CITY LIMITS: MUSICIANS SAY IT’S GETTING HARDER TO PARK DOWNTOWN
CITY LIMITS: TENNESSEE GOP SPLIT ON ABORTION-BAN EXCEPTIONS
CITY LIMITS: MUSICIANS SAY IT’S GETTING HARDER TO PARK DOWNTOWN
CITY LIMITS: TENNESSEE GOP SPLIT ON ABORTION-BAN EXCEPTIONS
NOMINATED FOR TWO GRAMMYS AND POISED FOR THE HBCU ALL-STAR BATTLE OF THE BANDS, TSU’S LEGENDARY ARISTOCRAT OF BANDS IS MAKING HISTORY | BY BRITTNEY McKENNA
FOOD & DRINK:
OSH PLANTS ANOTHER GLOBAL FLAG IN THE LOCAL DINING MAP
Park Life 7
As Nashville tightens parking enforcement, musicians say it’s getting harder to park — and work — downtownBY COLE VILLENA
How We Talk About Drug Overdoses, a Leading Cause of Deaths in Adolescents ....7 ‘Scare tactics do not work — they stopped working a long time ago’BY KELSEY BEYELER
Tennessee GOP Split on Abortion-Ban
Seventy-five percent of Tennesseans support abortion in cases of rape and incest — and some key Republicans agree
BY STEPHEN ELLIOTT
Pith in the Wind ......................................... 9
This week on the Scene’s news and politics blog
Nominated for two Grammys and poised for the HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands, TSU’s legendary Aristocrat of Bands is making historyBY BRITTNEY M c KENNA
Lunch & Learn With André Prince Jeffries, Otobong Nkanga: Gently Basking in Debris, Waxed w/Cardiel & Hurts to Laugh, East Nashville Wind Telephone Dedication, The Supersuckers, Jake Blount, The Casket Lottery, Vinyl Williams and more
FOOD AND DRINK
On the Lamb
Osh, Nashville’s first Uzbek restaurant, plants another global flag in the local dining mapBY KAY WEST
I Want a Golden Ticket
Given one guest to the chocolate factory, who would choose me?BY HANNAH HERNER
Crawl Space: February 2023
February’s First Saturday happenings include a new gallery opening in Wedgewood-HoustonBY JOE NOLAN
Compagnie Hervé Koubi’s What the Day Owes to the Night breaks ground at OZ ArtsBY AMY STUMPFL
A Piercing Wail Reckoning asks us all to come to terms with women’s experienceBY
JANE MARCELLUS AND CHAPTER16.ORG
The Scene’s music writers recommend recent releases from Margo Price, Josephfiend, Brendan Benson and more
BY LANCE CONZETT, EDD HURT, P.J. KINZER, DARYL SANDERS AND STEPHEN TRAGESER
The Scene’s live-review column checks out R.E.N at The East Room and Caitlin Rose at The Blue Room at Third Man RecordsBY
Sympathy for the Devil Saint Omer begs for our empathy
My name is LIL MISS and I am the cutest petite little lady you’ll ever meet!
I take some time to warm up when I ﬁrst meet new people, but once I warm up, I am the sweetest snuggliest girl (see this picture of me in my foster’s lap!).
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BUTCH SPYRIDON IS RETIRING AFTER 32 YEARS, AND HE’S DONE MORE FOR TOURISM AND OUR CITY THAN ANYONE ELSE
I recently read that Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp CEO Butch Spyridon is retiring soon. Retirement is a well-deserved reward for Spyridon, as in my opinion, no one has done more for this city in the past 32 years than he has. Deana Ivey, who has been part of the NCVC since 1997 and is well-suited for this position, will assume Spyridon’s leadership role. Spyridon will stay on contractually for two years as a strategic consultant, as he is still “working on a deal for a new NFL stadium, and to attract the Super Bowl, WrestleMania, Rugby World Cup and new international flights at Nashville airport.”
Spyridon has always been working to position Nashville as a leader. As NCVC board chair Kevin Lavender told The Tennessean, Spyridon is responsible for changing “our branding from Country Music USA to Music City.” According to the Recording Industry Association of America: “The world now looks to Nashville as a singular global center of creativity and commerce. Los Angeles, New York and Nashville are the top three U.S. locations for the recording industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the entire music industry. Nashville’s music industry contributes $5.5 billion to the local economy.” So Spyridon’s vision to rebrand was a wise one.
Rebranding was only one of the areas where he’s had an incredible impact. As recently reported by Country Insider: “Spyridon was instrumental in recruiting professional sports to Nashville. He also helped lead the way for the construction of Bridgestone Arena, Nissan Stadium and Geodis Park. He served as Nashville’s point person for the 2019 NFL Draft, the most successful one-day event in Nashville history.”
Back in February of last year, I wrote in the Scene that Spyridon “seems to have a magic touch in bringing significant events to Nashville. The 2019 NFL Draft reportedly attracted more than 600,000 people to the downtown area, and according to the Titans, it resulted in $133 million in direct spending and a TV audience of 47.5 million. The NCVC is also working toward hosting the FIFA World Cup. If that happens, it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact for Nashville, not to mention thousands of jobs. Spyridon has also been involved in working to bring NASCAR back to The Fairgrounds Nashville.” What’s more, there’s also the CMA Fest each year, the in-
credible Fourth of July celebration and the more recent New Year’s Eve celebration — for which Spyridon is credited with garnering national media attention. Outsider.com reported that Nashville’s Big Bash on New Year’s Eve, which was televised on CBS, brought about 210,000 people to the city.
“After a record-breaking year of economic activity generated by tourism, 2023 is projected to bring in even higher numbers of visitor spending, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp,” reads a recent Tennessean report. “Last year saw the most hotel room nights sold in a single year in Nashville at 9.5 million room nights, the organization announced.”
I cannot help but compare Spyridon and the NCVC to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and its leadership. Both the NCVC and the chamber should be leading the charge in Nashville when it comes to increasing our growth and our bottom line. But there is really no comparison.
The Nashville Area Chamber is led by president and CEO Ralph Schulz. In the past I’ve shared stats from the chamber’s own website that brought me to the conclusion that “the ‘area’ part of the group’s moniker is seemingly more important than the ‘Nashville’ part.” In May of last year I wrote about how the chamber was pushing legislation to give county mayors the power to take over school boards, and that no one had mentioned this intention to the mayor. The year before, the mayor cut the chamber’s budget in half, from $350,000 to $175,000 — the lowest it’s been in 31 years. The chamber has also downsized its office space and cut staff since Schulz has been at the helm, despite Nashville’s incredible growth.
The NCVC, on the other hand — under Spyridon’s leadership, and now Ivey’s — continues to grow and make incredible strides that benefit Nashville and its residents. Nashville is now a “global destination.” And Spyridon should be very proud — he and his team have had a great deal to do with making our city something we can all be proud of. I must also note how proud Spyridon is of his team at the NCVC, calling them his “greatest professional accomplishment” and “second to none.” They’re just following suit!
So, thank you Butch — and congratulations.
Freeman is the owner of FW Publish-
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In memory of Jim Ridley, editor 2009-2016
Nashville is tightening parking restrictions in the downtown core, meaning drivers will now have to pay to park in many cityowned spots inside the Interstate 40 loop up to Harrison Street, regardless of the time of day. The changes are part of the city’s move toward “smart” parking systems that use digital kiosks rather than coin-operated meters.
City officials told The Tennessean when the changes were announced that they are intended to make it easier for the Nashville Department of Transportation to consistently enforce parking policies, increase parking meter usage and provide rates that are “considerably under market” for downtown drivers. The change is also projected to generate an additional $200,000 in revenue “earmarked for future parking and traffic improvements,” according to NDOT spokesperson Cortnye Stone.
“Nashville’s parking program is antiquated and in need of a major overhaul,” Stone tells the Scene via email. “By bringing more order to our downtown streets, we’re able to make them safer for everyone including drivers and pedestrians.”
But downtown employees — especially those who are responsible for finding their own parking before heading off to bartending shifts and performance gigs at places like Lower Broadway honky-tonks — worry the changes will make it harder for them to work in one of the city’s most lucrative areas.
“Love to see my town becoming even more unfriendly towards musicians,” tweeted Jerry Roe, who plays in bands including Friendship Commanders. “Truly nearly no reasons to live here anymore.”
Another user wondered if Nashville would be better off just enforcing existing meters more consistently.
“Seriously... tourist[s] arent typically parking on the street [in] droves, so this
loose change will come from the folks who live here,” tweeted Robert Looper III. “24/7 is a bit extreme for a place with only a bus.”
Joshua Hedley, an acclaimed singer-songwriter who performs several times a week at Robert’s Western World, was one of several Twitter users to respond more bluntly to the news: “They’ll do anything they can to fuck downtown workers,” he tweeted.
Hedley moved to Nashville 18 years ago and got plugged into the city’s music scene by performing long shifts at the bars and honky-tonks on Lower Broadway. Working there can be a well-paying gig for both musicians and bartenders. According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, the city saw 12.6 million visitors in 2021 and received $7.36 billion in direct visitor spending at bars, restaurants and hotels.
Many downtown bars and restaurants, however, don’t provide enough parking for all of their employees and musicians. That means many workers have to arrive downtown early for shifts and search for parking,
often resorting to paid lots. That’s especially true for musicians, who often have to bring bulky instruments, amplifiers and other equipment to every shift.
“If you’re paying $10 [for parking] six times a week, that’s $60 a week,” Hedley tells the Scene. “It adds up, and depending on where you are, the money’s not great playing down there. If you’re making $140, and you have to give $10 of it back every time, it just feels kind of like a penalty, when in reality, the people who work downtown drive the economy of the city.”
Stone, the NDOT spokesperson, notes that there are loading and unloading zones on Broadway that musicians use, as do other workers. Metro also completed a Downtown Nashville Neighborhood Traffic Project — dubbed the Connect Downtown study — to improve access to downtown for residents. The study was completed with input from the Nashville Downtown Partnership, Stone says, and recommendations from the study will be presented in the coming months.
“Much of the department’s work centers on building out a truly multimodal transportation network that enables people to get where they want or need to go without a car,” Stone says. “As more Nashvillians embrace bikes, e-bikes, scooters, etc., we’re confident shorter trips can be made without a car.”
Hedley says he supports expanding transit options, adding that he’d love to be able to take a train from his home in Madison to meetings downtown or in 12South. In the short-term, though, he still feels like he’s reliant on a car.
“I definitely understand the desire to create an initiative to have a more publictransportation-oriented city, walkingoriented city, cut down on traffic and cars,” Hedley says. “It is a great idea, but feasibly, we’re not there.”
Nashville Downtown Partnership spokesperson Alexis Bell tells the Scene that the group works to provide reliable parking access for downtown employees.
“Nighttime economy employees can consistently rely on at least two great options,” says Bell in an email. “The Metro Courthouse/Public Square Garage and the Library Garage offers low-cost parking after 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. In addition, SP+ Parking Management Services offers discounted parking options specifically for downtown merchants.”
Stone also notes that NDOT “will be looking to roll out a downtown employee parking program in the next few weeks” but that details are still unconfirmed. That would be good news for people like Hedley, who says he’s been calling for a parking permit for verified downtown employees for years.
“There’s a finite amount of [downtown workers], and there’s an infinite amount of tourists that come down there,” Hedley says. “I don’t know why they couldn’t give us permit stickers that allow us to park for free. I’m talking musicians, servers, bartenders, anybody who works downtown.
“I feel not necessarily that we need to be rewarded for the work we do, but just not penalized for it.”
On a recent Thursday afternoon, the whiteboard of the Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse program headquarters on Charlotte Avenue is adorned with wisdom from the program’s participants. Among the whiteboard’s sentiments: “You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”
The YODA program, as it’s often called, is a subset of STARS, an organization dedicated to providing mental health support to young people. “The rate at which drug use is impacting our young ones is unbelievable,” YODA’s primary counselor, Folusho Micah, tells the Scene
Drug abuse is of course nothing new among teens, but the issue has been exacerbated by an increased availability of illicit substances. Illegally manufactured and distributed pills and other drugs are being advertised and sold to young people through avenues like social media. Some of these drugs, however, can be laced with other dangerous substances, oftentimes unbeknownst to young buyers, that could have serious health and safety implications.
A December report from the Centers for Disease Control states that “although illicit drug use declined overall among surveyed middle and high school students during 2019-2020 … widespread availability of illicitly manufactured fentanyls (IMFs), proliferation of counterfeit pills resembling prescription drugs but containing IMFs or other illicit drugs, and ease of purchasing pills through social media have increased fatal overdose risk among adolescents.” According to a report issued by The New England Journal of Medicine in May, drug overdose and poisoning is the third-leading cause of deaths in adolescents, behind firearm-related deaths and motor vehicle crashes. According to a 2021 report from the Tennessee Department of Health, 21 Tennesseans under the age of 18 died from overdose in 2021, along with 231 people ranging from ages 18 to 24; both age ranges show an increase in drugrelated deaths from previous years.
