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JULY 2014

THOSE

DARLINS


17 menu items 36 craft beers 612 combinations Good thing we open at 11:30am Pair a fresh salad, some piled-high nachos, a hot dog on a pretzel bun, or delicious ice cream with a broad selection of porters, pales, sours, wits, and ciders sunday - thursday 11:30am - 12:00am friday - saturday 11:30am - 1:00am

growlers & tap room

The Hop Stop is located at 2909 B Gallatin Pike Nashville, Tennessee 37216

# NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E 615.739.6547

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FRANCIS MERRIMAN Contemporary. Non-Traditional. Tailored English Aesthetic.

www.francismerriman.com 615.270.2086

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e t a n L rday

e tu se a p S OFriday and in-houam

Hours : Mon-Wed : 11am-12am Thurs-Sat : 11am-3:30am Sun : 11am-12am

0am til 2 3 : ery til 3

v i l e d and

V for Ve g an :

M U S H ROOM S , ONI ON S , R E D P E P P E R P E STO, BAS I L P E STO, A RT I C HOK E , A ND NON - DA I RY DA I YA C H E E S E

1 9 2 5 B ROA DWAY ( 6 1 5 ) 3 4 0 - 4 3 4 3 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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TABLE OF CONTENTS JULY 2014

76

24 36

21

THE GOODS 13 17 18 21 84 87 92 94

56

Behind the Cover Beer from Here Cocktail of the Month Master Platers Hey Good Lookin’ You Oughta Know Observatory Animal of the Month

FEATURES

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24 Contributor Spotlight: Locals by Brett Warren 36 Something Tangible 46 Blurring the Line 56 You Don’t Know Mo (But You’re About To) 68 The Third Space 76 The Reverberation of Mikky Ekko

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BRIANNA MORANT 615548449994 DIRECT 615581008197 OFFICE

BRIANNAAOAKSTREETREALESTATEGROUP.COM OAKSTREETREALESTATEGROUP.COM BENCHMARK REALTY LLC 615543222919

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DEAR NATIVES,

S

o this is typically where we try to work in a quippy intro or make a joke about something we saw on the Internet. But this issue is really special for us, so we’re going to get right to the point: NATIVE is officially two years old, and this is the first issue of our Volume 3. We’re usually not too sentimental, but when we saw the NATIVE mural that Jessi of Those Darlins created for us (see page 13), we all got a little choked up. Not only because a member of one of our favorite local acts worked her ass off to create art exclusively for us, but because it hit us: we’ve actually made it two years. But we didn’t get here alone. We’re a free publication because we want everyone to have the opportunity to learn about the people that are making Nashville a better place to live. In order to be free, we rely on advertising. The businesses advertising in our pages believe in you—our reader—and the people we feature. They believe in supporting and growing our creative community because they are our creative community. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re artists. They’re friends. And it’s because of them we can do what we do. If you get the chance, take a moment to appreciate all of the hard work that has gone into these businesses. Try out that new spot you’ve been hearing about, or introduce yourself to the owner of a place that’s already your favorite—chances are you’ll make a friend. We also want to give a special thanks to our very first advertisers who are still with us today, twenty-five issues later: No. 308, Wags & Whiskers, and The Willow Tree. Thank you for taking a chance with us, Ben and Alexis, Kirk and Amanda, and Lisa. When we publish an article, we want to give you more than just a snapshot of the people making this city great, because we believe those people deserve more. We want to tell their story. We want to help them grow. We want to show you that they’re NATIVEs just like you. We hope that after reading a NATIVE article you’ll want to flag them down on the street, shake their hand, and grab a beer or start a project together. Fortunately, we have a group of contributors that share this vision with us and help to execute it every day. Our contributors are multitalented and ridiculously busy people that come together from different disciplines to help make NATIVE. On top of being some of the city’s best writers and photographers, they’re musicians, filmmakers, marketing gurus, moms, dads, authors, visual artists, food and drink connoisseurs, educators, local legends, business professionals— you get the idea. We don’t know how we got lucky enough to work with these people every day, but we did. And for that, we can’t thank them enough. When we first started out, people used to ask us, “Aren’t you going to run out of things to cover?” While we don’t claim to have the answers to all Nashville-related questions, that’s one inquiry we’ve always answered with an emphatic no. If you’d met the incredible advertisers, contributors, and subjects that we’ve had the pleasure of knowing these past two years, we’re sure you’d say the same thing too. So thank you for reading, thank you for supporting, and thank you for making Nashville awesome. Cheers,

president, founder:

ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN associate publisher:  KATRINA HARTWIG publisher, founder: 

founder, brand director:

DAVE PITTMAN

founder:

CAYLA MACKEY

creative director:

MACKENZIE MOORE

managing editor: 

CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

art director: 

COURTNEY SPENCER

editor:

community relations manager:

JOE CLEMONS

account manager:

AYLA SITZES

web editor:

TAYLOR RABOIN

film supervisor:

CASEY FULLER

          writers: photographers:

editorial interns:

p.r. interns:

CHLOE HALL MOLLY MCGHEE DALY CANTRELL KELSEY HUTCHINSON

founding team:

DANIELLE ATKINS BRETT WARREN SARAH B. GILLIAM JESS WILLIAMS JEN MCDONALD EMILY B. HALL RYAN GREEN AARON ARDISSON WILL VASTINE

design intern:

MATTHEW LEFF TIMOTHY BEATON SHELLEY DUBOIS MATT COLANGELO ANDREW LEAHEY HENRY PILE MELANIE SHELLEY JACK SMITH

CHRISTINE CRAFT

MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN

want to work at native? contact:

WORK@NATIVE.IS SALES@NATIVE.IS for all other inquiries: HELLO@NATIVE.IS to advertise, contact:

# NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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Nashville's source for artisan cheese inside Porter Road Butcher East

FRESH LOCAL MEAT

BREAKFAST

Tues-Fri 7-10 Saturday 8-noon

&

LUNCH

Monday-Friday 11-2

AT WEST LOCATION ONLY East: 501 Gallatin Ave 615.650.4440

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west: 4816 Charlotte Ave 615.454.2995


BEHIND THE COVER

BEHIND THE COVER For our two-year anniversary, Jessi Zazu of Those Darlins drew every NATIVE cover on a chalkboard in her house because—to borrow a proverb from the book of Kanye—her life is dope and she does dope shit. Seriously though, we don’t know how some people are this talented. Many thanks to Those Darlins for making incredible art and being general badasses. Also, shout-out to Jess Williams for shooting the mural. Y’all made it a very happy birthday indeed.

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RESPECT YOUR ROOTS.

We are an independent record label born and bred in Nashville, TN. We produce no-bullshit homegrown music for everyone.

WE’RE NASHVILLE, DAMMIT.

THE GHOST WOLVES MAN, WOMAN, BEAST LP/CD/DD

OUT NOW! “…the Wolves burst with sheer attitude, the kind of moxie that comes from being young, hungry and not giving a shit whether or not they see the inside of an arena.” - Blurt “Style for miles, howling with speaker-slashed slide guitar tremolo and limber drum beats that lay a dark pallet for their campy, seductive, and ultimately catchy songwriting.” - Austin Chronicle "...heavy, fuzzy distortion; thick, driving riffs; an undeniable (but not overwhelming) psychedelic vibe; and shouty vocals from a woman who’s not afraid to make a mess." - Nashville Scene

OUR ARTISTS:

VISIT PLOWBOYRECORDS.COM FOR NEW RELEASES

BOBBY BARE • PAUL BURCH • BUZZ CASON • CHEETAH CHROME • CHUCK MEAD • THE GHOST WOLVES • JD WILKES & THE DIRTDAUBERS • PLUS JASON ISBELL, POKEY LAFARGE, AND FRANK BLACK ON A SMOKIN’ EDDY ARNOLD TRIBUTE # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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Illustrated by Christine Craft

Tur tle A na rc hy

Wr itt en by Matt hew Lef f o f Rhi z o me P ro duc t i o ns

For this month’s Beer From Here, we head south a few miles to Turtle Anarchy Brewing located in Franklin. Their summer seasonal beer "Pretty Fly for a Weiss Guy" is available on draft only in July and August. This beer is a traditional German-style Hefeweizen, or wheat beer. Hefeweizens are generally top fermented and unfiltered, so do not be surprised by its cloudy appearance. Expect mild notes of clove and banana that come together for a refreshing and crisp summer beer. Turtle Anarchy started brewing beer

about two years ago, and their Franklin taproom is a great spot to experience their brews. They’re open from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. Call ahead on Saturday to make a reservation for a behind-thescenes tour. You can expect all of their flagship beers, as well as some special taproom-only releases. For a brewery that is only two years old, they have big plans to move their production to West Nashville in early 2015. The location in Franklin will remain

open and still be their taproom. This move will allow them to nearly double their production and begin canning their beer in twelve-ounce cans. While Turtle Anarchy will be managing this new facility, they will offer growing breweries a hand with off-site packaging needs, which will include canning and bottling. Think of this facility as a co-op of sorts for young and aspiring breweries in middle Tennessee, helping them grow without the massive capital needed. Cheers and Drink Craft Beer! # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E ///// / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 7 # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E /// / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 1 7


The Praying Mantis “It’s the super summer drink—light, refreshing, and airing on the side of slightly bitter.” —Ben Clemons

THE GOODS 1 oz. Fords Gin 1 oz. Cocchi Americano Rosa 1 oz. watermelon 1/2 oz. squeezed lime juice 1/2 oz. basil syrup*

F Shake ingredients and pour into freshly iced collins glass. Garnish with a watermelon wedge. —Ben Clemons and Brice Hoffman, No. 308

*Basil Syrup:

2 cups sugar 2 cups water 20 sprigs basil F Cook until clear. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain basil.

