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A (KOREAN) FRIED C HIC KEN JOINT

GRAND OPENING

MARCH 11 2016

615.928.8118 - 726 McFerrin Ave. Nashville, TN 37206 - www.BirdhouseNashville.com 6 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /////

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TABLE OF CONTENTS march 2016

60 42 52

20

34 THE GOODS 15 Beer from Here 18 Cocktail of the Month 20 Master Platers 77 You Oughta Know 79 Animal of the Month

FEATURES

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24 Artist Spotlight: Chelsea Velaga 34 New Dialect 42 Brooke Waggoner 52 Kernels Gourmet Popcorn 60 Photo Ops 68 The Post East

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RESPECT THE UNEXPECTED. VISIT PLOWBOYRECORDS.COM FOR NEW RELEASES

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OUR ARTISTS: BLACKFOOT GYPSIES • BOBBY BARE • PAUL BURCH • BUZZ CASON • CHEETAH CHROME • CHUCK MEAD • THE FAUNTLEROYS • THE GHOST WOLVES • JD WILKES & THE DIRTDAUBERS • JIM ED BROWN


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M E N' S STO R E • CUS TOM C L OT HI NG BA R • BA R BER S HOP

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SARAH SEVEN, CLAIRE PETTIBONE, RUE DE SEINE, SARAH JANKS, HOUGHTON, CHRISTOS, ANNA CAMPBELL, TWIGS & HONEY, TRUVELLE, KATIE MAY, HAYLEY PAIGE

THE DRESS THEORY BRIDAL SHOP (615) 440-3953 - 1201 5TH AVE N #102 -

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

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Photo: Kelsey Freeman

(cos-tee-yay-ha)

1200 VILLA PLACE - SUITE 403 - (615) 730-5367 castillejanashville.com @castillejanashville # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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BUZZARD GOD by Ben Clemons of No. 308 photo by jen mcdon a l d

This mezcal and Chartreuse cocktail is a perfect break from the winterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boozy stirred drinks and is for fans of classics such as The Last Word and the everpopular mojito. Whole lime juice gives the drink a velvety mouth feel while keeping the acidity level low enough to enjoy a few.

*Mint syrup 1 cup fresh mint 2 cups sugar 2 cups water

Blend mint and water together and add sugar. Cook until sugar is dissolved and allow to cool. Strain.

THE GOODS 1 oz Mezcal Vida 3/4 oz mint syrup* 1 oz whole lime juice** 1/2 oz pineapple juice 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse pinch of salt

! Shake all ingredients and strain into a freshly iced Collins glass. Garnish with a mint sprig. **Whole lime juice: Cut lime into quarters and juice the whole fruit. Strain.

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MASTER PLATERS

Blackened

Tilapia & h s fi w a r C ger” “Mini Bur

W I T H Q UA N Y E S PA R K S O F B O U T I Q U E B U R G E R B A R PHO T OS BY DAN IELLE AT K IN S

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STEP 1: THE TILAPIA

STEP 2: THE BURGERS

two 6-oz tilapia fillets blackening seasoning: (1 1/2 tsp of each) cayenne pepper paprika smoked paprika garlic powder onion powder ground black pepper ground chipotle pepper ground thyme ground oregano ground red pepper brown sugar ground cumin

chopped blackened tilapia 5 oz crawfish meat 1/4 cup mayo 1/4 cup cooked brown rice 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 1/2 tbsp chopped green pepper 1 1/2 tbsp chopped red onion 1 tsp mustard juice of half a lemon 1 tsp salt splash of hot sauce

1 tsp salt

splash of Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp olive oil for frying

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs 2 tbsp chopped green onion 3 tbsp olive oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

8 slider-size potato rolls 2 tbsp diced tomato

! Combine and mix all the blackening seasonings and coat the fish liberally on both sides. ! Let the fish sit for 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature. ! Over medium-high heat, add olive oil to a nonstick frying pan and cook the fish for 3 minutes on each side. ! Remove the fish and set it aside to rest for 7–8 minutes. ! Once the fish is rested, rough chop the fillets and add to the burger mixture.

1 bushel of watercress spicy remoulade or spicy mayo

DIRECTIONS ! In a bowl, combine the tilapia, crawfish, mayo, brown rice, celery, green pepper, red onion, mustard, lemon juice, salt, hot sauce, Worcestershire, parsley, half of the breadcrumbs, and half of the green onions. Mix all the ingredients with your hands and form into a large ball. Refrigerate for one hour. ! Form the burger mixture into 6–8 slightly larger than golf ball–sized balls and cover each with the remaining breadcrumbs. Gently flatten each ball into a slider-sized patty. Over mediumhigh heat, add the olive oil to a nonstick frying pan and cook each patty for 3–4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. ! Cut the potato rolls in half and toast them. To make the burgers, add the watercress, burger, and spicy remoulade and garnish with diced tomato and the remaining green onions.

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615-988-0513 - 525 Hagan St. - AmericanHotelLiquidators.com / / / / / / / / / / / / / /////// # NATIVENASHVILLE Open 10am-6pm Mon-Sat and 12-5pm Sunday


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THERE IS NO “DARKNESS” OR “LIGHTNESS,” ONLY “INTEREST” OR “DISINTEREST.” In refusing this binary, I have forced myself to discard the veil of shame, taking with it the doubt and uncertainty that is seemingly required in creating. The sting of embarrassment or regret that, for reasons unknown, persists within us longer than emotional markers of success is a testament to its importance. I celebrate the former because of its salience, and I cloak my illustrations with similar moments of shame that echo a pubescent irritation regarding my body and the bodies of others.