The increased presence of fentanyl — a highly addictive synthetic opioid that can be lethal in very small doses — is a particularly concerning aspect of the national opioid crisis that’s leading to overdoses in people of all ages. Recent legislative changes and statewide programming have made more resources available, including increased access to naloxone. Naloxone, often referred to as a brand name Narcan, is a drug that can counteract opioid overdoses. A spokesperson confirms that Metro Nashville Public Schools’ nurses and school resource officers are supplied naloxone and trained to administer it.
Other related resources are available to adolescents and their parents both in and out of the school system, from educational information to targeted mental-health-based programming
‘Scare tactics do not work — they stopped working a long time ago’
As Nashville tightens parking enforcement, musicians say it’s getting harder to park — and work — downtown
“IF YOU’RE MAKING $140, AND YOU HAVE TO GIVE $10 OF IT BACK EVERY TIME, IT JUST FEELS KIND OF LIKE A PENALTY, WHEN IN REALITY, THE PEOPLE WHO WORK DOWNTOWN DRIVE THE ECONOMY OF THE CITY.”
JOSHUA HEDLEYOUTSIDE ROBERT’S WESTERN WORLD
and treatment. Messaging surrounding substance use has also significantly changed from what older generations might be used to. While anti-drug campaigns have historically relied on fear-based tactics, information like research produced by the state and Vanderbilt University shows that this approach isn’t effective in preventing substance use, and can backfire. Instead, organizations like STARS and MNPS are working to educate young people on the physiological effects of drugs so they can make informed decisions.
“Scare tactics do not work — they stopped working a long time ago,” says Stephanie Davis
of MNPS’ student support services. “It’s about changing the mindset. And one way you change the mindset is you provide education that they can absorb, that they can understand and that they can apply. And so that’s what we do, we provide the education that they can understand and apply so that they can make a better decision.”
Davis says MNPS leans on its staff, counselors, social workers and community partners to provide that kind of education through avenues like one-on-one counseling and mental health awareness days. The district’s community resource guide also lists several organizations that can provide mental health support,
Seventy-five percent of Tennesseans support abortion in cases of rape and incest — and some key Republicans agreeBY STEPHEN ELLIOTT
This article was first published by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
With Tennessee’s socalled trigger law already on the books, the state enacted its abortion ban almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June.
Yet even as anti-abortion legislators and advocates celebrated, they considered how much further they could go — perhaps by barring Tennesseans from seeking abortions in other states, or by restricting contraception.
But now, some GOP legislative leaders have returned to Nashville for the new session with a different attitude. Swayed by input from constituents and health care providers — and perhaps by a November poll showing that 75 percent of Tennesseans believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest — some key Republicans
say they want to add exceptions to the law.
“First off, I’m anti-abortion, very strongly, but I’m more pro-life,” says state Sen. Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), a pharmacist who is speaker pro tempore. “There’s a high percentage of folks that think there need to be some tweaks made to this.”
House Speaker Cameron Sexton (RCrossville) says an exception for the life of the patient would need “to be very clear.” Under the current law, which makes all abortions a felony, abortion providers must offer an “affirmative defense” if they are charged, admitting they were in violation of the law but had to act to save the patient’s life. Health care providers have protested that they should not be forced to prove their innocence for actions taken during life-ordeath situations.
“I think there needs to be a discussion about rape and incest as well,” Sexton says. “Whether or not we can get that, I’m not sure, but there needs to be a discussion.”
The Tennessee Senate leader and governor support the law as written. Tennessee legislative leaders have not released any
education and intervention — oftentimes at no cost. Additionally, there are local and statewide organizations dedicated to addressing drug use and recovery across all age groups. A state Collegiate Recovery Initiative, for example, trains and informs college campuses about addiction and how to address it.
Parents and caretakers also have a role to play. For those who aren’t sure how to talk about drugs with their children, the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a “Talk. They Hear You” campaign that equips adults with tools for discussing these matters. Micah tells the Scene that parents should look out for warning signs
proposed exception language, but states with rape and incest exceptions typically require patients to prove that an assault occurred. In Utah, for example, a woman who claims her pregnancy was the result of rape or incest must file a police report, though most sexual assaults nationwide go unreported. Mississippi and Idaho also require law enforcement involvement.
Some Republicans in other states with strict abortion bans, including Texas and Wisconsin, also might be interested in adding rape and incest exceptions. But abortion rights supporters point out that few if any patients have qualified for abortions in the states that do have exceptions.
An August poll by the University of Texas showed that 78 percent of Texans support an exception for incest and 80 percent favor an exception for rape. GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan said at the Texas Tribune Festival in September that he has heard from House members who are concerned about the absence of exceptions. At the same event, one of the state’s longest-serving Republican state senators said he would support a rape exception.
“If I get a chance to vote for an exception to rape, I will vote yes,” Texas state Sen. Robert Nichols said on a panel of GOP lawmakers several weeks before he was up for reelection. “I think instead of us telling women what to do, we should show our support for women of this state.” The Texas Right to Life organization suspended its support for Nichols in response to his comments.
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Texas state Senate, has signaled he might be willing to take up the exceptions question. “I am not saying no, but we’d have to see a real groundswell of Republicans in the House and Senate to say yes,” Patrick told Spectrum News’ Capital Tonight in a December interview.
Amy O’Donnell, communications director for Texas Alliance for Life, says her organization is “definitely against a rape-incest exception in our abortion laws,” though the group supports exceptions for medical emergencies. O’Donnell adds, however, that her organization has not withdrawn support from anti-abortion rights lawmakers who support rape and incest exceptions.
In Wisconsin, some GOP leaders also are interested in adding exceptions to the state’s strict abortion ban, a law dating to 1849 that was reactivated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe. But the situation in Wisconsin is complicated, because while Republicans control the legislature, Gov. Tony Evers is a Democrat.
In December, Wisconsin’s Republican
that indicate drug use such as extreme behavioral changes, dramatic shifts in attitudes and sleeping patterns, and reclusive behavior. He also notes that parents shouldn’t assume that their kids aren’t interested in drugs.
“This is not just a school approach,” says Davis. “This is not just a school issue. This is a community, neighborhood, faith-based, city, state [matter]. It has to be a collaboration with everyone involved, to address it, and to resolve some of the issues. It can’t just be one entity trying to make sure that we have viable resources that are available to our parents and students.”
House Speaker Robin Vos told the Associated Press that he favored granting clear exceptions for rape and incest and protecting the life and health of the patient. “I’m going to work hard to make it happen,” Vos said. “I think it’s the right public policy, and I think it’s where the public is.”
In a September poll, only 5 percent of likely Wisconsin voters said they favored a law prohibiting all abortions without exception. Evers, who supports abortion rights and has sued to overturn the 1849 law, has pledged to veto any piecemeal legislation that leaves the ban in place. And the state’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu told the Associated Press he doesn’t want the Senate to consider an exceptions bill because he knows Evers will veto it. “I’m not sure why I would make my caucus go through such a difficult vote if the governor is going to veto it,” LeMahieu said.
Gracie Skogman, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life, agreed that given the promise of a veto, an exceptions debate in the Wisconsin legislature could “put pro-life members in the position of having to take a difficult vote.” Still, she says, her organization supports medical emergency exceptions and “we do think we should have further conversations about potentially strengthening that language.”
Wisconsin Right to Life opposes any rape or incest exceptions, Skogman says, but maintains its support for abortion opponents who support those exceptions.
The question of whether to emulate Evers and stand firm against any ban — whether it has exceptions or not — or to push for exceptions is a thorny one for abortion rights supporters.
“If you’re talking about exceptions, you are preferencing some reasons for an abortion over others, and that doesn’t treat abortion patients fairly,” says Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. “You’re also requiring patients to identify a reason for an abortion when simply saying you need an abortion is all that should be needed.”
Nash notes that exceptions often are crafted so narrowly that people who think they qualify don’t meet the requirements, and that “particularly for rape and incest, it can be very traumatic for the person to have to relive all of that to prove they qualify for exceptions.”
Louisiana’s abortion ban, for example, includes exceptions for protecting the life or health of the patient and for deadly birth defects. But the state has reported no abortions since its ban took effect, according to The New York Times. Mississippi has excep-
tions for rape and protecting the life of the patient, but there have been no more than two abortions since that state’s ban took effect, the Times reports.
In Tennessee, there were nearly 10,000 abortions in 2019, the last year for which state data has been published, though the rate of procedures was declining even before the Supreme Court struck down Roe After Tennessee’s ban took effect last year, major providers such as Planned Parenthood stopped offering abortion services in the state.
Abortion rights leaders in Tennessee emphasize that they want to repeal the ban, but say they’d be willing to work with GOP leaders to make it less harmful.
“If they want to walk this back, I hope they would do it in a way that ensures some people can really access the health care they need,” says Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. “We’re happy to help them with good public policy if they want our perspective.”
Francie Hunt, executive director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, was reluctant to talk about proposed exceptions until she could see actual legislative language. But, she says, “There are ways to write an exceptions bill that could be helpful. I’m curious to see if they’re able to write that bill. We’ll be here if people want to con-
sult with us.”
Tennessee state Sen. Raumesh Akbari (DMemphis), the new Democratic leader, says she understands the trepidation around embracing Republican-led conversations about exceptions. But with her caucus controlling just six of 33 seats, and Tennessee House Democrats at a similar disadvantage, she says she will do “whatever we have to do to try and improve the situation.”
“I obviously support putting some exceptions in if that’s all we can get,” Akbari adds.
The recent Vanderbilt University poll that found that three-fourths of Tennesseans — and a majority of Republicans — support rape and incest exceptions also found that more voters now describe themselves as prochoice than describe themselves as pro-life. That’s a stark shift from a decade ago. But adding exceptions to the Tennessee ban is far from a slam dunk. Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) says the abortion ban is fine as is, in contrast to his counterpart in the House. Republican Gov. Bill Lee has said he supports the law as written.
Meanwhile, Tennessee legislators already have filed bills that would enact further abortion restrictions, including one that would prohibit city governments from helping residents or employees seek abortion care in other states.
Metro Police Officer Dylan Ramos shot a 47-year-old Black man outside Slim & Husky’s on Buchanan Street on Sunday. Ramos responded to 911 calls that the man was armed, possibly homeless, and potentially dealing with mental illness. It was MNPD’s second fatal shooting in 2023. … A Nashville court granted real estate giant AJ Capital legal right to move human remains from a project site in Chestnut Hill to the adjacent Nashville City Cemetery. The development group found skeletal remains in May and June when it began readying the site for a 10-story residential building. … Metro Nashville Public Schools are preparing for new state funding numbers that will determine the district’s financial footing. … Mayor John Cooper released the latest Capital Spending Plan during a press conference last week at Lakeview Elementary
The slate of projects includes facility upgrades at several public schools and a new juvenile justice center, which will be moved to Brick Church Pike from its current site near Nissan Stadium. The projects total $562 million. … Cooper also announced upgrades to fire and police facilities, a gesture of support that came days after Nashville’s firefighters’ union and the Fraternal Order of the Police endorsed him for reelection. Cooper courted both groups’ support over the past few months, though as of this writing he has not formally announced that he will seek a second
term as mayor. … A rally in Murfreesboro against transgender rights drew counter-protesters as well as members of the far-right hate group the Proud Boys. The organizers specifically targeted health care related to gender-affirmation surgery and hormone treatments. … The Tennessee Department of Health will defund community organizations focused on HIV prevention, including local nonprofit Nashville Cares, many of which rely heavily on state funding. The department will instead fund only efforts tied to local departments of health. … Weeks after Memphis police brutally killed 29-year-old Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop, Scene contributor Betsy Phillips dives into what has and hasn’t changed throughout Tennessee’s long history of police violence.
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It’s a chilly Monday night in North Nashville, and dozens of students are huddled inside a practice room in Tennessee State University’s Performing Arts Center. Just a couple of weeks into the spring semester, the students are deep into the first half of their regular weekday evening practice as part of the university’s Aristocrat of Bands, a premier collegiate band nationally renowned for its intricate, high-energy performances, its genre-spanning repertoire and its fierce, rigorous commitment to excellence.
There’s a charge in the room as the band runs through a portion of Beyoncé’s 2022 Renaissance hit “Cuff It,” with an interplay of drums capturing and amplifying the song’s dance-floor origins and percussive bursts of brass and winds re-creating its infectious
bridge. “Cuff It” is just one of dozens of songs in the band’s back pocket, as a whiteboard at the front of the room boasts nearly 100 songs that the AOB can perform on command — among them school standards, traditional marching-band fare and a singular blend of pop, R&B, soul and hip-hop.
Surrounding that song list are doodles and messages from students, though these likely represent higher stakes than the average classroom whiteboard fodder.
There’s a sketch of a Grammy statuette in one corner and the words “Tennessee Grammy University” in another, alluding to the AOB’s two nominations this year: a Best Roots Gospel Album nomination for its debut recording project, 2022’s The Urban Hymnal, and a Best Spoken Word Poetry Album nod for its contribution to Urban Hymnal collaborator J. Ivy’s album The Poet
There are smiles and laughs during moments of downtime, but members of the AOB are quick to get back down to business when called upon during nightly rehearsal. The students are, after all, mere weeks away from what will be one of the biggest weekends in the band’s history, as they prepare to compete at Feb. 4’s HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands in Atlanta, and anxiously await results from the Feb. 5 Grammy Awards ceremony.
