Archives for category: Guitar

debbie bond that thing called loveDebbie Bond’s third release, Blues Root Production’s That Thing Called Love, takes a bold step not only stylistically, but, recognizes the hot band, The Tru Dats  led by multi- instrumentalist bandleader and partner in crime and love, Rick Asherson as a full reckoning burning house of sound.

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats into a groove udring taping at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats into a groove udring taping at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Recorded originally as a live recording at Omegalab Studios in the hills outside of Nashville for Radio Free Nashville’s Mando Blues Show after capping off an exhaustive Nashville weekend where Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats were featured at The Nashville Blues and Jazz Awards Show, the recording turned out to be magic with Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats in top form with a pristine live recording vibe that featured a few never recorded songs that were on par with Austin City Limits or England’s BBC In Studio productions.

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues Live, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues Live, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Under the guiding hand of Rick Asherson with engineering, mix and mastering by Rob McClain this first official release from the Mando Blues Show kicks off with a tribute to The Holmes Brothers on Tracks one, “You’re The Kind Of Trouble” and three “Feed My Soul” which helps to define that there really are no boundaries within the definition of where the Tru Dats and the blues can go with it rootsy funky, swampy, Curtis Mayfield meets Stax Gospel vibe and compelling vocals by Debbie Bond.

 

Dave Crenshaw with Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dave Crenshaw with Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dave Crenshaw has enough space in between each drum hit to keep the groove swinging that wants to make you move, but Dave really shows his full spectrum on “Steady Rolling Man.” This is one of Debbie’s most adventurous tracks yet. Hard to believe that there are only four people playing when this could be a Preservation Hall Jazz track out of New Orlean’s French quarter with enough air to feel humidity drenched Creole food rolling out to the tables.

Debbie Bond transforms into a Ragtime Chanteuse, with interplay between Rick’s speakeasy piano, Dave Crenshaw’s straight up 1920’s style drums and Tom Pallardy’s ability to play sax like a trombonist or Pete Fountain without hesitation makes this unbelievable.

Rick Asherson and Debbie Bond meet up LLoveless Cafe prior to taping, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rick Asherson and Debbie Bond meet up LLoveless Cafe prior to taping, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

I like It Like That” most closely resembles Debbie and Rick’s days with Willie King, ‘The Sweet Potato Man’ who just passed away in 2008 with its call and response lines between Debbie and Rick sounding very much ‘Sweet Potato Man.’ Rick’s piano updates the Alabama soul groove with a sixties Aretha Franklin in Brooklyn strut then at 2:37 right after Debbie says, “maybe we can get the audience to clap their hands” he starts jamming bass and Musselwhite harp at the same time. There ought to be an award for this because when you see this live it is going to blow your mind.

The Alabama Sunday afternoon “Still Missing You” showcases Debbie’s Alabama blues style vocals that bring to mind the Muscle Shoals era and the heart of Alabama soul, Eddie Hinton.  Debbie’s mellow Telecaster lines are some of the best on the album and kind of spread around like butter drizzling over a stack of hotcakes.

Debbie Bond and Tom Pallardy at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and Tom Pallardy at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Tarragona Blues” comes in two versions, one that goes right into a bossa nova blues soul groove with reference to both Spain and Alabama with”a long way to go” and the other with a big afro centric introduction that takes a different route, paying tribute to the fans in Spain who have welcomed Debbie with open arms and a place that she cannot wait to return to.  The Tru Dats changed up on this track with Ray Robinson on drums, Jonathan Blakney on background vocals and side percussion and Dave Crenshaw taking over on Latin percussion.

 

Rick Asherson checking the back line at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rick Asherson checking the back line at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rick pulls off a serious Charlie Mingus bass intro on “Falling” against Debbie’s difficult melody drop-in to set up “Move a little closer baby, I have a message for you” while, “That Thing Called Love” finds Rick doing the impossible by being Mingus yet again with one hand and Isaac Hayes with the other as Tom Pallardy slides in on sax in another corner of the room. Debbie enters in reverb drenched Tele that sets up a smoky groove and a preacher’s daughter throwing down thunder and lightning vocals.