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ATIVE IVENNASH ASHVI VILLE LLE ##NNAT

photo by danielle atkins


M E N ' S STO R E • CUSTO M C LOT H I N G B A R • B A R B E R S H O P

2 Minutes From Sylvan Park 7 Minutes From Marathon Village

3 Minutes From Centennial Park 5 Minutes From The Gulch

ALDEN BOOT COMPANY • BARBOUR STEVE MCQUEEN • DEUS EX MACHINA • GITMAN VINTAGE • FAHERTY BRAND • FARIBAULT WOOLEN MILLS • THE HILLSIDE • HAMILTON 1883 • IMPERIAL BARBER PRODUCTS • IRON & RESIN • JACK SPADE • LBM 1911 • LEVI'S XX VINTAGE CLOTHING • LIFE AFTER DENIM • NAKED & FAMOUS DENIM • NEW BALANCE MADE IN USA • NEW ENGLAND SHIRT CO. P.F. FLYERS • RALEIGH DENIM WORKSHOP • RICHER POORER • TODD SNYDER + CHAMPION • SOUTHWICK CLOTHES • SAVE KHAKI UNITED • THE WEST IS DEAD • WILL LEATHER GOODS • WOOLRICH • WOLVERINE 1K MILE

WWW.HAYMAKERSANDCO.COM


burgers

Come check out ouu nee bbb li!

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craft beer

BB B t f a r D 30 GULCH:

420 11th Avenue South (615) 915-1943

shakes

BB B t f a r D 20 LENOX:

6900 Lenox Village Dr. Ste 22 (615) 499-4428


PAN ROASTED PEACHES WITH RHUBARB CONSERVE, BASIL OIL, LAUREL CUSTARD, AND BENNE NOUGATINE

THE GOODS: FOR THE PEACHES: 6 ripened peaches, halved and cored 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup butter, melted 1/4 cup dry vermouth

DIRECTIONS: F Combine peaches, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Set aside and macerate for 30 minutes. F Place peaches cut side down in a hot, lightly oiled cast iron pan. When the cut sides are caramelized, add the vermouth to deglaze the pan and baste the peaches with the pan jus. F If you prefer, you should be able to peel the skins from the peaches after you are able to easily pierce the peaches with a paring knife. FOR THE CUSTARD:

BROUGHT TO YOU BY SAM TUCKER, SOUS CHEF AT THE 404 KITCHEN

175ËšF or coats the back of a spoon. Freeze according to manufacturer instructions for your ice cream machine or chill to serve over peaches later. FOR THE RHUBARB: 1 lb., 4 oz. rhubarb, cleaned, medium dice 1/2 cup sugar Pinch of salt 1 vanilla bean 1/4 cup dry vermouth Zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS: F Combine all ingredients in a pan and cook gently over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, be careful not to overcook the rhubarb. It should be slightly al dente as it will continue cooking when you take it off of the heat. Chill the rhubarb.

2 cups heavy cream

FOR THE NOUGATINE*:

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

6 bay leaves

1/4 cup water

6 egg yolks

1 tsp. lemon juice 1 1/2 cups benne seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS: F Combine cream, sugar, and bay leaves in a pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and steep for at least 30 minutes. Separate egg yolks into a small mixing bowl. F Remove bay leaves from cream and bring to a boil once again, tempering yolks by gradually whisking cream into mixture. Be careful not to cook the yolks, stirring constantly. F Return mixture to low heat and warm gently until custard reaches

and held warm FOR THE BASIL OIL*: 4 oz. fresh basil 1/4 cup grapeseed oil PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: F Arrange peach halves in plates or bowls. Spoon rhubarb over each half with a broken piece of nougatine. Spoon chilled or frozen custard on top with basil oil. Serves 6

* FOR MORE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS, VISIT NATIVE.IS PHOTO BY DANIELLE ATKINS

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OW N ES BLE! M HO AILA AV

��.. . ... . . . .

R I C H L A N D S TAT I O N H O M E S.CO M S Y LVA N PA R K | N A S H V I L L E

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WE ALL KNOW THAT NASHVILLE IS GROWING EVERY DAY, AND AS IT DOES, THINGS NATURALLY CHANGE. IN THIS STORY, WE AIMED TO EMBRACE AND CELEBRATE THE ECCENTRICITIES THAT COME WITH GROWTH WHILE ALSO NODDING TO NASHVILLE’S ROOTS. I HOPE YOU ENJOY, AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING A LOOK AT OUR CITY THROUGH MY EYES. -BRETT

ON ASHLEY: Top, Citi Trends | Jumpsuit, Army Navy Surplus | Shoes, Created by Giovanni Delgado ON JOSIE: Bra Top, Emerson Grace | Vest, Savant Vintage | Skirt, Emerson Grace | Shoes, Old Made Good | Necklace, # NAT I V ENAS HV I LEmerson L E ///// /Grace ////////////// 25


ON JOSIE: Jacket, Savant Vintage | Dress, Old Made Good | Shoes, Old Made Good ON ASHLEY: Jacket, Emerson Grace | Dress, Old Made Good | Hat, Nashville Sounds (Shot at Greer 26 / / / / / / / / /Stadium) / / / / / ////// # N AT IVE N ASH VI LLE


ON JOSIE: Jacket, Old Made Good | Tank Top, Nike | Necklace, Old Made Good | Sunglasses, Created by Giovanni Delgado

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ON ASHLEY: Jacket, Emerson Grace | Flannel, Stylist's Own | Slip, Savant Vintage | Shoes & Rings, Model’s Own | Teddy Bear, Old Made Good (Shot at Dino’s Bar & Grill)

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ON JOSIE: Top & Skirt, Ola Mai | Rings, Model’s Own | Shoes, Stylist's Own | Doll Crown, Created by Giovanni Delgado (Shot at Edgefield Barber Shop)

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ON JOSIE: Jumper, Savant Vintage | Belt, Savant Vintage (Shot at 4 Stop Market)


ON ASHLEY: Coat, Savant Vintage | Body Suit, Savant Vintage | Shoes, Stylist's Own | Necklace, Citi Trends (Shot at 4 Stop Market)

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ON ASHLEY: Jacket, Savant Vintage | Vest, Ola Mai | Overalls, Old Made Good | Necklace, Emerson Grace | Ear Cuff, Old Made Good ON JOSIE: Dress, Stylist's Own | Hat, Savant Vintage | Plushy Necklace, Created by Giovanni Delgado

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ON ASHLEY: Coat, Savant Vintage | Ring Pop Shoes, Created by Giovanni Delgado

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$ 30

y y a d 0 3 o tt

fo o aa nee ямЖuden fo

CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT CREATIVE CREDITS: PHOTOGRAPHED BY Brett Warren HAIR + MAKEUP Giovanni Delgado for Amax Talent STYLING Linnea Kemper for Amax Talent MODELS: Ashley Fisher with Amax Talent Josie Tunnell with Amax Talent HAIR & MAKEUP ASSIST Alyssa Krauss LIGHTING ASSIST Quinn Headley PRODUCED BY Chelsea Beauchamp & the folks at NATIVE

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CHECK OUT OUR NEW SHIVA STUDIO!


SEASONAL PRODUCE FRESH MEAT & SEAFOOD CRAFT BEER FILL MEALS TO-GO MUSSEL MONDAY 5pm-9pm: Craft Beer-Braised Mussels made-to-order. TACO TUESDAY 6pm-9pm: An ever-changing option of tacos. Made-to-order. SATURDAY SMOKE-OUT Starting @ 11pm: RIBS! SUNDAY ROASTED CHICKEN Starting @ 11pm

1201 PORTER ROAD B O O N E A N D S O N S M A R K E T. C O M # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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SOMETHING TANGIBLE What do a moldy refrigerator, Martha Stewart paper, and drywall have in common? Charles Clary turns them into art you’ll want to get your hands on

