Archives for category: Hayes Carll

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

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Hayes Carll Americana Fest 2011 Mercy Lounge

After the Americana Music Association Carnival pulled out of Nashville, the big question is, what does Americana sound like? A friend of mine said that it would have at least one acoustic instrument in the mix, to give it that authentic roots thing. Jim Lauderdale as he hosted the Americana Awards did a spoof show tune, “That’s Americana!” It was hilarious and it was great because Americana is not a particular sound.

Americana is one of the strangest music references ever, at least when the word “grunge” came along, it meant one of the bands that came out of Seattle at a certain time. Americana is like a radio format for everything that doesn’t fit the current formats, yet, it is getting some of their artists like Mumford and Sons into the mainstream. Not to mention Will Hoge.

A mention was made by one of the show reviewers in Nashville Scene that they were glad that the “old farts in flannel shirts singing post Grateful Dead stuff” were gone and they could have the Exit/In back.

I get the feeling that a lot of people are stumbling onto Americana artists and not even knowing it, in Rolling Stone or when their friend says “listen to this” and pulls up something on their IPod by The Civil Wars or The Avett Brothers.

If you haven’t heard about these artists in the last year, then you live in a bubble. Americana is not only an award at the Grammys now, but, a launch pad, much like Indie format radio, where artists can get their “legs” as they mingle with legends like Gregg Allman and Robert Plant who are flying the banner.

One thing that Americana is not is electronic. Americana may have some roots in any American genre such as Blues, Soul, Gospel, Country, Folk and on and on, but it is definitely not about Kraftwerk or the modern Pop that is all made up on an Apple computer.

Blind Boys of Alabama Americana Fest 2011 Cannery Ballroom

Americana is as much about Red Dirt singer/songwriters like Hayes Carll as it is the roots gospel of The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Blind Boys of Alabama, Alabama Music Tribute at Cannery opening night

I guess if you are looking for a root to Americana you would probably have to go back twenty years in Nashville when about sixty California transplants started gathering to Nashville. Some of them became mainstream songwriters like Jeffrey Steele or Darrell Scott (most recently, Robert Plant & The Band of Joy). The one thing that did happen is they shook up the system.

Kenny Vaughan Americana Fest 2011 Mercy Lounge

Back in those days, Rosie Flores and Lucinda Williams would hang out all night, shutting down two or three bars only to meet up with Billy Block for breakfast.  A good chunk of these people bucked the Country music machine at the time or made some changes to it. They stayed true to themselves and this whole Americana thing has kind of caught up with them and now they are riding a jetstream of new found respect and popularity.

People like Jim Lauderdale who can go from playing straight up bluegrass to roots country to writing Robbie Robertson style music with a Grateful Dead lyricist represent the diversity of what is currently happening. It’s like the alternate universe of “the music business as usual” with a handmade vibe.

Most of what Bob Dylan does nowadays such as Modern Times could be classified Americana.  Many of the Americana Artists really jump from box to box, especially Mumford & Sons and Justin Townes Earle, who have as much Indie respect as they do Americana clout.

Kenny Vaughan packed it in then packed it back up at Mercy

The most interesting thing is that the genre has strong roots outside of the U.S. in places like Australia and Europe. Many of the artists make more money over there when they tour. This is nothing new, we as Americans many times pass on what is really cool about our culture and opt in for the corporate sell, “the spin.”

Americana is mainly artist and fan driven; it is really Indie at its core. If you like the Muscle Shoals era Dan Penn written songs alongside The Avett Brothers, more power to you. It really is the old saying, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

Robert Plant, Entertainer of the Year, The Ryman acceptance speach

You don’t have to buy into acoustic singer/songwriters or flannel shirts and old farts to find something there for yourself. Chances are you are listening to some Americana format music without realizing it. If you’re not sure where to start then it might as well be Buddy Miller, Robert Plant said he heard Buddy the first time when he toured with Emmylou Harris a few years ago and he seemed to embody everything American music, blues, gospel, rock, you name it. Robert said that Buddy will always be a part of whatever he does in the future. Emmylou Harris, at this year’s awards at The Ryman, said, they should call the Americana Award “The Buddy” because he has won so many of them.

By the way, a note to the Nashville Scene writer, when you refer to a group of music fans as old farts, just realize that you are probably being referred to as an old fart by somebody, it could be an 11 year old on a skateboard listening to some punk band out of California and thinking the same about you.

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

 

Jimi Hendrix in Nashville

Word hit the street over the last two weeks like a brush fire in New Mexico: Rolling Stone wrote in print and on the net, Nashville has the best music scene in the country. I haven’t even read it yet because it is in the subscriber content on the web, but, I believe it to be true.

What was the turning point? The Kings of Leon? I don’t really think so.  The Kings of Leon had to go over to England to become big  in the U.S., kind of like Jimi Hendrix, in fact Jimi was gigging up on Jefferson Street with Billy Cox  and The King Kasuals for just a little scratch and room and board just a couple of years before he went to the U.K.