“We hit the ground running the first day of class,” says Director of Bands Dr. Reginald McDonald of returning from the holiday break. He’s speaking to the Scene in his office, which is adjacent to one of the AOB’s practice spaces. “We have another 10 days to prepare [for the Battle of the Bands]. And after we
finish, I along with my staff will be bringing the band back to Nashville [from Atlanta]. And then I’m going to try to catch an early-bird flight out to Los Angeles Sunday morning. We’re still working on trying to get [Grammy] tickets and everything. But hopefully, I can have a ticket to be part of the weekend. And then I’ll be back in town on that Monday.”
Such a jam-packed schedule is the norm for the AOB, whose demanding schedule Dr. McDonald compares to that of a student athlete. During rehearsals, students are dressed in matching gray-on-gray sweatsuits, which give the AOB’s nightly meetings a feeling of not just camaraderie but of discipline as well. Being disciplined is crucial to being part of the AOB, whose exacting standards require four hours of rehearsal — two hours inside the practice room, two hours outside on the field — each weekday evening after students finish classes. On weekends, the AOB rehearses even more, when not supporting the university’s athletic program or performing regular gigs like Titans halftime shows.
“We only do 4-to-7 o’clock [rehearsals] on Fridays,” Dr. McDonald adds, grinning. “We try to give them the chance that night, Friday night, to be regular college students.”
FRIDAY NIGHT PARTIES ASIDE, the students in the Aristocrat of Bands and its many alumni are anything but typical college kids. Since its inception in 1946, the AOB has represented TSU and its Tiger athletic program far and wide, developing a reputation for, as Professor Larry Jenkins puts it after the first half of rehearsal wraps up, being “the band of firsts.”
Those firsts include a 1955 halftime performance during a Chicago Bears versus Los Angeles Rams game, making the AOB the first HBCU band to appear on national television. Six years later, they once again notched an HBCU first by performing as part of President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration, marching in the inaugural parade. And in 2002, the AOB became the official band of the then-relatively new Tennessee Titans, making them — you guessed it — the first HBCU band to serve in an official NFL capacity.
In November, the Grammys added another “first” to TSU’s ever-growing list when the Recording Academy announced nominees for the 2023 ceremony, making TSU the first collegiate band to receive a nomination in any genre. Other nominees in the category are Willie Nelson, the Gaither Vocal Band, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and Karen Peck and New River.
“It’s such a historic moment for our program and our university,” says Jenkins, who also serves as assistant director of bands. “And I was about to say all bands at HBCUs, but it’s all [collegiate] bands. This is absolutely historic.”
When nominations were announced, a collective joyous roar erupted across much of TSU’s campus, particularly in its performing arts facilities. Students were cheering in their classrooms; professors and music department personnel were stunned; phones rang off the hook and inboxes filled to the brim.
“You could just hear kids everywhere,” Dr. McDonald says. “They were so excited. A lot of professors were caught off guard, but they got excited. I said, ‘Well, let me call the president [Dr. Glenda Glover].’ And
before I can even call her, she calls me and says, congratulations, and so on. Then I called my wife. It was one of those moments where it was so much excitement, so much pride, just a sense of accomplishment. And I think the band felt that way for pretty much that whole day.”
“I was just a bundle of nerves,” Jenkins adds. “I ended up going home to watch the broadcast because I was too nervous to be around anybody. My stomach was in knots. Then when it happened, we were the last name to be called. You heard the first [nominee], second, third, fourth. And it almost felt like there was a dramatic pause. And I’m just sitting and not quite looking at the screen, then they say, ‘the Tennessee State University marching band, The Urban Hymnal.’ It was shock for a second, and then I just lost it.”
As Dr. McDonald tells it, winning a Grammy was part of the AOB’s plan for The Urban Hymnal from the jump — he said as much to Dr. Glover when he reached out for her approval on the project. Accordingly, everyone involved with The Urban Hymnal worked tirelessly to complete and release the album before the Grammys’ eligibility period ended on Sept. 30, 2022. With a little help from their friends the Tennessee Titans, the AOB stylishly debuted the project during the team’s halftime show on Sept. 25.
The album is, in many ways, the brainchild of Jenkins and contemporary Christian artist Sir the Baptist. The pair’s initial vision of modern gospel performed by a marching band was brought to life through the creativity and hard work of hundreds of students, much of the university’s music faculty and an all-star lineup of guest artists from contemporary worship, R&B and hiphop that includes Kierra Sheard, Louis York, Fred Hammond and Dubba-AA.
Following Sir’s participation as an artistin-residence on campus, he and Jenkins
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grabbed dinner at the Cinco de Mayo on White Bridge Road, during which they sketched out a rough idea of what a marching-band gospel album could be. That was in January 2022, a mere 10 months before the same project would attract the attention of the Grammys. After securing approval from the university, Jenkins, Sir the Baptist, Dr. McDonald and the rest of the music department got to work.
As the AOB had never recorded music in the traditional sense, the team had to get creative. Section leaders would write and arrange parts and come together to compare notes, sometimes recording parts on the fly and often pulling all-nighters. Though the process was a learning experience, the finished product sounds anything but amateur, managing to capture the grandeur, spirit and versatility of the band despite navigating so many moving parts.
“It was a long ride, for sure,” Jenkins says. “Sometimes it was easy; sometimes it was tough. Dr. [Derrick] Greene, we would be in his space invading the percussion room. He always allowed us to come in and helped with mics. We had help from everywhere. Students would take time and come after hours, or we’d say, ‘Hey, we’ll bring pasta and pizza. Can you come in? We need to record this, this and this.’ It was just one of those things where everybody had to come together.”
The Urban Hymnal opens with “Turner’s Overture — I’m So Glad,” the university’s official fight song. President Glover’s voice is heard toward the track’s end, bridging the gap between the sounds of a marching band and the spirit of gospel music. “I just hold up my hands in praise,” she preaches. “I know the Lord has a calling in my life. No matter what, I will lift up my hands because God is in control.” Then the track seamlessly shifts into standout number “Dance Revival.”
“Dance Revival” perhaps best encapsulates the ethos of the project, which is to
find and celebrate the intersection points between the varying musical traditions that have built the AOB. It’s fast-paced and foot-stomping, with jubilant and soulful vocals, a clipped, smooth flow from Sir and a hopeful message. Other highlights
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A world premiere ballet from Paul Vasterling inspired by Music City’s history
CONCEPT, STORY TREATMENT, AND CHOREOGRAPHY BY Paul Vasterling
WITH LIVE MUSIC COMPOSED AND PERFORMED BY MORGXN
Sidra Bell, Mollie Sansone, Shabaz Ujima, Windship Boyd, and Aeron Buchanan
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include the lush pop of “Fly (Y.M.M.F.)” and the closing “Alma Mater,” on which faculty members celebrate the AOB’s past, present and future. Amid listing a sampling of the AOB’s accomplishments — which Jenkins slyly notes is a service to future historians — the track reminds students, “The TN State on your chest is bigger than you. You have to believe that. You have to embrace that.”
SATURDAY, THE AOB will compete as part of the HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Only six college-age bands are invited to compete — two exceptional Atlanta-based high-school bands will join the proceedings too — making for a truly elite event, one suited to the breadth of the AOB’s talents. Other participating HBCUs are Alabama State University, Bethune-Cookman University, North Carolina A&T State University, Norfolk State University and South Carolina State University.
And on Feb. 25, the AOB will learn if its two NAACP Image Awards nominations — Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song for “Fly (Y.M.M.F.)” and Outstanding Gospel/ Christian Album — bring additional wins to its already lengthy résumé. These are the band’s first Image Awards nods, though likely not its last. McDonald shares that the AOB’s Battle of the Bands performance will incorporate surprise elements to celebrate
its recent string of successes.
“Ideally, for this short turnaround, we would like to perform something that we’ve already done before, because it makes the learning process a little bit easier for the kids, with juggling that time between the beginning of the semester and trying not to miss classes, trying to get their schoolwork done,” he explains. “But because of the Grammy nomination and the NAACP nominations, we have some unique material that we want to capitalize on. Without telling you too much about what we’re doing — can’t lose the element of surprise — we will center our show around those two things.”
Regardless of the battle’s outcome, the event will be a victory lap for the AOB, whose star is poised to rise higher in the coming years. More important to Dr. McDonald and Jenkins than bringing home trophies, though, is how being part of the AOB will forever change students’ lives for the better. Jenkins knows this firsthand, as he himself was once a TSU student sitting behind the same music stands, working the same late nights and long hours in service of something bigger than himself.
“The qualities and the things you learn, they go well beyond the field and the stands,” he says. “The discipline I learned here, in particular, has carried me in every situation in my life, you know, the discipline, the hustle. You can look at the whiteboard and you see songs from the fall — just to be
able to call those up? It takes grit.”
“A big part of [being in the AOB] is stepping out on faith, seeing something that no one else can see and believing in yourself, that you could get it done,” Dr. McDonald says. “And that’s something that I aspire for all of my students to know. Once you finish this degree — we talk about this a lot — you compete with people around the world. You have to see where it is you’re trying to go even before other people. You have to believe you have to be able to work and push yourself to that next level. That’s where we are.”
D’Erykah Sudduth, a junior from Birmingham, Ala., studying public health, is one of the many students who contributed to The Urban Hymnal. As cocaptain of the Sophisticated Ladies troupe of majorettes, she participated in creating visuals for the album, and occasionally plays flute when she isn’t dancing. Her dream is to work at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta after pursuing a master’s degree in epidemiology. Within the AOB, she finds not just a framework for pursuing her dreams but a family of like-minded, similarly motivated students and a chance to blow off steam after long days studying.
“I’m with my sisters almost seven days a week for five or six hours at a time after
classes,” she explains. “So we’re together all the time. Coming here is a break. Dance is a break, for me, from regular classes. So I get here and it’s just like, ‘OK, I can relax. I can be myself. I can do what I love.’ ”
Jenkins sees how that sense of family and connectedness transcends TSU as an institution and contributes to the broader cultural fabric of Nashville, particularly North Nashville, as well as how the AOB expands upon the area’s already rich legacy. He points to the Fisk Jubilee Singers’ 2021 Grammy win — also for Best Roots Gospel Album — as a recent example of how the neighborhood, and its anchoring Jefferson Street, is a place where musical magic happens.