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats, it's a wrap at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats, it’s a wrap at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

That Thing Called Love really has no boundaries within Southern Music whether it be Blues, Soul, Funk, Ragtime or Swamp Pop; Debbie had a good reason to change to Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats because of the serious musicianship that has been gathered for this recording. Every corner of the blues and every musician has a chance to shine on this exquisite live recording that everybody will want to take home to listen after a great show. –

Debbie Bond and Rick Asherson in Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and Rick Asherson in Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

Brad Hardisty, Nashville, Tn     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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

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

Uncle Dave Macon Days took place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee between July 12th & July 14th, 2013 and my photos and whatever memories of a possible article were lost for several months.

Uncle Dave Macon Days, photo 3, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days, photo 3, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 2, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 2, photo by Brad Hardisty

After leaving the festival, my car broke down on the freeway with major transmission problems and had to be towed. Within a week, I had major allergic reaction health problems, a car on the shop and a computer messed up with malware and unable to load photos.

Uncle Dave Macon Days, photo 5, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days, photo 5, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 6, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 6, photo by Brad Hardisty

I simply lost over a month of my life trying to get things back together again. After all the doctor visits and down time, the festival became a distant memory and a reason to write an article or track down some of the artists became futile since the new tide of events and artists had already rolled in.

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 7, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 7, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 8, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 8, photo by Brad Hardisty

I recently received an email request from one of the artists for the photos that I took and I was now able to retrieve those photos.

Uncles Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 9, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncles Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 9, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 10, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 10, photo by Brad Hardisty

It has been a cold winter here in Nashville and I decided to publish some of the photos to warm things up a bit and maybe put a smile on a few people and get them thinking about this year and summer in the park, jamming together, drinking Sweet Tea and checking out who has the oldest Martin Guitar or who looks the most like Uncle Dave Macon.

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 11, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 11, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 12, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 12, photo by Brad Hardisty

Here’s to Smoked Turkey Legs and old time music! Cheers!

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 13, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 13, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 14, photo by Brad Hardisty

Uncle Dave Macon Days 2013, photo 14, photo by Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MODOC_AlbumArtNumber 8: MODOC

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

patty griffin american kidNumber 7: Patty Griffin – American Kid       

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

jason isbell southeasternNumber 6: Jason Isbell – Southeastern

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

tim easton not coolNumber 5: Tim Easton – Not Cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tristen cavesNumber 1: Tristen – Caves

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

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

photo – Brad Hardisty

After much thought, I really wanted to salute a few key individuals for perpetuating Nashville as Music City. I could have written about 100 individuals both musicians and business people that make things happen and gone into Classical Music, Christian Music and Gospel Music, but, in the end, I needed to break this down to four people from different directions musically that make NashvilleMusic City” and give way more than they take from the community.

For those that live here, you may understand what I am talking about, but, for those from all over the world, maybe I will open a few eyes and ears.

For any number of reasons, I could have written about Little Jimmy Dickens, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton,  Jim Lauderdale, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Little Richard, Elizabeth Cook, Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, okay I could go on. You may agree with my list or you may not. These are whom I call four essential pillars that hold up through thick and thin and inspire others to create and grow in the Nashville community.

Marty Stuart supporting band member Kenny Vaughan at Ernest Tubb’s Music Store CD Release Party, photo – Brad Hardisty

Marty Stuart, born September 30, 1958 in Philadelphia, PA, has been one of country music‘s most eclectic artists, performing and recording diverse types of country music.

He is of French, English, Choctaw, and Colombian descent.

In 1979, when Lester Flatt died. Stuart pushed forward and worked with fiddler Vassar Clements. He also worked with guitarist Doc Watson. In 1980, he joined Johnny Cash‘s backing band. The previous year, Stuart made his first solo album, With a Little Help From My Friends, on Ridge Runner Records

In 1985, Stuart accompanied Johnny Cash to Memphis and played on the “Class of ’55” album that also featured Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis. At the end of the session Perkins presented him with his guitar.

When does Marty become a Patron Saint? I believe it started when he had a heated run-in with Columbia Records when they dropped Johnny Cash from their roster. When he stuck up for the “Man in Black” it cost Marty his own album, Let There Be Country which Columbia decided not to release at that point. With Marty, principal comes before dollar signs.

Marty has performed with the best of the best, Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard and Travis Tritt to name a few. Marty saw his first solo success with Hillbilly Rock on MCA Records.