Paramore? Well, giving a little credit to a younger scene was a good thing when they were signed to Fueled by Ramen (sort of) yet there is no scene of bands trying to sound like Paramore around Nashville so it is its own thing.

Just a couple of years ago, Nashville was licking its wounds when Be Your Own Pet and The Pink Spiders, especially The Pink Spiders who went in with guns loaded and a Ric Okasek Produced album and an Artist Relations war chest were unable to break big.

Was it when Jack White moved Third Man Records down to Nashville, that is definitely a key piece to being Rolling Stone cool, with new 45’s by regionals being released almost on a Sam Phillip’s Sun Records schedule along with concert events that are showstoppers like the Record Store Day plus one Jerry Lee Lewis concert featuring Steve Cropper and Jim Keltner.

Okay, Jack White has given it the one two punch by introducing past icons to new generations  like Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose Grammy award winning album with Loretta standing in front of the East Nashville house where it was recorded.  How about when Porter Wagoner opened for The White Stripes at Madison Square Garden?  Who would have known that Porter’s final call would be an outstanding album, The Wagonmaster and a gig opening for The White Stripes?

Maybe, that was key in making sure that real icons are represented like Wanda Jackson’s great new album on Third Man Records. Jack is definitely not just looking behind but is really tuned into the ether. I was excited to see Dan Sartain, a part of the same Birmingham scene I was in for a number of years cut some vinyl on Third Man Records. Dan opened up for The White Stripes on several dates a few years ago and my friend Emanuel Elinas who made some guitar pedals for me down at Highland Music in Birmingham talked about playing Bass with Dan Sartain and going bowling with Jack and his Mom. How cool is that?

In fact, when I saw the band on the flip side of the Dan Sartain 45 and Matt Patton was there, I was really happy about what was happening. Matt and a few others had put out some of the best Indie music in Birmingham that I have ever heard. Matt had this band called Model Citizen and their CD, The Inner Fool, produced by Tim Boykin (The Lolas, The Shame Idols, Carnival Season) on Bent Rail Foundation is one of my all time favorites. Matt is getting recognition with Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s The Dexateens now.

I tell you what; let’s get down to ground zero. When we talk about Todd Snider and the East Nashville scene we are getting close, but, let’s get down to one album and one artist.  Okay, I am going to say the transition came when Nashville got behind one of its own in 2008. When Justin Townes Earle got signed to Bloodshot Records and released The Good Life both weekly music papers got behind with big in depth articles about how Justin got to that point. The Good Life is a classic album out of left field but it really represented what Nashville was known for, good songwriting, a little rock and roll, a little country with a nod to the past and to the future of Americana.

At that time, you could hang with Justin over at The Basement, but with extensive touring and a prolific three years, Justin is well established and still with indie cred enough where I can still turn people onto his music as something new.

Justin was recognized at The Americana Music Awards in Nashville in 2009 the year before Rolling Stone called the Americana Music Festival the coolest festival in the U.S. In fact 2010 would be the no holds barred year when Warner Brothers would finally release American Bang’s CD. Robert Plant would record Band of Joy in East Nashville with an Americana  A-List including Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott and be the surprise guest at The Americana Music Awards.

The 2010 Americana Music Festival was a real eye opener when you had The Long Players, Bobby Keyes, Dan Baird and a laundry list doing Exile on Main Street at The Cannery Ballroom, Hayes Carll at The Basement, with people coming from Australia just to see him play and a festival closer with Todd Snider and an all-star band featuring Don Was on Bass, with a grin and looking somewhat like Slash’s older brother.

Don Was got in the game this year when he produced Lucinda Williams (a Nashville alumnus) new Cd, Blessed. Did it start at The Americana Music Festival with an exchange of phone numbers backstage at The Rhyman? Only they know for sure, but Nashville is becoming a ground zero magnet for much more than Popular Country Music Radio songs and Christian Music.

There had to be a change. The music business had changed and Nashville has changed along with that. Instead of twenty major labels in town, there are now five. The rest are Indie Country, Rock, whatever.

Coming to Nashville to be a hit songwriter may be a goal for a lot of people, but, getting a staff writing gig is becoming really difficult and less lucrative. Back in 2007-2008, we talked about how a songwriter with good songs getting signed to a publisher with maybe a 25-35k draw now going for 18-24k and the need for a day job for many.  Also, one of the larger publishers had in the past as many as 135 staff writers and was then down to Thirty five.

I know for a fact things are much worse for that dream with less staff writers, less money and less records being sold. The dream is still there, but, now you need to get lucky and find a new face with a great voice and the potential to get signed and start co-writing before some money starts flowing.

In early 2008, I could go to The Commodore Grill and see an endless supply of new songwriting talent for the Country Music Industry, but, with less staff gigs and the economy in the tank, less people are rolling into Nashville with an acoustic guitar and lyrics in the guitar case. In fact, it really is a trickle compared to just three years ago. Also, many of the writers that are coming into town have Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson chops and are not really what the Country Music Industry is looking for.

