Archives for category: Mike Farris

Live Show at Third and Lindsley and Christmas Interview

Mike Farris and son, Christian first public performance together, Third and Lindsley, Dec. 21,2013, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris and son, Christian first public performance together, Third and Lindsley, Dec. 21,2013, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

“It was very special that my son Christian wanted to do “Let It be Me” by The Everly Brothers and doing it as a duet. It turned out to be the most memorable part of the show for everybody.” – Mike Farris

Miike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Miike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris and The Fairfield Four brought Nashville the Spirit of Christmas last Saturday night at Third and Lindsley to a sold –out crowd pulling out all the stops with special guests and great arrangements of standards and a few surprise guests at the end of the night.

The Fairfield Four, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Fairfield Four, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Grammy Award winning group that has a heritage going way back to 1921 beginning at The Fairfield Baptist Church, The Fairfield Four started out the experience with a strong accapella set of Gospel standards. The group was featured in the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” as well as the John Fogerty album Blue Moon Swamp on “A Hundred and Ten In The Shade.”

Robert Hamlett, The Fairfield Four, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Robert Hamlett, The Fairfield Four, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

As The Fairfield Four finished up their set, everybody backstage had their eyes glued to the television monitor as the weather front was coming through downtown Nashville just as Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue were getting ready to take the stage. Nashville had a warm front come through the last couple of days and the weather was getting ready to drastically change with possible tornadic conditions on everybody’s mind.

Mike Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

After reviewing the weather conditions, the decision was made to hold off about thirty minutes to let the storm pass and see if there were any possible power interruptions.  After an all clear, Mike Farris and Company hit the stage with “What Christmas Means To Me.”

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm  Revue, Third and Lindsley, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Third and Lindsley, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

This was the first time Mike Farris had put on a full Christmas Show and he seemed to have as much fun as the packed house. The arrangements were Jazzy, Bluesy and downright soulful.  The night proved to be a down home, all about Nashville Gospel and Christmas in the snow with a full roster of  Music City guests.

Mike featured Samson White and Hayley Reed on “White Christmas” which is one of the songs that Mike has done before and had the opportunity to develop even further this go around.

Angela Primm, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Angela Primm, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

John Primm, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

John Primm, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

There were special guests like well known Gospel Singer, Angela Primm who has sang with Andre Crouch, Patti Austin, Bill Gaither and Gretchen Wilson who was joined onstage by her husband John Primm that got everybody going with his Louis Armstrong impression on “Wonderful World.”

Mike had a first singing with his son, Christian on The Everly Brothers, “Let It Be Me” that amazed the crowd. Christian has a strong voice that will no doubt show off his own style and approach as time goes on.

Mike E as Prince, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike E as Prince, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Things got hilarious when Mike E did a strong Prince all in purple who had showed up at the wrong venue on accident and decided to own the place with a strong version of “Purple Rain” right before Morris Day [Samson White] got everybody on their feet to do “The Bird.”

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythm Revue finished off a jubilant night with “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” complete with Santa throwing candy at everybody before bringing in the spirit of the real reason for the season with “O’ Holy Night,” as a spirit of joy permeated the whole scene.

Mike Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

It was one of those moments that should have been captured on DVD so that it could be shared with everybody else. As far as local shows go, this was the Christmas show to be at this year. After a couple of days of reflection, Mike Farris talked with The Nashville Bridge.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: That was really wild when the storm front passed right through Nashville after the Fairfield Four performed and right before you were going to go on.

Gale Stuart, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Gale Stuart, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris: Yeah, we were watching it on the big screen in the back and trying to decide what to do.  There wasn’t any tornado activity and it looked like it was just straight line winds. We were trying to decide if we needed to get people out of the balconies but then it looked like we just needed to wait for the line to blow through before we started our set and make sure the power was going to stay on. It worked out okay. When I got home, I had tree limbs down and stuff was blown around in the yard.

TNB: How long ago did you start working on this Christmas show?