Marty contributed to the AIDS benefit album, Red Hot + County.

Marty’s interest in the heritage of Country Music lead to the showing of his private collection of music memorabilia at the Tennessee State Museum in 2007 as “ Sparkle & Twang : Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey” in 2008.

Marty Stuart has published two books of photographs he has taken of some of Country Music’s  most historic Artists including, “Country Music: The Masters” with some of the final photos of Johnny Cash.

Lately, Marty has been the touchstone to Neo-Country proudly wearing the badge of Nashville past bringing classic country into the future with his last two recordings, Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions) and Nashville Vol. 1: Tear The Woodpile Down.

Marty’s vast knowledge of the history of Country Music and support of classic artists such as Porter Wagoner despite the lack of Nashville label interest has helped to perpetuate what the outside world considers to be true blue Nashville Country.

Buddy Miller stands at the crossroads of the past and the future as the Godfather of what is now known as Americana, which encompasses everything from old time gospel music to red dirt Country.

Buddy has managed to put a canons worth of Gospel, Country tinged rock, and the most original of tracks out of his own living room with his wife, Julie Miller.  Buddy is a great musician, songwriter, producer and collaborator. I believe that last skill is what makes Buddy one of the four patron saints. A great collaborator where all are welcome under his tent that bring something to this new idiom described as Americana.

Buddy is the house band leader for The Americana Music Awards every year, able to play with just about every artist including Robert Plant who when he decided to put together his Band of Joy project, Buddy Miller was his only choice for bandleader. Buddy put together a band of Nashville all-stars that included Darrell Scott as the utility man on everything from fretless banjo to pedal steel.

Last year’s Majestic Silver Strings featured guitarists Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz, with guest vocalists including Emmylou Harris.

To top that, Buddy is releasing on Black Friday, a new album with Jim Lauderdale, Buddy and Jim.

Buddy’s ability to reinterpret with a working knowledge all things country, rock, old time gospel and folk has singularly help to build a new arm of music radio and business with a firm avenue for those outside the box.

Artists such as The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons in some way owe some credit to Buddy Miller in helping to define a way to market this new indie branch of the music tree.

Marion James

Marion James may be the most constant and longest lasting member of the Music City Patron Saints. Marion has been a longtime performer and resident living nearby what used to be the hot bed of Blues, Soul, Rhythm and Blues on Jefferson Street. Marion’s biggest hit was The Top 10 Billboard Hit, “That’s My Man.”

Marion James at 30th Annual Musicians Reunion and Benefit, photo- Brad Hardisty

Marion James, known as Nashville’s “Queen of The Blues” was playing on Jefferson Street back in the day with a young Jimi Hendrix who had just gotten out of the military. As a former member of Fort Campbell’s Screaming Eagles, Jimi Hendrix and his new best friend Billy Cox had their own band The King Kasuals but also played with Marion James and others.

The musicians on Jefferson Street, Johnny Jones, Christine  Kittrell, Little Richard, Ray Charles and many others were featured on one of the biggest Rhythm and Blues stations of the day, Nashville’s own WLAC.

Marion was featured prominently in The Country Music Hall of Fame’s exhibit Night Train To Nashville.  A photo of one of her live performances with Billy Cox on bass is featured on Volume Two of the Night Train To Nashville Collection.

Several years ago, Marion James started the Musician’s Reunion shows that featured the stars from back in the day on Nashville’s Northside to benefit the Marion James Musicians Aid Society, that she started to help aging musicians with medical costs as well as support the American Cancer Society and the Nashville Rescue Mission.

Marion James continues to perform today. Marion James recorded in the 80’s a blues landmark album with The Hypnotics that lead to sold out shows in Europe and also released a solo album called Essence that featured Nashville guitarist Jack Pearson as well as session bassist Bob Babbitt.

Recently, Marion released Northside Soul on Ellersoul Records which reached #10 on the Living Blues Charts.

Marion James, not only is an accomplished vocalist, but, writes many of her owns songs. Marion James is The Queen of The South when it comes to the Blues.

Marion continues to support the North Nashville community through her organization as well as efforts to get out the history of Jefferson Street to the rest of the world.