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No one is immune to abuse, fumbling at the kitchen table when you’re finally home alone, prioritizing your desires and responsibilities despite your seasonal affective disorder. This feeling of futility and stasis sprouted the nature, mother series, wherein figures inspired by the mythical Mother Nature are domesticated in mundane interior spaces, surrounded by industrial comforts and potted plants. The emphasized negative space implies a vastness previously seen only in nature. The flowers and plants are painstakingly detailed, while the fleshly bodies are blankly matted, as if their presence is only an afterthought. The bodies operate as a pretext to the compartmentalized moments of natural splendor, as the figures gaze blankly ahead or nod off in front of the TV. Simultaneously, this environment encapsulates the potential vastness of nature and the lackluster

dimensions of a cramped apartment. Wayward structural objects and furniture further this indoor expanse of space, while providing further contrast between organic and inorganic worlds. The space accommodates uselessness despite the promise of growth, echoing a sense of goddess-oriented fanfare within the confines of stunted adulthood. The hushed detachment seen in nature, mother originates in the fat pussy series; bright red and navy blue layers of imagery form patches of texture that weave between spatial planes, compartmentalizing images based on color, form, and placement. The individual images are tinged with a pubescent anxiety and a penchant for destruction that I’ve never grown out of. The selective focus of the drawings takes everyday objects and configures them as symbols, elevating them in both the visual and the conceptual hierarchy. —CHELSEA


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fat pussy V, 9” X 12”

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CHELSEA VELAGA: To see more of Chelsea's work, including full versions of the nature, mother and fat pussy series, visit chelseavelaga.com

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AS A TEENAGER, BANNING BOULDIN LEFT NASHVILLE WHEN SHE WAS UNABLE TO FIND ANYWHERE TO STUDY THE DANCE SHE LOVED. NOW, WITH HER COMPANY, NEW DIALECT, SHE’S MAKING NASHVILLE A DESTINATION FOR CONTEMPORARY DANCE

THE DANCE IS IN THE DETAILS BY JONAH ELLER-ISAACS | PHOTOS BY ZACHARY GRAY # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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THE HOUSE LIGHTS ROSE, AND WE WEPT. Thunderous applause filled the overcrowded Grand Salon at OZ Arts Nashville. The dancers smiled, took a bow, then another, and likely more after that. I can’t recall the number of curtain calls since dancers bow a lot after they perform, and the show was in the summer of 2014. We had just witnessed the professional debut of New Dialect, and the Nashville-based contemporary dance company, led by Artistic Director Banning Bouldin, had rocked the house. Unsure of community interest in a Thursday night performance by a new arts group, OZ staff scrambled to make room when more than seven hundred people showed up. Dance enthusiasts were jammed into every inch of available space, just shy of a fire code violation. When the program ended, nearly all of those seven hundred were on their feet, cheering for the dancers of New Dialect and for the birth of a powerful new presence in the Nashville dance community. The performance was spectacular, but that wasn’t the only reason my wife, Kathryn, and I had tears in our eyes. We’d moved from New York at the end of 2013 to be closer to her family, and she took a position as the director of the dance division for Metro Parks and Recreation. After she had spent nearly twenty years in the vibrant, expansive dance community in New York City, we both worried that she might have a hard time finding artistic fulfillment without regular exposure to the sort of challenging, world-class

“I WAS ATTRACTED MORE TO DOING THE REALLY PHYSICAL WORK THAT THE MEN WERE OFTEN ASKED TO DO.”

contemporary dance that was once a dance magazine, she so readily available. And then, as we came across an adverwatched Banning and her supremely tisement for The Juiltalented dancers leave the stage ac- liard School’s first-evcompanied by the audience’s ecstat- er summer intensive. ic approval, we were overwhelmed Banning remembers with emotion to see that we, and the moment vividly. Nashville, had access to dance of the “The photo was gorgeous, of this man and this woman. highest caliber. From her first classes at the The way that they were captured, Green Hills School of Dance and the and their partnering, I had never School of Nashville Ballet, Banning seen shapes like that. The whole ad Bouldin has risen through the dance was just a totally different dynamic, world to become one of Nashville’s even in this still image.” The ad exleading contemporary choreograph- plained, “Ballet dancers can do modic voices. Her work is dense with ern too,” and her teenage heart leapt, texture and detail, technically de- only to sink when she noticed the manding, and stunningly beautiful. fine print: they would only accept To find out how this Bellevue balle- forty applicants. I’m never going to rina has come so far, I meet Banning get in, Banning told herself. But she for a conversation at the Centennial was undeterred. “I was very ambiPerforming Arts Studios (formerly tious as a kid. Not a great amount of the Centennial Arts Activity Center), self-esteem, but . . . If I’m interested where New Dialect is the company- in it, I’m gonna go for it. Probably in-residence. We start at the begin- won’t get it, but I’m gonna try.” Remarkably, out of the likely ning, talking about the early classes that were important for her tech- thousands of dance students from nique but not entirely satisfying. She around the country, Banning was acexplains that as a child, she “could cepted. She wept with joy when she never figure out why I loved to move got the letter. After a transformative my body so much, but I didn’t really New York summer working with enjoy the dances that I was watching. luminaries of modern and contemI was attracted more to doing the re- porary choreography, she returned ally physical work that the men were home only to find the dance scene in 1996 Nashville even more limiting. often asked to do.” Without understanding the na- “My mind was totally blown at the ture of her discomfort, Banning was end of that summer. I came home moving away from more traditional and [said to my] Mom, ‘There’s nodance forms. But the search for a where in Nashville for me to get this movement language that spoke to kind of training. There’s nowhere in her within the limited dance world Nashville for me to do this kind of of Nashville came up empty. As a dancing. People aren’t exploring this frustrated teenager looking through kind of process here. And there’s not

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an audience for this kind of work here yet.’” Until recently, Banning felt that the audience for contemporary dance still didn’t exist in Nashville. After receiving her BFA at Juilliard, she spent years dancing around the world: New York, Chicago, Sweden, France, all the time honing her craft, learning new ways to understand the body, new ways to move bodies across the stage. Still, for all her worldly experience, Banning tells me that her early years powerfully informed her founding of New Dialect. Her hope is that no Nashville dancer yearning to study contemporary dance will ever have to leave again, so she’s worked to establish resources to encourage the growth of the Nashville dance community. Banning explains, “I started New Dialect not as a dance company. I really wanted us to be a resource for modern and contemporary dancers, choreographers, and teachers in Nashville to come together, research together, have a place to train, that was open to everybody [and] supported everybody.” New Dialect offers morning classes hosted by abrasiveMedia in Houston Station, and they’re open to the public. But the classes are just one part of the greater whole of Banning’s vision. The morning gatherings breed relationship and camaraderie. Banning tells me, “Pretty much anyone who is making or teaching in the modern and contemporary dance community right now in Nashville teaches on our roster.” Banning wants to cast a net as broadly as possible, expanding the borders of Nashville’s dance community, and, by extension, the breadth of artistic expression. The classes give dancers from all over the city an opportunity to experience Banning’s unique dance vocabulary for themselves, a chance to try it out on their own bodies. About that dance vocabulary. Two choreographers might watch clips of the same historic dance performances, read the same books, go to the same classes, and come out with radically different patterns of motion and body positions. Banning’s Juilliard curriculum emphasized a wide-open approach to dance learning, exposing her to a variety of dance styles. “Their mission was to create a fusion dancer,” Banning explains, “who was well-versed in a number of different movement vocabularies, styles, approaches, techniques. And then because we had this arsenal of tools, we could draw from them in the invention of new movement vocabularies with new choreographers. That’s the part of the process that I’ve always been drawn to.”

