Native | February 2013 | Nashville, TN

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Odessa Rose Emil Erwin No. 308 Chet Weise The Stone Fox Chucklet & Honey Kangaroo Press Karaoke Cab And More!



AUGUST | 2012





SATURDAY, MARCH 9 TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Tickets available at all outlets, .URJHU WKH 5\PDQ %R[ 2IêFH or (800) 745-­3000

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Calfkiller invites you back down to earth and into their family

We found some super-steet looks out on the streets. Yeah, steet. The perfect mix of sweet and tight




Cocktail of the Month

Open your closet and kiss that evil monkey—he tastes like elderflower



Your Guide to Karaoke Cab

Hop on board Nashville’s most sensory cab


F E BRU A RY 2 013


One Foxy Joint

Everyone’s rooting for the brainchild of siblings Elise and William Tyler—The Stone Fox



Powerhouse couple Ben Clemons and Alexis Soler gave birth to one of East Nashville’s swankiest cocktail hang-out—No. 308


Give your honey something sweet this fourteenth—The Chocolate Honey Almond Galette, brought to you by Claire Meneely from Dozen Bakery




Melanie Shelley, celebrity stylist and owner of TRIM, shows us that sexy knows no gender


The Romantics and the Bohemians wrote poems to impress girls and get drunk—exactly what Chet Weise is trying to bring to Nashville

It’s hard out there for a dove— gettin’ anal but never gettin’ love


Hey Good Lookin’

Native Animal of the Month 79

Overheard @ NATIVE

So outrageous we had to remind ourselves that yes, those things did come out of our mouths

Job 265

Kangaroo Press’s Ryan Nole is a walking exception to the rule



The cookie master of Chucklet & Honey, Chuck Hargett, finds Zen in a chocolate chip cookie



They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to. But Emil Erwin does


A hitchhiker on a journey of selfdiscovery, Odessa Rose finds her roots in folk and bluegrass and never looks back


Nashville’s notorious prodigal son, Justin Townes Earle, grows up a little bit, but this shit won’t last forever

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Y O U N A M E I T, W E ’ L L D E L I V E R I T

(615) 707- 9 6 9 5

W W W . R U S H B I C Y C L E M E S S E N G E R S . C O M 4 ////////

To our special someone(s), (Note to reader: Put on slow jams, turn the lights down, and give me your best Barry White impression.) PRESIDENT:























Roses are red. Violets are blue. Damn you look good. What happened to you?



It’s only been a month. Did you change your hair? Lookin’ good in them jeans, Wanna grab that derriere. Gotta’ platter full of oysters, Mounds of dark chocolate. I even brought you a present, Right here in my pocket.


So come on over, And let’s get boozy. Gonna make you my sugar plum, And I’ll be your floozy. Snookums, honey, Noodle, baby. Have I told you how much I love you lately? You’re the bolts to my nuts, The butter to my bread, The key to my ignition; Without you I’d be dead. So when you’re feeling Sad and lonely, And when you’re feeling Bloated and blue, Just open me up, I’ll be there waiting. You know I’ll always Be thinking of you. Yours truly,



Sarah Sharp,







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GRASSROOTS by Calfkiller Brewery

In a picturesque hollow on a bend of country road outside Sparta, Tennessee, sits a handmade brewhouse that brims with the kind of whimsical ambition that makes craft beer so endearing. Inside, brothers Don and Dave Sergio, and unofficial third brother, Jason Henry, created a haven of creativity and perspective at the Calfkiller Brewery. They are a rootsy crew—country boys filled with passion for their craft and known for their sharp, goofball sense of humor. The brewery is built in a cozy barn the brothers remodeled themselves, from recycled materials they salvaged from past construction jobs. Building it all by hand on their own land, Don and Dave created a unique atmosphere in which to brew beer in the small town that serves as their inspiration. A stone’s throw away from the Calfkiller River, the brothers’ unique offering of beers stands out like no other. While every brewer hopes to have a signature taste, this crew signs with Tennessee’s version of a John Hancock, except with beer. Their flagship pale ale,

Grassroots, is a wonderfully rich and complex version of the style. By using exclusively full-flower hops, Grassroots has a diverse floral aroma and bright flavor, coaxed out of three different hops: Columbus, Northern Brewer, and Cascade. This process insures that the lupulin gland goes into the boil intact, maximizing the flavor contribution of each ingredient. When their regionally famous strand of Belgian yeast is introduced, the Calfkiller signature is then notarized in the fermenter. Here, the brewers prefer a high-temperature scenario, causing maximum activation of the yeast, thus bringing forth robust aromas and flavors. The classic Belgian mouthfeel is presented via an unfiltered, finished product that rests in conditioning tanks for a full three weeks. The prolonging of this step allows the protein and yeast to fully settle out of the beer, creating the smoothest possible quaff. The end result is nothing short of microbrew magic. Call for a Calfkiller next time you’re thirsty, and accept the gracious invitation into their world.