Jack White is probably the newest patron saint as one of the four cornerstones of the Nashville Music Community.  I’m not sure what the tipping point was when Jack decided to move to Nashville, but, I imagine meeting Loretta Lynn and asking if he could produce her must have been a big nod in that direction.

The White Stripes started performing “ Jolene” long before Jack moved to Nashville, but, Van Lear Rose, the album that brought a Grammy nod as well as new ears to listen to Loretta Lynn was a huge milestone.

Wanda Jackson and Jack White (Associated Press Photo)

Since working with Loretta Lynn, Jack has gone onto record with Ricky Skaggs, Produce “The Queen of Rockabilly”, Wanda Jackson, invite Porter Wagoner to open for The White Stripes at Madison Square Garden shortly before his passing and worked with many of Nashville’s Rock and Roll Community while spotlighting its heritage.

Jack represents what Rock and Roll is all about with a balance between the blues, rock and roll and country. Jack and his record company, Third Man Records solidify Music City’s Rock and Roll Community which has seen tremendous growth in the last three to four years.

Nashville, whose first real travelling stars, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, has seen a lot of changes over the years. Lower Broad almost turned into a dangerous ghost town when Opryland took over the Grand Ole Opry and most of what downtown had left musically in the late 70’s.

It took many starts and stops before seeing a permanent positive growth record with the opening of today’s Country Music Hall of Fame and numerous new projects downtown.

Nashville is about to see a new golden age for the “Athens of the South.” Nashville has probably one of the biggest collections of colleges and universities in America. Now, just about every genre of American music has a piece of the pie and venues grow by leaps and bounds.

Peter Frampton may have moved here to early, it definitely spurred him on to return to the guitar in a big way, but, sadly he decided to move before Nashville really started to realize its potential as one of the coolest cities in America.

If you are a musician, especially a guitarist or a songwriter, there is no better place to be in the world today no matter what style you play.

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

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     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Friday night, Due West will hit the stage of The Grand Ole Opry for the first time. Due West is built like a brick house from the ground up, all three, Tim Gates, Brad Hull and Matt Lopez are accomplished musicians, songwriters, vocalists and performers.

 Due West have been paying their dues over the last few years, from playing on three stools in an intimate venue to rocking some of the biggest stages between Nashville and the Rocky Mountain West.

all photos courtesy Black River Entertainment

Currently, their single, “Things You Can’t Do In A Car” is #43 on the Mediabase charts.

 For Due West, it looks like the time is now.

 You could start with songwriting skills that quickly earned all three Publishing deals and help define their fresh, unique sound. You could start with Producer Garth Fundis, whose credits include Keith Whitley, Don Williams, Trisha Yearwood and Sugarland. Anyone who has heard them sing will tell you that the place to start with Due West is with their vocals, collectively a three-lane road to magic.

 It happened the first time they ever sang together when old friends Matt Lopez and Brad Hull met Tim Gates at a party. The three started harmonizing and the other attendees—Music Row stars, newcomers, and friends—kept asking how long they’d been a group. It’s been happening ever since as they’ve toured the country, visiting radio stations and playing for appreciative audiences along the way.

 “We’ve been told that when we sing harmony, it’s something special, “says Brad, “and we’ve learned to believe it.”

Tim Gates

“It just seems like anytime we play live,” adds Tim, “we usually end up with some long-term fans.”

 That phenomenon is about to get much bigger as Due West puts the finishing touches on new material, being released on Black River Entertainment in 2012, that is already garnering industry buzz.

 “The energy is definitely there,” says Matt. “We’re at a new label with new music. This is all about new beginnings.” They’re especially excited about the chance to work with legendary producer Garth Fundis and engineers Chad Carlson and Chuck Ainlay. Carlson and Ainlay engineered all of Taylor Swift’s work and some of Ainlay’s most recent credits include producing and engineering Miranda Lambert’s Four The Record and engineering Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee.

 Producer Garth Fundis says of the time spent in the studio, “This is one of the most fun and creative musical experiences I’ve had in a recording studio,” he says. “And we’ve only just begun.”

 The Nashville Bridge caught up with Due West just a few days before their turn on the Grand Ole Opry Stage to find out a few things about the Nashville tri-powered roof raisers!

 What should we know about Due West?

Matt Lopez

Matt: Due West is a vocal trio.

Tim: We love what we do, and have a good time doing it.

