Archives for posts with tag: Grimey’s

Celebrating Nashville Vinyl store finds and stating digital pundits are all wrong!

courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

If you haven’t noticed, collecting vinyl records is becoming a huge thing among all age groups in Nashville. United Record Pressing has become so backlogged that they are expanding into another space. Record Store Day is like a city wide holiday with bands playing all day long at Grimey’s, The Groove and Fond Object.

*many hyperlinks go back to vinyl videos*

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

I caught the bug a few years ago after getting an original copy of Jerry Lee LewisBreathless” on 7 inch Sun Records while going through Bee Branch Arkansas on the way back from Branson, Missouri that I found at a vintage and junk shop.

I didn’t even have anything to play it on, since I have not owned a turntable since 1988. I even sold off my collection which was really large and deep and full of imports in the late eighties for practically nothing. I know I wasn’t the only one to do that.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

It wasn’t until I started buying some vinyl over at Third Man Records that I finally bought a turntable and the venerable receiver and speakers to go with it. It all started on Craigslist where I went through two old well-heeled Marantz and Sony Receivers that burned out after about a year each. The JBL near field monitors and home theater Subwoofers that I located have stood the test of time. I went through one Sony turntable where the line level pre amp fried before going back to Amazon and settling on a reasonably priced yet better sounding Audio Technica turntable. The Sherwood receiver I purchased through Amazon has specs right out of 1990 with 100 watts per side and has a great protection circuit that has stood up for two years.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Ever since that has been resolved, I have been able to concentrate on collecting. Most Collectors are going for the twelve inch 33’s and prices are increasing. I do have a paltry 100 or so “long-play” twelve inch records but I really wanted to hear the sound of the seven inch [45’s] records like I remember.

Post Sex Pistols, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Post Sex Pistols, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Post Sex Pistols, Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Post Sex Pistols, Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Just like 16 bit CD’s and 24 bit hi-def, analog has some rules to tone and bigger mid-range. Twelve inch 45’s are a whole other thing entirely that became popular in the eighties but I’m not going there. Let’s just talk about seven inch records. Although 12 inch 45’s are best known as dance remixes from the 80’s, my first experience was a French Sex Pistols release of “Anarchy In The UK” on that format in 1978 at a Punk Rock shop in Santa Cruz, California.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Seven inch records could be made with more bass and increased output without worrying about the needle skipping on the record. The 45 mix often will be a lot different than the album mix. The flip side or “B” side may be a song that is not available on a record. The mix may be different in other countries. I remember owning a French Polydor copy of Jimi HendrixVoodoo Chile” where the mix had been cranked up and the guitar sounded like you were standing with your ear up against the grill cloth. I used to play it for friends back in the eighties and watch their jaw drop.

The Beatles used to release songs either on albums or on seven inch singles. Eventually the singles showed up as a collection like the Hey Jude album or the double gatefold red and blue albums.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

In my own collection, there was a huge difference between the album cut of The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off Of My Cloud” where Brian Jones’ snaking lead notes were pronounced and the single where Keith Richards’ crunchy rhythm guitar is cranked up and really drives the song playing off of Charlie Watts’ snare. It made the difference between good and great.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

The Sweet talked about how when they found out that “Fox On The Run” was being released as a single, the members of the band went in and completely remixed the song with a much harder edge akin to Motley Crue than the album version. Sweet did this behind Management and Producers backs. They knew what it should sound like and took things into their own hands. They got everybody upset and mad even though the record did well. I’m glad that Sweet did that.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Another good thing about singles is that it was formatted for AM radio where three minutes was the goal and there were limitations to time versus physical size. While some edits were a little annoying some were appreciated if you just wanted to groove and not go into a “space-out mode” like the deleted bridge in the single version of “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. Not to mention, if you haven’t heard Led Zeppelin on seven inch like original cuts “Living Loving Maid” or “Black Dog” than you are in for an experience full of Bonham’s snare cracks and home stereo speakers that will turn into a Jimmy Page Marshall half-stack.

As far as actual tone, I read all the garbage between vinyl and analog buffs and digital hi-def die-hards and it really comes down to whether you like a lot of high frequency stuff that only dogs can hear in a world where a computer doesn’t recognize playing on top of the note or stretch tuning and changes the actual information as well as removing all the bits of sound that define a mid frequency instruments’ personality versus a couple of snaps or crackles and something that sounds very dynamic, alive and in your living room.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

You can take the test for yourself. I own a copy of Bob Marley: Legends on CD and a new old stock copy of “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & The Wailers. I did a side-by-side. The most important aspect is Bob Marley’s voice. If you only heard it on CD, you would never recognize the grit and air that make up his actual voice texture. They are gone in the digital realm. While digital is supposed to be more accurate, it actually sounds like a comical cheap imitation.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Another side by side would be Parliament’s “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk) regarding the groove aspect. Not only does the vinyl single sound thicker and richer in the mids but the sharp edged funk of a tight group gets lost in the digital conversion as the numeric digital world has different numeric values for different frequencies and the groove of all the instruments locking together becomes nothing more than a cool drum pattern with a bunch of instruments that seem to clog undeniably slightly loose at every juncture. The true groove is gone in the digital realm.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

One more major complaint is what digital did to Duane Allman. I own digital versions of “Layla” and Duane’s slide sounds sharp and out of tune thanks to digital algorithms. If you listen to the vinyl album or single you’ll notice Duane is playing on top of the note [not out of tune] and it gives a lift to the mood at that point in the song. It is absolutely beautiful. Too bad Duane didn’t know that computers were going to make his slide out of tune and unlistenable.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Okay, enough of my own observations that seem to defy the logic of quantized digital junkies. If it is all about sounding “real”, “in your living space” and with a wide sound field then that needle dragging through a frequency groove like a work of art is the way to go. If you like snappy eighties style keyboard loops and auto tuned vocals then the current state of shared files should work for you just fine.

