Archives for posts with tag: Debbie Bond

debbie bond enjoy the rideDebbie Bond going deep into Alabama Soul Blues Heritage on Enjoy The Ride

Debbie Bond shifts into Northern Alabama soul grooves on the semi-autobiographical Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions with increased depth and focus more than ever before with slide guitar, background vocals and deep production reminiscent of what put Muscle Shoals on the map.

`Working with legendary Recording Engineer Billy Lawson [FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound, Wishbone ] as well as Jerry Masters [FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound] and Charles Allen at Big Star Recording Studio, Debbie was able to deliver a timeless slice of Muscle Shoals Soul Blues from the true crossroads of all things true Southern American music.

Debbie Bond’s voice, playing and writing have developed like a fine wine so that with the addition of great horns and background vocals, Debbie continues to cut through everything to keep the focus on her unique style.

Debbie pays homage to Willie King with the best take of “I Am The Blues” that may have ever been recorded while paying tribute to other Alabama Blues mentors Eddie Kirkland and Jody Williams.

The addition of horns and strong background vocals only adds to the dynamics of Debbie Bond’s voice; it’s a revelation of grand proportions.

With guest spots by keyboardist Spooner Oldham, in addition to horn players Brad Guin and Will McFarlane [Bonnie Raitt], Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions proves to be a cohesive career defining work with a sound that pulls Alabama Blues and Alabama Soul into one forged weld molten edge of sound.

To be truthful, soul groove has always been a part of what has made Alabama Blues distinctive; music that warms the soul from the inside out like a good meat and three washed down with some sweet tea.

Debbie pulls together the diversity of sound that has put Alabama on the map and shapes it into a well—defined crown of jewels which justifies her calling card as the Ambassador of Alabama Blues to the world. By adding the Muscle Shoals sound and production, this really creates a new chapter much like when Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman jammed all night on “Hey Jude” and started a whole genre that became Southern Rock.

Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions ends with “Train Song” which everybody eventually has to write if they have anything to do with Blues or Rock and Roll. Debbie’s train song means it will be time to hit the road, especially in Europe where things are really taking off.

Enjoy The Ride sets a new bar after the Live album That Thing Called Love which put the spotlight on Debbie Bond on stages around the world. This is her finest work yet and delivers on the Alabama promise of pure bliss.

  • Brad Hardisty [The Nashville Bridge, Performer]
Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

Dead Fingers, photo courtesy Jonathan Purvis

This year saw the further disintegration of album sales and disgruntled musicians receiving a pittance from Spotify or other streaming services. Okay, on the bright side there were still great albums to be heard and musicians kept up the pace like the scene with the shrimp boat in Forrest Gump. “Storm?” “What storm?”

Taylor Swift made a home base move from Nashville to New York City and went from making Country Music that was really crossover to making a complete crossover to Pop Music. Albeit, the songs are catchy and she has become the reigning sales queen by CD through placement that saw 1989 on Diet Coca Cola pop up displays in every major supermarket in the United States plus a lot of hard touring and tabloid press.

Scott Borchetta is still on my amazing label head list. If it takes every supermarket in the United States to make Taylor’s new album a million seller, he’s going to do it. Scott shows sheer tenacity and anybody who has heard him talk about the original Taylor Swift launch will realize that if he has the right thing to work with, he will not be denied.

One bright spot on the sales horizon was hearing that United Record Pressing was moving to bigger digs due to the ever increasing demand for vinyl. The craziest part about vinyl is that we all bought into the X and O bits as music for so long that when you hear real music frequencies on vinyl, it’s hard to believe how real it sounds.

Nashville continues to diversify as Country Music starts to sound more like Twisted Sister and Motley Crue starts to sound more Country. What’s interesting is just as Country was starting to hedge the crossover bet towards EDM, the big money making songs had guitar tones from REM to Malcom Young.

Just when you thought all was lost to what classic country sounded like, Ray Price delivers an instant Countrypolitan classic and Sturgill Simpson shows a path to the future for real Country. There are many performers who would like to see “Real” Country make a comeback by Artists like JP Harris and Joe Fletcher.

Jack White continued his Nashville years as the hardest working rocker in the business. Next up, Bridgestone Arena just blocks from Third Man Records. Neil Young became not only the first person to record straight to vinyl in the refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph booth at the initial unveiling on Record Store Day 2013, he also recorded an entire album in the time machine, releasing A Letter Home on Third Man Records.

The Black Keys kept pretty busy not just by touring arenas but producing solid efforts by Lana Del Rey [Ultraviolence] and Nikki Lane [All Or Nothin’].

Debbie Bond & The TruDats and The Cotton Blossom Band at CD Release Party, photo- Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond & The TruDats and The Cotton Blossom Band at CD Release Party, photo- Brad Hardisty

If Nashville is not collecting the creative spark of the world like an ACME magnet in a Roadrunner cartoon than I don’t know how one can explain the laundry list of musicians of every genre moving here by the droves. There are so many more professional musicians than what you read about in the local rags.

East Nashville is becoming “gentrified” with its traditions like The Tomato Festival and The Hot Chicken Festival and has a laundry list of musicians living in the vicinity. The area is becoming much more expensive so there are other neighborhoods starting to become better known for musicians such as more affordable Riverside and Berry Hill.

The list of venues and bands that travel through town continues to grow. Nashville marches on as a Mecca for all things music as Nashville’s New Years Eve became only second in attendance to New York City in only four years of promoting headlining acts. Last year the show featured Blackberry Smoke, Brent Eldridge and headliner Hank Williams Jr.. This year it will be called Jack Daniels Bash on Broadway and feature a star-packed lineup that includes Lady Antebellum, Gavin DeGraw, The Apache Relay, and Kristen Capolino. The crowds have surpassed projected numbers in years past. Last year down on Broadway had near 90,000 party goers. This year will probably top 100,000 + for the free show.

Here are my Top Ten from Nashville and a couple of Alabamans and a Texan thrown into the mix.

debbie bond cbb_soulshiningcdcov_med_hr-210 [tie] – The Cotton Blossom Band – Soulshining [Self release]

Tony Gerber put together the truest Alternative project heard all year in Nashville. The Cotton Blossom Band features members of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones [Roy Wooten aka Futureman] and BB King’s [Michael Doster] rhythm section and they manage to blend Mississippi Hill Country Blues with Space Music and other assorted world tones. Imagine Junior Kimbrough backed by Tangerine Dream and you might be close but, no banana. I know there are other projects in town that are somewhere in this realm but Tony Gerber’s realization turned every live gig [which were almost invitation only events] into meditation on another plane without the need for Meds.