Steve Roper, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Steve Roper, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: We did a show with a couple of Christmas songs including an arrangement of “White Christmas” a few years ago and have been thinking about doing a full Christmas show ever since. We really decided that this year we were going to do a full show. I have a great band and they are able to see my vision and that is really a great thing to have. They are able to catch on to the arrangements and see where I want to go with that. They also came up with a lot of great ideas for the show.

Samson White as Morris Day, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Samson White as Morris Day, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: What about the comedy bits, Prince and Morris Day?

MF: Angie [Angela Primm] does a show called Still Waters, Christian Light Club. It’s kind of like the Cotton Club where she has people playing different characters and she does a swing set with Cab Calloway and others. After that, she does a set with tributes to Prince, Morris Day.  I got to be a part of that.Angie asked me if I wanted to have Mike E do Prince and we came up with the idea that he showed up at the wrong venue and it kind of went from there.

TNB: Did the show exceed your expectations? It did mine.

Oscar Utterstrom, Chris West, Jon-Paul Frappier, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Oscar Utterstrom, Chris West, Jon-Paul Frappier, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: It sure did. We have already started planning on next year and it is going to be even better.

Paul Brown, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Paul Brown, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: You have great support here in Nashville and that filled that Christmas season void of the Blues/Gospel/R&B Community, especially with guest performers.

Derrek Phillips, Third and Lindsley, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Derrek Phillips, Third and Lindsley, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: I really appreciate that. I am hoping to do more than one show next year.

TNB: Was that first time you have performed with your son Christian onstage?

Christian Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Christian Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: It was and it was very special that my son Christian wanted to do that particular song, “Let It Be Me” by The Everly Brothers and doing the duet. It turned out to be the most memorable part of the show for everybody.

TNB: I hope you got a board mix of the show?

MF: I didn’t think about doing that, but that is something we will think about for the future. I’d really like to do a Christmas album.

TNB: Are you all ready for Christmas?

Gale Stuart, Samson White, Angela Primm, Hayley Reed, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Gale Stuart, Samson White, Angela Primm, Hayley Reed, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: I had such a hard time with Christmas when I was a kid, but now I have my family around me and we actually listen to Christmas songs all year. It’s our favorite time. You now it’s all about Christ the Savior and that is important to me.

TNB: The band just sounded so great.

Michael Rhodes, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Michael Rhodes, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: All the money went to benefit the musicians in my band. Whenever there is a benefit they always call musicians to come and play and they always do, but nobody ever stops to think that maybe the musicians could really use the help. I do a couple of benefits a year with my band and who knows how many they do besides working with me because they work with other people too.  That is the way that I want to do this in the future. I want this to be for my band.

TNB: It sounds like you really enjoy this time of year.

Gale Stuart, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Gale Stuart, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: This is a special time of year, my wife and I celebrate our Anniversary on New Years as well. It’s a big time of year for us.

Mike Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: I guess the new album should be coming out in 2014?

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythym Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythym Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

MF: Yeah, it will be out before the summer tour. Merry Christmas everybody!

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythym Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Mike Farris and The Roseland Rhythym Revue, Third and Lindsley, Nashville, TN, 12/21/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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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

Wanda Jackson at Mercy Lounge 2010

Easter is all about a renewal, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to us. Nashville itself is a town of resurrection, a place where Jack White has produced two great albums by Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson and where the underbelly that was East Nashville is the place to be.

Speaking of East Nashville, Bob Dylan came here in the Sixties to make a 180 in his career and where Robert Plant came just a couple of years ago to do just the same.  Speaking of which, I have heard that he has set up shop with Patty Griffin in Austin since the Band of Joy tour.

What is Nashville to me? A Californian-slash-Alabama bluesman? I started making the drive up to Nashville quite often starting in 2006 from Birmingham. I liked the fact that you could wander from one honky tonk to another and check out all the Telecaster blasters playing through mostly Fender tube amps almost any hour of the day.