My Mother's favorite before she passed away in 1966, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

My Mother’s favorite before she passed away in 1966, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

When I started collecting, one of my friends here in town thought I was going to just go back and buy everything I used to own. I did go after some of that but there were a lot of things I missed growing up and there are songs that did well regionally here in Nashville and are readily available as opposed to many songs that I was into growing up in California.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

For the most part, I grew up in Fresno, California from the last half of 2nd grade through my junior year in high school. That time spent in Fresno meant that my tastes are eclectic, all over the place and really just defined by musicianship, groove or originality.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

If I had to define Fresno during the seventies by five groups, it would probably be Tower Of Power, Supertramp, The Tubes, Sly & The Family Stone and Buck Owens. My personal taste goes way beyond that, but those would be five groups that anybody who grew up there would say, “Oh yeah, for sure they were big in Fresno.” I can name a song by every one of those bands that I liked as well as anybody from Hoover High School Class of 78 could as well.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

You could add any horn band like Chicago, Malo or Blood Sweat & Tears. The biggest cover band was called March Hare [scan of Fresno City College school newspaper circa 1978, see page 4 , article on group called Windfall for more on March Hare members]. They had a full horn section and could play just about anything popular at the time and got paid the most money. They had a four piece, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards group called Spare Hare for a fraction of the full band cost.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

My own personal taste ran the gamut of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Funk, Jazz, Punk and so on. I even liked some Country although it really was my parents’ music at the time. To give you an idea, I listened to Judas Priest, The Ramones and liked Power Pop like Raspberries and Pezband but my dream gig would have been to play guitar for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1977.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

If I tried to collect everything from my past, I would be in deep for years and years.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

There are particular records that I look for such as the three dominant records I remember from my earliest days in San Jose before my parents died in San Jose, California. I have purchased the trio. The Rolling Stones “Get Off Of My Cloud” was the first record I purchased at age 6, by myself, after my mother said I could pick something out. It is still one of my favorites. The other two were San Jose regional records that went onto the national charts, The Syndicate Of SoundLittle Girl” and Count FivePsychotic Reaction.” I did get to watch Count Five practice two blocks away from my Orchard View childhood home back when.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Just about any War single reminds me of Fresno, especially “Me And Baby Brother” which is in my 400 plus and building singles collection.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

In the mid-seventies, I was really into what was modern metal or Hard Rock at the time and singles like UFO, “ Too Hot To Handle” found in Louisville, Kentucky as well as Sweet flipside “Burn On The Flame” remind me of my early band years playing guitar.

As far as collecting goes in Nashville, the biggest amount and the most variety of seven inch records would go to The Great Escape on Charlotte Pike. Pricing is really reasonable. There are loads of $1.00 singles as well as collectables that for the most part are not over $10-a-piece. They put out their new inventory every Thursday and it is kept in bins by date if not in any kind of alphabetical order.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Record Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Record Collection

The Great Escape in Madison may not have as big a selection but will usually have different records then the ones found at the West Nashville store. The best thing to do, regarding The Great Escape, is to sign up for their email list and get notification when records will be off 20% or when they have their sidewalk 25 cent sale including the Bowling Green, Kentucky location.

I usually go for the 25 cent sales including Bowling Green, Kentucky and start digging around. It is important to go with no preconceived notions. It also helps to have some in-depth knowledge of decades of music. They used to have 10 cent sales but I don’t think that will be around again.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Examples of things I have found at 25 cent sales include a radio copy of Pat MethenyNew Chautauqua” which I never knew was released as a single until I found a brand new old stock copy at The Great Escape in Madison. I also found a brand new old stock seven inch copy of “Taboo” by Arthur Lyman. I remember “Taboo” from my Dad’s twelve inch long play records. He had installed a built in system in the living room and this was Hi-Fidelity recording. It was meant to show off frequency response and clarity but it would now be categorized as Lounge Music. It would fit in with a Martin Denny collection. I don’t think any of these records sold well in this format but it is so cool to have them on seven inch.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

In Nashville, there are a lot of radio copies around that ended up in retired DJ collections as the format declined and now they are all over town. A rule of thumb on seven inch radio copies is that in the 50’s and 60’s they actually spun the record numerous times and there can be a lot of wear on a very popular record and little wear on a record that did not take off.

In the 70’s and 80’s, AM radio used a tape cartridge similar to 8 track tape and would record the cut to be played multiple times on tape till it wore out and then would re-record on a new “Cart”. It is possible to find near mint radio copies from the 70’s and 80’s. I have found a few. My gem is a radio copy from the late 60’s of Big Brother & The Holding CompanyPiece Of My Heart” where Janis Joplin’s live performance rings clear and gives a front row seat of her performance. It gives me the chills. I paid less than $10 almost two years ago at The Great Escape.

Apple Records from Portugal, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collecton

Apple Records from Portugal, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collecton

Although it is easy to find several Excello record titles in Nashville, I have yet to find any of the three Marion James “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” singles that were released here locally after years of searching. I guess I will have to resort to Ebay.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

There is no problem finding all the Country you want, especially mint new old stock copies of deep catalog Artists. I don’t know enough about that to make an educated guess. I do have Patsy ClineI Fall To Pieces”, plenty of Buck Owens and some Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson singles are plentiful even on the smaller labels as he was really popular in Nashville as a songwriter. A good place for deep catalog new old stock Country would be Lawrence Record Shop down on Lower Broadway although I did find a Wreckless Eric single on Stiff Records as well as the previously mentioned Bob Marley copy of “Is This Love” at Lawrence Record Shop.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

With current interest in Muscle Shoals, Fame Records can be found easily and I definitely look for Candi Staton and other Jimmy Hall produced gems. The Great Escape on Charlotte Pike usually has plenty of Fame Records along with all things Beatles and Elvis.