By Timothy Beaton | Photos by Sarah B. Gilliam

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I want to give Charles my full attention, but the Fraggles keep vying for eye contact. I manage to ignore the black

plastic rat perched on the shelf above Charles’s head, but Gobo Fraggle is relentless. When Charles Clary isn’t creating internationally exhibited art pieces or teaching art classes at Middle Tennessee State University, he’s curating his own gallery in his apartment, filled with figurines, local art pieces, and medical oddities—the Fraggles among them. If everything wasn’t so meticulously organized, he might be mistaken for a hoarder. “My fiancée also tells me this is a problem,” he confesses with a hint of embarrassment. Like his work, his curio collection is deceptively precise and filled with purpose. “I think it relates a little bit to art,” he explains. “It’s more about the beautiful aesthetic and the weirdness of it.” He’s able to appreciate the nuance and technique of a handcrafted thing, like a blue poison bottle or a taxidermy duckling, which he points out enthusiastically. I can understand his appreciation, though I have to do a little intellectual squinting when we get to the diaphonized rat and the half fetal pig. In the world of Charles Clary, the beautiful and the grotesque aren’t diametrically opposed but inextricably linked, a notion he explores in his work. He also collects pieces from local artists, often trading one of his own pieces for another. They live on the wall behind the couch where he sits, his head framed by a silhouette of a gun covered in floral paper and a large rectangular root system made of some type of Styrofoam. I begin to wonder if I can create something that qualifies as art and scheist Charles out of a piece. Instead of Styrofoam, Charles prefers to work with paper and an exacto knife, hunched over for consecutive hours, cutting out the shapes that he’ll layer for the towers of his microbial colonies. His focus and attention to detail are astounding, if not obsessive. He’ll often finish a full day of teaching at MTSU, return to his apartment, and sit at his cutting table for six hours at a time. He applies his knife to the squares of paper with enough speed to make him look reckless, but that’s just years of practiced dexterity at work, a superhuman skill. He once proved the difficulty to a class of

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students by having them try their hands at it. They left class overwhelmed and impressed. Once the shapes for the towers—sometimes more than ten layers—are cut, he straps on his mask and hunches over for another multi-hour session. He swaps the exacto with a glue bottle, and with similar precision, layers the pieces with tiny wooden spacers between each level. A lesser man would remove the gas mask and indulge in the fumes just to get through it. The entire process takes place upstairs in his studio, which also happens to be his bedroom. Fluorescent towers of paper cover the room, littering the floor, propped up against walls, set atop tables and bureaus. They give the space a psychedelic, Seussian quality, objects that could have been pulled out of an acid trip or Oh, The Places You’ll Go. Some towers are grouped together, in colonies on a single wooden base; some are inverted, recessed in boxes, eating away at their housing. Despite the dazzling colors of the paper and the acrylic finish on the bases and boxes, the pieces have a wildly organic, lifelike quality to them. I feel like they’re pulsating, and I have to control the impulse to touch them. It turns out that my desire to reach out and touch speaks less to the child in me and more to the quality of Charles as an artist. I want to touch them because he wants me to. He set out to create pieces people feel compelled to reach out and interact with. Mission success. After my tour, I sit in a large, floral-patterned comfy chair, and Charles sits in the middle of the couch like a king holding court. He offers beer or water. I answer correctly and am rewarded with a bottle of Blackstone’s Adam Bomb. Disregard the mummified bird in the glass cabinet; this is a man of good taste. We start with his genesis. His mother, who once had artistic aspirations herself, encouraged creativity in her children. “Crayons and markers and paper were always around us,” Charles remembers. “I was kind of the one that took to it like a fish to water.” He recalls his childhood happily, with a perceptible increase in enthusiasm. Though his passion occasionally shows while discussing certain subjects—like comic books or his fiancée—it doesn’t flare up when he talks about


CHARLES CLARY: charlesclary.wordpress.com charlesclary.tumblr.com Follow on Twitter @percusiveart # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E ///// / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / 3 9 native.is/charles-clary


A LESSER MAN WOULD REMOVE THE GAS MASK AND INDULGE IN THE FUMES JUST TO GET THROUGH IT.

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his own work. He’s not subdued or bored as much as he’s controlled and deliberate, which over the course of two hours I discover is at the core of Charles as an artist. “I’m not really paint-what-you-feel. I’m more rigid and structured and conceptually out there.” He knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Like any great artist, he’s confident. In order to grow and evolve the way he has, you have to know you’re good. And a large part of his confidence seems to stem from knowing, with extreme clarity, how he’s progressed. In high school, he was all about illustrations. Then he entered MTSU as a graphic design major and left with a degree in painting. Later, he started grad school at the Savannah College of Art and Design with a paintbrush and crossed the stage with a stack of scrapbook paper and an exacto knife. He moved from direct representations to conceptual ideas, from 2-D to 3-D. Everything has culminated, of course, in his viral colonies, the pretty stacks of paper that have granted him international recognition. More than a decade of work has gone into reaching this point— a decade of work, and the moldy fridge of a grad school student. “I started looking at mold colonies, moldy food in my fridge in grad school because that kind of inevitably happens,” Charles divulges without shame. It’s a universal experience, right? “I saw these

kind of great organic growths everywhere.” Instead of being repulsed, he was stimulated. “You don’t lose everything in destruction. Sometimes it can be extremely beneficial,” he says. “If someone hadn’t eaten something moldy, we wouldn’t have penicillin; if we hadn’t let something mold or rot, we wouldn’t have the stuff today.” Emulating the mold colonies began on a canvas, but he wasn’t satisfied with the work. They were forced and contrived, two-dimensional representations of a thriving three-dimensional world. “I still wanted something tangible,” he explains. He had discovered his muse, but not his medium. Enter Martha Stewart scrapbook paper. “It’s kind of one of those things like, gah, I can’t believe I started with that paper, but Martha Stewart makes some really great scrapbooking sheets,” he says. Walking back from the Pierogi Gallery where he held an internship during grad school, he happened upon the stuff in a craft store and hasn’t looked back. The Martha Stewart paper has since been replaced with Bazzill paper, and he’s moved from images of mold toward representations of necrotic flesh. Still, microorganisms—the way they move and interact, their shapes and personalities—continue to fuel his work. “I know what my work says to me—I know the process behind it, and I know what I want it to mean—but I also want

it to connect to multiple demographics,” Charles says with a shrug. For someone so driven by purpose and vision, he has a refreshing come-as-you-are mentality about others approaching his work. “If you can only appreciate from the point of, ‘Holy crap, that’s a lot of paper, I don’t believe it’s hand cut,’ that’s fine. We can talk about that all day. If you want to go in and deal with the microbial kind of relationship and musical stuff, we can do that all day long. You want to talk conceptual, we can do that too.” There is one aspect of his work that he believes is clearly evident, regardless of how you approach one of his pieces: “I think it would be kind of difficult to not go, ah, beauty and destruction.” The admission perfectly encapsulates the baffling duality of his work: neon towers of dying flesh. His installations have been featured in galleries and museums in fifteen different US states and in Paris. Just last month, he was featured in shows in Florida and Alabama. There’s also a German coffee-table book featuring photos of his art. Appropriately, his largest and most ambitious piece was constructed in tribute to his mother, the woman who put the first crayon in his hand. The piece took six months to complete, and the final product sprawled across 240 square feet in an eight-by-forty-foot installation. The number of towers reflected the number of days from his mother’s cancer diagnosis to the day she passed: 204.

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It included seven seventeen-by-seventeeninch towers representing the seven-month period, and twenty-six twelve-by-twelveinch towers for the twenty-six-week period. There were also another 172 towers of varying sizes that completed the piece. “It was something I had to do. I didn’t let myself say, ‘This is exhausting.’ You’re alive, and you’re telling a story.” The most difficult part, he says, was the installation. “Installing the piece was a countdown again: here’s this day, here’s that day. It was like letting it go a little bit—it’s only been a year and a few months since it happened.” Shortly after finishing and exhibiting the work, he deconstructed it and rid himself of it piecemeal. Some towers were given to friends; others were sold with proceeds going to the Vanderbilt Cancer Research Center. Completing it allowed him to return to the studio reinvigorated, and it gave rise to the newest material he’s working with. “The drywall pieces are an extension of that,” he explains. When I first walked into Charles’s apartment, I spotted what looked like a framed hole in the wall, which I come to understand is the beginning of a drywall piece. Creating a drywall hole, it turns out, is no less meticulous than cutting out the paper shapes. It’s a little more involved than falling on a treadmill and going through a wall ass-first, which is my only experience with deconstructing drywall. “I bust a hole into the drywall from the front, which blows everything in the back, but you still get a pretty opening. So that’s when I take a hammer from the back, and a little more finesse comes into it because you’re tacking a little bit of the drywall, pulling it apart, pulling up two or three layers of that paint, and revealing some of the substructure of the drywall. Then I’ll take a hammer and kind of etch off some of that paper that covers up the sheetrock.” None of his drywall work has been featured yet, but when it is, try to see it. Once the piece is complete, the holes don’t look like the product of hours of investment, excruciating travail with a hammer and fingernails. It’s by far his most organic, lifelike work. The drywall holes are less stylized

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than the acrylic housings, and the necrotic quality comes across stronger— they’re more unnerving, but I still really, really want to touch them. This new kind of development is exactly what gets Charles excited. “That’s something I’m always striving to do, outdo myself from the previous thing,” he says. I believe him. “I don’t want a bumper sticker career—I’m in this for the long haul. I want it to kind of keep growing and getting better as we go.” Charles’s pragmatism might be his most attractive quality as an artist. The life of the starving artist isn’t appealing or romantic to him. He did it for awhile—he covertly lived out of an art studio in New York, and he has eaten his fair share of shitty food. The man was inspired by his moldy fridge during grad school. Having subsisted on packets of tuna and free chips and water at restaurants, I can fully appreciate his rejection. “I tell students, ‘You look like you’re in this for the lifestyle. Let me wake you up.’ It’s not looking the part; it’s not acting the part.” Refreshing honesty. “It’s not this romantic thing.” Talent does play a part in the success of an artist, and he readily acknowledges that. Being the pragmatist, he’s encouraged students to pursue other paths. However, even more important than talent is drive and dedication. At this point the conversation turns toward motivational speech. “It’s about what you put into it,” he preaches. “You can make a good living doing this, but not if you don’t do the work.” Yes, you can get an amen over here. It’s the perfect way to end our conversation. But in order to leave with any sense of closure, I have to directly address the issue that’s plagued me since I sank into the floral chair: the Fraggles. His fiancée tried to trash them while cleaning her parents’ garage. Charles spirited the family of Fraggles away to his coffee table where they now reside, staring down anyone who sits in the comfy chair, warding off those who might mean to do their savior harm.