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NEW DIALECT: newdialect.org Follow on Facebook @NewDialect or Instagram @New_Dialect native.is

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Through those lessons and dur- is created together, so I come to a ing her years dancing with com- New Dialect rehearsal at Centennial. panies around the world, Banning The company is working on the fideveloped the movement language nal section of Atlas Kid, a work that that makes New Dialect such a gift will premiere in April as part of the to watch. She can make a whirlwind illustrious Visiting Artist series at crossing of the stage by her com- OZ Arts. Banning watches from the pany a thing of beauty, grace, and sideline, her notebook in one hand, athleticism combined with a laser her ubiquitous e-cig in the other. focus and pinpoint technique from Two dancers, Emma Morrison and her dancers. During one of the New Becca Place, are moving through a Dialect rehearsals I attended, she duet, while two others, Ben Green tells her dancers, “We can move and Rebecca Steinberg, echo their quickly, liquid-like, without losing movements to learn the steps. that clarity and detail.” Banning Taller than Emma by at least a foot, admits that she is obsessed with de- Becca is bent down on the ground tail. “I’m really interested in detail with Emma’s legs draped over her and specificity, like taking everyday shoulders. They move in tandem. gestures, like talking with our hands, Becca moves Emma’s legs forward and amplifying those to become with her hands. Emma stretches more full movements. A trademark her body, closes her eyes, and opens of a lot of the work that I’m making her mouth wide in a silent scream. now is that I’m interested in these Banning counts a quick eight beats. mass partnerships, where you have Eight beats again. The two dancers multiple people who are supporting curl around each other, then sepaeach other, partnering each other, rate. They shift into plank position, all interconnected, threading in and their faces inches from each other. out of each other to create these “Yes, nice discoordination!” Banning shouts. The steps require an sculptures. Moving sculptures.” Most of all, Banning believes incredible physicality, with punishthat what makes her dance cre- ing movement that makes the dancations unique is the creative process, ers look as if they’re trying to leap which she calls collective composi- out of their own bodies. It’s breathtion. She might arrive to rehearsal taking. I can’t imagine the strain of with her notebook full of ideas, but performing this choreography for a the group takes a shared approach full-length work. Emma is exactly who Banning to developing movements. “The creative process for us is so col- had in mind when she founded the laborative. I come in with images, company. She left Nashville when constructs, compositional games it failed to meet her artistic goals, that I will engage the dancers with but she eventually heard about New to stimulate their imaginations into Dialect. She came home, started takgenerating material or movements ing classes with Banning, and then from their understanding.” In this joined the company. Emma calls model, her dancers have to be highly Banning “a mentor, teacher, choreskilled improvisers, ready and will- ographer, genius director” and tells ing to work through Banning’s cho- me that one of her proudest moreography while adding their own ments came recently on a trip to San Francisco. “There were people concepts and movements. I want to see for myself what coming up to me, and they’re like, it looks like when choreography ‘You dance with New Dialect! Are

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you guys doing an intensive? We’ve seen your work, we’ve seen your videos, we’re really interested in what you’re doing. We’d love to come hang out with you and work with you!’ Being from Nashville, and someone approaching me about a company in Nashville . . . [It] was totally different than anything I had experienced.” Emma and all the New Dialect dancers with whom I spoke were giddy with excitement to be a part of such challenging, complex choreography. Banning’s brilliant choreography and organizational vision have put New Dialect, and Nashville’s evolving contemporary dance community, on the map. Souvenirs, the full evening of work that includes Atlas Kid, premieres at OZ Arts this April, with live music performed by the score’s co-composers, Mikael Karlsson and Lev LJOVA Zhurbin. The night is likely to be another triumph. It’s been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Unsurprisingly, Banning has taken the statement as a challenge. “With Atlas Kid, I was interested in exploring our individual memories of the architecture of specific places in our childhood homes that evoked strong positive or negative feelings. We remembered the texture, scale, weight, shape, and temperature of these spaces and used this information to build the gestures and movements in Atlas, as well as to create distorted tableaus of memories. I think the detail and imagery in the work are immediately identifiable, even potent, because they’re so human.” For Banning, it’s a remarkable homecoming. She reminds me, “As a fifteenyear-old dancer, there was nowhere for me to get the education I needed. There was nowhere for me to have a career as a professional contemporary dancer in Nashville.” But now, Banning, New Dialect, and Nashville’s dance community has, as Banning so astutely points out, “an opportunity to really change that. And that excites me.”

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FROM GROWING UP ON THE BAYOU TO TOURING WITH JACK WHITE: TRACKING BROOKE WAGGONER’S DECADELONG CAREER BY ANDREW LEAHEY PHOTOS BY JONATHON KINGSBURY

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2016 Brooke Waggoner’s fifteen-month-old son is crawling across the kitchen floor, headed for a toy that’s against the wall. He reaches it and triumphantly slams his fist into a red button. A song erupts. He smiles and looks up at his mom, laughing. When the song stops, he presses it again. And again. And again. This is nothing new, really. Music has always been a part of Brooke’s household. A classical musician and left-ofcenter pop songwriter who began taking piano lessons at four years old, she’s logged nearly three decades in front of the ivories. Her son is still too young to carry on the family tradition, but there’s something comforting about his interest in his mom’s job. He was born the day she finished recording vocals for her newest album, and the entire record— Sweven, which borrows its title from an archaic English term—focuses on themes like childhood and the passage of time. “It means ‘vision,’ as in a futuristic, dreamlike state,” she says. “I thought it

was a great word to use for both the title track—which almost sounds like a lullaby—and the whole record, which deals with aging and childhood. It’s about referencing your childhood in order to move forward.” Perhaps it’s best, then, to explain Brooke Waggoner’s story by dialing back the clock, focusing not just on the present but on everything that led to it.