Since Nashville was a big hub for actual Music “Business”, there was manufacturing, distribution, recording, management and publicity that all had copies of material. There were warehouses and backrooms of vinyl that never got sold that now has found its way into used vinyl stores all over town. It’s not all Country either.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

While Grimey’s would be ranked number one for new vinyl in town, as far as used seven inch records, it’s best to go the to the Grimey’s Too [Preloved Store] and go through the two boxes on the front desk. That would be the most recent purchases. I recently found a radio copy of Blind MelonTones of Home” by doing just that. I was surprised to even see a vinyl radio copy release from 1992. I found a vintage radio copy of Judas Priest’ “Living After Midnight” as well for $1.00.

Grimey’s does stock the largest selection of local label seven inch releases. It is possible to buy a new record from GED Soul along with Infinity Cat and Third Man Records all in the same trip.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

The Groove is great for new vinyl but also has a decent stock of used seven inch vinyl. Because of its East Nashville neighborhood location, they have quite a few used copies of Alternative and Punk bands from the 90’s to the present day. If that is a specific thing, this would be a great place to check out. For me, I’m primarily looking for 60’s and 70’s but there usually is an 80’s record worth getting every time I stop by. This was the only place in town that I saw a single by The Jam. It was an import. I am looking for stateside releases since they are even harder to find.

Fond Object is an interesting place. This started from the owners’ own private collection, I believe, he was based out of Austin so, this store has a lot of late 80’s and 90’s Punk. Fond Object had stuff that probably was never available in Nashville in a retail used vinyl store. They actually had a copy of The Sex PistolsPretty Vacant” American release on Warner Brothers but they wanted $20 for it, so I passed hoping to get at a place where it would mean nothing like Lawrence Record Shop.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Third Man Records has just about every Third Man seven inch release in stock at any given time at their company store. My favorite non-Jack White single, Dan SartainBohemian Grove” was easy to find. Dan Sartain with Matt Patton [Model Citizen, The Dexateens, and The Drive By Truckers] on bass was part of the Birmingham Scene when I lived there. Third Man has been releasing a few Sun Records seven inch re-releases as well. The Raconteurs cut “Old Enough” with Ricky Skaggs still has never been released on vinyl at the home of the world’s fastest record.

Infinity Cat opened up their office to visitors with new vinyl behind United Record Pressing after having numerous fans show up at the door wanting to say “hi” on their visit to Nashville.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

That’s about it for seven inch records, except for, maybe the occasional find in an antique mall. After all, most of these records would be considered antiques.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

It’s always worth checking out the local shop when you’re out on the road. I stopped by Rasputin Records in San Jose when I was out in California recently and found the Record Store Day release of Junior Kimbrough and The Black Keys both doing “Meet Me In The City” [Fat Possum] which was impossible to find here after they were all immediately snatched up. Hill Country Blues is well known in Nashville, but the single had little value in San Jose, California. Apparently, the locals are clueless about Junior and there was a stack of copies available.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

It was also easier to get a copy of Simo’s single through Amoeba’s website in California.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MODOC_AlbumArtNumber 8: MODOC

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

patty griffin american kidNumber 7: Patty Griffin – American Kid       

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

jason isbell southeasternNumber 6: Jason Isbell – Southeastern

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

tim easton not coolNumber 5: Tim Easton – Not Cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tristen cavesNumber 1: Tristen – Caves

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

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

The Clint Culberson Interview

Modoc, photo-Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

Modoc, photo-Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

We are really excited that local stations are willing to put us out there and help support what we are doing.” – Clint Culberson, MODOC.

MODOC has seen their fortunes rise after moving from Indiana to Nashville a couple of years ago. While most of the Hard Rock scene has faded, they have had a chance to write with Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes and had their song, “Devil On My Shoulder” featured in the promo for last year’s TV show, 666 Park Avenue.

Clint Culberson took some time to relate on the benefits of being part of the Nashville music community and what has turned MODOC from one of the members of the local scene into current real Rock, no-frills torchbearers on the verge of something even bigger.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Are you in Nashville right now?

Clint Culberson, Lead Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter- MODOC: Yeah, we are home.  We are leaving on Thursday for Alabama.

TNB: Where do you play in Alabama, I think I saw Tuscaloosa?

CC: Yeah, we are in Tuscaloosa and then we are heading to Arkansas for a couple of days.

TNB: Then you are back here on the 18th?

CC: Yes. We are back here in town on the 18th and then Bowling Green the 19th, I think.

TNB: You guys have a good wheel going on (around Nashville)?

CC: We are trying for sure.  We’ve got some good guys working for us.

TNB: As far as MODOC, the first time I saw you was during the last good Next Big Nashville Conference a couple of years ago at The 5 Spot. How long had you been in town?

CC: I think we were here for a little while. We had probably been in town for a year. We really changed when Caleb, our original bass player, came down from Indiana and we took it a little more seriously once he got down here. We said we really want to do this for a living and go after it.

TNB: So Caleb is actually your original bass player?

Clint Culberson, Modoc, photo - Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

Clint Culberson, Modoc, photo – Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

CC: Yes, he was the original bass player and he had decided he was going to stay back home for a girl and not move down here. We were not really sure where we were at as a band at that point. We had a guy step in for a little bit and we are still really good friends with him but, he was…you know, we kind of had to come to a mutual agreement. I hate to say it wasn’t mutual but, he wasn’t going to quit so we had to do one of those things that is never easy to do.

TNB: I would say that is definitely some strong bass that Caleb is playing on the album. I listened to the video you guys have up the other day recorded at Smoakstack. Is that where you did the new album?

CC: No, we just did a couple of live videos in there and what-not to have. This new album we did on our own, so, we recorded that record everywhere. We went from my garage to living rooms to bedrooms, kitchens where ever we could find good sound.