Brad:  Due West is a group of 3 guys who came from 3 different small towns in the Western U.S., but met in Nashville and became instant brothers from a musical standpoint.  We LOVE vocal harmony and we’ve talked about how amazing it is that when we “lock in” on a chord, we can not only hear it but we can feel it… We hope that the harmony we sing will pay homage to the great vocal groups of the past and pave a way for harmony to be a part of the future of country music.

Favorite concert stop so far? What happened?

Matt: The Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City was my favorite so far. It was a large super-energetic crowd, and a nice big stage to run around on!

Tim:  “The Crystal Palace” (The home of Buck Owens) in Bakersfield California.  Not only was it our first time playing there, but it was our first full band show this year after a long run of radio visits. It was a huge honor to play on that stage. 

Brad Hull

Brad:  We recently played a promotional show at a Kentucky Ford dealership in front of a few hundred radio station listeners.  The promotion would be giving away a 1 year truck lease to the grand prize winner and we were there to play our song “Things You Can’t Do In a Car” from the beds of 3 brand new pick-ups as the entertainment part of the promotion.  The gig was fun, but the coolest moment was when an unsuspecting crowd member won the grand prize.  Something in her eyes seemed to let us know how much of a blessing this prize was to her and how much it was needed in her life.  Obviously, I think anybody wouldn’t mind winning something like that, but we could tell that this was more special than that.  I looked at Matt and Tim as the M.C. called this woman’s name and there couldn’t have been 2 bigger smiles in the whole place!  I looked over at our tour manager and he had big tears in his eyes.  It’s cool to see our music change people’s lives, even if it’s indirectly, that’s the reward.

Biggest musical influences?

Matt: The Beatles, Diamond Rio & Boyz II Men

Tim:  Keith Whitley, Steve Wariner, George Strait and Randy Travis

Brad:  My musical influences span over a few different genres and really come from any musical experience that moves me, but I would say that George Strait and Brian McKnight would be two artists that I’ve really latched onto and drawn influence from. 

If you could only pick three albums out of your collection, what would they be?

Matt: James Taylor – Greatest Hits, Michael Jackson – History, Mark Nesler – I’m Just That Way

Tim: Bellamy Brothers – Rebels Without A Clue/ Steve Wariner- Life’s Highway/ Keith Whitley- Don’t Close Your Eyes

Brad:  George Strait – #7, Brad Paisley – Part Two, Dierks Bentley – Modern Day Drifter

Which guitar or piece of gear you can’t live without?

Matt: My Larivee D10-E acoustic guitar.

Tim: Definitely my iPhone.   

Brad:  A good tuner.  I can’t STAND to listen to out-of-tune guitars!  I think that makes me a little paranoid and keeps me tuning constantly.

Favorite song you have written so far?

Matt: “Love’s Lookin’ Good On You” – recorded by Lady Antebellum.

Tim: “Day Over Beautiful”- its a song that I wrote about my wife. 

Brad:  “So Long, My Friend.”  It may never be heard by the masses but I can never play that song without feeling the emotion I felt when I wrote it, I think because it came from a true, personal place.

Favorite place to eat in Nashville?

Matt: Chuy’s Mexican restaurant.

Tim:  Sushiyobi

Brad:  Sushiyobi.  Matt and Tim told me for YEARS that I would love sushi if I’d just try it, but it was my wife who finally got me to try it.  Of all the sushi restaurants I’ve been to across the U.S., Sushiyobi here in Nashville is still my fave!

What are your thoughts about playing the Grand Ole Opry for the first time?

Matt: Because it’s such an amazing honor and privilege, I’m trying to play it way down in my head; so that I don’t get freaked out and keel over dead on the stage!

Tim:  Just like my first kiss, or the first time I sat behind the wheel of a car, I get butterflies.    It’s gonna be a great experience!! 

Brad:  It is a dream come true for me.  I love the history and tradition of the Opry and I honor that.  I can’t wait to step inside of the “circle” and soak in that moment.  I have a lot of friends from my home town in Arizona who, without me even saying what a big deal it is, knew instantly that the opportunity to play the Opry is a HUGE deal!  They will all be there on Friday night to cheer us on.  I cannot wait!

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

David Andersen photo-davidandersenmusic.com

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     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com