On the other hand, the Indie Rock and Americana scenes are ripe for development.  Vinyl is making a comeback with this crowd and United Record Pressing is right here where it always was. Colored vinyl, short runs, whatever you need with local labels like Third Man Records and Nashville’s Dead Records, United Pressing is back to increasing production and essentially back in the game.

The song publishing and royalty distribution infrastructure is realigning in Nashville with changes in staff announced publicly last year at ASCAP and I am sure accommodations are coming with a paradigm shift to handle multiple styles now in the pipeline.

Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music is probably the most famous record store in the country now, maybe second to Amoeba’s out on the West Coast. It’s not enough that Indie bands make in-store appearances. Metallica made a little short announced gig for fans at The Basement below Grimey’s in 2008 before their Bonnaroo appearance and released the whole experience as Live at Grimey’s worldwide in 2010. Now all the gloves are off.

If you are a music lover, archivist, etc. in a world with disappearing Record stores, Nashville not only has Grimey’s, but  also, Phonoluxe Records, The Great Escape, The Groove and plenty of other outlets for local as well as rare Cd’s and vinyl.

Look what is going on at Thirty Tigers Indie Distribution and their great success over the last couple of years.

Belmont University is turning out Music and Music Business degrees every year and a lot of students want to stay here and not necessarily go into the Country Music Machine. They have their own ideas from the scenes they came from whether it was in California or New York.

Bands like The Black Keys and The Deadstring Brothers are migrating here.  Even though Music Row still has a big chunk of the day to day business great records are being made in East Nashville, Blackbird Studio and Buddy Miller’s living room.

With the advent of a studio in a gig bag, Indie artists can make records anywhere and with cheap housing and a plethora of like minded musicians gathering in what really is now becoming truly Music City it only makes sense to live and work here, especially when gas is going for near $5 a gallon. Why not be close to all the blessings that come with a great music talent smorgasbord.

Speaking of food, you don’t want to leave Austin because of Texas Barbecue? Okay at least try Jack’s and Rooster’s Texas Style BBQ and Steak House on 12th. I promise you won’t be disappointed. You want California style Mexican Food? Go to Oscar’s Taco Shop on Nolensville and in Franklin. Thai? Thai Star. Vietnamese? Far East Nashville. Indian? Tamarind. New York Style Italian? Are you kidding? Maffiozas or the place at the Arcade. Okay, so you can’t get Hawaiian Plate BBQ here yet, but, there is plenty to explore. We could still use an In and Out Burger.

Okay, back to music.  Country is going through a lot of changes. The ripple of the Taylor Swift explosion that Big Machine Records put into motion are still being felt, being one of the only Platinum Recording Artists in the new digital era, as well as outside pressures from Texas Charts, the Red Dirt scene and T-Bone Burnett Produced masterpieces that can’t be denied.

Country even has its own street cred in Nashville with bands like Kort who are local but signed over in England as well as Indie Singer / Songwriter Caitlin Rose and Country spun  Those Darlins. Even Charlie Louvin, who as part of The Louvin Brothers can take some credit for inspiring The Everly Brothers and therefore The Beatles harmonies, got his Indie cred with The Battle Rages On that was released on Austin’s Chicken Ranch Records. I can say I got to see two Midnight Jamboree tapings and get his autograph on an early Louvin Brothers recording before he passed into immortality.

So what about Nashville’s own Indie scene? Heypenny, Jeff The Brotherhood, Cheer Up Charlie Daniels,  Uncle Skeleton, Pujol, Heavy Cream (kind of Karen-O fronting a better looking MC5), Todd Snider, John Carter Cash, The Coolin System, The Deep Fried 5 and a laundry list playing at places like The Basement, The End, Danzig’s House, Exit/In, The Rutledge, Mercy Lounge and a house party near you.

How could Rolling Stone not call Nashville the best Music Scene in the country? It is a multi pronged Country, Alt-Country, Americana, Bluegrass, Newgrass, Folk, roots, rock, funkified attack on your senses.

It’s one of those places you could actually plan a week of your life to check out bands as well as pick up a new Nudie or Katy K suit. A place where you might find Joe Maphis’ old Mosrite double neck or the Bass player from Cinderella’s vintage Precision Bass on sale on Craigslist.

You may never win over Nashville, but, it’s a good place to write, do your business and go to the Third Sunday at Third pot luck at Doak Turner’s house in Nashville. Maybe it doesn’t have a burgeoning Death Metal scene but it does have The Billy Block Show. When the sun is out you can’t deny how beautiful Nashville is. Where else can “Bless Your Little Heart” actually mean, I don’t give a ****.

Nashville is a great place to throw your guitar case in the corner and call home.

There are several trackbacks links for your viewing pleasure.

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

 

Trouble in Mind Two Years Strong

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

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

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

Neon Glow Hayes at The Basement

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

Ray Wylie Hubbard at Mercy Lounge

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brad, Hayes Carll, the Basement, Nashville

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

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

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

Emerging Artist 2010

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

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

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

Courtyard Hounds in the Alley

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

Brad with Martie Maguire

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

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

Peter Buck (REM), Brad

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

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

Lucinda Williams at The Ryman, Brad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Lucinda, Hayes' Parents

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

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

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

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