TNB: Is MODOC situated in East Nashville?

CC: Two of us are in East Nashville and two of us are in West Nashville.

TNB: So you are kind of involved on both sides of Nashville.

CC: Yeah. We cover the whole market.

TNB: So how do you like Nashville after being transplants, like everybody else, I should say.

CC: I feel like we have become, you know, part of this town.  It is home for us. We have met a lot of people, so that’s a little more exciting than the hills of Indiana. I think I would say I’m probably the most country out of all of us. I feel like I’ve probably picked up the accent more than anybody.  I don’t mind it.

 TNB: Are you the main lyricist or does the band work together?

CC: Mainly, I do most of the lyrics and writing on that side of things. But, the guys always have something. John comes to me most of the time, out of the three of them, with lyrics and what-not. You know, there are some songs that I’m kind of strugglin’ and not sure where to go with this and we will sit down and figure it out and it seems well and it makes sense. It is still coming from an honest direction, I guess.

TNB: Well, I love MODOC’s sound but, for me that’s the core. I have always liked bands that have come out of here [the south] like The Black Crowes, but also some of the newer bands like American Minor that was around a couple of years ago also American Bang which used to be Bang Bang Bang.

CC: Oh yeah.

TNB: Do you guys feel like you are getting really good local support? Are you getting radio support?

MODOC_AlbumArtCC: Yeah we are getting a little bit from Lightning 100 but also, lately; The Buzz has really been supporting us a lot actually. They were playing us before we even knew it. They were super into it, so, it is really awesome to know that they were picking it up before we even talked to them about what else we could do with them.  We are really excited that local stations are willing to put us out there and help support what we are doing.

TNB: Do you see any core areas in the Country that are starting to come back or come up with the real Hard Rock thing?

 CC: I think it comes and goes, I think a lot of people get excited for a bit and I feel like even though we have only been here for a few years, I feel like a lot of the bands that were doing somewhat close to what we were doing when we first got down here are no longer out there and so I feel like somewhat in a good way that we’re not the only rock and roll band, of course not, but, you know sometimes I feel like we don’t wear a funny hat or costumes so we are the only ones like us. That’s it.

TNB: I see you guys where you are at now, your songwriting is a lot more polished. I like it because it has some variety to it and it sounds like you guys are having a really good time, especially over the last year. What was the turning point? Was it songwriting here in Nashville?

photo - Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

photo – Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

CC: I think we are all aspiring songwriters anyway and we’ve always said the best song is what is going to go on that record and we had written a lot of songs. I think it just takes practice and we don’t want to limit ourselves on any specific kind of song or genre. You know, of course we are going to play electric guitar and play loud, but, I think we have been good about saying make the song be what it’s about and then worry about whether or not we are going to do it. So, we just finished a good album and we put it out there. We need to sound like us. We need to stop worrying about that. Early on, I think we did a good job of getting that out of the way and stopped worrying about songs being different and whether they mesh or not and it just depended on how it was recorded that makes it sound like you. What Ryan Adams has done over the last decade, a lot of his sounds are completely different and we are big fans of all of them and he gets a lot of shit for that, or he did. But, they couldn’t stick him into a particular genre and well… good for him. He can do whatever the hell he wants to and have a good time. It’s much more important to have a good time.

TNB: If I were to say where you guys are at right now, MODOC is like the bridge between The Black Crowes and Kings Of Leon because you are a little heavier Rock than the Kings Of Leon but you still have that depth of, you know, where American Bang was a little more of party mode, Modoc is more of a thinking band about lyrics and structure.

CC: Yeah, totally and I appreciate that. A lot of people compare us to Kings Of Leon and I just want to say thank you. A lot of people don’t know what to expect when they tell me that and I’m just, no, that’s an honor those guys are doing great.

TNB: You are more rocking. MODOC is leaning more towards The Black Crowes but you still have kind of that thinking mode plus some of your song structure is more modern.

CC: Right, yeah, we are big fans of those guys too. We actually got to write with Rich Robinson.

TNB: Did you cut anything that you actually wrote with him?

CC: We haven’t. It’s been kind of…not a bummer but we weren’t sure what we were wanting to do with it and he was wanting to Produce the songs that we co-wrote, so, rather than try to hurry up and get a bunch of songs done for he and I  or for the band… it’s kind of tough… he lives in Atlanta and he is also doing solo stuff and The [Black]Crowes now so it’s very difficult to schedule and I hope to write with him again but, for now, that is kind of on hold. I still have those recordings of what we had written on my hard drive and I go back once in a while and make sure I still remember those songs because they are good songs. We just have to find a place for them.

TNB: How did the song end up in the beginning of the TV show (666 Park Avenue)?

CC:  We were cutting a song that John had written and I had a good idea for a chorus so we knew that it was a good song and it was a dark song. We had heard that the Twilight people were looking for songs for the movie soundtrack for their last movie, so, we thought, well, why don’t we go cut it and see if we can get on that, you know, like every other fuckin’ band in the world. Obviously, it didn’t get chosen for that but, it actually worked out well to be put on the front of that promo for 666 Park Avenue. We just kind of pitched it to ABC right after we found out the Twilight people had passed on it. We put it on this record as well because we were happy how the song turned out for us.

TNB: Which song was it?

CC: “Devil On My Shoulder”

TNB: Oh, yeah, great song.

CC: Thanks man. I think we are going to do a video for it this fall. We kind of have to hurry up.

TNB: There are a lot of things you could do with that in a video.

CC: Oh man, I’m really excited about the idea. We have a really good Director. He used to be a good musician friend of ours but, he has turned into a pretty bad ass Director so, hopefully we can work with him on that.

TNB: That sounds great. Do you think you will probably ride on this album for another year before you cut something again?