“See My Jumper Hangin’ Out On The Line”

justin townes earle single mothers10 [tie] –Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers [Vagrant Records]

Justin is back in town! Well, after the New York sojourn, it was great to hear a great Nashville lineup playing some Southern inflected bluesy Muscle Shoals soul. Simple arrangements and to the point, this could have been a writer’s night at The Commodore Grill with a minimalist four piece band. The lyrics are important, timely and reflect more facets of his life, especially “Single Mothers” and his own feeling of being raised by a single mother. Justin changes it up again and always manages to upset somebody. This time, it’s “where is Justin’s finger style in the mix?” If you don’t know by now, Justin has made a stretch assignment on every album since Yuma. The predictable quality with the unpredictable line-up or mix is what keeps one looking forward to seeing what he is up to next.

“Single Mothers” “Picture In A Drawer”

debbie bond that thing called love9 –Debbie Bond & The TruDats – That Thing Called Love [Blues Root Productions]

Although completed in 2013, the official release date was in 2014 for the first Live recording to come from Radio Free Nashville’s Mando Blues Show as an official release. Much of the songs played by Alabama’s Queen of The Blues, Debbie Bond, that quintessential night were meant for a future project. After hearing the playback of the recordings done deep in the Tennessee woods in a MASH style tent, Debbie and her band decided it was a great sound and ready for release after some solid mixing. The album features an eclectic mix of tributes to the fans in Tarragona, Spain, New Orleans as well as the influence of Alabama Blues and Soul.

“Tarragona Blues” “Steady Rolling Man”

st paul8 – St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half The City [Single Lock Records]

You could say this is Eddie Hinton 2.0 or maybe Alabama FAME soul was bubbling under the surface just waiting to get out. What is true is when you take away Country Music, Birmingham and the surrounding areas have an Indie Scene that rivals Nashville. You could file this under The Daptones and the G.E.D. Soul catalog and it fits really well but with something really special with great vocals by Paul Janeway and instrumentation that kept the band busy all year long.

“Call Me”, “Grass Is Greener”

dead fingers big black dog7 – Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog [PIPEANDGUN / Communicating Vessels]

Alabama’s Dead Fingers have developed a copacetic duality in their harmonies and their approach. Taylor Hollingsworth [Conor Oberst, The Spider Eaters] is a monster on the guitar and is able to approach the instrument in whatever way the song needs to be tickled. His wife Kate Taylor steps it up this time and her vocals are stronger than ever. You could call this a Southern She & Him but their pedigree goes even deeper into the history of Birmingham music. The Taylor family is involved in more projects than can be named while Taylor Hollingsworth’s brother has his own stuff going on. This couple represents the bread and butter of the modern day Birmingham scene from The Nick to over the mountain.

“Big Black Dog” “Shoom Doom Babba Labba”

jack white lazaretto6 – Jack White – Lazaretto [Third Man Records]

The depth to where Jack White takes his muse never ceases to amaze. The second solo release shows him in top form and now he is ready to take on Bridgestone Arena from his own backyard, which is no small feat as any Nashvillian will attest. Jack takes the James Brown motto of “the hardest working man in show business” to a third power.

“Lazaretto”, “Would You Fight For My Love”

ricky skaggs sharn white5 –Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White –Hearts Like Ours [Skaggs Family Records]

Long time happily married Ricky and Sharon decide to change it up from their day jobs with Kentucky Thunder and The Whites and make a great duet album with a classic Country almost Americana edge. Although this is their first, hopefully it will not be their last. Ricky is always up for a challenge and has worked with everybody from Bruce Hornsby, Jack White and Barry Gibb over the last few years. Sharon White is the real surprise stretching beyond traditional Bluegrass to be a real charmer in almost a Steve Earle Texan Country meets Blues type way as well as some sweet Christian couple stories of faith that would have been commonplace in Country of the 50’s and 60’s. If one had lost faith that marriage could be a faith building partnership this might bring the possibilities that can exist.

“I Run To You”, “Love Can’t Ever Get Better”

sturgill simpson metamodern4 – Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music [High Top Mountain / Thirty Tigers]

Sturgill Simpson reminds one how cool stripped down Country Music like the Bakersfield sound is. It’s like the third coming of Buck Owens. I think he has a little more Texas in his groove. Dwight Yoakum was kind of the same thing back when “Guitars & Cadillacs” hit MTV instead of Great American Country. Dwight made it with the LA Punk Rock crowd and Sturgill is hitting it big with the Alternative Festival scene. The great thing is Nashville likes Sturgill too. So, maybe this kind of Country does have a chance in this Twisted Sister era of Country Radio.   A great voice, great songs and a cracker jack band will not be denied.

“Turtles All The Way Down”, “Living The Dream”

steelisn  615 to fame3 –Steelism – 615 to Fame [Single Lock Records]

Okay, this may not be number one on the list, maybe because you can’t put an instrumental album there? This has got to be the coolest album on the list. I first heard Spencer Cullum [Jr.] and his brother after I found out that The Deadstring Brothers were playing at The Basement a half dozen years ago. Their album Sao Paulo had just come out and it was the best thing this side of Exile On Main Street. I figured not many people had heard of The Deadstring Brothers but The Basement was packed. I talked to Spencer at that show and found out the band had moved to Nashville. After seeing Spencer craft about any tone on his pedal steel into liquid gold, I thought they better never let this guy leave for Britain. We need him here. What a great band! What a great musician! Watching this band on YouTube play “Linus & Lucy” like a countrified Ventures project is pure Nirvana. I want to hear Steelism plays Zappa. I want to hear Steelism play Ventures. I want to hear them any chance I get.

“The Landlocked Surfer”, “Marfa Lights”

derobert and the half truths im tryin2 –DeRobert & The Half Truths – I’m Tryin, [G.E.D. Soul Records]

This GED Soul gem came out early in the year and may be a little lost in the shuffle as we tend to remember summer through fall as new releases. This album solidifies GED Soul as a major player in the retro Soul stack that includes Broken Bones, Daptones and even Back to Black Winehouse. DeRobert proves to have great vocal chops and solid pitch. There is something soulful but very sunny about DeRobert’s grooves. GED Soul gets together solid engineering and mixing that sounds great on the turntable. I personally like this over the much more publicized and still great St. Paul & The Broken Bones material. Just keep pouring on great arrangements and songs and DeRobert will not be denied.‏ Bonus- The Batman Building featured prominently on the cover.

