared at my feet. And they said you gotta move man. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I think about every day. I mean I can walk by somewhere and smell the room and say I want to get up there right now or something will happen. The third record though,

B: What would you say would be the radio cut on the new album?

A: I don’t know, we had a lot of fun where we had girls singing back up and we had the Memphis Horns on one track (Memphis Soul). We had written with some more outside writers like Stan Lynch from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

B: Really, Stan Lynch?

 A: He had two songs on the second record, and I think he had two on the third record. I still talk to him this day. He had a great stand here in Nashville. On the first record we were against writing with other people, but then we co wrote “Guilty” and that was like pulling teeth. None of us wanted to go in there. We felt like they were trying to change us. We thought well we need to man up so I went in there and wrote with him. We thought this is totally going to change our sound and the label is going to hate it and the label people went “Oh my God, this is great! We got a single!” It was a learning experience and the one thing I am happy about now, looking back on it, especially being in publishing now, I encourage people to write with as many people as they can. You always take something out of it even if the song is not that great.

B: There is nothing wrong with mixing it up.

A: I think Keith tried a lot of different things on the guitar; he tried a lot of different tones and sounds in the studio. We had the luxury when we were at A&M, all six years, with recording everything at Ardent.  It was kind of our home base. John Fry is still a great mentor to me.

B: John Fry is still the “guru” at Ardent today.

A: Yeah, and they gave us the opportunity to like grow and be experimental. I bet we wrote sixty songs for Revolution Day. That was actually demo’d up.

B: Pre-production was a big thing back then. You could demo thirty songs and pick twelve or thirteen.

A: I think the culture is totally different now. Economics.  Money is not flowing around like it used to be.  Technology affords you the opportunity to just trigger it. The overall thing about Revolution Day that I just wanted to say is get it out to the people that want to have the chance to hear it.

B: The songs from Revolution Day always go over really well. I was at your 2008 show.  The fans like it, people want a copy of it.

A: It’s out all over the internet (poor MP3 quality bootlegs). We just said, let’s do a copy right. I’m surprised fans are still out there and they’re still loyal. They appreciate everything we do. I think about it every day.

B: I talk to a lot a people from bands from back in the day and I mention Tora Tora, being from Memphis and the album Revolution Day and I always get positive feedback. It’s always, I really liked those guys.

A: I think a lot of it is due to the team we had around us at Ardent. The band, the guys, they really had a sound. We would go bang it out in the studio till we had the right sound.

B: So with Revolution Day, maybe you’ll do some more shows?

A: Well, Keith has been writing some stuff and said “I want to send some stuff over to you, not bang you in the head, maybe acoustic stuff at first. Which is good, I was always the mellow guy. I would love to do something again other than just do shows.

After a pile of Tandori Chicken, Curry and Rice we were done and where we were going was into the future. It is possible that Tora Tora may have some new material in the future with the same four members that tore it up back when, but, for now Revolution Day is a fantastic album equal sonically to some of the best Metal of the era like Motley Crue’s Doctor Feelgood for Metalheads past and present to enjoy.

Tora Tora present times

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

A year in Exile

If there was any kind of recurrent theme this year, The Rolling Stones kept popping up on the radar. It started when I bought the Deadstring Brothers album Sao Paulo an obvious well done Stones influenced work of art. It would be in my Top Ten if it had come out in 2010 but it actually was released in 2009. It is a great album and when I saw them live at The Basement it came across really well.

It didn’t stop there; Exile on Main Street had been remastered with bonus tracks where The Stones actually brought in Mick Taylor to play his parts on some unfinished tracks. The Rolling Stones released a new single “Plundered My Soul” from the found tracks and released several versions of the album.

Grimey’s did a midnight screening of the Documentary Stones in Exile that took photographs, film, new interviews with the band as well as Bobby Keyes and others about recording Exile on Main Street in the south of France way back when at The Belcourt Theatre. “Exile” is now considered a pivotal record but at the time “Tumbling Dice” was considered a difficult single on a rather un-commercial record.

During the Americana Conference the Long Players augmented with Stones Sax Player Bobby Keyes, Dan Baird and several singers like Mike Farris, Grace Potter and others did the entire album live at The Cannery Ballroom. 

The Theatre release Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones which was filmed during the Exile promotional tour in the States was remastered and released on DVD in the fall. The set featured many of the songs from Exile that are not played much by latter day Stones such as “Sweet Virginia”. The sound and film looked phenomenal and it was good to see Mick Taylor at his best, an integral part of The Stones during that period and in truth is really missed nowadays.

Finally, to finish off the year of The Stones, Keith Richard’s Autobiography Life was released in November along with a compilation of his X-Pensive Winos recordings from the late Eighties.  The Rolling Stones managed to keep in the music news almost as much as Taylor Swift.

Original cover for Straight Up

It also seemed to be the year for catalog re-releases as Apple Records remastered most of the Apple back catalog of non-Beatles recordings by Badfinger, Mary Hopkins, James Taylor and released all of them at the same time.