I finally made the move after getting positive feedback about my songwriting abilities from a local publishing head at the end of 2007.

It was a very surreal world, where one Saturday morning, wandering around a guitar show, I ended up talking to Scotty Moore about how many Bill Black Combos, Bill really had.  The next minute, I am jamming on my 1936 Gibson Electric Hawaiian down on Lower Broad when Little Jimmy Dickens comes wandering out of nowhere and watches me jam for about 10 minutes, throws a $20 dollar bill into the vintage case and says. “Keep it up!” Mind you, I’m not making this up. In fact, if you are from Nashville, you know what I mean and are probably saying, “So what.”

I realized that everybody had a story, whether it was the Baskin Robbins on Lebanon that said Porter Wagoner used to come in all the time, or a snapshot in the window of Robert Plant stopping in to check out the guitars.

So what do I like about Nashville, now that I have been here a few years?

Strange Karma down on Lower Broad celebrating the bassist birthday!

Let’s see, there is more diversity than what outsiders would think, for starters, I have met a ton of Aussies and I, seriously, have never met one I didn’t want to hang with whether it was Anthony Snape or Strange Karma. I wonder if it was like this when Keith Urban first came here and was playing at the Guitar Bar? Did the Aussies start coming after Keith’s success or is Nashville a big magnet?

As far as diversity goes, you can get world class Indian Cuisine, of which I am all about Tamarind on Demonbreun. I’ve ate Indian food all over the place and that is about as good as it gets.  There are several ethnic communities here, whether it be Egyptian Coptic Christians or Somalis, the list goes on and makes for Eateries that go way beyond the meat and three.

Something is in the water in East Nashville, with several upstart, one of a kind places like Far East Nashville, not only your typical Vietnamese Pho and Vermicelli bowls, but, the actual family recipes fixed by the owners brother, in a totally unique way.

Porter Road Butcher Shop makes some amazing sausages featuring probably the best Andouille Sausage this far north of Bayou Country.  In fact, that is what I had for Easter. I could have whatever I wanted, so, I faxed three eggs with some sharp Vermont Cheddar and some of that Andouille Sausage on the side.

Nashville is a vinyl fanatic’s pipe dream, wandering between Grimeys, The Groove, Phonoluxe and the two Great Escape locations there is no reason to ever come up empty handed. In fact, there is a plethora of radio station promo copies which are usually on heavier, better quality vinyl.  Record Store Day is almost like a city holiday where a huge migration descends mainly on Grimeys by the thousands. My only gripe would be, is there no bootlegs? Back when, I used to travel over to Berkeley to Moe’s Bookstore and get vinyl Beatles bootlegs as well as concerts and demos engraved onto vinyl by everything from Queen to Aerosmith to The Clash it was something nobody else had.

Music is everywhere, as I laid down to bed the first few months in Nashville, I could hear music in my head like never before, like ghost radio stations, it seemed like there were thousands of songwriters who had passed on and never left Nashville, they were just trying to get that next big hit. It seemed as if there was singing in the netherworld and all you had to be was a little bit spiritually aware.

Tommy Tutone and Mario at Nashville Amp Expo

I think there are more Telecasters in a 30 mile radius than the whole state of California, where they were invented.  If you can’t find the perfect Telecaster, there are boutique builders from Mario Guitars in Murfreesboro to Chad Underwood in Lexington, Kentucky.

As far as electric guitar parts go, Rock Blocks Guitars has a wall of supplies juts minutes away.

Looking at the Musical Instrument section in Craigslist can be eye opening. You never know what you will find, anything from a 1964 Fender Precision sold by the bass player in Cinderella after a career’s worth of touring to a Gold Top Les Paul owned by Duane Allman. If there is a vintage Sho-Bud Steel around, no doubt, eventually, you’ll see it on Craigslist.