“Ooo Wee”, “Get On It”, “I’m Tryin’”

???????????????????????????????????????1 –Ray Price – Beauty is…The Final Sessions [Amerimonte LLC]

Ray Price worked with studio veteran Producer Fred Foster to put forth true blood, sweat, tears, money, guts, glory…I could go on. This was a love letter mostly to his wife, but, it was the final effort of a man in his 80’s with cancer known as one of the greatest voices ever laboriously getting the best take and building a Countrypolitan opus with strings and everything great about the Country crossover hits that come out in the 60’s. Ray may have been honored by Oxford American in their Texas issue this year, but this album is pure Nashville as Ray made several trips to Tennessee to complete Beauty is… Ray was a man on a mission to make one great final album and he succeeded.

“An Affair To Remember”, “I Wish I was 18 Again”

  • Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

debbie bond cotton blossom bandDual Blues Album Release Concert at 5 points with Nashville’s Cotton Blossom Band & Alabama’s Debbie Bond and the Trudats.

Nashville Fringe Festival, Mando Blues Concerts and Yazoo Brewery are pleased to
present two Mando Blues Radio Show veterans to the East Nashville venue at 5 points, PERFORMING ARTIST CO-OP, also known as The Building on Saturday, February 1st at 8pm.

Nashville’s own Cotton Blossom Band (Mike Doster, Tony Gerber,Mason Stevens & Roy “Futureman” Wooten) and Alabama blues with Debbie Bond and the Trudats including her musical partner and husband, Rick Asherson. Both groups have a new recording to release for 2014 and will give the audience a live version of these releases in east Nashville. The new CDs will also be available to purchase at this concert.

Debbie Bond, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond, photo – Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond’s latest album That Thing Called Love was recorded Live during a taping for The Mando Blues Show that originally aired on Radio Free Nashville.

COTTON BLOSSOM BAND

debbie bond cbb_soulshiningcdcov_med_hr-2Cotton Blossom Band is the realization of Nashville’s multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer andcreative director, Tony Gerber, joining forces with his old friend and space music co-pilot, Mason Stevens on Diddly Bo and guitars. In 2010, Gerber and Stevens started creating some new musical material and interpreting some traditional delta blues in their space music flavors to create a kind of delta space blues.

Being very inspired by this unique blues sound, Gerber called on his old friend and BB King’s bass player of 17 years, award winning Michael Doster. After doing a couple shows as a trio, the last version of the CBB included the legendary 5 time grammy winner, Roy “Futureman” Wooten on percussion, cajon and drum. They are pleased to present this new release, “Soulshining” as this musical blues quartet.

DEBBIE BOND and the TRUDATS

debbie bond that thing called loveGuitar player, singer and songwriter Debbie Bond made the blues her calling when she was drawn to Alabama over three decades ago and worked with, most notably, Johnny Shines, Jerry “Boogie” McCain, James Peterson, Eddie Kirkland, Sam Lay, Little Jimmy Reed and Willie King. Debbie continues to be an elder statesman of the Alabama blues scene after co- founding the Alabama Blues Project and releasing two albums, What Goes Around Comes Around and Hearts Are Wild.

Rick Asherson grew up in England as a classically trained musician and stumbled onto Willie King while searching for personal growth and the root of the blues. Rick and Debbie were introduced to each other by Willie King which turned into both a professional and personal relationship for both of them. Rick is a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist that is comfortable juggling two instruments at once.

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

All photos © Brad Hardisty

nashville bridgeThe Nashville Bridge was rolled out in 2010 at the suggestion of my sister who said that I needed to share my rock and roll and country and rhythm and blues Americana post punk California life with the rest of the world. My first blog printed photo was a portion of a shot I took of The Cumberland River and the bridges crossing into downtown that I took with a 5 mg Fuji auto focus while visiting Nashville in 2006 and wondering if I would ever move here. It is a picture that means a lot to me. I visited Nashville quite often from Birmingham before deciding to move up here and make roots in January of 2008.

Although I did want to just editorialize and conjecture my thoughts on all things music since becoming a music conduit starting at the age of four when I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and then cemented when I banged on garage doors beginning at age five to get in and listen to Count Five (“Psychotic Reaction”) and other San Jose area bands practice their next hit singles. Now,with the blog, I knew I needed pictures to tell the story.

back then, yy eyes were wide open and my neuro senses were in overdrive at age five and six watching a bunch of teenage guys hammer through guitar amps making loud music with girls hanging out until the cops would arrive and shut the whole thing down. I got to get mad at having to quiet down with the rest of the band and older kids.

Well, that’s how it started and this is where I am at right now: Nashville! There is a story behind of every picture that means anything to me.

mike farris 100102 bwWhen I started the blog, I just had a Nikon 12 mg auto-focus camera which was difficult sometimes, especially on band close-ups with lots of lights. Mike Farris was kind enough to let me shoot him down by the Cumberland River after talking about the Nashville Flood and his then current album. Mike Farris & The Cumberland Saints project to benefit flood victims at Crema  in 2010 with the Nikon.

Needless to say, I had to rely on kind contributing support of great photographers in and around Nashville and Birmingham for photos when possible for the blog and my articles in Performer Magazine.

jeff beck ryman 03 smallNext, I got an HTC Evo 4G phone that actually got some decent shots now and then. Sometimes, it was the only camera available and it would have to do.  The pics I took of Jeff Beck at The Ryman actually turned out fairly interesting.

record store day 2013 069Finally, it was time to get a reliable camera to get some decent concert shots, so, I gathered my limited budget and bought a Canon EOS Rebel T3i about six months ago. It really paid off on Record Store Day this last April when I was shooting multiple bands at several locations.  The photo of Tyler Davis of Chrome Pony at The Groove was all you could ask for. The red hair contrasting with the blue sky was superb.

nbn 2010 Peelander Z 02The Nikon camera could be difficult with a lot of action, this shot of Peelander Z at Exit/In during Next Big Nashville 2010 made the best of the cameras limitations,  tracers and all, while Peelander Red crowd-surfed, bass guitar in towl.

paul mccartney coachellaOkay, here was a tough one for the Nikon. Paul McCartney in Palm Desert, California at Coachella 2009 from 30 yards away, my only usable shot of a real Beatle so far. I wish I was the guy shooting that picture down front.