Brought to you by

Village Pub and Beer Garden

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by sarah sharp

Are you often left wondering why the party ever has to stop? You’re not alone. What if you could party on the way to the party, and party on the way home from the party? I mean, it’s not asking much. But how? The Karaoke Cab. Call it two birds with

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photography by danielle atkins

one stone if you will—not only can you sing like you’re Celine Dion on a Monday night at Caesars Palace, but you fill in all that shitty downtime before and after getting down time. Think about the possibility of maximizing your party to its full potential. It’s a beautiful thing. “So, you’re saying I can sing karaoke on the way to and from the karaoke bar?” Yes, Sally. You can. I’ve realized I don’t ride cabs enough; I probably drive more than I should. But why waste all that money and gas when you can reduce your carbon

footprint in a freakin’ mobile, weekend party machine, that also houses seven of your best friends? There’s no logical argument against it. If the bit about sustaining the planet didn't draw you in, then consider this: You're doing yourself and the rest of the world a favor when you decide not to drink and drive. I mean, you weren't really planning on utilizing that 2-for-1 special and driving yourself home, were you? Besides, this is the only cab in town where you’re actually encouraged to contribute your horrible vocals to Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”

CAB DRIVERS - ESSENTIAL TO THE DNA OF ANY CITY A city is like a well-oiled machine—an array of different elements that constitute a single existence, all dependent upon one another in order to function. It's easy for a city slicker to take these components for granted, to become so accustomed to them that they become effectively invisible. The people who maintain many of these fundamental services are hidden in plain sight, behind driver's seats, uniforms, and friendly greetings. They are the cartilage that holds our community's joints together, and they know our fair city better than almost anyone—its streets, buildings, landmarks, faces, stories, and secrets. One of these people is the cab driver. We are largely a city of transplants. Most of us adopted Nashvillians came here for various reasons and somehow caught the music bug. It's a bond that a lot of us share—maybe you play in band, or work as a sound engineer, or simply appreciate a sweet melody. Basil Awad, Nashville’s Karaoke Cab mastermind, is no different. He’s a Palestinian who originally came to Nashville in 1981 to finish his degree at Tennessee State University in

mechanical engineering. It was only within the past five years that Basil decided to utilize his mastery and love for mechanics and all things electronic to develop Nashville’s coolest cab service. Basil is a fifty-one-year-old family man. He has no hair, and his skin is the color of caramel. His eyes are brown, filled with equal parts worry and kindness. Every single person he picks up is someone he knows personally. They make up his regular clientele. They live in Franklin. Or Nashville. Or Murfreesboro. Or Clarksville. It doesn’t matter where they live. Basil knows no limits. Loyalty goes a long way, and with the Karaoke Cab, it’s a two-way street. They are people who have been with him since day one. Some even have him on speed dial. For something as competitive as cabbing, in a city where Basil says illegal cabs have become a big problem, the only way to fight back is to give people an incentive to choose your cab. Who said if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Basil chose an alternative route. He chose to kill ‘em with kindness. When he started as a cabbie, he noticed that when he would put on the radio, people would sing along. And this was his eureka

moment. He loved mechanics, and he loved making things by hand. He loved people, and he loved Music City. And he knew that people in Music City loved music. Taking a page from Kevin Costner’s book, Basil decided to build it. And they came. “Everyone was telling me I was crazy,” he tells me shaking his head from the driver’s seat. But in a city where seemingly everyone’s a musician or a singer, he knew it wasn’t too farfetched. So, the first step was finding a good system. Next were the monitors. Then came the lights. The Karaoke Cab is not just any old karaoke inside of any old cab. It’s an experience. I do a 360 degree scan of the van, letting my eyes take it all in, one bit at a time. There are glowing lights—green, red, blue, neon purple—continuously changing color and pattern, that Basil tells me were a gift from one of his loyal customers. CDs cover

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the ceiling for added effect. Awesomely bad typeface goes across the miniteleprompters with the lyrics of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” turning a McDonald’s shade of red and yellow when it’s time to belt the words. What’s not to love? “People like the dirty songs,” Basil says as he lights a cigarette, with added emphasis on the “dirty.” He offers me one. I say I’m quitting, then gladly accept. “The most requested song is ‘My Neck, My Back’ [by Khia],” he continues. He then tells me the story about the time two older women were riding his cab and that disgusting song came on. Embarrassed by its crassness, Basil immediately hit the next button. “The woman tapped my shoulder and whispered, ‘Put it back on,’” he recalls. Gross. Never judge a book by its cover, I guess.