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THOSE DARLINS HAVE SCRAPED, DRANK, HOWLED, AND SHED A LITTLE BLOOD AT THE ALTAR TO GET TO WHERE THEY ARE. AFTER ALL THAT GROWING UP, THEY’RE REDRAWING THE LINES THAT DEFINE THEM BY SHELLEY DUBOIS | PHOTOS BY JESS WILLIAMS

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This is the first summer Nikki can have a garden. Jessi’s had one for two now. The frontwomen of Those Darlins spent the past eight years doing the soul-scraping work it takes to be a rock band, which didn’t spare time for planting something and watching it grow. The band started out pure spit and whiskey, but it aged, sharpened, and lost a few people. Now Nikki Kvarnes and Jessi Zazu have come to a clearing, and they seem serene. Jessi has built a twine tepee for green beans to climb, and Nikki has high hopes for squash blossoms. Each has made her own East Nashville shelter for between tours. Nikki retreats to a house that feels like a cave except instead of torches, it’s lit with Christmas lights. The home is full of other warm-blooded artists who flicker in and out at the twilight hour, drinking wine. They look feline and content, peering from the safety of the porch at a world that tends to cold-shoulder its artists. Nikki’s friends share the porch with her painting of a woman wearing a gold headdress, watching thoughtfully with kohl-lined eyes. She looks alive enough to reach out and cradle your wine glass, if you’d offer. Nikki has always painted. Her work is thick and visceral. She’s in the middle of finishing a series of images, warped with the intent that distortion can reveal the truth. In one painting, a couple whose faces aren’t yet finished appear to be in the middle of very fulfilling sex. “That’s a self portrait,” she says, floating her hand toward a different canvas where she’s painted bared teeth. “It took me a while to find my people here,” she says about moving from Murfreesboro, where Those Darlins started, to Nashville. “Everybody plays in a band, but I wanted to find weirdo artist girls. I’ve found them and I have a community.” Jessi has settled a block away on higher ground. She lives on the top floor, like a starling, in a house that floods with honey color for ten minutes each day when the afternoon sun bends golden.

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Her artwork peppers a wall in her room. One piece, she and Nikki made together. They each drew versions of Siamese twins side by side on a sheet. The idea grew out of Jessi’s faded green copy of Very Special People, a book full of old photos of conjoined twins and others who’ve been labeled freaks—she thinks there’s loveliness in the book that many miss. She’s tacked pictures of herself on the wall too. Many are gesture drawings, the quick charcoal outline of shapes in a mirror. She says that sometimes she rips through as many of these as it takes to work the selfhatred out, but when she’s done, she tends to find something salvageable in the wreckage. Nikki and Jessi are both the kind of beautiful that pierces your left ventricle with an iron splinter that snags when their faces catch certain light. Sure, Jessi sees herself in tattered drawings she’s trashed and Nikki paints her face as a neck with fangs, but those images don’t mean they’ve surrendered to limited ideals of womanhood. Rather, they’ve challenged the viewer to find beauty in truth. The women are children of artists. Nikki’s mother lives in the Virginia mountains. She’s a painter who sometimes joins the band in DC-area shows and plays the tambourine on stage. Jessi comes from Kentucky, but her parents had a traveling jones and moved the family often. Jessi’s mom has a twin sister who often uprooted in tandem, cousins in tow, so her family seemed large and ambling. Jessi says she felt out of tune as a child—a little strong for her skin, a blackbird among doves. She started playing guitar at age nine, and she says the music became vital. “I wouldn’t say it prevented me from doing dumb shit—from making a lot of mistakes and having to learn everything the hard way— but it gave me a way of looking at it and being aware,” Jessi says. “It has given me a lens.” She met Nikki when separate quests led them to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They lived together and started writing songs almost immediately, Nikki says—and another girl, Kelley Anderson, joined them. The three played cover country songs in dive bars. They drank


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too much and made dirty jokes in the on Blur the Line in their own spaces. corner. They grew a following and “Jessi’s songs are very cerebral; mine recorded their own work. Over the are very physical, because that’s the course of eight years, they released kind of people we are,” Nikki says. The only rule written in blood was two albums—Those Darlins and Screws Get Loose. In 2012, Kelley left to remain honest. For Nikki, that rethe band, her departure marked with sulted in brainstem songs—old, anisadness in a February press release. mal feelings like hunger and lust. But In 2013, Nikki, Jessi, and bandmates she dredged her life for real versions Linwood Regensburg and Adrian Bar- of those feelings, the musky-smelling rera released a new album called Blur ones that don’t fit within a pretty chorus. the Line. “I look at these pop stars—and I Everyone in the band is naked and pressed against each other on know that’s something that has althe album cover. “I think it’s a very ways existed, that the mainstream expressive form of exposure,” Nikki has always been this clean and polsays. “You hear our music, and this is ished thing—but it’s gotten so polme giving myself raw. Here’s our art ished that it’s become disgusting and and here’s my music and it’s tied in.” raunchy too,” Nikki says. “Sexuality Nikki and Jessi wrote the songs has turned into something so over-

Those Darlins: thosedarlins.com Follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @those_darlins native.is/those-darlins 50 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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the-top that it’s unhuman. It’s the opposite of primal. It’s forced and it’s regurgitated so that it’s become something completely wrong.” Nikki’s songs sound like classic worn-leather rock and roll, but there’s a subtle kind of regime change there. Behind familiar-feeling guitar riffs, her stories aren’t jukebox joints and motorcycle men, but female forces of nature that shred and snarl and outsmart their snares. “Ever since I got snake bit, there’s a fever running through my spine,” she sings in “Wilderness,” her voice cashmere on asphalt. And the song clicks along, foot-tapping good, so you’re lulled into it. By the time you remember there’s a strong woman singing, you’re dead meat. “Baby, it’s


“. . .IT’S REALLY EASY TO BE FOOLED BY THE ROCKAND-ROLL PERSONA.”

feeding time,” she sings. “Baby, it’s feeding time.” Those Darlins’ shows can bring out the wild in people. Sometimes Nikki will look out at people in the audience and see that they’ve all lost their minds a little bit to the music. “Some guy just broke a bottle over some guy’s face!” she realized recently while playing. “They fought each other, and meanwhile, there are people practically having sex a cou-

ple feet away. What kind of music are we making? Why are these people acting so crazy? Are they just drunk? Are they on drugs? I don’t know, but I like it.” Not to promote violence, she says, but sometimes it feels good to mess with a polished world. For Jessi, Blur the Line was less of a project and more of an exorcism. She had been struggling to crack something important. She had gunned for so long toward that hardearned cockiness of grit rockers who do what they want and say “fuck all” to everything else. But then something happened—she caught up with people she had idolized. Oh shit, she thought. “I started to realize that it’s really easy to be fooled by the rock-and-roll

persona, but from behind the scenes, it’s all an act,” she says. “It’s all these people who are really small inside, and they have these big outer layers that they use to cover up the fact that they’re lonely and insecure.” Finished with the early musician phase of shitkicking and starving, she had to sort out what to say now that a critical mass of people was listening to her. Shock value is cheap, she discovered. The only thing left that’s fresh is what’s true. For example, there is a moment many women must reconcile when, although we feel like a phoenix, regenerative and powerful, we learn that society has ushered us into a flat, beige space the size of a postage stamp. We’re our own worst critics

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about this. We ask ourselves why the hell we aren’t roaring. Jessi sat with that moment while writing her recent songs. They are sharper instruments than Nikki’s, with brighter guitar tones and layered lyrics that crackle across axons in the front of the brain. “That’s my favorite kind of writing—it’s like reading between the lines,” she says. She bumped against something blunt and metal about womanhood. Namely, that it can be hard to figure out where we stand relative to men, not just in love but in any relationship. Jessi wonders if that difficulty comes across as she intended in her song “That Man.” Really it’s about how women can oscillate between control and crippling doubt—between rejecting men who are blind to our magic and questioning who is really doing the rejecting. There’s another part too—some shrill, evil voice nags at the heart of a woman, saying perhaps our strength is a sham and we are unwanted because we are not good enough. Well. That can be reclaimed. “If you do face your demons head-on, you carry them in a different way,” Jessi says. “More like a shield as opposed to this thing that is eating away at you and breaking you, and you spend all your energy trying to contain it but you end up exploding.” Jessi and Nikki have orchestrated a type of controlled detonation with their latest album and the art that it spun out of them like sweat or old exoskeletons, natural byproducts of writing honest songs. Those of us in the audience, ready to feed wild parts of ourselves, benefit from the smart women who show up and survive the brutal reawakenings required to grow as a person and a band. The songs, just ripples of air, can fly unhindered to some young and lonely soul and strike it like a tuning fork. The lines that define you are blurred, they say. Listen up: the person with the microphone is moon-howling just like you.