Southside Gentlemans Club at Burt's Tiki Lounge, newly acquired Dr. Z Stang Ray in the backline. 2009

My favorite personal story is about my Dr. Z Amplifier. I had been writing and playing my own brand of Ragtime Blues when I moved to Nashville. I had been using a 45 Watt Samamp from Birmingham when I got here and it was just too much. I was ready for a little 30 Watt or less combo. There are so many and I just decided to try them all. I brought my arch top with me and made the rounds from Corner Music to Gruehn Guitars to Rock Blocks. Finally, when I plugged into this Dr. Z Stang Ray at Rock Blocks, I had met my match, a simple tone stack, where you could really fill out the bass and a simple good looking black with white trim amp.  The speaker had been changed out to a Cannabis Rex and it had a sound all its own.

The price tag was $2100. I didn’t have $2100. In fact, even with selling some gear, donating blood and street gigging down on Lower Broad, I still probably would be $1000 a way. I needed that amp. I put it in God’s hands. It’s okay to say that in Nashville isn’t it? Well, that’s what I did, true story. I prayed and said, I’ve tried all the amps out that I can think of and that is the one that sounds right then tucked it away.

Well, things looked bleak when I lost my job in 2008, in fact, really bleak, I left Nashville, worked five months in Memphis, then that company went bankrupt and I ended up taking a job with a national company in Utah and moved out of Tennessee.

I never gave up on the music, I got my five piece ragtime blues band together in Utah, playing at Burt’s Tiki Lounge, finding some great musicians from an add I put out in Craigslist. On a whim in early 2009, I looked up the Nashville Craigslist and found that exact Dr. Z Stang Ray for sale. Guitarist, Gary Ishee, had put an add up that read something like this;“I bought this Dr. Z Stang Ray earlier this year at Rock Blocks and I need to sell it.”

It looked identical. I called him up and explained that I was stuck out in Utah, but, that I knew the amp and through our talk, he knew I was the real deal. I wired the money to his bank account including the cost to ship it. I bought it for $1250. I was able to come up with that only because I went out west to a company on a bad stretch, because of the economy, they let me have all the overtime I could handle. I got the amp in a big Roland amplifier box from UPS in Farr West, Utah and it was the exact amp. I sat there and cried. It was the exact same amp, in fact, the only amp I ever prayed about and I will include the picture of my group, The Southside Gentlemens Club playing at Burt’s Tiki Lounge a couple of months later with the amp in the backline.

Thank you Brad Paisley for input on the AC30 hybrid design, what a great amp. I still own it and fire it up almost every day in hopes to lay down some tracks here soon.   

Okay tracks, let’s talk about that. I was in Utah almost a year, when I came out here on vacation in September 2009. I had hoped to move back to Nashville someday, maybe when the economy got better, but, on a whim, I had kept in touch with a realtor, who didn’t give up on me, even though, I was out in the Rocky Mountain West. I will drop his name, because Kenneth Bargers is an amazing Realtor. He emailed me faithfully every month some houses I would be interested in.  When I was here for a week in September 2009, Kenneth Bargers took me around on two afternoons to look at houses.  I felt like I was back home, I wanted to be back in Nashville, I did not want to get back on the plane.

Daniel Turner

We found a house I really liked. The last night I was in town, I was hanging around and moping by the pool at the airport Courtyard over on Elm Hill Pike, not wanting to leave Nashville. I decided I needed to go do something, pull myself up by my bootstraps. So I got dressed and headed over to Commodore Grille to check out some songwriters. Cowboy Jack Clement was in the round and it gave me goose bumps. I thought, if I had stayed at the hotel, I would have missed this.  I decided I need to get back and I was heading out the door when I heard somebody call my name. “Brad!” I looked up and it was Daniel Turner, one of my music friends from Birmingham, Alabama walking in. I said to him, “What are you doing here?”  He explained that he was going to be playing the next round. It was a great reunion of old friends. I have so much respect for Daniel as an all around musician. He can play, write and sing. If anybody could make a great classic country album, he could. He has such a great voice, but, he had really been influenced by a lot of the Alabama Blues that is around Birmingham.