“North Nashville, and Jefferson Street in particular, a lot of that is the real heart of Music City,” he says. “Even though Jefferson Street is different than what it was — especially with the interstate system, we all know the story — the spirit of that music is still here. And this is important: We take Music City elsewhere, too. The AOB’s bringing Music City; we’re bringing that culture from Nashville; we’re bringing Jefferson Street; we’re bringing that mile between us and Fisk; we’re bringing that spirit to you. So I think of us as ambassadors.” EMAIL
[DON’T DRIVE ANGRY]
Few movies stand out in our film lexicon more than Groundhog Day. When someone says they feel like they’re in Groundhog Day, you know exactly how they’re feeling. And though Bill Murray is currently on the verge of cancellation following allegations of on-set misconduct during the production of multiple films, there’s no denying his standout performance in Harold Ramis’ masterpiece. Murray plays a cynical TV weatherman who’s doomed to relive the same day over and over until he changes his attitude with the help of the ever-so-charming Andie MacDowell. Now Groundhog Day is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has managed to surpass the actual holiday in popularity. For whatever reason, Groundhog Day remains stuck on our calendar — instead of, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s birthday — so you might as well celebrate it by watching the movie in theaters all over again. Fathom Events will host screenings at theaters throughout Nashville; check fathomevents.com for listings near you. Feb. 2 & 5 at various locations TOBY LOWENFELS
It’s always nice to see André Prince Jeffries — whom the Scene named our 2022 Nashvillian of the Year — step into her well-deserved spotlight. You can’t talk about the soul of Nashville’s food without mentioning the Prince family’s contribution by inventing the city’s most iconic dish, Nashville hot chicken. However, Ms. André also deserves recognition for her efforts as a Black female restaurant entrepreneur, which was unusual in the restaurant industry when she took over the family business four decades ago. She’ll
feature at the Tennessee State Museum, which is presenting lunch-and-learn events throughout Black History Month, to share the stories of historic Black businesses across the state. If you’ve spent any time with Ms. André, you know she’s a consummate storyteller. It should be fascinating to hear her share her personal history of elevating a small neighborhood chicken shack into an irreplaceable culinary icon. Bring or purchase a lunch and eat while you learn, or livestream the event at the museum’s website. Noon at Tennessee State Museum, 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN
[FOUR ON YOUR SIDE]
The formidable quartet of Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, Edgar Meyer and George Meyer brings together longtime friends and collaborators, all generational talents who have helped shape the past few decades in classical and bluegrass music and their many associated crossovers, hybrids and subgenres. Bush, specifically, is credited with trailblazing “newgrass,” modern bluegrass more aligned with rock traditions. Marshall has made a name in instrumental music for his diverse proficiencies on the mandolin, which span acoustic jazz and Brazilian music. Edgar Meyer is regarded as one of the world’s premier bass players, renowned for his unique compositional voice. Juilliard alum George Meyer has joined his dad onstage more regularly in the past few years,
THROUGH APRIL 23
already proving his chops as a violinist and composer in Nashville and New York. The set list is likely to include music from 1999’s Grammy-nominated Short Trip Home (which featured Joshua Bell on violin). The bill may sound like a downtown law firm, but all four musicians have a track record of entertaining. And you can’t beat the price. If you miss it, Bush’s 2023 tour ends at the Ryman in July. 8 p.m. at Vanderbilt’s Ingram Hall, 2400 Blakemore Ave. ELI MOTYCKA
Nigerian-Belgian artist Otobong Nkanga defies easy categorization. Her woven works seem to be more than mere tapestries, but also a kind of metaphor for the braided threads of her artistic practice, which includes sculpture, video, drawings and performances — though it’s the weavings she’s best known for. Her subject matter is equally vast and includes everything from personal trauma to landscape to capitalism. Luckily, in conjunction with the Tennessee Triennial, the Frist has programmed several opportunities to learn more about Nkanga and her rich, rewarding work. On Friday, Feb. 3, Nkanga will give an artist’s talk at 4 p.m., and the following Saturday at 11 a.m., she will be in conversation with two other artists whose work is currently hanging at
the Frist — Jeffrey Gibson and Matthew Ritchie. Saturday’s panel will be moderated by the museum’s director, Seth Feman. Otobong Nkanga: Gently Basking in Debris is on view through April 23 at the Frist, 616 Broadway LAURA HUTSON HUNTER
I recently found myself watching clips from Paul McCartney and Wings’ final performance, which took place at the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea — a series of London shows co-organized in late 1979 by McCartney to benefit the victims of war-torn Cambodia. (Wings was slated for a Japanese tour just three weeks later, but that was scrapped after the former Beatle was busted with a half-pound of weed in his luggage and spent 10 days in a Tokyo jail; Wings never did play another official gig.) As compelling a performer as McCartney was and is, I found myself once again marveling at the guitar work of Denny Laine — who, aside from Paul and wife Linda, was the sole consistent member for Wings’ decade-long run. Laine’s parts on songs like “Coming Up” and, well, everything on 1973’s Band on the Run are somehow both complex and effortless, a testament to the guitarist’s outsized skill. Laine was of course also a founding member of The Moody Blues, with whom he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, and a prolific solo
artist. Anyone who attends Friday’s show at City Winery is likely to hear tunes from all across the British guitar-slinger’s massive catalog, along with anecdotes from a storied career spanning six decades. 8 p.m. at City Winery, 609 Lafayette St. D. PATRICK RODGERS MUSIC
Legend has it that Mexico City’s Cardiel started making music just to put in skate videos. Whether or not that was the real goal, their sound is tailor-made for the miniramp boom box. With music that’s part ’80s skate rock, part fuzzy ’90s stoner riffs, with just a little bit of psychedelic dub reggae for flavor, the duo somehow manages to create a mammoth sound with just drums and guitar. Friday’s show is fully stacked with a few local concrete-park regulars. The crossover thrash unit Waxed and the longrunning noise of Nashville’s Hurts to Laugh will also be on hand. For those who long for the golden age of Thrasher Skate Rock! cassettes, this gig is for you. 9 p.m. at The Basement, 1604 Eighth Ave. S. P.J. KINZER FILM [WHAT
Someone should curate a film program that consists of early-’70s anti-war films based on novels that were also surreal, satirical, horny-ass spectacles. Let’s see, there was Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, Mike Nichols’ Catch-22 and George Roy Hill’s Slaughterhouse-Five, for starters. Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 masterwork
The Conformist, which has been rereleased in a dazzling 4K restoration, also deserves a place in that series. More of a political thriller than a battlefield drama, this fractured adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s 1951 novel has Jean-Louis Trintignant (who passed away back in the summer) as a member of Mussolini’s Fascist secret police, forced to assassinate his former college professor, an anti-Fascist intellectual, during the policeman’s honeymoon — where he also falls in love with the professor’s wife. Equal parts erotic and neurotic, Bertolucci’s film is a gorgeously shot (the legendary Vittorio Storaro served as director of photography) look at a man at war with himself, trying to figure out whether to be courageous or cowardly during a time when being courageous was considered cowardly, and vice versa. It shows this week as part of the Belcourt’s ongoing Restoration Roundup series. Feb. 3, 5 & 7 at the Belcourt, 2102 Belcourt Ave. CRAIG D. LINDSEY
at Dee’s in December with a band that included guitarist Mose Wilson, covering songs written by Roger Miller, Sheryl Crow, Merle Haggard and Allen Reynolds. Vaughn might be best known as a bluegrass musician — she’s toured with Della Mae and released a bluegrassy album in 2015 — but her robust voice lends itself to country material. On the evidence of her last Dee’s show, I’d say she interprets well-known songs about as well as anyone can in the retro mode that Americana artists tend to favor — Vaughn’s cover of Crow’s sappy “If It Makes You Happy” sounded just as good as her version of Reynolds’ “Dreaming My Dreams With You.” 9 p.m. at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, 102 E. Palestine Ave.EDD HURT
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stays loyal to its source material. The band is made up of seasoned musicians Brady Seals, Gordon Kennedy, Lonnie Wilson, Jerry McPherson, Blair Masters and Mark Hill, who’ve been successful in their own right and have penned scores of hit songs among them. The “bunch of pals who love Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” will focus on the music, not performing as a tribute concert, so don’t expect ’80s-tinged costumes or Petty impersonations. These kind music Samaritans deserve some good, good lovin’. 8 p.m. at 3rd and Lindsley, 818 Third Ave. S. TOBYLOWENFELS
Working in nursing around cancer patients for 13 years gave Alison Young a perspective on the nonlinear, complicated ways in which people mourn. When she heard about the wind telephone of Otsuchi, Japan — a project erected after the lethal tsunami in 2011 — she wished there was one in Nashville. That disconnected phone allows the bereaved to have conversations with their departed loved ones whenever they want in an environment that feels familiar. “It is a different experience than talking to a headstone,” she says. “You are talking to a person’s spirit, not a body in the ground.” The losses of the COVID-19 pandemic only magnified the need for people to process loss. Young is fortunate to have a large yard and driveway in East Nashville, so she started looking for an old phone booth that she could repurpose and eventually found one on Facebook Marketplace down south in Mississippi. With the help of her dad, a contractor, she reworked the antique as a space for public grieving. Young is dedicating the East Nashville Wind Telephone to her grandparents, Glen and Dotti Stillwell, and dedicating an adjacent Free Little Library stocked with books on bereavement to her grandfather Steve Harper. The East Nashville Wind Telephone opens Feb. 4 at 12:30 p.m., with a dedication and light refreshments from Taste of Sweden. After that, the Wind Telephone will be available 24/7, anytime folks want to talk to a departed loved one. 12:30 p.m. at 1425 Rosebank Ave. Guests are asked to park in the driveway at 1425 or 1427, rather than on the street.MARGARET LITTMAN
The split between the past and the present of what you might call country music helps define the atmosphere of the New New Nashville. One of the places to observe this dynamic in action is Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, a venue that’s recently upped its game as a location specializing in the many forms of retro, from Bakersfield-style country to bluegrass and rock. Friday’s show features singer and bassist Vickie Vaughn, a Kentucky native who moved to town in 2007 and studied voice at Belmont University. Vaughn played
There are a lot of Tom Petty junkies floating around — I listen to Petty’s Wildflowers album once a week, so I’m proudly among their ranks. Recently, I had the good fortune of driving a car with a SiriusXM subscription that included Tom Petty Radio (channel 35). It was a holy experience, due in large part to the fans who called in to bow at the altar of Tom Petty. Thankfully for us Nashvillians, we have The Petty Junkies, a hearty cover band that
Downtown treasure the Frist Art Museum is packing a ton of activities into its Frist Arts Fest this weekend. The twoday fest is anchored in the opening of two major exhibitions — Jeffrey Gibson’s The Body Electric and Otobong Nkanga’s Gently Basking in Debris. All day Saturday, you can check out the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, where the museum will host arts activities inspired by the current Gibson exhibition. Then check out more activities, like making an Nkanga-inspired bubble collage, adding to the Gibson-inspired community quilt and more. Grab food in the courtyard from Zilla’s Pit BBQ and The Pepper Pott, and amble over to the lobby for tabletop games. The Rechter Room will host films by Matthew Ritchie, whose exhibition A Garden in the Flood is currently on view. His dramatic paintings and sculpture are an exercise in controlled chaos. The films will be a special treat for locals —
one includes a sound bed made by Hanna Benn in collaboration with Nashville’s own Fisk Jubilee Singers and their late music director, Dr. Paul T. Kwami. You can join Ritchie with Gibson and Nkanga for an artists’ talk (11 a.m. Saturday). The festivities continue Sunday and add on guided movement with Nashville Ballet (1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday), a Sip & Sketch with Chattanooga artist Dexter Morton, docent-guided tours and music spun by WNXP-FM staff. Saturday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-5:30 p.m. at the Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway ERICA CICCARONE
MUSIC [PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES]
Makaya McCraven has been called a “cultural synthesizer.” Considering his ability to blend genres, break rules and expand boundaries, it’s an apt description. A prolific drummer, composer and producer, McCraven borrows from hip-hop and other musical forms — while incorporating plenty of post-production techniques — to “push the boundaries of jazz and rhythm,” creating a unique, polytemporal approach all his own. This weekend, the Chicagobased artist brings his 13-piece band to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center to present his latest work, In These Times More than seven years in the making, this ambitious project is billed as “a large-scale sociopolitical-themed performance of poly-metered repertoire.” Audiences can
6 NIGHTS A WEEK!
THU 2.2 DRUNKENDISNEYSINGALONG 7-9
Pianokaraoke 9-12 w/Katie Pederson
FRI 2.3 HAPPYHOURPIANOKARAOKE
Nashville’s ONLY vinyl record store with full bar and 24 seasonal craft beers on tap.
2 Augustus Carroll & Hikko Mori Birthday Soirée
3 Smooth Jams with DJ Butter
4 DJ Tone Zone
6 Jazz Jam with Sofia Goodman
7 Matt Siffert and friends
8 LGBTQ+ Showcase feat. Kat Hil, Madeleine Kelson, Elizabeth Davis, and YSA
3245 Gallatin Pike Nashville TN 37216 sidgolds.com/nashville 629.800.5847
Saturday, February 4
2:30 pm · FORD THEATER
Saturday, February 4
Saturday, February 18
HATCH SHOW PRINT Block Party
3:00 pm · HATCH SHOW PRINT SHOP
Sunday, February 5
1:00 pm · FORD THEATER
Saturday, February 11
SONGWRITER SESSION Jeff Cohen
NOON · FORD THEATER
Sunday, February 12
MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT Mark O’Connor
1:00 pm · FORD THEATER
Saturday, February 18 CONVERSATION AND PERFORMANCE
2:30 pm · FORD THEATER
Sunday, February 19
MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT Rachel Loy
1:00 pm · FORD THEATER
Saturday, February 25
SONGWRITER SESSION Jerry Salley
NOON · FORD THEATER
Check our calendar for a full schedule of upcoming programs and events.
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SPRINGFIELD WITH TOMMY TUTONE
look forward to McCraven’s trademark precision, including breathtaking rhythms and vibrant melodies. In These Times also offers an interesting selection of archival film footage, along with audio excerpts from interviews conducted by the great author and oral historian Studs Terkel. 7:30 p.m. at the Schermerhorn, 1 Symphony PlaceAMY STUMPFL
Legendary cow-punk outfit The Supersuckers continue to bring unabashed rock ’n’ roll to a legion of fans as the group’s endless tour rolls through Nashville. Formed in 1988, the Sub Pop alumni created their own brand of countrytinged punk rock that stood in stark contrast to their grunge-era counterparts. Melding the guitar onslaught of Motörhead with the sound of outlaws such as Steve Earle and Willie Nelson, the group is considered forefathers to the alt-country scene that grew out of the ’90s. Founding member Eddie Spaghetti remains at the helm despite a battle with throat cancer in 2015 that nearly ended his career. Back in the saddle since his remission in 2016, Spaghetti has a stable of songs about rebellion, sex and Satan that remain in The Supersuckers’ set. Classic barn burners “Creepy Jackalope Eye” and “Born With a Tail” feel right at home alongside cuts from the band’s latest album Play That Rock N’ Roll, released in 2020. High-octane duo Volk and Spaghetti’s other band, Franklin County Trucking Company, will kick things off. 7 p.m. at Eastside Bowl, 1508 Gallatin Pike S.JASON VERSTEGEN
On Sunday, City Winery Nashville again will play host to the annual benefit concert For Pete’s Sake, which honors the memory of the late award-winning and beloved Nashville guitarist and recording artist Pete Huttlinger and raises money for the Pete Huttlinger Fund for Adult Congenital Cardiac Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Huttlinger, whom Vince Gill once called “wickedly gifted,” was born with a congenital heart defect and suffered complications from the condition throughout his life. Shortly after Huttlinger’s death in 2016 at age 54, his widow, Erin Morris Huttlinger, and his longtime cardiologist, Dr. Frank Fish, started the Pete Huttlinger Fund to support the training and research of cardiologists specializing in the care of adults with congenital heart disease. Two years later, some of Huttlinger’s musical friends launched the concert series to benefit the fund. This year’s edition will feature John Oates, whom Huttlinger played with, Jim Messina, Guthrie Trapp, John Berry, John Cowan, Bryan Sutton and many others.