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Fat Mo’s is a gastronomic paradox. On the one hand, it’s a fourteen-loca-

tion, all-American fast-food chain; on the other hand, it’s a mom-and-pop business whose owners are not American, whose burgers are not cooked in a traditionally American style, and whose service is not particularly fast. It’s a smaller kind of chain, a slower kind of fast food, and an international take on a historically American cuisine. Fat Mo’s defies easy description, partly because of the food they cook and partly because of the people who cook it. Mohammad and Shiva Karimy are the momand-pop owners of Fat Mo’s, what they describe as a “fresh homemade hamburger” chain. When I met them, I casually referred to their business as a fast-food chain, and Shiva quickly corrected me: “We are not fast food; we make everything fresh when you order it.” Point taken. Her distinction isn’t in what they serve, but how they serve it. Fat Mo’s offers a typical fast-food menu (e.g. burgers, sandwiches, fries, shakes); it just takes a couple extra minutes to get it. Surprisingly, this recipe has proven very successful for them. To understand why, you need to experience Fat Mo’s for yourself—and try their burger. Honestly, I hadn’t been to a Fat Mo’s before I got this assignment. Over the course of writing this story, though, I’ve been an ungodly

number of times—let’s just say five times so I don’t sound like a total fat ass. My first experience was at their Smyrna location, which Shiva and Mo recently took over from a struggling franchisee. (Twelve of their fourteen locations were opened by former employees.) When I walked in, Shiva and Mo were standing behind the counter, her in a long dark dress and him in his grease-bespeckled work clothes. It was 1:00 p.m. They shook my hand and, gesturing to the menu, invited me to order lunch. I scanned the menu from the bottom up, which makes zero sense and made me wonder where all the burgers were. The first items I saw were the “Big Catfish Sandwich,” the “Grilled Chicken Sandwich,” and the “Philly Cheesesteak.” Where are these famous burgers? Oh wait, here they are. About halfway up the menu I saw what I was looking for: half-pound “Double Mo” burger, quarter-pound “Little Mo,” half-pound regular Fat Mo’s burger, 16 oz. Fat Mo’s “Deluxe” burger, and last but not least, the grandaddy of them all, the meat that can’t be beat: the 27 oz. Fat Mo’s “Super Deluxe” burger. Planning to eat again within the next month, I ordered the half-pound regular Fat Mo’s burger and sat down to chat with Shiva. As I waited for my burger, I guided the conversation toward what I would soon be eating: what makes a Fat Mo’s burger different? Shiva’s

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eyes darted around the room in search of Mr. Mo, her husband of thirty years and head chef of twenty-three. “Mo can tell you more, but for one, our burgers are fresh. We make them every day by hand.” She stresses freshness, both on the Fat Mo’s website and when talking to me. At first I feel like I’m being sold to, but when I see their burgers firsthand, I believe her. Their patties bear the unmistakable, almost-perfection of something handmade. Despite being thinner than the practically meatball-shaped patties you see in newly popular gourmet burger joints, they share a certain something that says they weren’t made by a machine. Shiva explains how every morning she and Mo form them by hand, patting them down with their palms (she shows me her palm) and rounding them off with the L-shaped curve between their index fingers and thumbs (she traces a line from the tip of her index finger to the tip of her thumb). The fact that Fat Mo’s burgers are fresh doesn’t make them special, though. What makes them special is what Shiva refers to as “the Persian spices and herbs.” She lists out a few of them upon request: cumin, turmeric, oregano. Mo mixes these (along with fifteen other

secret seasonings), adds water, and makes a marinade out of them. He uses this marinade not before he cooks the burgers, like most marinades are used, but while he cooks them. He sears the burgers on both sides at 400°F, then drops them into the cool marinade bath for two minutes. Then, in an act of beautiful beef torture, he puts the freshly cooled, marinated burgers back on the flat-top for another few minutes to cook them through. There’s no such thing as medium-rare at Fat Mo’s; everything is served well-done. When I get my burger, well-done, it doesn’t come out looking fancy. It’s served on a red plastic tray along with a handful of spicy fries. It reminds me of the way my hometown soft-serve shack used to serve its burgers. I lift up the sesame bun to inspect what’s inside: ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and of course my burger. Just as I ordered. As I bite into it, the vinegary Heinz ketchup cuts some of the spices Shiva just clued me in on—especially the cumin. The spiciness is subtle, but it makes a Fat Mo’s burger taste different than your average McDonald’s or Burger King burger. It tastes like a burger from a faraway place and a bygone era. Which it is.

FAT MO’S: fatmos.com Follow on Facebook @fatmos native.is/fat-mos

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“WE NEVER USE LAMP

Mohammad learned this recipe when he was a in 1978, many Iranians who could teenager in Iran. Before he worked as an Oriental rug leave the country did. Mo and Shisalesman in Vienna, before he met Shiva in Istanbul, va were among those people. They and before the Iranian revolution started in 1978, Mo moved to two of the more popular worked at an American-style fast-food restaurant in places for Iranian refugees at the Tehran. That’s where he picked up the spicy marinade time. He moved to Vienna, where he technique that defines a Fat Mo’s burger. The spice sold Persian and Oriental rugs for mixture, a variation of a traditional Persian advieh, is several years; she went to university used in many meat dishes and rice dishes. It’s some- in Istanbul, about halfway between times added to a stock (like in the case of stews), but Iran and Austria. They met a year it’s frequently turned into a marinade as well. If you’ve later in Istanbul. Shiva was studying had Persian food before, you’ll recognize some of the to become a doctor like her father, flavors seared into the outside of Mo’s burger. It’s an but she decided to marry Mo and leave Istanbul with him. They resettled in Vienna beIranian take on an American classic. The fact that Mo worked at an American-style fast- cause of Mo’s connections there, but six years later they food restaurant shows how different life was in prerev- secured political asylum in the United States, which olutionary Iran. According to Shiva, she and Mo grew was hard to get and hard to pass up. As soon as they up in the “America of the Middle East,” a secular melt- could, they bought two one-way tickets to Nashville. For many Iranian immigrants at the time (and basiing pot of immigrants and religions and ideas, many of them Western. She remembers watching Days of Our cally all immigrants ever), making a living in their new Lives religiously with her grandmother and going to see home country proved difficult. They went from being The Sound of Music at a big multiplex with her friends. well-respected doctors to taxi drivers, from lawyers Mo remembers listening to a famous Italian singer to window washers, from CEOs to janitors. For Shiva named Al Bano and watching him perform on the roof and Mo, the transition was smoother. They had a skill of a hotel in Tehran: “Thousands of people filled the that was easily transferrable and didn’t require any crestreets around the hotel to see him. They chanted his dentials or graduate degrees (and is probably the most stereotypically American skill next to herding cattle): name.” The Iran the Karimys grew up in had many Western making burgers. When they opened the original Fat Mo’s in Antioch in influences and had had Western (and Eastern) influences for thousands of years. Iranian food is a product 1991, about three years after arriving in Nashville, Shiva of this influence. Ever since the Silk Road established and Mo decided to make burgers the way they did in a channel of cultural transmission between Asia, the Iran. Unlike their main competition at the time—mulMiddle East, and Europe, there has been a cross-polli- tinational burger chains like McDonald’s and Burger nation of ingredients and cooking styles between these King—they began serving fresh burgers that were made regions. We know that Marco Polo famously brought to order. This is an important point of distinction for back noodles from China, but many other ingredients Shiva: “We never use lamp heat. No lamp heat, no miwere traded as well, such as black pepper and nutmeg. crowave.” That’s a good thing. That means your food This exchange continued throughout the Renaissance hasn’t been sitting around for half an hour before you and the Enlightenment, as travel between Europe and eat it. It’s how the big multinational chains used to do it, the Middle East became easier. Over time, French and before they became big multinational chains. Shiva and Mo also stuck with their tried-and-true Italian cooking styles gradually influenced Iranian spice-marinade recipe. Overall, this process takes loncooking, and vice versa. Mo flipping burgers in 1970s Tehran is a modern ex- ger than their competitors’, but it yields a tastier prodample of this cultural exchange, one that was aided by uct. It also yields longer waiting times. Shiva explains, Western radio and television. People all over the world “Our drive-thru got backed up at first, but we devised saw Americans eating fast food all the time, and it a more efficient system. We would go out and take orwasn’t long before they combined elements of this tra- ders from the line.” Word to the wise: if you’re getting a ditionally American cuisine with their own. That’s how burger, it’ll take about five minutes; if you’re getting the you end up with homemade Persian-spice-marinated catfish sandwich, though, it can take up to ten minutes. burgers being served in Iran. How those burgers ended The sooner you can get your order in, the better it is for up being served in Nashville is another story—one that everybody—which is why they let you call in your order before you go and pick it up (hint, hint). completes its own circle of cultural exchange. If you haven’t seen a Fat Mo’s menu in a while, you When the anti-Shah demonstrations turned violent

HEAT. NO LAMP HEAT,

NO MICRO-

WAVE.”