2006 Brooke is moving her keyboards into an apartment off Edmondson Pike. It’s the middle of the summer, and the air is thick and sticky. Still, it doesn’t feel nearly as humid as it did in Baton Rouge, where Brooke spent her previous four years studying classical composition and orchestration at LSU. “It was a really good time to move to Nashville,” she says one decade later, now living in a home in Sylvan Park with her husband and toddler. “As a musician, you didn’t have to fight so much for attention. It was an organic process. You play a bar, people connect to it, and they keep coming back. It was that simple,

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and I was pleasantly surprised at how much people seemed to connect with my music, because I don’t play guitar and I don’t write anything that’s Americana or remotely country. I just came in and started doing my thing, without even understanding the scene I was working in. I was that ignorant—or maybe that lucky.” Humility aside, luck didn’t have much to do with it. Raised in southern Louisiana as a classical pianist, Brooke spent a big chunk of her childhood in lessons, learning how to properly place her hands and straighten her back. That made her something of an anomaly in Bayou Vista, a fishing town where, as she says, “everybody graduates high school and works offshore.” Brooke had different plans, moving seventy miles north and enrolling at the LSU School of Music. Things were different in Baton Rouge. Looking to immerse herself in the local scene, she began going to screamo and hardcore shows, where the music was worlds away from her classical background. “It was such a 180 from my own experience,” she remembers. “Coming out of such a rigid world—perfect posture at the piano, always

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wearing black—and then seeing these people being so uninhibited was incredible. I was watching somebody bleed and sweat and lose his mind onstage. All of that was happening in tandem with school, where I was learning how to write parts for an entire symphony. It was great.”

2009 Three years after moving to Nashville, Brooke’s songwriting career is taking off. Once again, she’s become an anomaly in her own town, bucking Music City’s fascination with twang and testosterone by carving out a sound that’s orchestral, ornate, and pop-influenced, with piano serving as the main instrument. She’s also quit her job at a local urinalysis clinic, a gig she’ll later describe as “great motivation to get this music thing going.” Work is better these days, with Brooke paying the bills as a road warrior. The months go by. Brooke tours with emo bands and pop rock stars. She opens a long line of shows for Owl City. Those particular shows are packed—this is 2009, after all, and Owl City’s Adam Young has just made the jump from Internet phenomenon to multiplatinum heartthrob—and


BROOKE WAGGONER: brookewaggoner.com Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @brookewaggoner native.is

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while the audiences don’t exactly look like Brooke’s ideal crowd, she tries to make the most of it. “It was a young audience,” she now remembers. “All teens, all girls. Initially I thought, This can be really cool. It can be a cool thing. I remember being thirteen, and I might’ve been interested in seeing a chick on the piano back then.” If only. Most of the girls’ excitement is saved for Owl City, and Brooke finds herself playing to crowds who couldn’t care less. They don’t seem to understand her music. Even the merchandise confuses them. Every night, some tween mistakes the vinyl copies of her newest album, Go Easy Little Doves, for calendars. It’s enough to make her miss home. Whenever Brooke gets in front of a more mature audience, though, she dazzles. Her music is poppy and progressive, fueled by brass, symphonic strings, and plenty of double-fisted blasts of ivory. It’s for people who want to think as well as swoon. Back home in Nashville, she takes meetings with multiple labels, including Warner, Atlantic, Universal, and Decca. People want to sign her, but she’s not so sure she wants to sign with them. No one really seems like the perfect fit. “They wanted a lot of control,” she recalls. “It was a compliment—they saw a lot of potential, so they wanted to get on board early—but it was really not best for me. The longevity wasn’t there. They wanted to get their hands in everything. The publishing. The rights to my masters. Even a say-so in production. I was thinking, I don’t even know you. How do I know your tastes? How do you know what’s best for me? We’ve had two meetings, and you’ve only heard one album. I’m not anti-labels. I’m not even anti-big-labels. But I do think my story was a sparing. The label thing never panned out for me, and looking back, I was spared. And I’m grateful for that.” Rather than sign with a label, Brooke puts together her own team. She finds a management group and lands a publicist. She signs up with a booking agent. When one of her songs, “Fresh Pair of Eyes,” winds up in an episode of Pretty Little Liars, her fan base explodes overnight, giving her the sort of attention most major-label acts receive. Except Brooke isn’t on a major label. She’s happily indepen-

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dent. And she’ll stay that way for years, even while touring the globe with one of the biggest mainstream rockers of the twenty-first century.

2012 Brooke is halfway across the world, playing keyboards as a full-time member of Jack White’s band. Their partnership began in 2011, when White recruited some Nashvillearea musicians to play on his first solo album, Blunderbuss. What began as a day-long session gig quickly snowballed into something much bigger, with Brooke playing on the entire album. When it came time for White to hit the road, it only made sense that he bring along the keyboardist who originated the parts on his album. “It’s the only sideman gig I’ve ever done,” she says now. “It really spiraled too. At first I just thought I was going to do a session, and then I realized we were going to make a record, and then that turned into a tour, and then it turned into a year and a half of tour dates. And then a second record! So it just kept going.” Technically, Brooke was part of two different backing bands: one comprised entirely of females and the other filled with men. White would alternate between those lineups throughout the tour. On the surface, it seemed like another White Stripes–worthy marketing move—like dressing up with Meg White in red and black clothing, maybe—but Brooke insists there was a musical difference too. “It was unique to play with so many women who were truly amazing at their instruments,” she says. “Not to be harsh on my sex, but you don’t encounter that a ton. It’s still a fairly male-dominated scene. And you could really tell the difference between the two bands, which is the crazy part about it. With the guys, you could feel aggression. Competition. Intense testosterone. With the females, there was definitely a sensibility to it that I

thought was really interesting. A lot more give-andtake. I don’t think one band was better than the other. It was just different, and that was cool to see. And the best thing about it is I walked away from the projects with great respect for sidemen.” She walked away with a plan too: to attack her solo career with new fire and focus.