7:30 p.m. at City Winery, 609 Lafayette St.
Dear reader, we are gathered here today to mourn — no, to dance on the
grave of — that erstwhile and unworthy feeling that has led men to war, women to new hairstyles, and all of us to the brink of madness. If you are decidedly not feeling Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the worst day of the year to high school teachers the world over (so many hormones!), The Porch Writers’ Collective has you covered with its annual Heartbreak Happy Hour, a reading of essays about love gone bad. (I’ve been writing this Critic’s Pick for a long time, and it gets darker every year.) Despite my own cynicism, which I promise you is being thoroughly explored in therapy, I have to admit that Heartbreak Happy Hour inspires a sense of jovial fellowship among people all along the love/hate spectrum, and you’d be smart to join them as writers pour their hearts out about the topic. These events don’t have a headliner, but if they did, it would be Kashif Andrew Graham. Recently named the recipient of the Humanities Tennessee Fellowship in Criticism, Graham is a poet, essayist and critic whose writing punctures and pleases. He writes about queer theology, desire and Southernness — among many other things, and sometimes in the Scene — and we can’t wait to see what he cooks up for HBHH. He is joined by Lane Scott Jones, Chuck Beard, Jessica Pearson, Sally Amkoa and Nick Bush. Let them bite your pretty red heart in two. 7 p.m. at Jackalope Brewing Co., 429 Houston St. ERICA CICCARONE
Elder millennials who took Women’s Studies courses (now appropriately labeled Gender Studies in many schools) will recognize a founding principle in the work of V, the artist formerly known as Eve Ensler: The personal is political. V is the author and original performer of the seminal 1996 play The Vagina Monologues, which continues to be performed in countries around the world. In the 27 years since, V has continued to write and perform with grit and creativity, all while acting as a leading activist for women’s rights. Her new book, Reckoning, explores a life of art and activism through prose, poetry, dreams, letters and essays, drawing on personal experiences and her many worldly travels. Buy Reckoning for admission to her event (we recommend doing so ahead of time online at parnassusbooks.net), where V will be joined by author Ann Patchett. Read more about Reckoning in our books section.
6:30 p.m. at Parnassus Books, 3900 Hillsboro Pike ERICACICCARONE
Studio Tenn’s New Works Series returns this week with a staged reading of Nayna Agrawal’s Dharma. It’s an intriguing piece that centers on three first-generation South Asian American siblings eager to care for their aging immigrant parents in their “sunset years.” The only problem is that no one wants to take both parents together, for fear of reliving the pain of their unhappy marriage. But things get complicated when the siblings suggest their parents divorce,
and the family may never be the same. Presented as a 90-minute reading, the event will also feature a brief talk-back with the playwright — who grew up in Virginia and India — along with director Estefanía Fadul and Studio Tenn’s new works director, Webb Bankemper. For Bankemper, Dharma offers a perfect example of what the new program is all about. “It is our hope that this series, and in particular Dharma, helps audiences deconstructing what it means to be Southern,” he says. “Each play in our series explores a unique Southern voice and revolves around the themes of family, grief and acceptance.” Tickets are free (although a $10 donation is encouraged), and a cash bar will be available. 7 p.m. at The Mockingbird Theater at The Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin AMY STUMPFL
There’s a ton of excellent, exciting things happening right now in the big tent of roots music. Among the nine folks we highlighted in the Artists to Watch segment of our recent Country Music Almanac issue, polymath Jake Blount stands out for the way he blends the old and the new, the powerful and the playful. A musicologist who is also a composer, singer-songwriter and awardwinning stringed-instrument player, Blount has been deeply involved in the widespread work of celebrating Black folks, Indigenous folks and other people of color who’ve been largely written out of the history of country and folk. On his recent LP The New Faith, he draws on that legacy but also brings in elements of blues, hip-hop and more as he weaves a compelling tale about humans — with all our faults — trying to survive a very plausible, very dismal future. Blount’s imagination is exceedingly agile, seemingly limitless in scope and maybe just a touch mischievous. Monday’s your chance to catch him at the intimate Station Inn. 8 p.m. at the Station Inn, 402 12th Ave. S. STEPHEN TRAGESER
True Stories sees Byrne serving as the cowboy-hat-wearing narrator/tour guide, introducing audiences to the eccentric locals (played by John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz, monologist Spalding Gray, and The Staple Singers’ Roebuck “Pops” Staples, among others) as they prepare for the town’s “Celebration of Specialness.” Much like the music he composed with Talking Heads (who briefly appear as bit players in one sequence) throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the movie is odd, kooky, gleefully idiosyncratic and quite fascinating. (Byrne and the Heads also provide the music.) By creating a bizarro city that holds on to its rural past even when townsfolk indulge in modern, urban attractions like shopping malls and karaoke bars, Byrne gives us a wild, wacky, and continually relevant portrait of our ever-evolving nation. 3:30 and 8 p.m. at the Belcourt, 2102 Belcourt Ave. CRAIG D. LINDSEY
[BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU ARE]
Warner Bros. must’ve been raking in a lot of dough back in the ’80s. That would explain why the studio gave some millions to Talking Heads’ David Byrne, so he could co-write and direct his lone feature. Set in the fictional Texas town of Virgil, 1986’s
Of all the records issued during the show-less hellscape that was 2020, few made me miss that life more than 12th House Rock, the sophomore album from Houston headbangers Narrow Head. The LP was a skate-video-worthy collision of down-tuned grunge-gaze riffs and sultry, moody vocals that the group showcased at The High Watt — powered by three guitars, one more than before — once gigs returned in late 2021. Narrow Head took this new configuration to the studio for Moments of Clarity, out this month. Quicker to the point than before — with clearer vocals and lyrics, shorter songs, and a slight sandingoff of the scummier, grungier edges of 12th House and its 2016 predecessor Satisfaction — Clarity’s first few numbers give off the vibe of a popular indie band’s big-label debut. Stick around for its screamier, cathartic second half, though — “Gearhead” and “Flesh & Solitude” are feedbackdrenched freak-outs equal parts vintage Sepultura and classic Chicago noise-rock. 8 p.m. at The Blue Room at Third Man Records, 623 Seventh Ave. S. CHARLIE ZAILLIAN
MUSIC [LOTTERY NOISES] THE CASKET LOTTERY
In their turn-of-the-millennium heyday,
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It’s One of Us
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
VERONICA ROTH with MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL at PARNASSUS Arch-Conspirator
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The Casket Lottery’s singer-guitarist Nathan Ellis, bassist-vocalist Stacy Hilt and original drummer Nathan Richardson were a traveling math-rock juggernaut that turned heads with their melodic, emotive streak and knockout live show. The Kansas City outfit got heavier as it went, with many 7-inches and a trifecta of LPs culminating with 2002’s ferocious Survival Is for Cowards and its unbeatable opener “Code Red,” the band’s signature song. Rarities comp Possibilities and Maybes, meanwhile, showcased a playful side with clear-eyed, full-hearted originals like “Blessed/Cursed” and covers of The Police’s “Synchronicity II” and Great Plains peers Kill Creek’s “Best Man.” For players who’ve kept at it from their teens through their 40s, growing up often means simplifying the songs and turning way down. Not so for Ellis and Hilt, who, as of 2020’s Short Songs for End Times, lead a retooled four-piece rounded out by drummer Jason Trabue and guitarist Terrence Vitali. The aptly titled 10-song LP eschews some of peak TCL’s trickier trappings, but finds the core duo sounding as aggressive and passionate as ever. NYC foursome Taking Meds supports, plus locals Khamsin and The Low Blow. 7 p.m. at The End, 2219 Elliston Place CHARLIE ZAILLIAN
that should be on the shelves of any lover of dissonance. The bill will be rounded out by Nero Vatra and Dead Runes. 7 p.m. at Drkmttr, 1111 Dickerson Pike P.J. KINZER
MUSIC [IN DREAMS]
[HEAD TO HEAD]
Two of the ’80s and ’90s’ best country songwriters, Don Henry and Jon Vezner, are set to take on two of the era’s very best vocalists, Kathy Mattea and Suzy Bogguss, in a playful, “head-to-head” concert at 3rd and Lindsley. The show benefits the Music Health Alliance, and with a fever for retro-influenced country currently in full swing, it’s a chance to see four of the people who made the magic happen in the first place. Vezner and Henry penned hits like Mattea’s “Where You’ve Been,” which won a Grammy for Best Country Song in 1990.
Mattea, a two-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, has an unbeatable feathery alto. Bogguss, a favorite of Chet Atkins and a CMA and ACM Award winner, boasts one of the purest sopranos, equal parts crystal and sunshine. Both women are folk-influenced — Mattea more Appalachia, Bogguss more Laurel Canyon — but both boast power and humor in equal parts. The contest is a family affair: Mattea and Vezner are married, and all four members are longtime friends. Expect a night of reverie, hilarity and exceptional music from a time when songs on the radio were novellas with melody.
7:30 p.m. at City Winery, 609 Lafayette St. HOLLY GLEASON
REPTILIAN W/MY WALL
It’s always interesting when bands can create heaviness in an atypical fashion. Reptilian’s new album Heat Death is a prime example of that. The local foursome borrows a broad spectrum of sonics to make a record that recalls touchstones from prog rock and thrash metal, but without sounding like a rehashed version of either. My Wall makes some of the most putrid, unwieldy music any Nashvillians have ever put on a record. Don’t make the mistake of missing their “Event/Abuse” 12-inch single, a massive grindstone of despondent gravity
On first listen, what jumps out about Vinyl Williams’ music is a feeling of nostalgia, radiating out from the combination of nimble post-Beatles pop ’n’ rock arrangements and sonic artifacts that enhance the feeling that you’re listening to a cassette someone copied decades ago. Listen a little closer to Cosmopolis, the Los Angelesbased project’s latest release, and you’ll hear bandleader Lionel Williams’ reflections on the nature of the universe and orienting yourself in it — something that is always about looking forward. Joining Williams on his visit to Nashville are three outstanding locals. Total Wife synthesizes a host of influences, centered on but not limited to shoegaze and dream pop, but similarly looks to the present and the future. Keeps, who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary, lean more toward dream pop. Rounding out the bill is Faster Is Faster, a project of composer and multi-instrumentalist Dillon Smith, whose instrumental pieces blend a host of electronic and acoustic techniques as he illustrates inner landscapes. 8 p.m. at The East Room, 2412 Gallatin Ave. STEPHEN TRAGESER
When I prepared to speak to singer and songwriter Dianne Davidson in August 2020 about a pair of albums she’d released that year, I couldn’t locate a lot of basic information about her on the internet. I grew up in the 1970s in Middle Tennessee listening to Davidson’s work on WKDF, a radio station that played album-oriented rock. Davidson, who was born in Memphis on Feb. 7, 1953 — I had to ask her to find out the date — is part of a group of Nashville musicians whose ’70s recordings presaged the genre-blurring that characterizes Americana. You can hear traces of Celtic music, rock and country on her three albums for the Janus label, and her 1971 track “You Might as Well Be Free” is modal folk made by a singer with big ears for music. Despite the high quality of 1971’s Baby and 1972’s Mountain Mama and Backwoods Woman, Davidson remained relatively unheralded in a world of bluesy stylists and psychedelic folkies. After stints in New York and North Carolina, Davidson moved back to the Nashville area in 2016. She made a strong comeback in 2020 with Perigon: Full Circle. The album peaks with the amazing New Age-meets-folk track “True Believer,” which does a great job of blurring those genre lines I mentioned earlier. I also recommend 1974, cut on spec in Nashville in that transitional year for popular music and finally released in 2020. Davidson marks her 70th birthday Wednesday at 3rd and Lindsley — don’t miss this chance to catch a pioneer of Nashville rock. 7 p.m. at 3rd and Lindsley, 818 Third Ave. S. EDD HURT
Acouple years after Yellow Porch opened in 1998, rising young talent Kim Totzke was named chef. As new chefs do, she embarked on that trepidatious balancing act of honoring regular diner favorites and making her mark with creations of her own. One of those was an exquisite, earthy, deeply flavored lamb cassoulet that I still recall with full sensory gusto.
But another local restaurant critic at the time did not have the same experience, opining that “the lamb cassoulet is too lamby.” It distressed Totzke, but with our mutual friend, caterer Monica Holmes, we turned it into a recurring joke — that beet is too beety, this crab is too crabby, the pork is too porky — that we never tire of.
If lamb is too lamby for you, or if you’ll eat cluck, moo and quack all day long but won’t touch baah, be advised that the meat is prevalent on the menu at Osh. I feel a little sad for you, but there are many other proteins to choose from, as well as rice, noodles and vegetables, at Nashville’s first and only Uzbek restaurant.
Consulting the world wide web, we discover that Uzbekistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia bordered by five landlocked countries, all of which end in “stan.” The Uzbek people are a Turkic ethnic group that lives primarily but not exclusively in Uzbekistan, and Uzbek cuisine is influenced by Asia and the Middle East, with a strong nod to Turkey.