CC: Yeah, I would say we will probably. We have had some talks and we might even go in the studio this winter to have an even bigger release next fall. It’s crazy, because we go in cycles of writing so differently so we try to catch that. If we are all writing on the same thing for a while and we are all in the same mode we definitely want to capture that all together and have some really good songs that go together that are all in the same time frame. There can be some similar things going on and tell a story in an album of where we were at, at the time. It’s hard not to want to record when you are writing if you have something to say and we usually do.

TNB: It’s good that you have ways of saying “let’s work on this” and “we’ll cut that.” I guess you have friends with different pieces of gear to record when you need to.

CC: Yeah, basically. Nashville is a big town with a lot of people with a lot of music gear so it’s not really that difficult to get a hold of some good stuff and make sure we have a big sounding record.

TNB: I hope you have something ready for Record Store Day because Electric Guitars and Guitar Amps always sound better on vinyl.

CC: When is Record Store Day?

TNB: It’s in April. It’s like a national Holiday here in Nashville. I mean, there are bands playing everywhere all day long.

CC: Yeah, I’m going to have to remember when because I feel like it’s kind of a blur. I’ve been to a couple of those over at Grimey’s.

TNB: The Groove was awesome last year. They had Chromepony and they had all the G.E.D. Soul Records crew.

Modoc, photo - Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

Modoc, photo – Salomon Davis / Solo Photography

CC: Chromepony fuckin rules! We actually played with those guys down in Baton Rouge last year on the way to SXSW. We are good buddies with those guys. We are definitely getting our record cut to vinyl here very soon. I think it is through a company out of Cincinnati called Soul Step.

TNB: Is it going to be available locally?

CC: It will be online for sure through them and I am thinking we will have the ability once we get those done and get our hands on them to get them to Grimey’s and other record stores as well. I’m not sure of the logistics on that. I am just excited to have it on vinyl period. It’s something that we have been wanting to do forever and it has just been trying to find a way to do it that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg. I think it’s very good “branding” for the band as well to say “we like to listen to good music too and on a good source.”

TNB: What do you think the release date is going to be?

CC: I would imagine in the next couple of months. I think the deal worked out with them just this last week so I would say in the next month or so. I am waiting with baited breath.

TNB: I think Nashville was a good move for you guys.

CC: Thanks, man.

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

upcoming shows

10/12/2013 Conway, AR Bear’s Den Details   Oct 12 2013 at Bear’s Den in Conway, AR
10/13/2013 Nashville, TN 102.9 The Buzz Details   The Local Buzz Interview
10/18/2013 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge- 102.9 The Buzz presents “This Is Nashville” Details   Nashville, TN
10/19/2013 Bowling Green, KY Brews and Tunes Festival Details   Bowling Green, KY
10/31/2013 Indianapolis, IN Irving Theater Details   Indianapolis, IN
11/1/2013 Chicago, IL TBA Details   Chicago, IL
11/2/2013 Columbus, OH Victory’s Details   Columbus, OH
11/7/2013 Knoxville, TN Preservation Pub Details   Knoxville, TN
11/9/2013 Greenville, SC Radio Room

The Emily Bell Nashville Interview

photo courtesy Emily Bell

photo courtesy Emily Bell

I’m definitely from a more Soul and Rock & Roll background, you know, and it’s cool getting to meet other people in Nashville and different writers that go against the grain a bit.” – Emily Bell

Austin based singer/songwriter Emily Bell has been spending a few days in Nashville getting ready for her set premiering her latest album In Technicolor  featuring the single “Back The Way That I Was” Thursday night at The Basement with an early 7Pm set. The album shows a varied background since Emily has been involved in music and performance since growing up in Houston and attending Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

emily bell album coverEmily Bell spent some University time in New York City before eventually ending up out on the West Coast working with former members of Tony!Toni!Tone! cutting her teeth on multiple songwriter sessions for a long stretch at Raphael Saadiq’s Burbank Studio before returning to Texas and laying down roots in Austin with Co-writer and life partner, John Evans.

Emily combines “rootsy” soulful vocals reminiscent of Imelda Mae meets K.T. Tunstall and Elizabeth Cook with the visual beauty that ties her to the King of Rock & Roll with Elvis-era Ann Margaret looks and a sultry Lisa Marie Presley gaze.  She is making her Nashville debut this week.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Have you been off tour for a few days?

Emily Bell: Yeah, well I’ve had a couple of days off.  I have been these past few days in writing sessions in Nashville.

TNB: Really! So you have been in Nashville?

EB: I am in Nashville right now. I am currently parked on the side of the road. I just picked up John Evans [Co-writer, partner] from the airport. He has writing sessions this week. 

TNB: When you talk about writing sessions is it for your own thing or doing something on the side for the publishing company?

EB: This is stuff for my own thing. You know, while I am really busy with the tour and supporting this record, we’re starting the ground work of, you know, writing the new songs for the new record and I came to Nashville last month and met with a bunch of different publishing companies and they really helped me set up good sessions with some of their writers that I would really blend well with. It has been really great so far and I have been really excited to be writing again.

TNB: Is there any writer in particular that you think is somebody you will definitely end up working with yet?

EB: I am really excited to write with Mike Krompass. He was the drummer for Smashmouth and he has this Rock and Roll background. I am excited to get in and write with him.

TNB: You will find all kinds of people here in Nashville. There are so many people moving here it’s crazy.

photo courtesy Emily Bell

photo courtesy Emily Bell

EB: Yeah, I know. I’m definitely from a more Soul and Rock & Roll background, you know, and it’s cool getting to meet other people in Nashville and different writers that go against the grain a bit.

TNB: I noted that you are pretty eclectic and I was looking at John Evan’s stuff and he seems more focused in sort of a Marshall Crenshaw kind of way. How do you guys work together as writers? Do you mainly write and then do arrangements with him?