2016

“I WAS THAT IGNORANT —OR MAYBE THAT LUCKY.”

Brooke is gearing up for a short winter tour in support of Sweven’s release. It’s her best album to date, filled with envelope-pushing songs that were originally written as instrumental numbers. Along the way, she added vocals to many of the tracks, resulting in a record that jumps between the classical and the contemporary. There’s lo-fi garage gospel (“Widow Maker”) and pretty piano balladry (“Eggshells”). There’s music rooted in mood and music rooted in melody. There are gorgeous string arrangements written by Brooke and sparse, sparkling guitar riffs played by her brother. Written and recorded during her pregnancy, Sweven finds Brooke in a reflective mood, looking back at the past while still moving forward. Maybe that’s why it’s her best too. It doesn’t sound stuck in time. “When I wrote these songs, I thought a lot about my son listening to them one day,” she says, her words soundtracked by the sound of her son pushing that red button over and over. “That played a big role. I wanted to make something he’d be proud of. When you zoom out of yourself and see it through the lens of your family, you get a broader perspective of what you can and should say. A broader perspective of what you should do. And I wanted to make something we could all love, both now and years from now.”

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SISTERS AMBER, ERICA, AND JENNIFER OF KERNELS GOURMET POPCORN TALK ABOUT RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS: EAST NASHVILLE AND THEIR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD SNACK

BY MASON PASHIA | PHOTOS BY AUSTIN LORD

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WALK INTO KERNELS GOUR- just copied me,” Erica says, lovingly MET POPCORN, AND YOU CAN patting her sister on the shoulder. EXPECT WARMTH—and it’s not “That’s what all of my friends thought coming from the popcorn popper. This is the kind of warmth that only a family-owned, made-fresh-daily, start-up business can provide. What might you see inside? Well, a few years ago it may have been Autumn (twelve years old), running the cash register as though she’d been doing it forever. Like a pro, she’d offer samples and entertain customers, while the rest of the family ran around behind her covered in smoke, sweet scents, and smiles. Nowadays, a trip to Kernels may mean encountering up to fourteen people running on strong work ethic, coffee, and familial love. Sisters Erica and Amber Greer studied architectural engineering at TSU, perhaps an unexpected degree choice for popcorn poppers. “Well, [Amber]

KERNELS GOURMET POPCORN: kernelsnashville.com Follow on Facebook @KernelsGourmetPopcorn, Twitter @nashvilletoppop, or Instagram @kernelsnashville native.is 54 / / / / / / / / / / / / / /////// # NATIVENASHVILLE 54 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / //// # NATIVENASHVILLE

too!” Amber replies. “But it isn’t true, I swear.” It’s hard to believe that at one time Erica, Amber, and the eldest sister, Jennifer Knight, lived far apart. Amber, the youngest, was looking for a career in acting and modeling in New York City, Jennifer worked in education in Chicago, and Erica worked as an architectural engineer in Nashville. However, these sisters had too much in common to be separated for long. After a few years all three settled in Nashville due to a mutual passion for education, children, family, and . . . popcorn. “We had the idea for Kernels even when I was in New York. I remember Skyping to talk about popcorn,” Amber laughs. “As kids, we loved to go to this popcorn store in Harding Mall


with our mom.” Popcorn was a childhood tradition with these women, and, most importantly, it was something that all of them loved to eat. “We got popcorn tins every year,” they say in unison. “That was a sign that it was the holidays. That and family.” From the get-go, popcorn and family were intimately related. It was never a question of whether there was love and dedication for the product or each other. Once reunited in Nashville, popcorn was no longer a mere chat-piece over Skype. Kernels Southern Gourmet Popcorn (the original name) started in their parents’ house in 2008 and moved out into its own store five years later. They all agree: “It was smoky in there. We had to get out.” The smoke didn’t bother their parents though. Rather, their mom and dad were proud supporters and loved the idea so much that they wanted to help in any way they could. According to the sisters, their

dad has been the reliable foundation of their entire business venture. Jennifer says, “After getting off of third shift, Dad will swing by and pop corn for the day.” It may seem like a lot of work, but as Amber says, “Dad has always been a bit of an entrepreneur. Don’t you guys remember when he had the first idea for those moving pictures with the running waterfalls?” Jennifer and Erica laugh. “He was so mad when someone else put out the first working model instead of him. He had known it would be a hit.” With a family-owned business, it can be difficult to separate work from leisure family time, but this family is even closer than they seem at a glance. Have you ever heard of double sisters? “You may have noticed that both of our last names are Greer—that’s not our biological name. We married brothers,” Amber says of herself and Erica. “It’s not weird at all!” They motion to the corner of the shop