Osh the restaurant took up residence about two years ago in the space formerly known as House of Kabob, which moved a mile or so west on Thompson Lane. OG HOK diners will recognize the two connected dining rooms furnished with dark-brown booths and tables; Osh has adorned shelves with colorfully painted Uzbek tea sets, serving bowls and decorative pieces. Because Tennessee alcohol laws mean it’s easier to purchase a gun than a beer within 100 yards of a church, no alcohol is sold at Osh, a few doors down from St. Edward Catholic Church. You can BYO wine.
The name of the restaurant is a nod to what is considered the national dish of Uzbekistan, osh, also called palov or plof, or in more familiar terms, rice pilaf. At Osh, osh heads the specialties section of the menu and is an entrée not to be missed — but do peruse the other categories for shareable starters and salads, and don’t skip the soups. While considering the selections, spread triangles of warm pita with paprika-dusted sour butter; no charge for “bread service” here. To begin, we chose the eggplant salad — a chunky mash of eggplant, onions, garlic
and bell peppers — to scoop up with the pita; an eggplant spread that adds tomatoes and carrots is another aubergine option. Look into the charcoal grill section and discover lamb shashlik (which translates to shish kabob). Marinated cubes of lamb are skewered and cooked over a grill, which puts a char on the exterior and seals in the juices on the succulent meat. A fully loaded skewer comes with a small dish of thinly sliced white onion and a cruet of mild white vinegar, which our server Umit Cin urged us to sprinkle lightly on the meat. We vowed from that moment on to do whatever Umit — newly arrived from Turkey and as affable as professional — suggested.
Another Uzbek specialty, the lamb manti, is also an excellent starter. Six dumplings reminiscent of Chinese soup dumplings are filled with ground lamb that is sautéed with onions and spices, then steamed and served with minty yogurt that balances the pungent (some might say lamby) filling.
I’ve never described soup as fun, but four grown women were totally entertained by the lagman, another signature Uzbek dish. The soup features a mildly spicy tomatobased broth with small pieces of lamb and large dice of fresh bell peppers, onions, carrots and tomato, but it’s the hand-pulled noodles that put on a show. Curly strands
stretch and stretch when pulled out of the soup with seemingly no end; we addressed the issue by pulling as much as we could onto a plate and cutting through to more fork-twistable lengths of chewy pasta.
We were also amused — as will be all adolescent boys — and irresistibly intrigued by a dish called jiz-biz, which traces its culinary heritage to Azerbaijan. The menu describes the chicken jiz-biz as roasted, but the onions, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes with it harkened more to a braise. Semantics aside, the butter-tender chicken was served with a scoop of rice and more minty yogurt and was one of our favorites of the night. Jiz-biz can also be ordered vegetarian, or with lamb or shrimp.
Speaking of seafood, another highlight was a split whole branzino, skin rubbed with olive oil, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled until the skin crackled and the meat flaked, served with lemon wedges and syrupy cherry tomatoes so good we asked Umit for a side bowl of them.
It will surely hurt Osh’s Chef Murad’s feelings if your table neglects to order the osh. The art of osh begins with a base made by sautéing onions, garlic and carrots in fat before adding raw rice, covering with water and simmering until the rice is cooked. The chef adds their own touches to the finished product; our osh/palov/plof was studded with apricots, raisins and currants, topped
with a generous pile of shredded lamb upon which a hard-boiled quail egg was perched. The scent and aesthetics were so alluring that even the lamb deniers at the table simply ate around the meat.
Dessert is rarely on my personal dining radar, but duty called, and we were rewarded with a happy ending that had us equally captivated and curious. Kunefe (kyoon-eh-FAY) is described on the menu as “thin layers of rolled pastry, shredded and baked with cheese.” What comes to the table is a shallow pewter bowl, still warm to the touch; the shredded pastry is similar to phyllo in taste and texture, layered with a mild cheese, lots of butter, sparingly sweetened with syrup, baked, sprinkled with ground pistachios, and cut into quarters. When we asked Umit what the cheese is, he replied “regular cheese.” When I asked Chef Murad the same question, as translated by Umit the reply was the same, “regular cheese.”
There’s nothing remotely regular about Osh. Some measure Nashville’s white-hot national dining profile by the arrival of celebrity chefs enthroned in skyscraper hotels. All well and good, but with boots on the ground, I am more inclined to seek and celebrate every chef, Murad included, who bravely travels from a far-off land and plants their culture and cuisine into the city’s ever more diverse landscape.
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Given one guest to the chocolate factory, who would choose me?BY HANNAH HERNER
Vodka Yonic features a rotating cast of women and nonbinary writers from around the world sharing stories that are alternately humorous, sobering, intellectual, erotic, religious or painfully personal. You never know what you’ll find in this column, but we hope this potent mix of stories encourages conversation.
illy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory gave me a lot of anxiety as a child, and I know it was because of two things: 1. Charlie was poor and could not have candy when he wanted, and I could not make sure he did; and 2. He had to choose just one person to go with him to the chocolate factory.
I agonized over this hypothetical decision — who would I choose?
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As an adult, when I do something fun, who do I choose to take with me? Without a significant other, that could be a lot of different people, varying by setting. But as each of my people finds “their person,” they have a default choice. More painfully, given one guest to the chocolate factory, who would choose me?
Both my brother and I received gift cards from our grandma for the same restaurant for Christmas. I opened mine first and immediately said I’d take him with me. He opened his second. I know he’ll take his girlfriend — and as he should! He’s taking her to Disney World, too — something that we’ve done as a pair for the past 10-plus years. My best friend went to New England in the fall with her boyfriend, and she also started referring to him as her best friend. I get edged out as plus-ones to weddings and work events, not chosen for the extra concert ticket or a bedroom in the Gatlinburg cabin.
I can’t help but feel like sometimes people reserve the very best things for their significant other. Or that somehow, worse yet, they wouldn’t have planned the fun thing at all if they didn’t have that person to do it with. I’m guilty of it myself — saving the idea of a trip to wherever they filmed Mamma Mia! in Greece for someday when I’m in a serious relationship. I know it’s normal for this to happen. I don’t think it’s as simple as envy, though. As my closest people get engaged, married and into endgame relationships, I am — through no fault of my own — moving down one slot in the Golden Ticket list for most everyone who matters to me. There’s nothing I can do to stop it. There’s nothing I even want to do to stop it, because I want them to be happy. Maybe I just want them to be happy in a similar way as me, without a significant other. I was the default, and now I’m not. I thought I would have more time before this shift.
In the movie My Policeman, Marion — the wife of Harry Styles’ character Tom Bur-
gess — talks about how she’d always wanted to go to Venice. When Tom’s lover Patrick takes him on a trip there, the two of them send her a postcard. She burns it. She’s so upset that she calls the police and makes up a crime that the lover committed so he goes to jail and disappears from their life. In this season of life, I’m the wife. And I know this is problematic, but I want to call the police.
WBeing in a relationship has been the exception, rather than the rule, in my life. I didn’t have a boyfriend for the first time until I was 25. I used to legitimately think cuddling was for weak people, and I was stronger than everyone else. I think of myself as someone who can enjoy my own company, and I have always needed a bit of that to recharge.
But experiencing love changed me. (Or perhaps the bell hooks book All About Love: New Visions changed me — not sure which.) I know that I want that again, and I’m willing to take chances at getting absolutely busted to have it. I want someone to help me do mundane things like decide what to eat for dinner and watch a creepy movie that everyone’s talking about and then sleep over. A man to walk me to my car so I don’t have to be so vigilant. Someone to kiss and hug and write nice cards to — cards that I don’t even need to worry about being too mushy. And eventually, someone with whom to have a house and kids and vacations.
It’s hard to be honest about these things to people in relationships, people who found their significant others at a younger age than me. I don’t want them to feel sad for me. Or worse, offer platitudes like, “It’ll happen when you least expect it!” It’s not like finding “your person” is something you can earn or strategize about too much, anyway. People are in the habit of saying I should try wanting it less, and then maybe I’ll get it.
Part of the blame is on me. There are certainly moments when I retreat, missing out on time with my friends. I only have the stomach for so much third- and fifth-wheeling. I only have the stomach for so much small talk between myself and the men who are involved with my friends but who do not care to know me very well. I only have the stomach to hear so much complaining about boyfriends — men who would love to spend unlimited minutes with my friends — and the busy schedule of trips and outings they plan together. That, I admit, I am envious of.
My loved ones will read this and tell me they would totally pick me to take to the chocolate factory. But I know that can’t be true of most of them, and that’s OK. I’m convinced that until I get to be invited on the double date, I can make the most of my single time.
If I’m following my own philosophy — the one about not saving the best things. I guess I have to go to Greece now.
February’s First Saturday happenings include a new gallery opening in Wedgewood-HoustonBY JOE NOLAN
We’re already into the second month of the year, and Nashville’s winter gallery scene is heating up with exhibitions in alternative spaces, group shows with lots of local flavor, and even a new art venue in Wedgewood-Houston.
Some big news in Wedgewood-Houston is the debut of Red 225 in The Packing Plant gallery space, which was recently vacated by Modfellows. Red 225 is the brainchild of Kathleen Boyle, a local art historian, professor and the senior manager of exhibitions at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Red 225’s inaugural exhibition is a display by 14 artists, many of whom will be featured in solo shows at the gallery in the coming year. Boyle’s been busy programming both national and local creators, and A Taste of Things to Come includes work by Nashvillebased artists Chris Cheney, Bryan Jones, Kevan
show opens on Saturday night.
Tad Lauritzen Wright is a Memphis-based artist whose work has helped to define David Lusk Gallery’s contemporary Southern art aesthetic. Wright’s paintings and wall sculptures are made up of single lines that twist and swoop and tangle in ceaseless, colorful gestures across his canvases, and in springlike expressions of bouncy enameled wire emanating from gallery walls. In an art age dominated by figurative and representational work, Wright offers fresh formalism unencumbered by narratives and messages, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the ebullient moods of his loopy abstractions. Lusk will close the excellent William Christenberry and William Eggleston show this Saturday — gallery hours 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. — and Wright’s exhibition opens on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
STATE Gallery at The Forge isn’t usually open on the weekend, but the gallery is bending the rules to host an opening reception for Sierra Luna’s new exhibition, Well Where Are We Anyway, next Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6 until 10 p.m. Luna is one of The Forge’s studio artists-in-residence, and this display of medium- and large-scale works reflects her interdisciplinary interests and finds her working with photography, charcoal, ink, etching and collage. I’m generally a formalist first, but Luna’s exhibition caught me by surprise with concepts and content that act as smart and sophisticated complements to her sure-handed mix-and-match aesthetics. Luna embellishes her photos with drawing and text to explore binary themes like life
and death, flora and fauna, connection and separation, and the conscious and subconscious mind. The resulting eye-catching display asks big questions about the human experience.
Tinney Contemporary opened its latest exhibition a few weeks ago, but the gallery will hold a reception for Carla Ciuffo’s Lunar on Saturday from 2 until 8 p.m. Ciuffo uses digital tools to manipulate her landscape photographs, desaturating images, adding noise and even shaping her pictures into circles and ovals. Some of the images look like captures of otherworldly spaces, and Ciuffo doubles down on the extraterrestrial vibes with titles like “Pink Planet,” “Titan” and “Mars.” Many of these works — especially the rounder ones — give the viewer the sense of peering through a portal or gazing out of a window at a passing planet or not-so-distant moon. Ciuffo’s concepts are cosmic, but her faded tones are brimming with vintage photography nostalgia, and her combining of the familiar and the far-out is what really makes these blast off.
Down the street at The Browsing Room in the Downtown Presbyterian Church, Sarah Hart Landolt’s A Coding Heart features colorful acrylic ink abstractions on synthetic paper. Landolt’s spontaneous, fluid art designs have previously taken inspiration from crowdsourcing data via social media, and these latest works are informed by her new career as a software engineer.
Artist and curator David Onri Anderson’s Electric Shed is the gallery space he curates in his backyard in South Nashville — it’s one
of the city’s most unique artist-run projects. Anderson has recently hosted local creators like Yanira Vissepó, Jodi Hays and Scott Zieher, and this month he’ll welcome an exhibition by Memphis-based painter and sculptor Rahn Marion. The mythic figures, insects and astral entities in Back to the Dirt all play their parts in narratives about religion, race and sexuality in the New South. I love how the cartoonish crudeness of Marion’s figures reflects the raw materials of his sculptures, and this stuff is going to look great between the unpainted wooden walls of Anderson’s cozy art venue. See for yourself at the opening reception for Back to the Dirt on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 6 until 9 p.m.
John Paul Kesling, Danielle Winger and Olivia Tawzer bring Momentary to The Red Arrow Gallery this month. This exhibition finds each of these painters offering a colorful take on abstract landscapes — places that seem to have been discovered in dream imagery or idealized memories, or simply emerged organically from their creative imaginations. With all this in mind, the show feels organized around the Southernness in these scenes: Winger’s pink trees sag like weeping willows; Kesling’s Chagall-ian compositions are decorated with Appalachian pines; Tawzer’s outdoor scenes present Southern rituals — NASCAR parties and deer hunting — lit by fireflies. Momentary looks like a great example of how a group exhibition can present a survey of works by unique artists that still reads like a cohesive whole. The exhibit opens on Saturday night, with a reception from 6 until 9 p.m.