EB: When John and I first kind of ran into each other we kind of knew each other for a long time and I was very familiar with his music, but, we both just kind of collided and it was really a natural experience; how we write together. It comes up in so many different ways. I’ll come up with lyrics and he’ll come up with melody or I’ll come up with melody and he’ll come up with musical instrumentation. It is really organic the way we work together. His style and my style, they are very different but, we found a way to complement each other and almost create something very different and that was new to us. So, it’s really a great partnership and I’m always surprised and excited when we write together.

TNB: The band you work with, is that The John Evans Band basically?

EB: When we tour we share bands. I have some core musicians and he has some core musicians. When we are on tour we have the same players and it’s nice. We have been sharing the band recently.

TNB: Are you going to stay in Austin, is that your hometown for now?

EB: Yeah, you know Austin is a really great home base for us. We love that city and they have really embraced John and I and it’s also, it’s a great launching pad and getting to travel to Nashville and travel to New York and travel to L.A.; we are happy with that for now. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I, for one, like to move around a lot.

TNB: I noticed you have been between New York, L.A. and Austin and Houston. Have there been other places you have lived in?

EB: Those are the primary places I have lived in. I lived in Oakland for a while. Between moving from L.A. to Austin, I took time off and I just wanted to just really get out and get my brain fresh so I travelled to India and I travelled around Southeast Asia for three months.

TNB: Was India kind of a spiritual thing, like with The Beatles?

EB: I mean it was more, it wasn’t a spiritual quest, it was more of… I didn’t go to Ashrams. I had been to Ashrams and I had visited the Temple. It was a spiritual quest in some way but, it was more of an adventure quest. I wanted to experience another part of the world and that is always spirituality in some form.

TNB: Did you bring any instruments back with you?

EB: No, oh my gosh, but, I wanted to. I had this man teach me how to play the Sitar. I mean, he gave me like an hour lesson. Those instruments are just so gorgeous. I mean they are huge and it is so expensive to bring those instruments back. I really wanted to though.

TNB: What do we expect when you play at The Basement this week? Are you doing an in-store at Grimey’s before? Or, just doing the show?

EB: I’m just doing the show at The Basement. This is kind of like my first time here. You know you first have to kind of break into the Nashville scene.  It’s a slower process, so, we decided to just hit up The Basement and invite as many people out as we can and see what happens from there and hopefully once people get to see us they will want to book us more.

TNB: Even though The Basement is small, if they agreed to have you there that’s good. They are kind of picky so that is a good choice.

EB: I was really excited to do the show there. When they hopped on board I was really excited.

TNB: Are you familiar with the Soul scene here in Nashville?

EB: No, I’m not familiar with it. I’m not familiar with Nashville in general. I’m still new to this town. It’s exciting and I’m kind of learning something new about it every day.

TNB: You ought to check out G.E.D Soul Records. There are a lot of retro-soul acts and they are all out of here, former students of Belmont University and stuff like that. There may be some acts you might want to book with next time.

EB: That’s good information. We will look them up.

TNB: They specialize in vinyl. If you go to Grimey’s and ask about G.E.D. Soul Records, they will have a whole section.

EB: Very cool. I love that. Last time I was here I had to go to Third Man Records. I love what Jack White is doing with the 45’s, it’s so cool. So that was really cool for me.

TNB: Did you record a song in the recording booth that presses records?

EB: We wanted to, but, it was out of order that day. That was one of the biggest reasons for me going.

TNB: Guess who was the second person to use that booth?

EB: Who?

TNB: Neil Young.

EB: Oh God, wow, that’s amazing.

TNB: Who do you guys gig with in Austin when you are back home?

EB: Well, I do shows with so many different musicians in Austin. I have done shows with Hayes Carll, Rosie Flores…

TNB: Oh cool, I like Rosie.

photo courtesy Emily Bell

photo courtesy Emily Bell

EB: There is a long list of Austin musicians that I am still dying to play with. A lot of local Indie bands. I started out playing with The Happen-Ins. There is a band called The Couch. The first summer that I was there I was invited to start my own little music festival called Summer Camp that benefitted local non-profit organizations. It was my way to friend other musicians in the town. I was still so new and I thought why don’t I just…it was a whole long day event that happened every Sunday over the summer and we had an above ground pool and I had vamp counselors and we had this whole kind of Dazed and Confused summer camp scene and I booked about four bands every day and I just closed the night out and there were so many great bands that were on that.

EB: That was a great project. Now, this is the first album that you and John Evans put together, right?

TNB: Yeah.

TNB: I would say that it is really eclectic, kind of a blend going in different directions. The single reminded me of Bow Wow Wow, kind of Punk Rockabilly. Where do you see your stuff going? You are doing these writing sessions, is there a certain direction that you are going to start aiming for on the next record? Or, are you going to just kind of keep it where you want to go?

EB: There is a definite direction I want to take with this new record. I’m a Rock & Roll girl at heart and I really want to bring that out in this next record. Without giving too much away, I definitely want something that is just rockin’ and kind of show that a female fronted rock band isn’t bad!

TNB: Do you think it is still going to be more “Roots Rock”?

EB: Yeah, I mean when I say Rock & Roll I mean “Roots Rock’. I think of the Rockabilly Artists and I also think of Led Zeppelin. I think of Tom Petty; just all the greats that have inspired me and have inspired the music that I write.   

TNB: I would say you are in a great place. I remember when I was in Texas I would just turn onto the Texas Chart channels just because it’s different than what you listen to anywhere else. It has a lot of Artists that are big in Texas like Joe Ely. You have some great flavor and you are working with a great partner, John Evans.

photo courtesy Emily Bell

photo courtesy Emily Bell

EB: Thank you so much. John and I are very excited to write this next record.