I went back to my hotel room on cloud nine. I could hardly sleep. I was going to find a way to get back and I did. I interviewed by phone and got a transfer. I found a house on Zillow.com and Kenneth Bargers looked at it for me and on his word, I bought it. In fact, Kenneth represented me at closing in November 2009 and I never walked into the house until the first week of December as an owner. It’s a true story, call Kenneth, if you need a Realtor and you can ask about it. He is the best Realtor in Nashville as far as I am concerned.

Kenny Malone at a clinic at Country Music HOF

Okay, so, I am back. I work hard. I have got to hang with some great musicians and do some great interviews. It’s been a great ride, but, I need to resurrect my own career. Sometimes, I think it would be easier to move down to Pensacola and put together a group from Craigslist and center on a little club or bar to be “our place,” but, there is the dream recording session, the possibility that I can put together, with a little cash or luck, Kenny Malone on drums, “Slick” Joe Fick from The Dempseys on Bass, the violinist I saw at Mike Farris’ in store at Grimeys and get a trumpet player that can play like Al Hirt and get this manic New Orleans meets Memphis circa 1940 music to record. I work hard at the music and I have some great friends. If that part of my career is supposed to “Resurrect,” it will.

For now, I will just enjoy the ride.

– 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

Mike Farris and The Cumberland Saints at Grimey's

 Mike Farris played with one of the largest bands ever to do an in-store at Grimey’s the night of October 26th, sharing that honor with Dark Meat and Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings playing a set list from The Night the Cumberland Came Alive which is already number twenty two on the Americana charts on its first day of release. 

The album was recorded live just weeks after the Nashville flood in just six hours.  Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart), Ketch and Gill (Old Crow Medicine Show) and The McCrary Sisters were a part of that session and were able to be a part of the CD release party.

Kenny Vaughan Breaks out at Grimey's

Sharing time with found Pre-War Gospel Blues gems were the originals “The Night the Cumberland Came Alive” written by Mike as well as “Dear Lazarus” that Mike co-wrote with Ketch Secor.

The all acoustic set lead to some great jamming between Ketch on Harmonica, Kenny leaning into the Guitar and some fiddle, Resonator and Upright Bass. It may have been Grimey’s but it might as well have been a church in rural Louisiana or an old juke joint in the Hill Country not long after the Memphis Jug Bands.

Mike even got an encore as he noted that only in Nashville can you walk in with a framework of songs that you would like to do and come up with such a great recorded list in only six hours. Mike will be at Music City Roots Wednesday night with special guest Jerry Douglas at The Loveless Barn which can be heard on WRLT-FM, The Lightning 100.

John Carter Cash

It was too early to head home so I stopped by The Rutledge for The Billy Block Show to listen to John Carter Cash play a more rocking set of songs off his latest release The Family Secret as well as Billy Block on drums with Mary Hartman and the Mistakes. Mary Hartman had garnered some interest with a few fans coming in from Kentucky and Chattanooga after seeing her set from last month on The Billy Block Show on YouTube.

Mary Hartman and The Mistakes

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

Mike Farris was stuck in his own home surrounded by flood waters and with the power out; he was unable to get into town for days after the Nashville flood in May.  He wrote “The Night the Cumberland Came Alive” in the next few days and within weeks he was recording his new CD to benefit flood survivors.

Mike Farris and The Cumberland Saints’ The Night the Cumberland Came Alive features all star performances by Sam Bush, Byron House (Robert Plant) and members of Old Crow Medicine Show.  This could be Mike’s best performance recorded live with more acoustic flavored pre-war covers and original Gospel Blues.