With striking visuals and daring physicality, Compagnie Hervé Koubi’s What the Day Owes to the Night has dazzled audiences around the world since its premiere in 2013. But beyond all the high-flying choreography, this groundbreaking work tells a deeply personal story of family and cultural identity.
Growing up in France, founder Hervé Koubi assumed his family had deep roots there. But it wasn’t until he was 25 years old — and already building a successful dance career — that his father revealed the truth about the family’s Algerian heritage, sharing a photo of Koubi’s great-grandfather dressed in traditional Arabic clothing. Inspired by this revelation, Koubi embarked on a journey across the Mediterranean that would not only change his life, but also reshape his approach to dance.
“I think it was quite shocking at first,” says Guillaume Gabriel, Koubi’s longtime collaborator and co-founder of Compagnie Hervé Koubi. “But he immediately knew that he had to go to Algeria — not just to see the landscapes, but also to meet the dancers. We contacted the French Institute, and they told us there were no dance schools or conservatories in Algeria. But we managed to contact a few people there, and told them we were in-
terested in meeting about a possible project. We said they could bring other dancers along if they wanted. The day of casting, we had 250 dancers show up. It was amazing.”
Of course, Koubi and Gabriel’s experience was primarily in contemporary dance, while the Algerian dancers — who were almost exclusively male — had more of a street-dance background. Gabriel says such differences only served to sharpen their focus and spark the imagination. Koubi had always worked with both male and female dancers in the past, but felt he had found a brotherhood of sorts in North Africa. He soon selected a dozen male dancers for the project, taking his company in an entirely new direction.
“From the beginning, we wanted to connect the shores of the Mediterranean Basin somehow, honoring the mix of cultures,” Gabriel says. “But we also wanted to keep the essence of each dancer and their technique. So Hervé would create a dance phrase and teach it to the dancers, saying: ‘Now you give me a response.’ This is how we created a general vocabulary. There was a lot of come-and-go between us, and we found these dancers were very open and available to this exchange of ideas.”
Gabriel says this collaborative exchange would eventually lead to the creation of What the Day Owes to the Night, a remarkable piece that blends elements of hip-hop, capoeira and other martial arts, and contemporary dance. Dressed only in flowing white pants, the dancers balance explosive flips with fluid elegance, moving to musical selections that range from Bach to traditional Sufi music.
“In creating the piece, Hervé was inspired by everything from the architecture and mosaics of Algeria to Arabic calligraphy — and so it was with the costumes,” says Gabriel, who is credited with the
costume design. “So if the choreography references Arabic calligraphy, the costumes provide the punctuation — emphasizing the dancers’ moves. In the beginning, we thought we might use different colors. But we found that with all white, we could see all the shades of the dancers’ skin. It became another way to pay tribute to the multiplicity of people from around the Mediterranean Basin.”
For Mark Murphy, executive and artistic director of OZ Arts, What the Day Owes to the Night offers a unique opportunity for Nashville audiences.
“It is thrilling to experience the sheer joy of transcendent, awe-inspiring physical movement, which is reason enough to want to give audiences a chance to witness [the piece] firsthand,” he says. “But it is also ‘essential reading’ for anyone interested in the evolution of contemporary dance. This piece is a wonderful example of how a choreographer’s movement vocabulary can be an amalgam of different cultural traditions.
“All contemporary dance, art and music comes from somewhere,” Murphy adds. “And I like exploring the evolution of these forms with innovative artists that have something to teach us — and are also thrilling to watch.”
For Gabriel, it’s this idea of evolution that is most exciting.
“Our dancers are no longer just from Algeria,” he says. “We have dancers from Morocco, France, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Italy. And as we’ve integrated these dancers into the company, we’ve integrated other ways of moving, other techniques. Every dancer brings their own interpretation, their own experiences to the work. That’s what keeps the art alive. And who knows — if we can dance together, maybe we can live together, too.”
There’s a line in Reckoning, the latest book by V (formerly Eve Ensler), in which she shares her frustration with getting people to understand what abuse, particularly rape, does to women.
“I have tried it with data and detachment, passion and pleading, existential despair,” writes the author best known for her 1996 play, The Vagina Monologues. She wonders if a language might yet emerge that would “trump a piercing wail.”
Reckoning, a collection of V’s prose and poetry from the past along with new pieces, comes close to that wail. She describes what she has seen in Croatia, in Congo, in the streets of New York City. She tells about seeing a price list for women held in an ISIS sex slave market and about women in Oklahoma City lining up to tell her their rape stories after a performance of The Vagina Monologues
The details are not easy to read, nor should they be. Among the most common results of rape are fistulas, holes between the vagina and bladder. “A hole made by rape or shoving an instrument inside her vagina. A hole in her body. A hole in her soul. A hole where her confidence, her esteem, her spirit, her light, her urine leak out.”
Fistulas were particularly prevalent in the Congo hospital where V volunteered at the invitation of Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his work caring for victims of what V calls nothing short of “femicide.” They are not, however, the only result of sexual violence. Simple degradation is more common. The ISIS list-priced girls ages 1 to 9 at almost twice the rate of women 20 to 30, while women over 50 had no market value at all. In New York City, V met a woman near death who tried to talk about who she used to be. V’s monologue, “I Was a Funny Person Once,” was inspired by the woman’s story. “I was funny. I wore silk clothes. I read complicated books,” the monologue reads. Now, words hurt. “They remind me that I’m dirty.”
While V criticizes people who turn a deaf ear to women’s experience, she also understands their reticence. In “Dear White Women,” a piece she wrote in 2018 during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s
confirmation hearings, she addresses women who laughed when Donald Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that Kavanaugh once assaulted her.
“I know the risk many of you take in coming out to say you believe a woman over a man,” she writes. “If one out of three women in the world have been raped or beaten, it means some of you must have had this experience. To believe another woman means having to touch the pain and fear and sorrow and rage of your own experience and sometimes that feels unbearable.”
V doesn’t focus solely on the pain and marginalization of women. A 1991 play, Extraordinary Measures, and several poems tell of men who died during the AIDS crisis. “Suddenly like a massive hole in the cultural ozone, they were gone.” The more recent virus, COVID, led to “disaster patriarchy.” Repurposing Naomi Klein’s phrase “disaster capitalism,” V says the pandemic “unleashed the most severe setback to women’s liberation” in her lifetime, with lockdown creating “a perfect storm for abuse.”
V’s own experience is the inspiration for her work. She says her father raped her repeatedly when she was a little girl and beat her when she was a teen. Her mother, who had no marketable skills and no way to leave V’s father, later admitted “sacrificing” her.
V’s father died before she could reconcile with him. Her 2019 book, The Apology, provides the atonement she never got. She says in Reckoning that writing The Apology — which is imagined in her father’s own words — changed her life, leading to her name change. It also made her think about what might make up a genuine apology, an “excavation” that “holds the possibility of transformation, of liberation.” A true apology, she writes, should have four steps: an investigation of one’s own history and what led to offensive actions, detailed admission of what was done, empathetic understanding of the person hurt, and taking full responsibility. It is one part of the process of “reckoning.”
Reckoning is ultimately redemptive, despite its painful subject matter. In her final chapter, “V: A Dream Vision of My New Name,” she describes “the V” people of her dreams as humble, non-hierarchical, prophetic. In describing them, she offers up a possibility, even if they seem like a fantasy.
After all, she writes, “The whole world is a story of somebody’s making.”
For more local book coverage, please visit Chapter16.org, an online publication of Humanities Tennessee.
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The Scene ’s music writers recommend recent releases from Margo Price, Josephfiend, Brendan Benson and more
The new year is in full swing, and musicians across the city are already bringing us heaps of great records. The Scene’s music writers have 10 new recommendations for you, some of which date back a couple of months — add ’em to your streaming queue, pick them up from your favorite local record store, or put them on your wish list for Bandcamp Friday. The promotion in which the platform waives its cut of sales for a 24-hour period is back on Feb. 3, and many of our picks are available to buy directly from the artists there, too.
MARGO PRICE, STRAYS (LOMA VISTA)
In January, just a few months after publishing her outstanding and unflinching memoir Maybe We’ll Make It, singersongwriter extraordinaire
Margo Price released her fourth solo record Strays. She wrote a substantial portion of it with creative and life partner Jeremy Ivey, and brought her longtime band to Jonathan Wilson’s studio in Topanga Canyon to record it — leaning a little more toward ’60s-vintage psych rock while never cutting out country, folk and soul. As Price told The New York Times’ Melena Ryzik, writing has been a way to turn vulnerability into a source of power, and you can hear that from Strays’ opening salvo of “Been to the Mountain” through its closer “Landfill.”
piano that’s right out of the first scene in a Hollywood thriller.P.J. KINZER
From the opening power chords of his excellent new album Low Key, Brendan Benson reminds us he is a practitioner of power pop of the highest order. The six originals and two covers — Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line” and Nasty C’s “All In” — feature exquisite arrangements and inspired performances, all courtesy of Benson himself with one exception: the horn arrangement and parts by John Mark Painter on “Whole Lotta Nothin.” Although not necessarily a concept album, the lyrical themes are connected in a way that makes it feel like one. Benson addresses some of the issues an artist faces — failure to meet other people’s expectations, isolation, lost love and the fleeting nature of life on the road — with an artfully ironic and humorous detachment that makes this must-listen music for fans of pop and rock.DARYL SANDERS
snide vocals of songwriter Jerome Frederick. Easily Excited! plays with the conventions of Kinks-meets-Buzzcocks rock, and I hear traces of Wreckless Eric and glam on exemplary tunes like “Closer” and “I Just Might.” The album also hints at punk — nearly every track sports guitars that sound a little frayed, like curtains in a cheap motel room. What distinguishes Easily Excited! from the stylized efforts of several thousand superficially similar garage bands is Frederick’s vulnerability, as you’ll hear in his superb “Better Than Me.” Wreckless Eric, not to mention Dave Davies, would be proud.EDD HURT
*REPEAT REPEAT, EVERYONE STOP (SELFRELEASED)
Hearing three tracks in under six minutes is something I’m used to on the first side of a punk 7-inch.
Josephfiend, a key member of the Black City rap crew — who among many other things has produced lots of work for OGTHAGAWD and released a strong batch of singles with Kaby and Lul Lion as the trio Wednesdays — takes a similar approach with Praying for Good Days, his EP featuring Alo*. Every bar feels crucial, and the title track introduces what feels like an even bigger story with crispy beats, murky bass lines and eerie
A couple of weeks ago, Jordan from Diarrhea Planet shot me a text about “one of the most legit Nashville rock records” he’s heard recently. That’s high praise, and Soot’s Talons of Empathy absolutely lives up to it. Known as Lacquer before “a silly French DJ” threatened them over the name rights, Soot takes the alt-rock group firmly into metal territory. Opening tracks “Plainswalker” and “We Say I Love You” are cool, culty jams that recall desert stoner rock like Queens of the Stone Age. But it’s “Oxendine” that’s been ruling my stereo all month long. The contrast between jagged guitars and an almost monk-like vocal drone pulls you into a gripping world of thrash. There’s a lot going on in this record — we haven’t even talked about “Honey,” a gorgeous eight-minute epic that plays with post-rock discordance. It’s an impressive debut, and one that’ll be shredding our speakers for a good long while.LANCE CONZETT
THEE KAVE CRICKETS, EASILY EXCITED! (SELF-RELEASED)
Thee Kave Crickets’ Easily Excited! features nine concise tunes — none of the songs hits the threeminute mark — anchored by the winningly
The day after Thanksgiving, *repeat repeat released a magnum opus of sweet-andsour post-’90s power pop — 27 tracks clocking in around 90 minutes, also available as one continuous track. Many of the tunes were released as singles dating back to mid-2020; combined, they form a compelling look back on surviving your 20s. Amid zinging hooks and propulsive grooves shot through with guitars that sound ready to bite, principal members Jared and Kristyn Corder put their anxieties in perspective and tell off people who wasted their time. “Adult Friend Finder” may be the most poignant piece, looking at how difficult it is to maintain friendships when you’re past young adulthood.STEPHEN TRAGESER
PEACE POLICE, 2022 (BETWEEN THE WAVES) Lyrics don’t have to work as poetry for songs to intrigue, delight or provoke — and sometimes, the end result seems forced and watered down. Not so for Francesco Ferorelli, the singer-songwriter behind Peace Police. Over fingerstyle guitar, he sings about holding onto hope through trying circumstances — or in some cases, having your hope totally ground away — in literate lines that linger, with bitterness and weariness unadulterated: “The desert’s thirsty / I can hear it pant / It whispers, ‘Lie down, lover / I understand / Come soak into me and vanish / Like water through sand.’ ” STEPHEN TRAGESER
Tropical Gothclub is Dean Fertita, the ubertalented multi-instrumentalist best known as a member of Queens of the Stone Age and The Dead Weather, and as a sideman with The Raconteurs, Jack White, Brendan Benson, Iggy Pop and Beck. Tropical
Gothclub further establishes Fertita as one of the most innovative figures in rock. Although some of the ideas that went into this record have been around for years, Fertita started working on these recordings in earnest during the pandemic with the help of co-producer Dave Feeny. The result is 11 tracks of inventively seductive, left-ofcenter rock featuring monster riffs, funky rhythms and memorable lyrical hooks that reflect Fertita’s wry views on the absurdity of love and life.DARYL SANDERS
Like many Nashville musicians who make music in the ambient realm, multi-instrumentalist and composer Dillon Smith does a lot more than just convey a mood or create an atmosphere with his instrumentals. Even without lyrics, you still get the impression of narrative arcs and action, like you’re listening to the score for a film that only he can see. Like the photo on the cover — a slightly blurred black-andwhite snapshot of what looks to me like a family in an airport — Yes to Everything tells fascinating stories with its limited palette, letting the shades of gray do the talking.STEPHEN TRAGESER
The music on Nashvilleby-way-ofChicago singer Jim Skinner’s The Blues Is a Bitch is so understated that its starkness — Skinner plays bongos throughout, which lends the record a certain antic quality — becomes a statement all its own. Skinner moved to town in 2010, and recently he’s been playing shows at Brown’s Diner that reveal him as a rough-and-ready blues shouter. The Blues Is a Bitch waves a mojo hand at the standard tropes: Skinner sings about driving down Highway 61 and the perils of being someone’s backdoor man. In the title track, Skinner travels to his bank, where he learns “the computers are down,” and makes it back home in time for breakfast in bed. Bassist David Simms and guitarist David Jones keep things swinging in minimalist fashion on a set of ready-made tunes with a reason to exist. EDD HURT
One of the selling points of Nashville as “Music City, U.S.A.” is that highly creative people attract more highly creative people, who bring new ideas and energy and cultivate an array of scenes that nurture new voices. That’s certainly a big part of the story, though economic upheaval, largely driven by real estate — already an issue and exacerbated by the pandemic shutdown — has made it harder for musicians and others to establish or maintain a foothold here. With that in mind, live entertainment has made a comeback over the past 18 months, and it’s been great to see calendars at venues around town brimming with new-to-me local acts. Thursday, I took the opportunity to drop by The East Room to catch a few of them in action.