Ray Wylie HubbardThe Americana Festival 2010 was a real eye opener seeing fans traveling from as far away as Australia to see Hayes Carll play a set at The Basement.  Ray Wylie Hubbard was hot that year and the Nikon played with the light a little bit and this photo only worked with some grit in it. I figured it was an “Americana” picture. Maybe it’s just all the facial hair, but, he looks like a smiling Jerry Garcia to me.

inf cat 10 2nd heavycream 02Infinity Cat Records had a 10th Anniversary celebration last year and Heavy Cream headlined the second night at The Zombie Shop. The HTC Evo did some kind of funky light thing when a flash went off at the same time from another camera across the room. There is no photo editing. You can’t duplicate that. That’s a real motha fo ya!

ibma 2010 rodney dillard 01IBMA fans and musicians are absolutely some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Rodney Dillard was one of The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show and is still laying it down on the Martin Guitar with The Dillards as he did here at the 2010 conference taken with the Nikon.

mike farris grimeys 02Kenny Vaughan is probably one of the most iconic guitarists in Nashville today with a portfolio of work includes Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams and other varied projects including his recent solo record. Mike Farris had one of the biggest bands ever at Grimeys for this in-store with Kenny Vaughan on guitar. I was standing right next to him holding the care above and behind my shoulder to get this one with the Nikon. He kind of reminds me of Angus Young’s other brother from a different mother the way he is holding that SG.

tristan dunn 01Tristan Dunn is a musician from Birmingham, Alabama that I have known for several years now. He can play guitar, keys like his favorite – Billy Powell and blows harp like Topper Price. I got some great shots of him in front of the Johnny Cash wall before it got damaged and then updated. He is autistic, but, he doesn’t use that as a conversation piece or to get sympathy, he just lets the music do the talking. I have ran into so many big name Country Artists when I run around with him when he visits that I am beginning to think he has a high profile Guardian Angel like Hank Williams or Buck Owens.

Frank Fairfield 02Frank Fairfield did an in-store at Grimeys in 2011 and I kind of pushed the HTC Evo as far is it could go with antique sepia tones being the theme. I think Frank is from California’s Central Valley where I grew up. His music is best heard on vinyl 78’s. I have yet to talk to him about Fresno’s famous Di Cicco’s Pizza. Okay…now I’m hungry.

uncle dave 2012 blind boy 01 expJeron “Blind Boy” Paxton made the cover of Living Blues Magazine even before any kind of real record release and just a lot of You Tube buzz. He specializes in music from the early 1900’s and is a master on old banjos, guitars, ragtime piano and just about anything he touches. He was hanging out in Murfreesboro at Uncle Dave Macon Days last year jamming with people that had no idea who he was. I guess they thought he just wandered in from some boxcar in a train yard. The photo was taken with the HTC Evo.

metro 50th marion james 01Okay, here is backstage with my newer phone, the Samsung Galaxy S III. This is Marion James, Nashville’s “Queen of The Blues” getting ready to go onstage at Nashville’s Metro 50th Celebration downtown. Marion had a top 10 Billboard hit back in the 60’s with “That’s My Man” on Excello Records. She has multiple connections to Jimi Hendrix. Jimi played guitar for her when he lived in Nashville in the early 60’s. Also, she recorded two more singles back during that time with Hendrix tie-ins. One song was written by Billy Cox, bassist for Jimi Hendrix and Marion as well as another song written by Larry Lee who was the second guitarist in Jimi Hendrix’s band, Gypsies, Suns & Rainbows that played at Woodstock. She knew and knows them all. Marion works hard to keep the Rythm & Blues scene alive in Nashville.

rev peyton show 032013 062 smallOkay, back to some newer shots with the Canon.  Reverend Peyton at his recent show at Exit/In provided the opportunity to learn more about the camera’s capabilities. The Rev’s management contacted me after seeing the post to email photos for their use.

rose pink 03 smallRight before Christmas, when I was just breaking the Canon in, I met Mississippi Rosealee aka Rosalind Wilcox who lives in Clarksdale, Mississippi i.e “The Crossroads.” Rosealee is well known in the community as both an artist with her space called Sun House right near Ground Zero and as a musician that includes playing drums for two historic Mississippi Blues musicians, L.C. Ulmer and Robert Belfour. In fact, L.C. Ulmer wrote a song for her called “Rosalee” and is on the M Is For Mississippi soundtrack. She let me set up a shot of her at Hopson’s Commissary that reminded me a little of the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album.

record store day 2013 053 smallOkay, I personally think this is the best candid of Tristen, that I just happened to take at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013 with the Canon. The most important thing is that she liked the picture too. Man, I want to shoot Nikki Lane. Wait, I did get a couple before they closed the set a couple of nights before Record Store Day.

record store day 2013 023 smallThere it is…man, I could do better, Nikki thinks about what she is wearing, the shot, everything, I would love to do a couple hours of shooting with Nikki. Well, Nikki, if you e-mail me, I’m there! Nikki, your neo-classic country meets retro cool thing is sublime.

bang ok bang jan 2012 08Okay, the earliest shots with the Canon were the Bang Ok Bang set at the High Watt in August of 2012. I was still learning how to work with the frame speed and all that. Now, just for knowledge of the game: I did shoot 35 Millimeter on a Canon back in the day. This photo was taken in auto-mode and it caught some drum moves all in the same frame from drummer Abby Hairston. I still think it’s cool, in an art crawl kind of way.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 028 smallOkay, I have been out to a couple of tapings of the Mando Blues Show. That is an adventure in itself, most notably, talking to Futureman about Return To Forever’s Romantic Warrior album and the merits of Lenny Williams’ drums on that. It is one of the famous Wooten’s favorite examples of drums. He said Lenny’s drums sound like a Timpani. Alabama drummer, Dave Crenshaw played drums for Debbie Bond that night and it looks like I set up this shot, but, I didn’t. The Canon again.

tyler bryant exitin 070 smallOkay, one more and I will let you go. There is a story behind this one too. I ran into Tyler Bryant at Cafe Coco before Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown were going to play at Exit/In. We talked about when he opened for Jeff Beck at The Ryman and he knew I was going to be down front shooting some photos. When I arrived at The Exit/In, Brad Whitford from Aerosmith was talking to his son Graham Whitford, the other guitarist in the Shakedown near the merch booth before everybody started showing up. He was wearing a baseball cap and being very incognito. He looked at me and realized I knew who he was. I could tell he was there just to support his son and didn’t want to draw any attention to himself. So, I just gave him the “Nashville” nod of recognition and didn’t approach or say anything. I kept his cover for him. You see, that is how we do it in Nashville. We let each other relax and feel at home. I got some great shots of the band and got one of the best color shots ever with the Canon of Graham on stage.