Mike Farris will be at Grimey’s record store on Oct. 26th at 6PM to celebrate the release of a disc that will benefit children that are still homeless from the floods at Christmas time. The funds will be administered through The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

The interview we did is being published by national print media.  My review of his disc dated Oct. 13th can be found at Performer Magazine’s website through the following link:

http://performermag.com/Blogs

Interview with Mike Farris prior to Spain Tour

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

We are in an age when a band needs to create self awareness and market their “brand”. There have been new unique ways to build a community; websites that get fans to be a part of fundraising for the groups’ next project to musicians being involved in Charity organizations and even starting non-profits.

It is getting increasingly difficult to do what Panic! At The Disco did on MySpace and get one million hits and a record deal or a YouTube video of a band performance at the local dive turning unknowns into mega stars. What worked just three years ago will probably not work again.

Country newcomer label Big Machine blew up Taylor Swift into nationwide music domination beginning with MySpace and using an online business approach that had not been done in Country Music before. The music business is a moving target and attracting press release attention in the age of democratization creates new methods.

Fragile / Hands Foundation

A new approach is being forged by bands like Fragile out of the Minnesota area. Darrell and Chauncey Marrier of Fragile started a non-profit organization called The Hands Foundation   after a youth trip in 2003 to Monterrey, Mexico. With the help of family and likeminded individuals they formed the 501c to help as many people as they could in the Monterrey area. They have helped in restoring over 150 homes. Instead a being a recent publicity stunt to develop awareness, they were self motivated individuals long before the music business took notice.

In addition, they are involved with an epic project called Save St. Hedwigs, converting the second-largest country church in the U.S. into a multi-media center and recording studio.  Until Fragile and their foundation got involved, the dilapidated church was set to be demolished.   Consequently, the property was donated to them “for life” for $50.  Their story has gained the interest of world-renowned acoustic designer Michael Cronin to help design the studio for the church.  Cronin designed and constructed Blackbird Studios, Ocean Way/Nashville, Masterfonics, private rooms for Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Shania Twain, Clint Black, and Taylor Swift to name a few.

The personal philanthropy of the band and the Hands Foundation did not go unnoticed and time was donated by world-renowned mastering engineer Bob Ludwig and mixing engineer great David Bottrill who were kind enough to give some of their time for This Land Will be Civilized was released this year.

One of the three most popular music blog sites in Nashville is Brite Revolution where every Artist involved on the site needs to support a charitable cause. With their slogan “Discover great Artists. Support great causes. Get great music…all for free”. It is a site that appeals to fans, musicians and people who like to get involved in charitable causes.

Dead Confederate

A plethora of artists from indie rock to Americana are listing up including Atlanta band Dead Confederate, who has three songs that a site member can download for free. On their page it lists they are supporting Project: AK-47which helps kids get in Southeast Asia to get out of the military and have a future. 

Kickstarter.com is a platform for fans to get involved in actually funding a project be it music, film or whatever. It can be a place to start or a place to go to when your record deal ends. The old adage “it takes money to make money” is still King. The difference with Kickstarter is that rather than waiting for a wealthy philanthropist to get behind your band that shares a one bedroom apartment to record the music you want, this will allow you to share in the financing. You are invested in your favorite artist.

Mike FarrisOne recent addition is Mike Farris who has been through the music business more than once with Nashville band, Screamin’ Cheetah Willies and his recent releases on INO/Columbia, Salvation in Lights and Shout! Live that garnered Mike the Americana Emerging Artist in 2008 at The AMA Awards as well as a Dove award for his old-time Gospel Blues.

Mike notified via his fan e-mail list that he would be going with Kickstarter.com to finance his next project tentatively titled “Already Alright!” while shopping for a new label and distribution deal. Once the funds are there, a project gets the green light and the work is recorded, pressed and released.

Although, these ideas are starting to take root, I have not seen much about it at any of the current music PR seminars. This is a way of finding new fans, possibly fans that are out of the loop on buying any kind of legal download or CD, to get interested in your group or you as an Artist and want to own and proudly show your work to friends. Imagine the conversations that could happen about your philanthropy or what it took to get your CD to be pressed.

If your band or somebody has a great story to tell, contact me. I would love to share it with the music Community.

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