FnA Records continued to not only re-release 80’s metal catalog but also unearthed several recordings that were set to release but never were by labels such as A&M and Geffen when the Seattle scene took over.  There were several recordings by different artists from The Thirteenth Floor Elevators 45’s to Carnival Season vinyl that saw their material released on CD for the first time.

Janie Hendrix continues exquisite releases of all things Jimi Hendrix with the release of West Coast Seattle Boy that not only has yet another Bob Dylan song done by Hendrix but goes back to the background of what he was doing before going to England with expanded packages that include a disc full of Isley Brothers and other nuggets, pre-Experience as well as a DVD Voodoo Child that even talks about his Nashville days.

Country continues to sell big, but real, traditional or Texas Country has been swallowed up by the Americana scene. At least it has found a home. As far as innovation in current pop country the last leap forward was Miranda Lambert’s Revolution and that was released last year.

Here are few honorable no less worthy than the list:

Ratt – Infestation

Merle Haggard – I Am What I Am

Kort – Invariable Heartache

Charlie Louvin – The Battles Rage On

Marty Stuart – Ghost Train

Jim Lauderdale – Patchwork River

Crazy Heart – (Soundtrack) Various Artists

Okay, now for my Top Ten. In making my choices, I not only looked at material, but innovation and game changers, records that made things interesting.

10- Carnival Season / Misguided Promises / ARRCO

This represents not only a re-issue on CD for the first time of regional Birmingham band Carnival Season that features local legend Tim Boykin, but, painstakingly includes every recording the band made during their short time together as well as extensive liner notes that tell the whole story of the late 80’s rockers. It sits well on the shelf with bands like Redd Kross as well as The Replacements. The band has been doing occasional reunion gigs playing not only this set but some new stuff as well over the last couple of years. This was one of the first alternative rock bands out of Birmingham, Alabama.

Featured tracks: “Misguided Promises”, “Please Don’t Send me to Heaven”

9- Robert Plant / Band of Joy / Rounder –Esparanza

Robert was in the middle of recording the follow up to Raising Sand with Allison Krauss when he pulled the plug when he felt the magic wasn’t there. He retreated to Nashville and entrusted Buddy Miller to put together a band that features Darrell Scott, Byron House, Marco Giovino and Patty Griffin and secluded into Woodland Studio to see what they would come up with. The result is obscure covers as well as a Plant-Page piece from Walking into Clarksdale that shows some Zeppelin flavor with uncharted Americana territory which sonically could have only happened with Nashville session players in such a short time. The band gelled in the studio and continues to roll across Europe and Stateside. This is probably Buddy Miller’s best Production effort yet.

Featured tracks:  “Angel Dance”, “You Can’t Buy My Love”, “House of Cards”

8 – Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses / Junky Star / Lost Highway

Ryan tends to write like a modern day Dylan but his voice is more like John Kay from Steppenwolf. Ryan who comes from the red dirt scene of West Texas and now lives in so-L.A. got national notice with the Grammy winning “The Weary Kind” from the Crazy Heart soundtrack defiantly writes about a drifter leaving behind a dead end life to go to California only to end up sleeping on the Santa Monica pier.

Featured tracks: “The Wandering”, “Junky Star”

7- Sweet Apple / Love & Desperation / Tee Pee

Put together by members of Dinosaur Jr. and Witch, this little known defiantly Hard Rock and other worldly idea collection of songs with its Roxy Music rip off style album cover is actually closer to something between an early Alice Cooper (when they were a band) and Ziggy Stardust era Bowie. The album kicks off like a Raspberries send off with Guidedbyvoices production and then the desperation begins with some morbid love lost desperation with a chugging Alice Cooper band style with lyrics like ”Looking out the window, watching people fall, how I wish I could fall to death”. It’s a rock and roll gem this year.

Featured tracks: “Do You Remember”, “I’ve Got a Feeling (That Won’t Change)”

6 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band / Preservation / Preservation Hall Recordings

What a fantastic album. A collection of well-known New Orleans Ragtime with this important Horn based band where the tuba still carries much of the bass part, mashes PHJB with an all-star cast of vocalists such as Andrew Bird, Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Ritchie Havens, Steve Earle as well as the sultry vocals of Memphis’ Amy LaVere.  The band ended up on tour with Maroon 5 this year.

Featured tracks: “Blue Skies”, “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”

5- John Mellencamp / No Better Than This / Rounder

Recorded for the most part at Sun Studios with one RCA 44 ribbon mic into vintage Ampex Analog gear, John not only sounds like the old Sun recordings, this sounds like old tape that had to be baked in a microwave to finally put it on digital media. It was not only a great idea with equal parts Cash country, Rockabilly and blues but probably his best album since Scarecrow. The T Bone Burnett produced masterpiece even got airtime on WSM.

Featured tracks: “No Better Than This”, “Coming Down the Road”

4- Justin Townes Earle / Harlem River Blues / Bloodshot

If you missed it, Justin just rolled a third strike in three years. Every album has been decidedly Justin with marked differences and excellent songwriting. This would be his “Ode to New York City” where he now calls his second home.  Jason Isbell (Drive by Truckers, The 400 Unit) puts in guitar duties and gives this more of an edgy guitar feel as well as some straight up Rockabilly. It really would be cool to see a pure Rockabilly album in the future.