I’m happy with the pictures I am getting with the Canon T3i and so is my Editor at Performer Magazine. Even the bands and artists have given me kudos. Maybe next year, I’ll go for a full frame Nikon or Canon.

Well, The Nashville Bridge is almost three years old. I have been writing for over two years for Performer Magazine and a few other scattered published articles. Thanks for indulging me with my lifetime passion for music. Thanks for reading The Nashville Bridge on your laptop, iphone, ipad or droid. I make it as easy to view and read as possible.

“It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll!” – AC/DC

All photos © Brad Hardisty

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

mando blues 05062013 025Local Recording Artist Jeff Blaney, a familiar face at Family Wash spent Monday night taping The Mando Blues Radio Show high on a remote mountain ridge well outside Nashville city limits in what seemed like Seattle rain forest like weather in a MASH clinic tent for tonight’s broadcast with a full house of local and regional musical comrades there to check out the music, vibes and food.

mando blues 05062013 006While Jeff was tuning up with Geoff Henderson on Bass, Shade Kling on acoustic rhythm and Justin Amaral on the skins, Alabama Blueswoman, Debbie Bond, keyboardist Rick Asherson, Flecktones’ Futureman aka Roy Wooten, DJ Mojo from the blues show “Spoonful” on WVOL 1470, Tony Gerber and others were catching up and talking about what has been going on since the last get together.

mando blues 05062013 011 smallThe latest buzz was about Gip’s Place in Bessemer, Alabama that had been shut down by the Bessemer Police for not having a business license when it has been operating as a juke joint in a residence since 1952 and doesn’t serve food or alcohol.

mando blues 05062013 036Host of Mando Blues, Whit Hubner gave a shout out of support to Henry “Gip” Gipson and just basically said leave the man alone.

mando blues 05062013 021Jeff Blaney showcased more of his bluesier style songs for the show, but, didn’t avoid some of the more countrified flavors featured on his latest full EP Labor Of Love on Very Entertaining Records.

mando blues 05062013 004mando blues 05062013 035 smallJeff brought some label mates music as well as some music from his hometown mentors that strayed into blues and ragtime for the in between live music sets.

mando blues 05062013 038 smallJeff shifted gears from blues chord styled singer/songwriter narratives to Bo Diddley inspired jams and beyond.

mando blues 05062013 039 smallJeff played most of the songs off his most recent release including “Going Right Back Home To My Baby”, “ Shake That Thing” and “Come With Me.”

mando blues 05062013 028Bill Davis joined the band for a couple of songs towards the end of the set.

mando blues 05062013 014Everybody stayed around for cornbread and roast beast straight out of the cast iron wood burning stove.

mando blues 05062013 037mando blues 05062013 041mando blues 05062013 043 smallThe Mando Blues Radio Show staff was extremely gracious and taped another BBC In Session quality rivaling broadcast.

mando blues 05062013 016 smallAll photos © 2013 Brad Hardisty

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

Gip's Place, Bessemer, alabama

Gip’s Place, Bessemer, alabama

Owner Henry Gipson (aka Mr. Gip) had his residence, known as Gip’s Place for over 60 years for “house parties” that are as close to a good ol’ juke joint that Alabama has left was closed down on May 4th, 2013, for not having the proper business license by Bessemer Police.

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, photo – Brad Hardisty

The residence was never intended to be a business since Gip doesn’t serve food or drink and is a BYOB place where blues lovers can enjoy regional blues masters like Debbie Bond as well as national performers such as Bobby Rush jam in front of a Birmingham area get together.

Opened in 1952, Gip’s Place was considered a “house party” and not a business and was considered a bright spot on the Bessemer, Alabama map.

There is a meeting today, Tuesday May 7th at 6PM before the Bessemer City Council regarding the matter. Please be there, if you can attend. For further information contact Mayor Kenneth Gulley’s Assistant by email : mayorasst@bessemeral.org.

If you would like to find out how you can support Henry Gipson and Gip’s Place contact Cindi McGee at cindig34@hotmail.com.

A poll being conducted on al.org shows that an overwhelming 64% want Gip to be left alone by the city of Bessemer.

The closing of one of the last of Alabama’s true juke joints is creating international media attention.

Feel free to leave comments here, if you like. I will forward comments to those involved in supporting Henry Gipson and his privately owned residence. I am in contact, right now, with those involved in showing support in Alabama I will post updates when available here on The Nashville Bridge.

Feel free to link this article to your Facebook page or re-blog and get the word out. This is all about property rights, liberty and pursuit of the Blues! Be in Bessemer, Alabama by 6Pm if you can.

Blues Power!

Reports from Bessemer City Council Meeting regarding the closing of Blues Hall of Fame Member Gip Gipson’s Juke Joint: The following was a live text feed from inside the council meeting last night:

 6:59PM The City Council will not even schedule the issue on the agenda. They claim they needed a weeks notice – though they shut down Gip’s on Saturday.

7:01 PM One person will be allowed to speak at the end of the meeting for 3 minutes.

7:09 PM The Circle X Film Group that is in the process of producing a documentary film on Gip’s is in the council hall filming for the doc. 

7:10PM Many wouldn’t sign the film release. They will be blocked out. The city council is sitting here recognizing the achievements in poetry writing of the local kids… 

7:15 PM All local news outlets are providing coverage.

7:24 PM Gip just arrived to a round of applause. 

 A single council member suggests that Gip’s should be moved out of the neighborhood and provided a venue near other city attractions.  There is no response from any other council member.  The Council President says that moving doesn’t matter because that involves another process and the problem is that Gip is operating an illegal business. 

7:58 PM Gip speaks before the council: States that he is going to do what he is going to do and there’s not going to be a license and he’s not going to move. 

Other members of the community are allowed to speak for three min each.

8:05 PM All speakers, community members, neighbors are in support.  Much is said about the heritage that needs to be preserved and the failure of the leadership of City of Bessemer to have a vision that upholds the traditions of the community and the wider heritage of American music history.