– 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

record store day 2013 021Record Store Day started well before Saturday with lines cueing up at 6PM the day before at Third Man Records with some vinyl collectors showing up from several states away for the special Record Store Day items.

record store day 2013 035Third Man had a private party with tour buses lined up which included Willie Nelson and Neil Young last Thursday night in preparation for Jack White’s latest installation into the company store: a vocal booth where you can cut your own 7 inch record and have it come out of a machine ready to play.

record store day 2013 026record store day 2013 031record store day 2013 030The line started to form at Grimeys about the same time. The people at the front of the line had started about 6PM Friday as well to make sure they had their pick of the special releases. The front of liners at Grimeys had a laundry list of stuff to grab and Dave Matthews rare 500 only vinyl was on the list.

record store day 2013 024The first campers at The Great Escape Charlotte store arrived at 8PM. The main reason they got there was for the same rare Dave Matthews’ 500 only release. Great Escape was said to have two copies.  The best kept secret in town is that Great Escape gets a majority of the same things that Grimeys gets but, if you arrive about 5AM you can probably get what you want and be 4th or 5th in line. The Great Escape also is the earliest store to open at 8AM.

Grimeys definitely had top flight entertainment all day long with headliners Paramore playing later in the day.

record store day 2013 051The Groove was not to be outdone with a Mas Tacos truck out front serving up some of East Nashville’s best Mexican food and a stage in the back. The Groove probably had a well-balanced full plate with a pair of local labels G.E.D. Soul Records and Jeffery Drag Records  that featured Natural Child rolling papers made in the Peoples Republic of China manning booths with plenty of new vinyl.

record store day 2013 082 smallG.E.D. Soul had a Record Store Day 7” release, Sky Hi’s Reality Check as well as an afternoon performance by recording artist DeRobert & The Half-Truths who performed with the sun hitting the band straight in the face. DeRobert blocked the glare with some cool shades.

record store day 2013 063G.E.D. Soul Records was spinning vinyl in between sets.

record store day 2013 078 smallrecord store day 2013 061 smallGraffiti artists Mike “Ol Skool” Mucker and Troy Duff  had their own thing going on in the alley behind The Groove.

record store day 2013 047The afternoon behind The Groove got hot when KCRW “Breakout Band” Penicillin Baby started off with some great Garage surf staring at their guitars and meditating on the Fender reverb spring action.

record store day 2013 053 smallrecord store day 2013 057 smallTristen  was in good spirits going through a strong enthusiastic set.

record store day 2013 069record store day 2013 072record store day 2013 068 smallChrome Pony had it all, a great drummer playing extremely tough and tight on the kit and a red headed guitarist that matched the bright sun glowing in the afternoon sky. For once, Nashville had a perfect weather day this year.

record store day 2013 049The Groove also had bins outside lined up on the side of the old house with one dollar records. It was a sure hit with what dollars were left over after buying the Big Star $39.99 double vinyl.

record store day 2013 075 smallEast Nashville parents brought their kids along and it was interesting to see Nashville veteran alt-rockers Forget Cassettes kind of Goth pop – Souxsie & The Banshees type thing going through a six year old’s brain. A little more mind expanding than afternoon geography at the elementary school.

record store day 2013 042Even Ernest Tubb Record Shop got into the Record Store Day thing with a few featured releases including Eric Church’s vinyl that had Whiskey poured into the actual pressing and the Chet Atkin’s Blackjack EP that was quickly sold out and was never seen by anybody but the buyers.

record store day 2013 074Phonoluxe, which doesn’t purchase any new records, but, may have the best variety of used vinyl in town, pulled out all the stops and brought many hidden treasures out for purchase. This was the stuff that might only get to EBay. They had plenty of rare stuff for the serious collector.

record store day 2013 041record store day 2013 038record store day 2013 039Rock band, The Ettes opened up a new used vinyl store and label in Riverside called Fond Object on Record Store Day. Fond Object fills a niche of more punk and metal with stock that used to part of one of the band members own collection starting out a busy room full of noise.

record store day 2013 087 smallrecord store day 2013 089 smallAn afternoon of fine music on the green was to be had behind Fond Object featuring the true country honky tonk of Alabama native J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices which featured a little Speedy West / Jimmy Bryant kind of dual lead vibe before the end of their set.

record store day 2013 106 smallThe sun started to settle and all the vinyl was packed away in the when Cheap Time featuring Jessica from Heavy Cream on bass went through a ripping set behind Fond Object. Speaking of Heavy Cream, the missing record for Record Store Day that should have been was a back to back release of The Stooges, “1969” and Heavy Cream’s “1979.” Elektra and Infinity Cat, are you listening? It was interesting to hear three chord slash with a couple of three year old kids chasing each other in front of the band.

record store day 2013 096Fond Object’s Record Store Day party featured mixed drinks and custom hot dogs. The best had homemade tomatillo Sauce with sour cream and cilantro. I need to make that one at home.

record store day 2013 113I was looking forward to going through my new finds, but, my earlt 90’s Marantz 780 receiver had a fit and shut down and is now in search of a good stereo repair guy before I get to enjoy my cache of new colored vinyl.

record store day 2013 108 bwAll photo © 2013 Brad Hardisty

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

Record Store Day 2013 056Record Store Day Returns this Saturday April 20th and for Nashville that means long lines at Grimey’s, The Great Escape, Third Man Records and The Groove for special limited edition vinyl released in just about any vinyl format.

Record Store Day 2013 033Record Store Day was started by a couple of record store clerks just a few years ago to celebrate the format and give the last independent record stores something exciting to drive in music lovers to buy and enjoy music.

It was like the line drawn in the sand. It was the last final stand for vinyl. They knew they were right. That first year drew people to independent record stores.

Record Store Day 2013 036I bought a simple Sony turntable for $89 at the last chain record store FYE that was housed in the once beloved Tower Records Nashville before it closed and got tore down to enjoy some new 7 inch vinyl and a couple of long play 12 inch records I bought out of the back.