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where Erica’s husband is sitting. He I have to keep teaching and helping and his daughter are relaxing in what kids, but I love Kernels.” Kernels frequently donates to looks like a children’s area in the middle of a shopping mall. “Our dad their alma mater, the Stratford built that,” Jennifer tells me. The High track team. The sisters place walls look like they’ve been through emphasis on staying true to their a variety of coats of paint, and, in its roots—they never want to look past current state, it appears loved by the those who helped them get to where many children that take a load off af- they are. “Oh, we forgot! We used ter helping with the popcorn-related to cook in the commercial kitchen duties for the day. “Everybody has at our church,” Jennifer exclaims, a job.” Today, that job is watching remembering the initial stages of the business. “Our church loves our Shrek. Off of Gallatin Pike, Kernels popcorn!” Although the sisters place a great stands inconspicuous but extends surprisingly far back, with more deal of import on customer interacthan enough room for their family to tion and maintaining a strong brand, filter in and out, working as they go. their product is equally important. In fact, there is a present need of ex- With fourteen-plus flavors, varipansion. “The workload is becoming ous seasonal specials, and frequent a bit much for the few hands we have customers like Vanderbilt, Grassy right now,” Erica says. The sisters Knoll Movie Nights, and the Counare juggling families, school, Kernels, try Music Hall of Fame, Kernels’ and community, so they’d be willing product is ever evolving and always to hire someone outside of the fam- popped fresh daily for the best posily. Erica laughs, “We’re running out sible taste.“We sell a lot to Nashville of family members. We need more Sweets too—they love our White Cheddar. We keep telling them we kids or something.” Although family was the primary have other flavors, but they are just tie that brought all three sisters addicted.” Kernels will personally deliver to back home, it just so happens that Nashville is the perfect place to your door, or they will serve popreach a customer base that is pas- corn to customers in store, offering sionate about start-ups and gourmet “probably more samples than the cusproducts. Having spent their entire tomer needs,” smiles Amber. They childhood in East Nashville, they will even personalize their packaging love continuing to contribute and for special events such as weddings participate in the now-flourishing or large social gatherings. “This past year for Valentine’s Day we did the Nashville community. Through donating to Wounded Date Box. It started as Date in the Warrior Project (Dad’s favorite) or Box, but . . . ” she trails off into laughthe VA hospital, Kernels continues ter, which the other two join in on. With a carefully crafted hometo reach out as much as the customers are reaching in. The sisters have made product, a wide selection of frequent speaking engagements flavors that continues to expand, and where they talk to students about a heap of Nashville pride, Kernels decision-making and start-up busi- is the perfect place to get a quality nesses. Jennifer is still passionate product and genuine Southern hosabout education: she now teaches pitality. “We want to be a destination kindergarten at a new charter school to see in Nashville,” says Jennifer. called Explore! and has no intention “And we think we can do it, because of stopping. “I think I’ll only be hap- we want people to have the best. We py doing both,” she says. “I feel like want gourmet to taste gourmet.”

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TERRY PRICE, THE CREATIVE FORCE BEHIND PHOTO OPS, DISCUSSES LOSS, ILLNESS, AND COMING OF AGE

BY BENJAMIN HURSTON | PHOTOS BY EMILY DORIO

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Terry Price’s face betrayed him. I’m not talking the kind of betrayal where he tried to hide his anger or embarrassment, and then his face turned a certain color or moved a certain way to bare his emotions. I’m talking the kind of betrayal where his face just packed up and left. I’m talking one night, he went to sleep with a weird tenderness in his head and a metallic taste on his tongue, and the next day he awoke to find half of his face frozen in a downward droop. I’m talking facial paralysis. “I was very freaked out,” he says when asked about the experience. “But then I got way more freaked out when I went to the clinic and saw the nurse’s reaction.” It turns out Terry had Bell’s palsy, a not-as-rare-as-you-might-think disease that causes partial paralysis of facial nerves for no identifiable reason.

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The doctor at the walk-in clinic, who had to print out an informational sheet on the disease from the Internet, explained to him that the prognosis varied widely among patients. Some start to regain normal function as early as ten days, and some never regain full function of their facial nerves again. “I was like, ‘What the fuck?’” he says. “You get used to your face looking a certain way, and then you don’t know if it’s ever going to go back.” Seven years post-diagnosis, when Terry shakes my hand at Duke’s on a cold February night, there’s no immediate trace of the paralysis on his face. A rather boyish thirtythree-year-old with a cleanly shaven face and full cheeks, he’s the singer-songwriter behind local dream pop band Photo Ops. Originally from a small town about fifteen minutes south of Dallas called Lancaster, Terry moved to Nashville in 2000 at the age of eighteen to study music production

at Belmont. After two years, he decided to drop out and began focusing more closely on his own music career. He teamed up with a couple of friends to start Oblio, an indie rock band named after a character from a Harry Nilsson album, and over the course of six years, the trio made a name for themselves with two full-length albums and a handful of EPs. But the Bell’s palsy marked the beginning of a few years of dramatic life changes for Terry. He was diagnosed in February 2009, went without normal facial function for more than six months, and then got married that October. The following year Oblio made the decision to break up amicably. Then in 2011, his father unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack, a loss that had a significant effect on both Terry’s life and his approach to his music. “I had realized pretty early on, when I was about fourteen, that it wasn’t his fault,” he says of his dad’s mental illness.

By the time Terry was in sixth grade, his father had been in and out of mental hospitals for treatment of schizoaffective disorder, which is characterized by symptoms of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder or depression. He was eventually forced to move back to Georgia to live with his parents, and his relationship with Terry consisted mostly of phone conversations thereafter. Though the calls were frequent, the words between the two were few. The medication his father took caused him to be fairly sedated for much of his life, and most of the calls consisted of Terry telling his father that he was there for him. “When he passed away, it was like I had to really confront how bad his life had been, how miserable it must have been,” he says in between sips of Miller Lite. “When he’s alive, you can call and ask how he’s doing, but when he’s gone, you go through his stuff and you actually have to come to

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“I LOVE THE WAY MELODY CAN TRICK YOU INTO NOT FOCUSING ON HOW HORRIBLE LIFE CAN BE.”

PHOTO OPS: photoopsmusic.com Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @photoopsmusic native.is 64 / / / / / / / / / / / / / ///////

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and really everything he thought he terms with how he lived.” knew. As Terry was mourning both his “Life doesn’t always pan out how you father’s life and his death, he was also think it will. You don’t keep the friends writing new music that was beginning you think you’ll keep forever. People to take a more personal focus than his don’t always act the way you think they previous releases with Oblio. It was his should,” he says. “So the first album is first experience with death on such an kind of just about growing up in genintimate level, and the grief he faced eral.” caused him to consider other losses Now, three years after the release he’d experienced as he aged. All of this of Goodbye, Terry has just released a contemplation and self-evaluation led to songs that pushed him in a new mu- follow-up. Titled Vacation, the new record continues many of the same consical direction. In 2013, Terry released his first re- versations he started on his debut, but cord as Photo Ops, How To Say Goodbye. this time, the heaviness is surrounded by an even fuller, more inviting sonic A wonderfully mature and surprisingly uplifting album, it marries heavy lyri- landscape. “I guess it was just the to be continued cal themes with upbeat and, at times, even joyous instrumentation. The title, part of grieving and what grief does to your mind,” he says of the new album. he says, refers not only to his father’s “It’s a very real thing, grief, and I guess I death but also the loss of friends, inkind of wanted a vacation from it.” nocence, For Terry, that relief comes in the form of melody and sound. A much more instrumentally diverse album than its predecessor, Vacation sounds like something you’d expect to hear