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should be ashamed of yourself. But you should also check it out. In an attempt to evolve with the health-conscious times, Shiva and Mo have added some lighter options to the menu. Depending on the franchise, you might see a homemade turkey or veggie burger, made with a similar Persian spice mixture incorporated into the burger itself. On the slightly less healthy side of the equation, you might see a Philly cheesesteak or a fried catfish sandwich. If you want a gyro, they have those too now. When I ask her if Fat Mo’s is on a diet, Shiva betrays a hint of frustration. “Everyone thinks Fat Mo burgers are not healthy. Actually, they have a 81/19 meat-to-fat ratio.” While this isn’t technically “lean” beef—that requires a 92/8 meat-to-fat ratio—it’s leaner than most burgers you can order. (Chefs often push this ratio closer to 70/30. The more fat your burger has, the better it’ll generally taste.) Knowing this makes me feel better about scarfing down that half-pounder. I grab another handful of spicy fries as Shiva goes into depth about her potato and ice cream distributors. Talking to Shiva reminds me that food is more than a recipe. It’s a product of the people who make it and the history behind it just as much as the ingredients that go into it. Knowing this information about Fat Mo’s might change the way you experience their food. It might remind you of the 1970s or all the times you watched The Sound of Music. It might bring out flavors from half a world away that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed, like cumin or turmeric. You might even imagine a young Mohammad Karimy flipping burgers in what was once a secular, prerevolutionary Iran. The next time you bite into a Fat Mo’s burger, think about the story behind Fat Mo’s and how that burger came to be. It might make it taste even better than it already does.

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THE THIRD SPACE

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MAX AND BENJAMIN GOLDBERG HAVE THE GIFT OF HOSPITALITY, LOVE FOR THEIR CITY, AND A STRATEGY THAT KEEPS ON WORKING

BY ANDREW LEAHEY | PHOTOS BY EMILY B. HALL

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“ WHENEVER WE THINK ABOUT OPENING A NEW SPACE, WE ALWAYS ASK OURSELVES, ‘WHERE WOULD WE WANT TO GO?’”

BEFORE PINEWOOD SOCIAL OPENED ITS ects that we’d be the first people DOORS IN DECEMBER 2013, hungry Nash- to attend. We aren’t the kind of villians pretty much steered clear of the Trolley restaurant group that sits down Barns, a cluster of seventy-year-old garage build- with a business plan and says, ings overlooking the west bank of the Cumberland ‘Okay, we’re gonna open this resRiver. Those same Nashvillians tended to avoid any taurant three years from today.’ restaurant attached to a bowling alley too. Who We are the exact opposite of could blame them? On paper, Pinewood Social— that. There’s not much thought a sprawling, upscale eatery with karaoke rooms, that goes into it other than askbowling lanes, meeting spaces, baristas, bartend- ing ourselves if we’d want to go ers, and a dizzying array of menus that rotates ac- there.” cording to the time of day—doesn’t exactly sound The idea of opening a place appetizing. It just sounds confusing. like Pinewood Social was Half a year later, though, the place is slammed on hatched during a long series a nightly basis. If you want to bowl after 6 p.m., you’ll of business meetings in coffee need to make a reservation several days in advance. shops, bars, and restaurants. If you want to eat dinner, you’d better get there early. The brothers would typically On any given day, Pinewood Social caters to nearly kick off their day by walking every demographic of Nashville’s creative class: the into a local coffeehouse, grabcollege kids who pore over textbooks in the coffee bing a table, and hosting backlounge; the businessmen who show up around noon to-back meetings with clients and potential infor a quick lunch; the stay-at-home moms who bring vestors. After a few hours, they’d start to get odd their kids in for an afternoon snack; the corpora- looks from the baristas, many of whom wanted the tions that book early-evening bowling parties for Goldbergs to leave the premises and make room for their employees; the well-to-do foodies who order new customers. Once lunchtime rolled around, the oysters and calf’s liver for dinner; and the musicians brothers usually did just that, hungry for something who head straight for the bar as midnight approach- more substantial than muffins, danishes, and other es, looking to close out the evening with something coffeehouse fare. Later in the day, if the guys wanted strong. Once the outdoor swimming pool opens this to meet a business partner for drinks, they’d have to summer, a whole new subset of Music City dwellers visit yet another place. is likely to show up . . . in swimsuits. “Max and I do have an office,” Benjamin says, alThere’s no specific “scene” at Pinewood Social, most sheepishly, “but we really like to take meetings which is exactly what Benjamin and Max Goldberg in other places. We’ve always enjoyed the energy of envisioned two years ago. Back then, the restaurant a ‘third space,’ which is basically a social gathering was just an idea, one of the many foodie fantasies place that allows people to hang out for a significant that the two brothers routinely bounced back and portion of their day. It’s not your home or your offorth. As co-owners of Strategic Hospitality, they’ve fice, but it can be an extension of both. It blurs the enjoyed success turning those ideas into affordable lines a bit. You don’t have to pack up and leave the honky-tonks like Paradise Park Trailer Resort, upper- building if you’re having coffee with someone and it crust restaurants like The Catbird Seat, and cocktail winds up turning into a lunch meeting instead. We destinations like The Patterson House. Pinewood had a hard time finding that third space in Nashville Social fits into that portfolio like a missing puzzle . . . so we decided to create it.” piece, bridging the gap between the low-brow charm Benjamin’s history as an entrepreneur dates back of Paradise Park and the high-class swagger of Cat- to his childhood days, when he purchased a series bird. When the Goldbergs began constructing their of gumball machines in Forest Hills. While his high newest restaurant, though, they weren’t worried school buddies spent their weekends mowing lawns about drawing a wide range of customers. They were or working retail jobs at the Green Hills mall, Benjamostly worried about drawing themselves. min tended to his machines, restocking the gum and “Whenever we think about opening a new space, collecting a ludicrous amount of quarters. Before we always ask ourselves, ‘Where would we want to long, he’d made enough money to buy his first car. go?’” says Max, a Nashville native who worked in “The car salesman hated me,” he jokes. “I practiNew York City’s financial district before moving cally paid for that car with loose change.” back home to tag-team Strategic Hospitality’s operYears later, while Max was attending college, ations with his older brother. “We’ve only done proj- Benjamin became friends with a local businessman

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named Austin Ray. They wanted to open a bar, a place with great drinks and solid food to match. The result was Bar Twenty3, which the two upstarts launched in a relatively new area of town: the Gulch. “Benjamin’s too humble to bring this up,” Max explains over a cup of Crema coffee at Pinewood, “but when he opened up Bar Twenty3, there was truly nothing happening in the Gulch at the time. The city was still installing street lights down there. The roads were dirt and gravel. He had the foresight to see what that area could be, and Condé Nast Traveler eventually named Bar Twenty3 one of the top thirty nightlife spots in the world. He was twenty-three years old! We both grew up in Nashville, but that was the first time I heard anything about a local restaurant gaining attention on an international level.” Things moved quickly from there. Benjamin found a 1920s warehouse in the Gulch, gutted the place all the way to the steel-beam rafters, and opened an entertainment venue called City Hall. Next, he set his sights on Lower Broadway, looking to create a honky-tonk that specialized in good food, cheap beer, and loud music. The result was Paradise Park. “We were on the wrong side of Broadway,” he remembers. “Back then, all the cool places were located on Tootsies’ side of the street. People said, ‘You’re an idiot. Why would anybody want to cross the street?’ Seven years later, it’s packed on both sides of Broadway. People run across the street like it’s Frogger or something. I’ve always gravitated toward interesting buildings and areas that aren’t defined by the places that are already there. If we were to open something in the Gulch right now, people would have assumptions about what it would look like and how the food would taste.” From the start, Paradise Park mixed highquality bar food with trailer park kitsch. The menu includes moon pies and fried spam, but it also features one of the best veggie burgers in town, which has helped set the place apart from its neon-lit neighbors. Essentially, Benjamin’s honky-tonk is a good restaurant disguised as a bad one, a carefully constructed operation masquerading as a total dive. Just like Pinewood Social, it caters to everyone: hungry drunks on the prowl for something greasy, bachelorette parties eager to get their margarita on, tourists looking to catch a few country covers, and locals who can’t shake the craving for sweet potato fries at 1:30 a.m.

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Max returned to Nashville from New York not long after Paradise Park’s grand opening. Together, the brothers opened up The Catbird Seat and The Patterson House, bringing two of the city’s finest nighttime destinations to an area that was seriously lacking in nightlife. Critics scoffed at The Catbird Seat’s sky-high prices. They rolled their eyes at The Patterson House’s long lines. Years later, though, both places are alive and kicking—and the surrounding area, a once-blighted neighborhood on the fringes of Music Row, has started to get some of its groove back too. Now, with their businesses taking off, it’s tempting to dislike the Goldberg brothers. They’re good-looking. They’re successful. They have unlimited access to some of the best cuisine in the South. Spend a few minutes with Max and Benjamin, though, and it’s virtually impossible to hold a grudge. The guys are cheerleaders for their hometown, which they describe as one of the most explosive, creative cities in the country. They talk about local restaurants with wide-eyed enthusiasm. If a new place opens up, they’re often the first customers to show up at the door. For the Goldbergs, owning a restaurant—or many restaurants—isn’t about competition. It’s about camaraderie. “We’re all friends in the food scene,” Benjamin promises. “People will come into Pinewood on a Thursday night, and it’ll be their first night in town. We’ll get to know them, and they’ll ask, ‘Where do we go? We’re here until Monday.’ And I’ll say, ‘Oh my God. Okay, here’s what you’ve gotta do: You’ve gotta go to Arnold’s meat and three on Friday. Then you’ve gotta go to Rolf and Daughters. Then you’ve gotta go to 404 or Husk or City House.’” “We want them to enjoy the city as a whole, regardless of where they go to eat, because that pushes the city forward,” adds Max. “Then, more people will come here and see what the city is all about.”