 

Can't Turn You Loose Side B recorded Live

Can’t Turn You Loose Side B recorded Live

I had a feeling it was going to be good. When I dropped the needle in the groove and the turntable was hooked into my recent generation Sony 6.1 100 Watt per channel receiver I expected to get that natural sound wave vibe back in my face. I kind of did. It wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. I chalked it up to a cheaper turntable; after all, I had a newer state of the art consumer Sony receiver and a pair of good ears.

Record Store Day 2013 034I started buying a lot of 7 inch singles new and old in anticipation of an eventual late 50’s Seeburg Jukebox purchase for the house. I figured they would sound better with the old tube circuits and the fat second order mids that digital cannot handle.

Well, last year the Sony receiver that I had got such a good deal on from Craigslist gave up the ghost and I was without raging CD and DVD quality going through my JBL studio monitors and unmatched Zenith subwoofer.

Record Store Day 2013 035I went back to Craigslist and found an old school first generation home theater Marantz SR780 from the early 90’s. This was a beast with heavy transformers. The Marantz cost $4500 back in the day and I picked it up for $75 after taking it for a test drive in the guys East Nashville living room. It didn’t come with a remote and there was barely a legible read out of whether it was a CD, Tape or wow… the new format, DVD! It was 100 Watts per channel as well and even though it was rated the same as the Sony my DVD Movies were sounding huge.

Record Store Day 2013 037I hooked up the entry level Sony turntable and threw on a 7 inch original Stax release of “ Time Is Tight” by Booker T. & The MG’s. The beef was back! It wasn’t the cheap turntable. It was the new Sony receiver that had newer generation lightweight digital transformers and was EQ’d for the weakling in the room: digital!!!

Now, it sounded like the four piece combo was in my living room. Steve Cropper’s Fender Twin was right at my feet. It was soothing. It was peaceful. It was medicine for the soul. It was the truth. A needle travelling through a sound wave is the most natural representation of what was recorded. If you want more truth, get bigger grooves.

Record Store Day 2013 039Neil Young said it best when he noticed something was missing from digital and he said,” It is like looking through a screen door. You can see what is going on, but something is missing and blocking everything from coming through.”

Record Store Day 2013 040Digital is incapable of completely reproducing the complexity of sound between 50 and 7k. It’s just not there. Music equipment and speakers are being designed to mimic what Digital is good at which is everything below 40k and stuff above 16k. It is stuff that our ears were not really designed for  and it is why we get listeners fatigue and become edgy after listening to CD’s and even worse…MP3’s.

Record Store Day 2013 045As far as Sirius radio, all out music deconstruction is going on. Every song sounds like Heart’s “Barracuda” ran through a cheap flanger stomp box into a Maestro Phase Shifter giving the effect of a cheap car stereo speaker being shaken not stirred in a half full Slurpee cup, round and round she goes what frequencies you get nobody knows!

Record Store Day 2013 046Another thing is going on. Digital music is a numeric algorithm going on to reproduce the sound. The algorithm itself is wearing us down. I think that is the real reason most people do not put the value in purchasing music that they once do. It is not soothing to the soul. The human brain is much more complex a machine than a computer and our brain is sensing the algorithm process going on constantly and micro nano seconds of each frequency are not locking together because of the math processing needed for each band in the frequency pool. The music is not locked together. The groove is gone. It may be only by microtonal variations, but, our mind and body sense it and eventually gives up on reaching harmonic harmony.

Record Store Day 2013 054Go buy some old vinyl where the band was recorded virtually live in the studio. Look for some vintage Booker T. & The MG’s or The Ventures records. The band is locked together solid. The groove is locked together. Get a 7 inch original of Parliament, “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker.”

Record Store Day 2013 043I played the old Parliament vinyl on Casablanca for a record company head that works with Funk, Soul and Jazz. He stood there for a while in amazement. He hadn’t heard a vinyl version of this stuff in a while. The brain can tell the difference. After all these years and HD Pro Tools, digital cannot lock the groove together. Even with a good engineer or producer sliding tracks around in Pro Tools or any other digital recording model, the groove is not there, it can’t. Groove is a community of musicians’ thing.

Record Store Day 2013 055One musician is playing slightly forward while the other is playing deep in the pocket. It is a group of musicians finding their space in the composition. A digital format cannot mimic that. It is too complex. They can design an algorithm called natural groove and create a numeric value for that, but, it is impossible.

Record Store Day 2013 057When Roland decided they had finally come up with a digital algorithm good enough that it could mimic the classic Electric Rhoads Piano they invited Ray Charles for a private test drive at West L.A. Music where I worked back in the day. He sat down and played for a minute and said, “It sounds pretty good, but, does it have stretch tuning?”

Record Store Day 2013 048Roland quickly packed it up and went back to the drawing boards and at least came out with a stretch tuning patch. It sucked. Digital cannot compensate for what a skilled music creator and a tuned set of ears can produce.

Record Store Day 2013 041Anyway, Record Store Day is upon us. There is a great list of stuff coming out. An employee at United Record Pressing said that they had not been this busy since they opened the doors in 1947 getting stuff pressed for Record Store Day 2013. Vinyl is on the rise. CD’s are on the decline and MP3’s are a rip off!

Record Store Day 2013 038Do yourself a favor. Be there! You better get there real early. If you haven’t bought a turntable, buy one after you get yourself a handful of vinyl. There are a lot of releases that never made it to CD. Do some research and you will find stuff to go out and look for.

Record Store Day 2013 058Also, they were not referred to as 7 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch vinyl unless it was a weird format like a 12 inch 45. They were 33’s, 45’s and 78’s. We referred to it by the speed brotha!

All photo © Brad Hardisty

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