soundtracking an indie film about a complex protagonist on a road trip to find him or herself. That’s not to say the music is cliché or derivative. It’s neither of those things. It’s actually a rather beautiful combination of calming strings, soothing choir ahhs, steady guitars, and charging beats. And the melodies, a strength of How to Say Goodbye, are even stronger here. “I love the way melody can trick you into not focusing on how horrible life can be,” he says. “It can just snare you into not thinking about it in the same way that drinking or pills can. It’s every bit as effective as exercising or whatever else people do to deal with life.” Whereas melodies have always come to him easily, Terry says he has had to work a little harder to get the words right. And it’s an understandable challenge. Trying to write about death, loss, grief, and uncertainty while at the same time grabbing the attention of fickle listeners is no easy feat. But one of the ways that Photo Ops is able to so reliably walk that thin line is through the singularity of the lyrics. Though the emotions are undeniably complex, Terry finds a way to express them through words and phrases that are carefully reigned in and easily understandable. “The lyrics are straightforward and very real and no bullshit, but it’s done with a kind of haze and beauty to it,” he says. “I like the idea of mixing beauty and dreaminess with straightforward realism and combining those

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two things. There’s a pull there.” Like his music, there’s also a pull to Terry personally. His modesty throughout our time at Duke’s would be an endearing quality on anyone, but it’s particularly charming coming from a musician who’s just released a fourth studio album and is being interviewed for a magazine feature. In fact, after answering questions about his own life and his music, he turns the tables and asks me questions about my life and my experience in town, as if he might also be writing a story about me. “Yeah, this place is so different than it was when I first moved here,” he says after asking where I live and what I think of Nashville. “I don’t know if I really recognize it anymore. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just changing faster than I think a lot of people who’ve lived here a while can get used to.” Though he doesn’t know exactly what the rest of the year will look like, Terry says he’d love to tour if the right circumstances presented themselves. And when it comes to new music, he says he already has a range of ideas on which he is eager to begin work. Music, he says, will more than likely always be a part of his future. “Making music helps me stylize my reality,” he says. “I pick and choose moments of my life and am honest about them and present them in this very beautiful snapshot so that I can make sense of my own life. And, who knows, maybe other people can make sense of theirs too.”

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COMMUNITY

COFFEE HOW THE POST EAST STRIVES TO BE MORE THAN JUST A JUICE BAR AND COFFEE SHOP

BY LINDSEY BUTTON | PHOTOS BY CHRIS MORLEY

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IN THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO of a coffee shop that might be considered trendy, you may imagine white walls, seats you’re not sure how to feel comfortable in, and silent people with laptops and phones in front of their eyes—a place where you’ll find minimalism to the point of intimidation and “artisan” to the point of pretension. Now imagine the complete opposite, and you have an idea of what The Post East is all about. As I walk in, I immediately feel welcomed. The building is warm and inviting. The first thing I see is the wooden sculptural piece designed by local artist Martin Cadieux. People around me seem at ease and social, and the owners, Tonya Lewis and her husband, Chris Cowley, notice me and introduce themselves long before I even have to worry about finding them in the full and bustling café. I have a feeling that even if I weren’t the writer who was scheduled to meet them, they still would have introduced themselves and made me feel as if I had walked through the doors of a place where I belonged. That’s just their vibe. Tonya is a Nashville native with a professional background in school counseling. “I studied human and organizational development, and I was a school counselor for seven years prior to opening The Post,” she explains to me. “My fifth year into counseling, I just decided that I needed a career change. Being in a school setting was great, but I realized that is not what I really was passionate about.” In fact, it was actually her students that made her realize that she could pursue her own passions seriously. After witnessing so many of them turning their dreams into careers, she realized there was nothing keeping her from doing the same thing. Chris and Tonya met eight years ago. Chris is also a sound engineer and works in video editing at Quaver Music. “Tonya came up with the idea of the coffee shop,

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and I thought it was a fantastic idea,” he says. “I just kind of support in every way I can, sort of behind the scenes.” They began making juices back in 2011 before she left her counseling job and started selling them at local farmers’ markets. The original plan was to keep The Post exclusively juice, but the idea grew into a juice and coffee infusion. “I’ve always enjoyed coffee shops. I love the ambience, I love connecting with people, and I love the community. We did the research and went to Chicago and started talking to different roasters and meeting with people who own coffee shops to see if we had what it would take to open a coffee shop.” Pretty soon after adding coffee to the idea of The Post, they met and partnered with local baker Nicole Wolfe of Wolfe Gourmet Cakes. “It kept growing from this idea of doing just juice to an actual café,” Tonya explains. It took time, but eventually Tonya’s dream of this space for the neighborhood began to take shape. “Something starts out on paper and you think, I want to open a coffee shop, but you don’t realize the amount of time and work it takes to actually do something like this. We conceived the idea around 2011, but it was not until around 2013 that I actually started fleshing out a business plan and trying to put my ideas on paper of what the coffee shop would look like. We partnered with David Hunter, a local architect who lives in the neighborhood and owns a design house. He was the person we went to and said, ‘Can you help us come up with an actual design idea for the space?’ And after meeting with him we also brought on Martin Cadieux, who is a local East Nashville artist, and pitched the idea to him and asked what we could do in terms of being different and creating a really unique space.” Almost everything that makes up the interior has been repurposed from something