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STRATEGIC HOSPITALITY: strategichospitalityonline.com Follow on Twitter @SHprojects native.is/strategic-hospitality

“And I don’t think it’s just food!” Benjamin says. “Imogene + Willie makes these amazing jeans. Peter Nappi makes these amazing boots. You’re looking at all these people who are really talented, and they’re getting the ability to focus on smaller projects. Imogene + Willie isn’t selling 57,000 different items. They can hone in on a few specific items. That sort of creative community is booming in Nashville right now, and I’m glad people feel so comfortable about opening up their own spaces, because that’s continuing to send the city forward. This place is electric right now.” What’s next for Strategic Hospitality? The Goldbergs don’t really know. They’re focusing on Pinewood Social’s soon-to-be-unveiled pool area, which Benjamin describes as cozy and laid-back. They’re

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making a point to visit all of their restaurants on a daily basis, too, making friends with their customers and remaining on a first-name basis with their employees. Spend a long afternoon at Pinewood, and you’re likely to see the two brothers, who often take meetings in one of the restaurant’s curved cushy booths. It’s the same thing they were doing years ago, during the era of angry baristas—except this time, they don’t have to leave the building for food, drinks, or even a game of vintage bowling. At Pinewood, it’s all under the same roof. This is the Goldbergs’ universe, dreamt up by two brothers and fashioned into brick-and-mortar reality by a team of designers, chefs, mixologists, architects, and creative partners. Luckily for us, the guys love having guests.


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Holland House Puckett's Nashville Charlie Bob's Adele's Mellow Mushroom

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The REVERBERATION Of MIKKY EKKO

INSIDE MIKKY EKKO’S JOURNEY FROM A VAULT IN GERMANTOWN TO THE STAGE OF THE GRAMMYS

BY HENRY PILE | PHOTOS BY RYAN GREEN

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“YOU HAVE TO BE RETHE MODERN MONASTERY THAT says. He abides by this theory as he travIS MIKKY EKKO’S STUDIO IS FULL els through the music business. OF INSTAGRAM-WORTHY WHITE Being the new kid forced Steve to figWASHED BRICK AND EDISON BULB ure people out quickly. He learned how LIGHTING. The smells of citrus and to read between the lines and gain keen sage hang in the air. Electronics blink perception. That skill sticks with him from red to green to blue like Christ- now. “It’s not hard for me to figure out mas lights. Dual synthesizers, drum ma- what people are really saying,” he says. chines, a large monitor, and a massive “I know what they are after when they mixing board fill the space. are asking for advice.” The clean black lines of the equipAs he talks, his accent meanders with ment create an ominous effect against his stream-of-consciousness conversathe rough-hewn walls and floor. But the tion style. A Mississippi drawl gives way expensive gear isn’t the first precious to an inner-city cadence that slips into a holding for this room. The small studio vaguely British accent. is a reclaimed bank vault hidden in a I ask him about his dynamic accent. Germantown maze. “It’s this funny thing,” he begins. “From From outside the double steel doors, moving around, I absorbed the characMikky asks, “Do you want a bottled wa- teristics of where I was. It took a long ter, LaCroix, or bag of chips?” time for me to figure myself out, and Locked in the room, Mikky settles now what I’m really comfortable with into a small chair, cracks open a drink, is shape shifting. I know where I’m and smiles. He’s wearing all black, but grounded and I know what’s important, he says, “I’m trying to wear less black.” but I also don’t feel tied to an accent.” He’s not being ironic either. His hair This shape shifting appears in his curls over itself like The Great Wave off musical experiments as well. “When I Kanagawa, and as he talks, his eyes lock was listening to Bjork and Buckley, you on me with intensity. He’s handsome in would know it!” he laughs. “I would sing every way and charming as well, but he’s bad sounding Bjork lyrics or unnecesgenerous. Some people suck all the air sary Buckley-esque screams into yells out of the room; Mikky wants to fill it up. into falsetto. I’m like, ‘Chill out guy!’” Mikky Ekko is John Stephen Sudduth, he’s smiling, but his eyes are intense. or “Steve” to his family and friends. As a teenager, music was a distant When he was eight years old, his father dream for Steve. After a run at a psycholwas called to the church and began a ogy degree from Northern Mississippi career preaching. “I think for every man, Community College and some time there comes a time when you’re called at MTSU, Steve left school and moved to move. My pop’s heart let him be to Nashville. He crashed on wretched moved to this work,” Steve says. couches and in awful basement apartA family dedicated to church min- ments. istry is close kin to a family dedicated He got into the scene by taking some to the military. Work takes you places. small jobs. “I started singing backup Through this, Army kids learn special with Space Capone. There was an inskills. Preachers’ kids are no different. teresting group of musicians cycling As Steve explains, “I learned to adapt. I through there. Peter Barbee connected learned to make friends quickly, to de- me with a lot of people,” he says. Meetvelop intimate relationships quickly.” ing people and discovering writers and The depth of intimacy and lack of producers was important. “I made a lot roots created a few problems. People get of friends here. I got deeper into music hurt when you can’t be with them for- and took the time to learn from all the ever. “You have to be responsible with people I was around. I looked for obthe way you connect with people,” Steve scure music and continued to grow.”

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He started recording his own songs, which he describes as “a cappella stuff with stomp and clap.” Tim Lauer and Dan Hanson worked with him on a few EPs. Things were going well, but Steve was looking for something he couldn’t find in Nashville. “I felt like I hit a ceiling in Nashville. I didn’t know anyone doing any really wild stuff who had time for me.” Looking for a change of scenery, he made a big move. “I decided to venture off into the wilderness for a while,” he explains. The wilderness was London. Through connections and the ability to adapt, he found himself working with some prominent writers. “They had no idea who I was,” he laughs. “Being from Nashville got me through a lot of doors.” The output? “I didn’t blow anyone’s minds, but I was pushing myself to grow.” To travel that distance and work for months only to “not blow anyone’s mind” seems like a defeat, but this is part of Steve’s work ethic. “People look at their idols and want to be like them, but they forget about the work it takes to get there. If you can put in the hours and grow and bring in people who also desire growth, like my wife and friends, then you can be like your idols,” he says. So, he put in the hours and eventually, it paid off. In 2012, Steve’s demo track “Stay” caught the attention of Rihanna. Her people reached out to him. “I heard she wanted it, but I didn’t believe it. I got another call and they said she really wanted it and would consider a feature. I thought, what is going on?” he says with wide eyes. A “feature” means they wanted him to sing on the track. Most people would

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stop there and sign on the dotted line, but not Steve. “I responded and said okay, but I told them that I also wanted to produce it.” They agreed. In Nashville, we have become accustomed to a certain amount of serendipity. The utterance “That’s Nashville for you” slips from our lips like gossip or gospel. For Steve, this was different. Looking back on it, he says, “To this day, I don’t know exactly how it happened, and I don’t really want to know. When I was a little kid, I loved magic and I learned magic tricks. What I found was that learning the tricks killed the excitement. Sometimes the most important thing is the magic.” With the wheels in motion, Steve set out to transform the demo into a fully produced piece of work. “I flew to L.A. and met Rih,” he stops as I laugh. “That’s what everyone calls her!” he says with a big smile. “It’s not like we text or anything. We’re not on a first-name basis!” Rihanna cut her vocals and walked out of the studio to where Steve was standing. “She came out and hugged me. It was surreal. She said, ‘I cut the vocal a half step up. Can you do that?’ I said, ‘Sure, sure.’ She walked out and I thought, shit. Originally, we moved it down a half step because it was hard to sing! I thought, well, I just have to do it. I wore my tight pants to the studio and sang it a half step up.” With a heavy veil of secrecy, the studio would not release Rihanna’s vocals. Forced to work the track without her voice, Steve proceeded to record every possible vocal line she might want from him, plus he sang her track for reference. He offered guidance to the engineer, but ultimately, the song he wrote, recorded, and produced was out of his hands. “I didn’t hear the completed track until three days before the album dropped. I had final approval, but was I really gonna say no?” he laughs. When he finally heard the song, a flurry of emotions tumbled inside of him. He was relieved, thrilled, and humbled. “Stay” landed in the top five of charts in twentyfour countries. The song peaked at number 3 in the US, earned multiple gold and platinum certifications, and launched Mikky Ekko into the public eye. With that track, a tornado ripped through his life. A young man exploring the edges of production and the “wilderness” of songwriting found himself under the spotlight. High-profile performance requests came

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MIKKY EKKO: mikkyekko.com Follow on Facebook and Twitter @mikkyekko native.is/mikky-ekko

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“EITHER YOU’RE GOING TO DO IT OR YOU’RE NOT. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. IT CAN’T BE.”