People speak of the failure of the city to do anything related to crime, abandoned houses and other blight in the same area yet they are singling out a man that gives back to his community through charitable work and has brought pride and recognition to the town.  That until the City shut down Gip’s they featured his Juke Joint on their website. 

The council president will not allow anymore public comment related to the heritage and unique history of Gip’s.

There has not been a SINGLE person at the meeting who has raised any complaint or spoken against Gip.

 8:07 PM Reporter from Italy is speaking up. The Council President tries to have her sit down, she moves to the mic anyway and describes how people in Italy see the value of preserving their cultural treasures and she cannot fathom why the city cannot see what they are doing is the destruction of American heritage.  She says that Gip’s Place is like nowhere else in the world and an incredible example of Southern culture. 

8:10 PM The city council pres is saying no more public comment. Many people are still raising their hands to be recognized.  Now the Mayor is saying that no one is above the law and that he receives complaints from the neighbors every week about children seeing people urinating in their yards. The mayor is asked where these complainants are and told that there are more neighbors that wish to speak in support of Gip.  They are not recognized.  The Mayor calls the public assembly a mob. The council President tells the police to prepare to clear the room If any one else tries to speak.  He singles out several previously recognized speakers to be removed if they say anything else.

8:12 PM A lady minister stands up and is trying to speak about peacefully working with the city to resolve this issue and the President told her to sit down. He states only the council is allowed to speak. The Police are to remove anyone else who defies the end of public commentary.

The city attorney speaks declaring that all members of the government and the police are required to honor their oaths to enforce the law and no man is above the law.  He states that if the public wishes to change they are welcome to go through the process of changing the law.

8:19 PM – The council motions to adjourn.  They call the meeting to a close. 

Gip after leaving the council building is greeted by news crews, film makers & and the rest of his supporters who could not get into the assembly.  The meeting was filled to capacity. – live text from T. Moreaux, Church of the Last World Singers

There are many questions as to why local city goverment is getting involved when this has been a major pride of the neighborhood since 1952 and at this point unsubstantiated allegations are being pursued regarding neighbor complaints even though many neighbors were in attendance to speak on Gip’s behalf but were not allowed to speak.

Update from 5/11/2013 – Gip did open up last saturday night, but, there were two police roadblocks going in and out of the area with a total of aproximately ten troopers, according to my source, looking for any reason to ticket any patrons going in an out of Gip’s Place. Gip also closed down early at 11 PM. Although there was a police presence that was intimidating patrons of his house party, they did not attmept to shut it down…stay posted. 

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

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 027 smallDebbie Bond was the guest last Monday night on WRFN Radio Free Nashville’s Mando Blues Show recorded in a huge army tent at Omega Studio high on the top of a peak at an undisclosed location in the nearby Nashville wilderness.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 030 smalldebbie bond mando blues 04082013 028 smallA fantastic crew with Tony Gerber , known for his electronic music compositions, acting as host for the night, went to work on soundcheck with Debbie and her band featuring Rick Asherson on keyboards and Dave Crenshaw on drums getting a much bigger than it looks sound going into the green spec recording layout.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 014 smallOmega has developed a layout for power using not much more than six car batteries, car stereo amplifiers and LED lighting to run at a deceptively low 1600 watts with state of the art recording as can be seen by linking to the net recordings of the summit.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 023 smallDebbie brought much more than just blues experience playing with Willie King and Johnny Shines for almost thirty years in Alabama displaying soulful grooves with a nod to Muscle Shoals, Alabama writers like Eddie Hinton, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. In this case, the western Alabama juke joint grooves may be at the heart, but, this was soulful blues.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 020 smallDebbie brought three new songs that will be featured on her next album, “Find A Way,” That Thing Called Love” and “Steady Rolling Man,” that fit right in with “I like It Like That” from her days with Willie King as well as some songs from her most current release Hearts Are Wild with a stand-out version of the slow ballad blues of “Falling.”

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 037 smallNashville session saxophonist Tom Pallardy sat in later in the set after a successful collaborative prior night set at The Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards at Bourbon Street in Printers Alley.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 035 smallHost Tony Gerber paid tribute to female blues artists with his in-between tracks that also featured some rare Richie Havens and alternative version material.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 010 smallMando Blues is an esoteric record store workers dream where true collectors and music geeks get to hear all things blues and related materials. They all get a little spotlight. There may be no show quite like this in the world.

An invited group of about 10-12 people got to sit-in on the live recording happening that fit a BBC type production with high production values and plenty of meat in the interview.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 013 smallTony asked the right questions that will give any listener the feeling they knew where Debbie came from and what she is about after listening to the two hour show.

Although there are provided links to watch video of each one of the songs, it is well worth the price of free admission to listen to the entire show to get the interview segments as well as Rick’s “Monty Python meets Muscle Shoals” sense of humor.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 007 smallDebbie is a native of California, but, her time growing up was spent in England and Europe while Rick’s roots are Londontown. Debbie and Rick almost crossed paths in College back in England, but, never actually met until Alabama Bluesman, Willie “Sweet Potato Man” King suggested they get to know one another in Western Alabama.

Roy Wooten aka “Futureman” stopped by to listen in and dug the Alabama soul groove coming out of the eventual four piece band with Rick sometimes playing the utility guy playing bass with one hand on the Nord keyboard and blues harp with the other hand and singing back – up vocals. If he had one more arm, they probably could have a full horn section.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 029 smallTom Pallardy’s sax fit right into the song as if he had been playing with Debbie for years but, in reality he had not heard much of the material. Dave Crenshaw brought down the volume on the drum kit to match the production set up without losing any of the grooves, in fact, it brought out the true dynamics of the songs.

Debbie was so happy with the production and final mix of the material that she has already talked about further recording collaboration with the Omega team.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 039 smallIt can be said, that there is probably know recording studio like it in the world, with its MASH style tent set up and being at the mountain peak as well as a crew with ears straight out of a JBL lab anechoic chamber. They know what they are doing and they love what they are producing.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 016 smallWhile production was going on, some of the staff was busy cooking a meal fit for a king in a wood burning cast iron stove in cast iron pots.  The band and crew were treated to Venison Stew, fresh picked greens and chicken after the final wrap.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 008 small–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

all photos (c) Brad Hardisty

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 049 small“Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!”

The Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards started up about 4:30 in Printers Alley just a few doors down from Jimi Hendrix’s old gig with Billy Cox back in the day at The Black Poodle inside Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar which boogies all week long with Blues, Jazz and plenty of fretboard sweat.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 056 smallGil Gann was hot and MC for the night cuttin’ it up and gettin’ down on the guitar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 014 smallPhase 6 acted as house band, while the all-stars rotated on and off the stage like a Pancake Buffet Breakfast at Shoney’s.

The awards show is sponsored by The Marion James Musicians Aid Society which helps musicians in need, especially from the rich rhythm and blues heritage that was on and off Jefferson Street from the fifties through the mid-seventies.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 009Tina Brown really started getting things going like Tina Turner on an Etta James afternoon. Tina has a strong voice and personality to match.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 016 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 107 smallPhase 6 features two generations of serious players; Samuel Dismuke on bass and Samuel Dismuke Jr. on dual duty as vocalist and Trombonist. Long time collaborator Eddie Carter still kicks it on the drums.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 089 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 013 smallAlabama Blues master, Debbie Bond, played her first set in Nashville at The Jazz and Blues Awards warming up the crowd with a teaser song early on before coming back and playing a set later on in the show. When Debbie Bond took the stage for her full set with Moe Denham sitting in on Hammond B3, she brought some serious Alabama roots with a little of her Willie King experience as well as some Eddie Hinton style Muscle Shoals groove to the local Blues venue. It was a welcome change to what could be considered a get your game on attitude among Nashville’s players.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 052 smallAwards were given out in several categories to artists that gig in and around Nashville. Jefferson Street Sound Artist, Don Adams won best Bassist while Regi Wooten won best Jazz Guitarist of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 104 smallRegi Wooten did a barnburner abbreviated set starting out with a laidback jazz version of “Crystal Blue Persuasion” taking the band as far as he could with some John McLaughlin sans Vernon Reid go where you wanna go Lead guitar work that turned it up a notch. Regi’s band, The Wooten Brothers, which tear down the house every Wednesday night at 3rd & Lindsley, took home Best Live band of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 115 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 109 smallLola Brown sang backup for Marion James before taking the spotlight herself later with her backup band Area Black featuring Jerome Preston on Bass after Jerome finished a set with Regi Wooten. Lola put it all out there after winning R&B Vocalist of the Year. Lola really brought the church into the boogie bar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 068 smallMarion James took home a pair of awards which were judged by local Blues and Jazz Artists as well as some special attendees for Female Blues Singer of the Year as well as her recent Ellersoul release, Northside Soul for album of the year. Northside Soul has garnished some national recognition with rave reviews in several publications as well as awards from B.B. King’s Sirius Radio Channel and a Top Ten on the Living Blues Charts.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 081 smallMarion James’s set was a barnburner with her singing from her gut, old school, Otis Redding reborn experience thrown into, “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” Marion is the heart and soul of Nashville R&B history having released three singles on three different labels back in the day, one written by her husband Buzz Stewart on Excello, the top ten hit, “That’s My Man” as well as two other songs by two individuals tied to Jimi Hendrix who used to play guitar for her back when, Billy Cox and Larry Lee.

In more recent times, Marion has released three solid albums in the last dozen years that not only spotlight her voice, but, some excellent songwriting that would not only put her in the spot as “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” but within an elite group of two or three as Queen of The Blues from a last Blues woman standing viewpoint since the passing of Precious Bryant in January.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 062 smallThe Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards is something a very down home event in complete contrast to the glitz and glam of the Country music industry. Marion James almost singlehandedly has wanted to support recognition for the Blues and R&B community of Nashville.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 004 smallMarion James has this to say: “Down through the years, everyone has come through or stumbled upon Nashville, Tennessee to either visit or make their mark in the music industry. Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!

R&B, Jazz and the Blues have been around for more than just some time.  Matter of fact Jazz and Blues are all around you in all of the music.  So we are actually not hard to find.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 034 smallThere have been a number of very good musicians that come through Nashville.  Some could read, some couldn’t, some could  write it down on paper, and some only needed to hear your idea and could play it the first go round.  It really didn’t matter because they were very well seasoned and could accommodate any artists that needed them.

Most of our Legends like, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Jones, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Charles Dungey, Milt Turner, Ted Jarrett, just to name a few, have passed on and we must turn the baton over to some of the younger generation, who are worthy, to carry the torch and pave a new way out of what they were brought up on…Jazz, R&B and Blues, and carry on the tradition of the root of it all and with some new and original twists added.

We must continue to raise funds and support these new comers as if we taught them ourselves, as if we have rubbed off on them and put a little of our soul into their soul so that WE may live on in them. Knowing that they will continue in what we love so much and that is “THE MUSIC.”

This is why I love giving the Jazz and Blues Awards event every year.  It is an annual event that shows our younger people that we see them, we recognize them, we are watching them, but most importantly we are encouraging them.

So move over Country music and make room for our up and coming talent and artists. Offer them a hand up and a way to succeed. Allow them to keep the music coming and growing. Let’s keep them in the spotlight, because there is a Jazz, Blues and R&B artist standing in the wings, waiting for you to reach out and give them a helping hand.”

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

Debbie Bond, photo - Thomas Z'Graggen

Debbie Bond, photo – Thomas Z’Graggen

“The last thing Willie King said to me was, “Keep on pushing Debbie!” – Debbie Bond

Debbie Bond will be playing for the first time tonight in Nashville at The Nashville Blues and Jazz Awards  that begins at 4PM with a $10 door at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar and is presented by The Marion James Musicians Aid Society to benefit the heritage musicians that lived and worked around the Jefferson Street community in the R&B heyday from about 1950 through the mid-70’s.

debbie bond album coverDebbie’s most recent album Hearts Are Wild got a thumbs up from the Nashville Blues Society last year after its release. Hearts Are Wild is Debbie’s second solo album and her first since Willie King passed away in 2008.

Debbie, as well as her husband Rick had been a part of Willie King’s band for several years playing in and around Alabama as well as touring Europe.

Debbie Bond has also spent several years developing The Alabama Blues Project that educates young and not so young children about blues music and gives them the opportunity to develop the skills to play blues music.

Debbie feels that Alabama has never received the recognition that it deserves in relation to the development of Blues and American music. Essentially, Alabama really is joined at the hip with Mississippi and there was a lot of cross-state-lines intermingling goings on from the very beginning.

Brad Hardisty/ The Nashville Bridge: How long have you been living and playing the Blues in Alabama?

