Whether it be the unnaturally warm February weather or the surprisingly (or should I say unsurprisingly) sold out show for a relatively new and developing band, everyone in the jam-packed Mercy Lounge sensed that something big was happening. Chatter was made up of conversation on who is who in the Nashville music scene and the next show people would be attending. Not lost in the conversations was an overwhelming sense of confidence that Kaleo was about to blow up, summed up by a Kentucky native to the right of me who said it was worth the drive and she didn’t think she would see the quartet in such a small, intimate venue ever again. With such a buzz preceding them, the band definitely delivered. Starting with “No Good,” a song picked up for the new HBO original series, Vinyl, the crowd was immediately moving to the blues/rock riffs and grungy vocals.
Jukebox the Ghost managed to plan a perfectly timed show, performing for Nashville on Thursday night and celebrating the rain, as opposed to the snow, that lingered the day before and after. The band brought along Greg Holden to open the show, bracing the stage similarly to how Passenger did a few years ago, with just his songs and guitar to carry the mood. Although many voices were heard singing along to the Brit’s 2015 single, “Boys in the Street,” those just hearing him for the first time seemed pleasantly surprised based on the chatter in between sets. His stage presence paralleled his music, honest and heartfelt.
Recent concert goers expected to have a fun night out at Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” tour when their memories were stolen from them as Instagram deleted not only content, but also whole user accounts for copyright violation. Although Jackson issued an apology and revised the policy, she made it clear she had full intentions of protecting her intellectual property in the future asking fans to forgo the use of long clips.
On Thursday afternoon we were graced by a lovely in-studio performance with Australian folk duo, Oh Pep! Bringing a sweet Aussie attitude and an affinity for fried avocado tacos to the WRVU airwaves, Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs talked their upcoming album, adventures touring and their three, foot-stomping shows at Nashville’s Americana Festival. They broke down their carefully woven tracks and instead used just a guitar and fiddle/violin.
Gracing his wrist, “The River Is Everywhere,” a quote from the piece “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse rests on Andrew McMahon’s lower arm as a reminder that wherever you go there is always going to be a piece of you. Since the release of his latest venture as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, this daily reminder could not be any more relevant. The long awaited debut of a solo album came under the moniker Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness following a short solo EP, The Pop Underground, in 2013, nearly 8 years with Jack’s Mannequin and 3 full length albums recorded with high school band, Something Corporate.
This week was a whirlwind of school loads getting way too much to handle, the CMA Awards taking over Nashville and to top it off my friend had ACL surgery. With all of the busy-ness this week, I wanted to put a few songs together, new and old, that bring me peace and comfort in the hard, negative and stressful times.
November 9th, 2013. Winter was upon us as potential students scurried around campus knocking leafs around the greek row sidewalks with their weathered, leather boots as they toured a campus and a city that might one day become a home to them. Pretending the brisk Nashville temperatures were still fall conditions, I dressed in a thin long sleeve shirt and prepared for the night ahead of me. We had been looking forward to this day for months. American Authors at one of Nashville’s most unique, bursting of character and quite frankly small venues, The End. Thrilled to leave the lonesome cave I’d created of post break-up tears and cheesy rom coms, otherwise known as my room, my friends and I arrived at the venue minutes before the show facing a crowd of no more than 30 people. Lost in chatter and introductions a voice suddenly broke through the noise and stopped me in my tracks. Who was this girl with the powerhouse vocals strong enough to shatter the thoughts of everyone in the room and draw every eye in this small dive club to her luscious hair, small frame and impeccable style? The voice belonged to Mandy Lee, one third of the trio Misterwives hailing from New York City.
Leaving us with high expectations and wide-eyed anticipation, Alt-J’s first album, An Awesome Wave, burst onto the music scene making a name for the English indie rock band with singles “Breezeblocks” and “Fitzpleasure.” Living up to and exceeding our expectations, their sophomore album, This Is All Yours, was released Tuesday offering us a different side of Alt-J that had not been shown in the past.