From some of the stage banter, it seemed a lot of the players were current Belmont students or recent grads, and it seemed the audience was mostly their friends and/or bandmates. In a slight change from a typical show, top-billed singer-songwriter R.E.N went on first, backed by a four-piece band. Together they made a fascinating sound that called up a Venn diagram in which Sade and Rihanna overlap. She commanded the room with her relaxed and graceful presence, even when she was joking about having trouble with her new vocal processor and apologizing to her mom — who cheered her on from up in the balcony — for singing, “Fuck you, pay me,” in a new tune about frustrations with financial instability.
There were several as-yet-unreleased songs in the set, including “Murder on Your Mind,” in which she tells off potential partners who wait till she’s in a relationship to come courting; with a slippery groove and a catchy arpeggiated synth hook, it’s a summer jam if I ever heard one. They wrapped with “DMT,” whose title R.E.N explained is a play on words. “Don’t mean to” is a recurring line in the piece, which narrates going to a party she’d rather skip because a guy she liked was going to be there; it’s clear he’s not interested, but she’s stuck there, doing her best to dissociate as if she’s taken the powerful hallucinogen.
Up next were Notbrax and his band. On their recent EP Drowning in the Thought of You, the propulsive beats and damagedsounding electronic elements are more in the foreground, adding some curious textures to the melancholy narratives. In person, the sound came off a bit more like the jazzy side of prog, with a focus on the twin-guitar interplay of Anthony Trusso and frontman Notbrax. The lineup of the ensemble is in flux, seemingly along with the sound; Notbrax shouted out drummer Anders Swanson, playing live with them for the first time. I’ll say that this set wasn’t really my bag, but that’s no knock on Notbrax & Co.; they were clearly having a blast, feeding off the energy from the supportive crowd. Sure, they could use some more polish, but finetuning your stage show is a big part of what
gigs like this are about.
What I think I wanted from Notbrax was more weirdness, and the night’s final act Lady in the Attic walked right up to strangeness and gave it a big ol’ hug. The core of the group is Mandla Johnson and John Eisenstat, who sing and play guitar onstage, respectively. Thursday they had help from pals on harmony vocals, keys, drums, six-string bass and another guitar. Their songs, very much their own concoctions, draw on hip-hop, several cultures’ folk and classical traditions, perhaps a little ’70s pop and even some bossa nova. Though they noted on Instagram that their first show as a band was in November, they’ve already cultivated a wryly chill stage presence that goes down smooth and complements the songs well. “Liza,” a crooned argument against fearing what you don’t understand, was my favorite, but the audience was especially into “Don’t Push,” the not-yet-released song that closed the set.
Overall, the evening was exactly the kind of thing you hope to see when so many recent happenings — including the Mercy Lounge complex and Exit/In changing hands last year — have given cause to be concerned for the health of local music. As ever, small spots like The East Room, where talented up-and-comers can hone their skills, remain a key indicator to watch.
In the early moments of Friday’s show at The Blue Room at Third Man Records, Caitlin Rose gently reminded the crowd that this was one of just a handful of live appearances she’s had over the past few years. But those words of caution were unneeded for the acclaimed local songsmith, who didn’t miss a beat during her spirited sold-out headlining set.
Rose may have been mostly absent from the stage over the past few years, but she’s spent most of that time working hard at work behind the scenes, putting together her 2022 record Cazimi. After going through multiple cycles of creating and eliminating possible material, she narrowed down her focus to 12 tracks that balance emotional depth with what sounds like joy at being in front of the mic.
Rather than try to reinvent the captivat-
ing alt-country sound of her 2010 debut Own Side Now and its 2013 follow-up The Stand-In, Rose focused firmly on crafting songs that represent who she’s become in the meantime. She co-produced Cazimi with longtime collaborator Jordan Lehning, and the result is an elevated update that leans further into the experimental indie-rock and pop lanes while keeping her expressive voice at the center.
Fittingly, Rose leaned heavily on Cazimi for her set on Friday, including the cuttingly honest “Blameless” and the definitive single “Nobody’s Sweetheart.” Between songs, she shared stories and jokes with the crowd, including a playful nod to The Muppet Show’s recurring “Pigs in Space” sketches.
“If you don’t know it, you’re too young to talk to me,” quipped Rose, after she channeled Miss Piggy and her trademark “Kermie!” while introducing the groovy heartbreaker “How Far Away.” Aside from
a celebration of Cazimi’s long-awaited release, the night was also a nod to the tightknit Nashville creative community that’s supported Rose since early in her career. Her band was stocked with top players including drummer Ben Parks, bassman Brett Mielke, Jo Schornikow on keys and Sean Thompson and Wotjek Krupka on guitars.
The festivities kicked off with a stellar collection of tunes from Joe Garner’s alt-country outfit The Kernal, including gems from their 2022 LP Listen to the Blood. Rose made an early appearance during The Kernal’s set for a rendition of their 2021 collab single “The Fight Song.”
During Rose’s own set, two more fantastic duets were in store, with some of her closest friends and creative cohorts. Courtney Marie Andrews stopped by to accompany Rose on their soaring Cazimi cut “Getting It Right,” and Andrew Combs offered an emotional gutpunch with “What It Means to You,” which he co-wrote and first recorded with Rose all the way back in 2015.
For this special occasion, Rose pulled out a few older favorites too, including the The Stand-In standout “Only a Clown.” There was a sublime off-mic rendition of “Sinful Wishing Well,” a melancholy classic from Rose’s first full-length Own Side Now, and the evening’s grand finale was that record’s ever-infectious “Shanghai Cigarettes.”
The intimate and joyful evening proved Rose has pretty much shaken off any cobwebs ahead of her lengthy run of upcoming tour dates, which include ones when supporting Old 97’s across the U.S. and headlining in the U.K. But in a broader sense, the night was also a helpful reminder that the talents that made the Nashville music scene so seemingly hip and magical a decade ago haven’t disappeared while the city struggles to manage its growth and development — they are just evolving and adapting.EMAIL THESPIN@NASHVILLESCENE.COM
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With her narrativefeature debut Saint Omer, documentarian Alice Diop wants audiences to care about a child murderer. It’s a tall order — even fellow inmates tend to look down on those who are incarcerated for harming a child. But certain viewers may find themselves actually feeling empathy for someone who put an end to her 15-month-old
That’s what Senegalese woman Laurence Coly (played by Guslagie Malanda) is on trial for. She’s accused of leaving her baby girl out on the beach, allowing her to be swept up by the tide. Although it’s something she admits to doing, Coly pleads not guilty, citing — among other things — insanity brought on by “sorcery.” Technically, this isn’t Coly’s story. The real protagonist of this film is Rama (Kayije Kagame), a Paris-based literature professor and novelist, also Senegalese, who travels to the titular French town to observe the trial. She’s rounding up material for her next project, a modern-day adaptation of
the Greek Medea myth. But as she listens to Coly being grilled by the concerned judge (Valérie Dréville) and the opposing barristers (Aurélia Petit, Robert Canterella), Rama becomes concerned — she begins seeing a lot of herself in the accused.
Diop went through a similar ordeal when she attended the 2016 trial of Fabienne Kabou, a woman who was convicted of leaving her child to drown. (Just like Rama and Coly, both Diop and Kabou are of Senegalese descent.) With Omer, which was selected as the French entry for the Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars, Diop — ever the documentarian — takes a dry, straightforward approach to re-creating the emotions that were stirred up during that case. With most of the movie taking place in a courtroom (the same courtroom where the actual Kabou trial took place), those scenes are usually captured in lengthy, static medium shots, mainly set on Coly. Some might see this as mundane, prosaic, even dull. But this is Diop’s way of laying out all the details in a meticulous — but still dramatic — fashion.
It’s here where Malanda does some sadeyed, quietly devastating work. She plays Coly as a woman who’s more lost than evil, someone who’s seen her fair share of stress and agony, much of it from her disapproving mother. Her fate was sealed even before she gave birth to a child whose father — a married 50-something white man (Xavier Maly) — she claims never wanted the kid.
As the other young woman of color in the courtroom, Kagame’s character
teeters between brainy confidence and visible unease. She plays someone whose ego and intellect can’t hide the awkward anxiousness that surfaces when things get too real. Between the rocky relationship with her mom and the mixed-race kid she’s about to have, even the sight of Coly giving her an empathetic smile from the witness stand freaks her the hell out.
Diop never lets us forget that these two strangers are sistas in the struggle. With Coly fighting for her life in an allwhite courtroom and a distraught Rama wandering among pale-faced people outside, Diop is always reminding us that these two are often drowning in a sea of dismissive whiteness. And yet, by the film’s end, Diop turns this story about two Black women into a story about all women.
The climax, in which Petit’s barrister addresses “the jury” by talking straight into the camera, has close-up shots of white, female faces in the courtroom tearing up. Just like Rama, they can’t help but get emotional about this lonely, disturbed woman’s story. This woman was in pain and obviously needed help. Sadly, no one answered the call, and things went horribly wrong. It’s something I’m sure most women have dealt with at some point in time.
“In a way, us women, we are all monsters,” Petit’s barrister tells the jury/ camera. “But we are terribly human monsters.” By providing a dramatic, loosely based retelling of a heartbreaking trial, Saint Omer pulls off an impressive feat: It inspires you to have sympathy for the devil.
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We buy all cars! Junk, high-end, totaled –it doesn’t matter! Get free towing and same day cash! NEWER MODELS too!
Call 866-535-9689 (AAN
Spectrum Internet as low as $29.99, call to see if you qualify for ACP and free internet. No Credit Check. Call Now! 833-955-0905 (AAN CAN)
BathWraps is looking for calls from homeowners with older home who are looking for a quick safety update.
They do not remodel entire bathrooms but update bathtubs with new liners for safe bathing and showering. They specialize in grab bars, non-slip surfaces and shower seats. All updates are completed in one day.
Call 866-531-2432 (AAN CAN)
Call 24/7: Call 855-504-1540 (AAN CAN)
BATH & SHOWER UPDATES in as little as ONE DAY!
Affordable pricesNo payments for 18 months! Lifetime warranty & professional installs. Senior & Military Discounts available.
Call 1-866-370-2939 (AAN CAN)
Reduce payment by up to 50%! Get one LOW affordable payment/ month. Reduce interest.
Stop calls. FREE noobligation consultation
1-855-761-1456 (AAN CAN)
Call today for a FREE QUOTE from America’s Most Trusted Interstate Movers. Let us take the stress out of moving!
Call now to speak to one of our Quality Relocation Specialists: Call 855-787-4471 (AAN CAN)
BCI Walk In Tubs are now on SALE! Be one of the first 50 callers and save $1,500! CALL 844-514-0123 for a free in-home consultation. (AAN CAN)
Get GotW3 with lightning fast speeds plus take your service with you when you travel! As low as $109.99/mo!
1-866-571-1325 (AAN CAN)
Starting at $74.99/month!
Free Installation! 160+ channels available. Call Now to Get the Most Sports & Entertainment on TV!
877-310-2472 (AAN CAN)