Debbie Bond:  Thirty years. I actually came here in 1979.

TNB: Was it originally to work with Johnny Shines?

Debbie Bond, photo - Robert Sutton

Debbie Bond, photo – Robert Sutton

DB: It wasn’t.  It was just to visit some friends and I was kind of going through some heartache stuff in England and I…uh…originally it was just to come for the summer to get away. But, one thing lead to another and well… included hooking up with Johnny Shines (A contemporary of Robert Johnson).

TNB: You were playing guitar at the time?

DB: Yeah, I was playing guitar. I really started off playing acoustic guitar. I was playing folk songs and I love the blues. I was in a band in England when I was in College in ’75 through 1978 and we played that music in Brighton, England. So, when I came here, you know, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I had a lot of prejudices about Alabama and Alabama culture and the south.  I had my mind blown by the music and the food and the southern culture.  I was humbled. I was brought to my knees. I ended up staying.

TNB: I was kind of the same way. I thought the south would be a certain way and it was totally different than I figured.  So, the last project that you were in was a group before you went solo and that was playing with Willie King, right?

Debbie Bond onstage with Willie King

Debbie Bond onstage with Willie King

DB: Yeah, the last band and probably the most serious musical situation that I was in was with Willie King for the last seven years of his life. I toured and recorded with him. Rick, my husband is British and before I married him he had hooked up with Willie and Willie introduced me to Rick. Willie was the best man at my wedding and we married at Freedom Creek and so I have Willie to thank for that big time besides the musical experience and so that was a really big blues experience in my life.

TNB: Did Willie meet Rick overseas?

DB: No, he met Rick here. This is a crazy story but Rick was in Clarksdale, Mississippi and went into Jim O’Neal’s little shop downtown and asked where there was he could hear some blues tonight and they said, “Well, there’s no blues here.” But, because of the connection to Jim O’Neal, a lady who ran the record store and also sold kind of voodoo stuff, said, “There is the Freedom Creek festival over in Alabama tonight.” Rick actually drove all the way to Pickens County, Alabama, which was four and a half hours away. He ran into somebody who didn’t know where The Freedom Creek Festival was and sent him all the way to Tuscaloosa which was another hour out of the way. Rick happened to see my notice and directions in the local record store, Oz Records in Tuscaloosa, then drove all the way back, I mean, then ended up driving into the Festival. His mind was blown. He ended up…Willie said. “Stay.” Rick stayed with Willie camping out there and staying in his trailer and went on the road with Willie and toured just like that. Rick plays harmonica and keyboards.

TNB: What year was that?

DB: That was in 2002 and then we met. I think we went on one date then moved in together and then we got married and Willie was our best man. We married on Freedom Creek and had our wedding ceremony there and then had our party at the local juke joint.

TNB: So, in 2008 you started working on Hearts Are Wild?

Debbie Bond, photo - Robin McDonald

Debbie Bond, photo – Robin McDonald

DB: Yeah, I just started focusing on my own music. I was running the Alabama Blues Project. I founded the Alabama Blues Project and I really just wanted to do my own thing for a change.  The last thing Willie King said to me was, “Keep on pushing Debbie!” I just really wanted to do my own music. So, I kind of got the Blues Project on its own feet. We still do things with the Blues Project, but, we just tried to focus on my own music and eventually we ended up putting out Hearts Are Wild. I think our official release date was 2012.

TNB: Have you toured overseas since the release date?

DB: Yeah, we played over in the Tarragona Blues Festival and also we played in England and France actually. When it first came out we played a show in France and also at a radio station then a show in England. The Tarragona Blues Festival is in Spain.  We are actually going back to play the festival again in November. I’ve written a song called “Tarragona Blues.”

TNB: So, that is where you are establishing your crowd?

DB: Well, it just so happens, you know how things kind of fall into place. I don’t have a booking agent, so, I am just kind of doing things myself as they come along through Facebook really. Facebook has been really great for me. So, it just so happened that we were going to be in Spain and we were going to be in Europe and The Tarragona Festival just fell into place. I mean it was so synchronistic on the only dates we could possibly do it. So, we did it and they really loved the show. They loved us and are having us back. We are definitely building an audience there and I’m hoping I can release the song, “Tarragona Blues” which I wrote the night before the festival and played at the festival. They really enjoyed it. I want to record it and release it in Spain as a single.

TNB: Are they getting into buying vinyl in Europe like we are in the States?

DB: I don’t know.The fact of the matter is times are hard in Spain like they are in other parts of Europe. Maybe not as bad as Greece, but, it still is hard times. So, I don’t know the answer to that.

TNB: As far as releases. Are they buying songs on the web or do they want product?

DB: I find most people are buying CD’s at shows. You know the web is great for promoting, but, I haven’t found that with my audience. My audience seems to like the real CD.

TNB: Yeah, it seems like here in the states we have a lot of hardcore vinyl collectors now.

DB: I’m hearing that.  If I could get just a little bit more on the map and more successful, I would definitely consider putting out a vinyl recording.

TNB: Yeah, it seems like even in limited runs a lot of bands are doing it here in Nashville because we have United Record Pressing. They used to press all of Motown. They have a Motown Suite upstairs in the plant. They are pressing a big portion of what is being done right now.

DB: That’s good to know. I know there is a way to go back to vinyl and I have all my records and we do listen to our records on our record player.

TNB: I’m actually buying more vinyl than I do CD’s right now.

DB: I am hearing that from the record stores. I am going to definitely take that into consideration. But, at this stage in the game I just think it’s so affordable to do CD’s.

TNB: Okay, you have never played Nashville before. Have you played in Tennessee before, maybe, Memphis?

DB: I have not played in Memphis.

TNB: So, this is your first gig in Tennessee.

DB: Yeah it is.

TNB: You are also going to be playing on the Mando Blues Radio Show on Monday.

DB: I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping you can make it.

TNB: What are you looking forward to the most about being in Nashville?

Debbie Bond, Rick on keys, photo - Robin McDonald

Debbie Bond, Rick on keys, photo – Robin McDonald

DB: I feel like it’s an adventure. I have great sympathy for Nashville because I think it is kind of like Alabama. People don’t think of the blues when they think of Nashville and the fact that there is this really cool blues culture is exciting to me. I fell like it is an honor to be part of the line-up at The Nashville Blues and Jazz Awards that includes Marion James and all these veteran blues musicians. I’m really thankful and excited to be part of it.

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