Boasting crowds approaching 20,000 each week, Nashville prides itself in having one of the best free music festivals in the country. You heard me right, free. Lightning 100, the only local independent radio station, brings in the best live acts for four Thursday nights full of food, fun and music then continues the party the last weekend by extending this Thursday night show into a whole weekend festival spicing up our Friday and Saturday. This year the lineup was better than ever with bigger bands and the same long sets. All of these Thursdays and weekend performances add up to 22 live sets by Cage the Elephant, The Head and the Heart, Capital Cities, Ingrid Michaelson, City and Colour, Jake Bugg, G. Love and Special Sauce, The Wild Feathers, Augustana, Delta Spirit, The Lone Bellow, Wild Cub, The Features, The Weeks, Spanish Gold, Johnnyswim, LP, All Them Witches, Goodbye June, Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes, Sugar and the Hi-Lows and Phin.
“You better dance with us, even if it’s bad” John and Jacob said to a friend and I before the show. Apparently the whole crowd overheard this as swing dancers were in full motion by the first note of their vibey, fun music and they didn’t show any signs of slowing down. As the night went on, John and Jacob decided to share a little secret with us. Having an album all recorded and ready, they were only missing a release date. They decided what better way to release an album than exclusively to this Nashville crowd that night. The album is not available to anyone other cities or states right now except Nashville showing John and Jacob’s love and thankfulness for the supportive Nashville crowd.
Many of you have probably seen this popular video posted by Grady Smith reminding us how mainstream and non unique country music was in 2013. What most of you probably don’t know is why this video exists. This video was actually made in response to the negative comments on his top 10 country album list that readers penned “not mainstream enough.” I don’t think his goal was to bash mainstream country music, but to open listeners eyes to songs they won’t hear every 5 minutes when stuck in Nashville traffic at rush hour. I have always loved some of the lesser known, genuine, country crossover artists, but didn’t realize how big of a genre they were becoming until my dad pointed out a Reddit post to me last week. Someone started dissing country music and one clever Reddit user retaliated with a Spotify playlist full of the best country songs he could find that aren’t about girls, trucks and beer. This playlist, featured below, includes some of my favorite new artists in Nashville that really have the potential to change country and triple A radio.
My favorite week of the year is quickly approaching, Although every week in Nashville has it’s fair share of loaded writer’s nights and stellar concerts, one week has a special place in my heart. Songwriters Festival, Tin Pan South, takes place at local venues in Nashville, for a week, every March. The lineup never ceases to disappoint as they utilize 10 of the most intimate venues in Nashville and host two shows a night. Every night attendees get to watch the songs they all know come to life in a somewhat backwards way. There is something magical about hearing a song stripped down, as it was originally written, and learning the stories behind them. The only way to understand is to experience this yourself! This is my advice and the shows you don’t want to miss (all in my opinion of course).
This boot stompin’, Texas native has carved her way into the music industry in the last whirlwind of a year. With two Grammy awards and a CMA award under her belt, she embarks on summer tours with country singer, author, poet and activist, Willy Nelson and mega pop star, Katy Perry. With countless articles written by Perez Hilton and Billboard and many top 100 albums of 2013 lists, Kacey seems to have become the darling of the music industry. The real question is where is all this momentum heading? Lacking a single to make top 10 on country radio and with most country stations refusing to play her latest single, “Follow Your Arrow,” many are questioning what lies ahead in this bright, 25 year olds future.
Looking for someone to swoon over this Valentine’s Day? What about a song? Fall in love with the sweet melodies of Emily Hearn’s voice. You’ll forget all about your love life as you dive into the music. Emily’s latest single “Found A Heart” from her EP called “Promises” showers love and hope on those of us that are not as fortunately in love as she is. It characterizes the path of her and a guy falling more and more in love up until their wedding day (which is featured in the music video).
I know you’ve seen it. The boy running from his girlfriends parents house, taco gripped in one hand, jacket in the other, terrified look on his face as you see an angry dad chasing him down the street. There’s one thing you may have not noticed, besides the fact that the Grilled Stuft Nacho is not actually that big, and that is the song playing. That song is “Evil Friends” by Portugal. The Man off of their latest album Evil Friends.