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THE POST EAST: theposteast.com Follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ThePostEast native.is 72 / / / / / / / / / / / / / /////// # NATIVENASHVILLE


else. Chris built the tables himself, Nashville from Port Townsend, and he made the chandelier and Washington, to help them get pendant lights over the bar from things off the ground. “She had recycled bicycle chains from Hal- attempted to start her own glucyon and Eastside Cycles. The ten-free business there,” Chris coffee table beneath the chande- explains. “When it didn’t work lier was made from a repurposed out, we asked if she would be inpiano. The portholes in the juicing terested in helping, and she came area were made from old whiskey to Nashville, relocated, and really barrels. “We went into it with the kicked off the entire gluten-free intention of being a sustainable thing we have going now.” Tonya is rare in that she is an business. Most of the stuff we offer here in terms of food is or- East Nashville native, and Chris ganic. We are definitely 100 per- has lived in East Nashville for ten cent organic when it comes to our years. I ask Tonya how being a nasmoothies and juices, and we use tive has affected the way she views all compostable material in terms the East Nashville community. of our to-go packaging, forks, and “There’s some good things that come along with development spoons.” “We just kind of brought our own and then there’s the downfall,” personal philosophy into it,” Chris she says. “The diversity, I wish it adds, “which was we only want the was better, but it’s a double-edged best for our bodies, so why not of- sword because there are people fer that . . . we know so many peo- coming in now and restoring ple in the community that want buildings and making them more the same thing, and it was kind of beautiful. I’m trying to be positive hard to find that over here, so we about it because, again, we were thought we should provide that. fortunate to [open The Post] in a And then [we] also [saw] the phys- neighborhood that is pretty much ical spot itself just becoming a sort established and not a developing of community hub. Tonya’s previ- community.” A customer apologizes for inous job was communicating with people, and the idea of this was terrupting but wants to say hi to to build a spot for people to come Tonya and Chris. They seem to together and share ideas and meet have a lot of regulars that they each other and bring the neighbor- have really gotten to know on a personal level. “People love the hood together.” It is also worth mentioning that energy of this place,” Tonya says. they have become the East Nash- “They love the design, and you ville spot for gluten-free and vegan walk in and it just feels like, Wow I food items. “The idea was to offer can relax, I don’t have to be on guard. things that people who are gluten- I don’t have to be something or have intolerant and who have autoim- an agenda. We just want people to mune diseases could eat and enjoy. feel accepted and welcomed.” “I remember when we first And one of the big things we kept hearing was that when people opened,” Chris says. “We had two would find a place that would of- neighbors that came in, and both fer it, it wasn’t up to the standards had lived in their homes for five years . . . And they came and they or quality that they wanted.” Chris’ sister, Lauren, moved to met each other for the first time

and were like, ‘Hey, aren’t we neighbors?’ And now they’re great friends because they see each other in here all the time.” The name itself is meant to represent a sort of meeting place for people. “People ask me why it’s called The Post, and actually two of my friends came up with the name and I thought it was really clever,” Tonya says. “Back in the day, when people wanted to meet up, they would go to the meeting post. I was thinking about when you translate that into today’s terms, when people want to connect, what do they do? They get on Instagram, they go on Facebook, they go on Twitter, and they make a post. So I was thinking, Why not create a community hub, a space where people can come and post up and connect there rather than online? That’s what I think is missing a lot of the time. People don’t have that ability to have a face-to-face connection that allows us to really grow together and learn, and that’s what builds community to me.” The Post also acts as a space for community events. “I am a big proponent of using the coffee shop as a public forum for art, music, poetry, and political discourse around real-life issues,” Tonya says. “One of the things we have coming down the pike, and something I am really excited about, is an ongoing Mobile Soul Café event in the upcoming months to celebrate the influence and legacy of black soul music. This event is the brainchild of Eric Dozier, a cultural activist, theologian, musician, and father. Eric is the former musical director for the worldfamous Harlem Gospel Choir, and he is a badass!” In addition to Mobile Soul Café,

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every second Tuesday of the month Chuck Beard, owner of East Side Story, puts on East Side Storytellinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, an event where local writers, musicians, and poets read and perform in order to highlight the literary community of Nashville. The Post has also started offering a mindfulness meditation class that is free and open to anyone. Most Saturdays thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s live music, and on Sundays, they host Bluegrass Brunch, which is organized by Keenan Wade of the Farmer and Adele. As far as the future of The Post goes, Tonya and Chris want to focus on refining what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re already doing and potentially even taking the concept to another part of town. But for now, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taking it one step at a time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kind of been this organic growth where the people that need to find us, find us,â&#x20AC;? Tonya says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As business owners, we care more about creating a space for people to make genuine heart and soul connections than we do about being considered a popular or trendy place to go. To Chris and me, having the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cool spot to hangâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; title is a bit outdated and has no real merit or credibility as far as we are concerned. In the long run, people care more about you keeping it real,â&#x20AC;? Tonya explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I personally strive to get intimately connected with the nitty-gritty details of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going on in our customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lives. I want to know who they are, where theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re from, what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing, and what is going on in their lives. This innate tendency to want to probe and dig a little deeper stems from my years of training as a counselorâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I guess you can call it the omnipresent counselor in me. This trait may not bode well for the customers who desire a bit of anonymity and privacy, and for these people, I respect and honor these boundaries. However, my desire to create an atmosphere that leads to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;authentic human connectionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; emanates from a place of unadulterated love and empathy. It is the major reason why I do what I do.â&#x20AC;?

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KEEPS om keepsmusic.c cebook, Follow on Fa Instagram Twitter, or @Keepsmusic native.is

YOU OUGHTA KNOW: KEEPS

There’s something to be said for giving you the sense that you’ve just expansive, earnest, Springsteenian gotten off a boat but you can still feel the wake. Meanwhile, Escalante, in rock music. You know, the kind of stuff that accompanies cathartic, post-break- his soothing, Jim James-y tenor, sings, up drives to nowhere. It’s bittersweet, “Spent all day just / Floating through the memories / Upstream in my mind / It's accepting the past while simultaneously so easy to get lost / In the passing of reminding you that no matter what comes next, there at least will be a next. time.” It’s enough to make anyone get a little reflective. It’s also something that Keeps—a The duo just released their first fulldream pop duo comprised of Agustin Escalante and Robbie Jackson— length, Brief Spirit, and they’ll make their first SXSW appearance this month. beautifully taps into. On their latest single, “Let it Fall (Keeping Time),” Check it out if you need a soundtrack for Jackson’s guitar rocks and sways, the unknown “next.” # NAT I V ENAS HV I L L E

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photo: @melissamadisonfuller equestrian: @yogibassist

NATIVE | ISSUE 45 | MARCH 2016 | NASHVILLE, TN  

FEATURING: Brooke Waggoner, The Post East, New Dialect, Chelsea Velaga, and more.