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in. “They asked me to sing on SNL and I said no. I didn’t even have in-ears! When they asked me to sing at the Grammys, I had to say yes or they would never call again. But I was freaking out,” he says. From 8 off 8th at Mercy Lounge, nights at 12th and Porter, and gigs at The Basement, Mikky Ekko was prepping for a performance at the Grammys. It should have been a long ride, but the catapult shot Steve to that stage overnight. And there, behind the heavy curtain, he stood next to one of the world’s most well-known performers. Chatter from the control room popped in his earpiece. The energy from the audience and adrenaline from the moment overcame him. He recalls, “There was a moment just before the curtains opened that Rihanna came up to me and said, ‘I’m so nervous.’ I took her hand and said, ‘Let’s go kill it.’” The curtains opened and the voice in his ear said, “Go!” “You talk about a moment,” he says. “I was thinking about those first few lyrics . . . it’s like your first Super Bowl experience. But there’s also something calming about it. Either you’re going to do it or you’re not. Failure is not an option. It can’t be.” With the success of “Stay,” expectations for Mikky Ekko are high. Steve pulled everything back from his new album and started over. He wanted better songs and better production. He wanted to deliver the best album possible. “‘Stay’ was such a genuine song that it pushed me to go back to the drawing board. I don’t want to shove something on people that doesn’t make sense. The

new songs have a nice balance of where I am now and where I want to be. There’s room for people to float in the ether with me.” Standing over the array of knobs and buttons, lights and levels, Steve presses play on a preview of his new album. The room swells with a bed of synthesizer and backbeat rhythm. The echo vocal of Mikky Ekko pours out of the speakers. “I’m not a loner / I’ll be alone until my lover comes over / Oh I’m not a loner / I’ll be in pain until this suffering is over / so why don’t you come on, come on, come over . . . come on, come on, come over.” He kills the track and, with a grin, tells me this is all I get to hear. With the success comes sacrifice. He spent a total of two months at home with his wife, Rebecca, and toy poodle, Yoshi, last year. The demands are great and balance is difficult to achieve, but he’s focused on moving forward. “I’ve wrestled with the idea of light and dark, chaos and harmony,” he says. “A lot of my favorite designers and musicians strike an interesting balance in those respects. It has pushed me to focus on the journey. That’s no book of knowledge shit, I know. But it’s all about the journey.” This new album is no destination for Mikky Ekko; rather, it’s a road marker on his journey. Now he can afford to take the long view. “Stay” has given him a platform, opened doors, and made it possible to dedicate the time to the music. He’s not going to settle for good when he can deliver something great. Here, locked in his vault, he’s building up riches, and, track by track, looking forward to giving it all away.


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Every Southern girl knows it takes a little effort to keep your summer look cool. “Heat, humidity, and a full face of makeup don’t mix,” advises celeb makeup consultant Melanie Shelley. “All you need is tinted SPF moisturizer and a strong pop of color.” Since gel eyeliners glide on easily and dry waterproof, you can play on the lake all day and still be ready for fireworks back at the dock. Melanie Shelley, TRIM Classic Barber Photography by Brett Warren

NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Atlantic, $27, The Cosmetic Market | Red Stripe Stretch Tee, $65, MODA Boutique | ORIBE Volumista Mist, $38, TRIM Legendary Beauty | BY TERRY Baume De Rose, $60, Private Edition 84 84 / // // // // // // // // // // // // // // /// //////

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The Face: Mary Fitzpatrick for AMAXTalent.com | Makeup, Hair, Clothing Styling: Melanie Shelley @ TRIM Legendary Beauty for ORIBE Luxury Haircare and AMAXTalent.com | Hair Assist: Lindsey “Olive” Olivarez for TRIMNashville.com

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YOU OUGHTA KNOW: WHAT UP, ENGLISH

By Jack Smith of No Country for New Nashville | Photo by Aaron Ardisson

LET’S BE REAL: DANCE ROCK IS PRETTY AWESOME. What isn’t there to like about a genre that takes all the raw power of traditional rock and works it into an upbeat framework designed to get people on their feet and getting their groove on? We can’t think of a single thing that’s not to like about that endeavor. That’s why we’re highlighting one of Nashville’s premiere dance rock acts, What Up, English. Fans of Sol Cat, Machines Are People Too, COIN, Two Door Cinema Club, and The Griswolds will most likely find What Up, English to their liking, as all of these groups use clever lyricism and tight, catchy grooves to engage their fans. Despite their mature writing style, What Up, English is actually a relatively young band (they just entered college). But their youth hasn’t seemed to be too much of a stumbling block in their growth. Since 2010, the four-piece has released a number of EPs and singles, with the most recent dropping last February under the title By the Way You Look. This EP is a bit more polished and tonally restrained than many of their previous releases,

which makes the sound more accessible to listeners and also highlights the groovier, dancier side of What Up, English. By the Way You Look is rife with catchy riffs that’ll float around your head for days; in fact, their ability to write a quality hook is quite impressive considering their age. What is most impressive about What Up, English, however, is their interplay between the vocal melody and guitar countermelody. In a number of their tracks, these two lines consistently communicate with each other, each filling in where the other leaves off and yet still remaining wholly independent. This creates a complex yet satisfying melodic structure. We recommend the track “By the Way You Look” if you’re trying to get a sense of what we mean. Not surprisingly, What Up, English has played a number of high-profile shows in the recent past, including the

Music City Mudbug Festival and Lightning 100’s Music City Mayhem contest, in which they won the first round. While these shows were spectacular, they represent only the highlights of What Up, English’s career thus far. The band has really made a name for itself by playing numerous house shows and persevering through the smaller shows. While many bands never quite get past this stage, What Up, English managed to connect themselves with both other Nashville bands and a dedicated fan base early on, and they’ve done a fantastic job of riding that wave. Be sure to keep an eye on this act as they continue to grow and mature, as there’s little doubt that What Up, English is one of the most promising dance rock acts to come out of Nashville in some time.

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An interview with

ND: It’s officially summer when . . . RB: When I can wake up and sit on my front porch in my skivvies. ND: Who is the artist you’re most excited to see at Nashville Dancin’? RB: I’m most excited to see James Wallace. ND: Best place to skinny-dip? RB: My buddy Jacob Thomas Jr.’s above-ground pool in his backyard. ND: What is your favorite summer beverage? RB: Dippin’ Dots and Coronas with lime. ND: Are you a grill master? If yes, do you have a specialty recipe you’d like to share? RB: I grill one thing: bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers. ND: What is the worst sunburn you’ve ever had? RB: I’m Russian and Hungarian . . . I don’t burn. I brown. ND: Lakes, rivers, pools . . . What's better? RB: I prefer the river... and my fly rod . . . and a doobie. ND: Jell-O shots? Yay or nay? If yes, what’s the best kind? RB: Jell-O shots . . . yep. Purple ones. ND: Birkenstocks . . . flip-flops . . . what’s your go-to sandal? RB: I don’t bother with sandals . . . bare feet all summer long.

Photo: Andrea Behrends

For the full line-up visit: w w w . n a s h v i l l e d a n c i n . c o m

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NASHVILLE PIRATE RUM JULY 19TH 5-10PM ON THE WATERFRONT AT

RUM BY

UNLIMITED SAMPLES OF ARTISAN RUM DRINKS & ISLAND BEERS

AND MUSICAL GROOVINGS OF REGGAE AND ISLAND MUSIC

TICKETS AND INFO NASHVILLEPIRATERUM.COM DOES NOT INCLUDE WATERPARK ADMISSION

W I N E

C I DERS

CI GARS

JULY 26TH NOON - 6PM CUMBERLAND PARK

TICKETS: CRUSHANDROLLNASHVILLE.COM 90 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //////

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observatory

S AVA N N A H

EMILIA 92 / / // / / / / / / / / / / / / ////

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J. W E S

TAY L O R

FOSTER AND CHELSEA

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ANIMAL OF THE MONTH

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illustrated by Christine Craft


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Everyone deserves to live a long and happy life.

That’s why we only sell the best holistic foods, toys, treats, and accessories for dogs and cats! Our East Nashville location also offers a self-serve dog wash.

12 South: 2222 12th Ave. South (Backside of Building) (615) 292-9662

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Five Points: 1008 Forrest Ave. (Backside of Building) (615) 228-9249

Hours for both: Weekdays: 10am-8pm Saturday: 10am-6pm Sunday: Noon-5pm

WagsAndWhiskersNashville.com

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EAT. DRINK. BE ENTERTAINED. Acme Feed & Seed creates a uniquely “Nashville” atmosphere that honors the city’s past, present and future. With 22,000 square feet of cocktail, culinary and entertainment space, The Acme invites you to experience an entirely new Lower Broadway.

FOR MORE INFO

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A barbershop for men and women of all a ges *COMING SOON* to East Nashville! Walk in any day of the week and get a quality cut or style:

$15 Buzz

$24 St y l e

Ever y cut comes with a FREE Cold Brew Cof fee or Beer! 904 Main St. - next to Fat Bottom Brewer y w w w. s c o u t s b a r b e r s h o p . c o m

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Native | July 2014 | Nashville, TN  

Native's 2nd Anniversary Issue. Featuring Nashville's Those Darlins, Mikky Ekko, Charles Clary, Fat Mo's, and Max and Benjamin Goldberg of...

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