Featured tracks: “Move Over Mama”, “Workin’ for the MTA”, “Christchurch Woman”

3- Black Mountain / Wilderness Heart / Jagjaguwar

This album sometimes feels like Led Zep III and Deep Purple Fireball at the same time. The duality vocals of Stephen and Amber still remind me of a haunting Jefferson Airplane with the production sounding very early 70’s analog, sometimes acoustic but when they rock it’s got Jon Lord style Hammond B3 all over the place. Although the first album by this Vancouver band may have been a defining moment this is the one that makes me wants to crank the stereo full blast on road trips.

Featured tracks:  “The Hair Song”, “Old Fangs”, “Let Spirits Ride”

2- Mike Farris and The Cumberland Saints / The Night The Cumberland Came Alive / Entertainment One

Recorded in just six hours just two weeks after the Nashville Flood in a downtown Nashville church just blocks from the flooding, Mike shows that his bluesy/gospel voice can sound fantastic over anywhere he wants to go. Mike has been everywhere from Indie Rock, Blues, Gospel, working with Double Trouble to now this pre-war Gospel Blues style gem working with The McCrary Sisters, Sam Bush, Byron House and members of The Old Crow Medicine Show, his originals mesh well with the rare covers. He showcased the album at Cannery Ballroom during the Americana Music Festival and it was electrifying.

Featured tracks: “Wrapped Up, Tangled Up”, “Down on Me”

1-She & Him /Volume Two / Merge

Zooey Deschannel & M. Ward are some kind of modern Indie Captain and Tennille and somehow it works. Zooey has a sunny California breeze running through her muse that translates into a digital era take on The Beach Boys versus Phil Spector. Even though the material is fresh it makes me daydream of being back on the beach in Santa Cruz when I was six with my Mom and little sister.

Featured tracks: “In The Sun”, “Don’t Look Back”,”Lingering Still”

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

courtesy Brian Cade Photgraphy

November 19th, mark it on your calendar, will be a big night for Rock City Angels performing live with a forward march and a look back to the storyteller past, where they will be celebrating the release of Midnight Confessions on FnA Records, a collection of songs recorded from Memphis to England with Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy fame on what would have been their second Geffen Records release.

Bobby Durango  talked about Midnight Confessions;  a collection of songs spanning three years after the release of their first Geffen album Young Man’s Blues. “We had the same A&R as Guns n Roses at Geffen and that is where they put their money and promotion”.  

The label didn’t give them an idea of when they would drop the second record, “The A&R guy just kept saying “This stuff is great but I don’t hear THAT SONG” it was almost like Geffen was saying we are not going to put money into this”.

Rock City Angels went through several lineup changes that even included Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy featured on “Heart and Soul” between 1989 and 1992 before they were sold a bad idea. “Bands are much more savvy now. I just wanted to be a musician, not a businessman. Our lawyer was in collusion with the label. He was the one who sold us on the idea of declaring Bankruptcy.”

Rock City Angels were told at the time by their own Lawyer that when it was done Geffen  Records would sign them again, when in actuality it was a way to wash their hands of the band without having to buy them out of their contract. The tracks that make up Midnight Confessions are works in progress that would have eventually made up their second Geffen release.

Bobby isn’t bitter, “If you listen to the record (Young Man’s Blues) it still holds up, a lot of bands can’t say the same thing.” Bobby hates being lumped in with the hair band scene, “We were more like The Stones. It’s time to clear the record. For the most part our fans know the difference”.

Rock City Angels has been busy this last year after the release of their newest material “Use Once and Destroy” a straight ahead rocker, “We were never about going after that elusive hit. We were after an overall theme like Aerosmith Rocks:  A great album. Use Once and Destroy is what would be an official follow up to their first album.

They will feature at least two gems from Midnight Confessions, ““Sweet Ambition” sounds killer and we have never done it live. We have an updated arrangement of “Shattered Shake””. Neither song has ever been performed live and will make their debut on November 19th at The Muse in Nashville.

They will perform songs from all of their releases, making sure to mix crowd favorites with newer material and diamonds from the past.  It will be a night that kicks off renewed interest in the band especially in Europe. “We just had a five page article come out in Popular One in Spain. We hope to get over to Europe; we have a lot of fans over there.”

There is still a lot of unreleased music as well as new stuff to the forefront. “Geffen spent a lot of money on the first album. We actually recorded it once with Producer Jim Dickinson (The Replacements, Big Star, Mudhoney, Mojo Nixon) and Geffen decided we had to re-record it and the second recording became Young Man’s Blues. I still have that first recording”. Okay, it’s time for Geffen to consider a re-release with both mixes.

The current lineup of Bobby Durango, Pagan Raygun, Jorge Hernandez, Mark Binko and Adam Keller is primed and ready for a killer show. “We have a great future ahead of us, so… fuck ‘em”. Enough said.

Rock City Angels - Midnight Confessions

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