RESERVING THE CAB Saturday night rolls around, and Basil and I had made plans for me and my friends to rent the cab for an hour of rowdy debauchery. I call him around 9:30 p.m., and 10 / / / / / / / /

he answers the phone sounding awful. He’s sick as a dog. He suggests I call his cousin Kal, who has the “the second string” version of Basil’s cab. My spirits are shot. The karaoke experience I and six other people were awaiting could potentially be a no-go. But as I’m halfway through my conversation with Kal,

Basil texts me and says he’ll do it. I’m amazed at his commitment. Still, I beg him to stay home, but he won’t accept. I smile to myself. Now that’s what I call dedication. A night filled with songs you’d find on Now That’s What I Call Music! Volumes 3-44 is only a short while away. I become giddy with excitement. //////// 11

WARNINGS/DISCLAIMERS/PITFALLS, AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM -If you happen to notice that the jabroni next to you is not wearing any pants after he sings Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” don’t be alarmed. Keep your cool, ‘cause anything goes in the Karaoke Cab. -Get your mouth off the microphone, you weirdo. Do you know how many slobbery mouths have been on that thing? -Under no circumstances may you yell in the microphone. Have you heard the legend of Johnny Bobo? Long story short—he was mysteriously strangled by the cord of his own mic. -YOU MUST GO PEE BEFORE YOU ENTER THE CAB. No, there is not a bathroom. And yes, everyone can see you peeing in the corner. WTF. -Everybody takes turns choosing a song. Or that one Poison freak might turn the night into a hair metal sing-a-long. Sorry, brah. -Remember. This is not an audition for America’s Got Talent. Share the microphone. No one came to hear you butcher Mariah Carey songs all night. And no one can do Mariah justice. No one. Not even Mariah.

TAKE A SPIN IN THE KARAOKE CAB It’s 11:30 p.m. when Basil picks us up in East Nashville. We all shuffle in wooting, ecstatic to get the night started after chugging a cheap bottle of champagne. We even bring a list of songs to

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sing. However, that all goes out the window when we hop in and hear Lil’ Jon’s “Get Low.” The five of us are practically fighting over the two microphones, screaming, “To the window / To the wall / ‘Til the sweat drop down my balls.” You know the rest. Our entire voyage to Santa’s Pub is spent singing raunchy rap songs, and no one seems the least bit unsatisfied. We arrive in the gravel lot in front of the spray-painted, triple-wide trailer bar and exit the cab the same way we entered—rowdy as f*ck. Now we’re ready to party, Santa style. Something tells me, though, that I’m not the only one looking forward to boarding the Karaoke Cab again. As soon as I get off, I start to miss our party-on-wheels. After several hours at Santa’s spent singing karaoke, chugging PBRs, and blowing smoke rings at the extremely low ceiling, we prepare to call Basil again. But Basil must have gotten tired of our singing, because Kal calls me, telling us that he’s too sick to finish the night. I’m impressed he was enough of a trooper to take us to Santa’s in the first place. On the way back, we work our way through a repertoire of bad country songs that we’re all a little bit ashamed to know, but no judgments here—it’s the Karaoke Cab, where you’re encouraged to act a fool. We arrive at our final destination and begin digging into our pockets and purses for crumbled-up dollars. Miraculously, in our drunken stupors, we manage to bring together our rental fee and a nice little tip to show some gratitude for a successful Saturday evening of awesome.

We all entered the Karaoke Cab anticipating a novel experience—something to write home about; but not necessarily something we’d make a habit of. After all, I don’t need anything that encourages me to drink more than I already do. But let’s be honest. I enjoy alcohol, with or without the Karaoke Cab. But at least with the Karaoke Cab, one of us is always sober. Also, did I mention it’s a party-on-wheels? So yes. I think I’ll save Basil’s dig" BECAUSE IF its in my phone. Because if I’m I’M NOT GOING not going to drop a questionable TO DROP A habit, I’m at least going to pick up a new, positive one. QUESTIONABLE I used to be the kind of person HABIT, I’M AT that said I could always drive, LEAST GOING no matter how much I’d had to drink. Maybe I could. My arguTO PICK UP A ment was that I never got inebriNEW, POSITIVE ated enough to justify getting a ONE." cab. Either I’m a liar, or I drink more than I used to. Or perhaps I'm a liar that drinks more than she used to, seeing as those two things are not mutually exclusive. Regardless, the moment I laid eyes on the Karaoke Cab, everything changed. My prayers were answered—the party didn’t have to stop. And now I had every reason to ride a cab. I owe it all to Basil Awad, Nashville’s premier cab driver/DJ.

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by jessica jones

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photos by roderick trestrail

I’m standing in front of an unmarked brick building on 3rd Avenue, similar to one of those seedy strip malls you pass by in small towns. The kind that look like they might have made a pretty penny back in the nineties, but now are just desolate and bring everybody down. I take a glance up and down the street. Pure Gold’s Crazy Horse, a strip club, is a block away. Eventually, I come to find this location as just another example of Ryan Nole’s dry wit. In his mind, this is the perfect place for his printing company, Kangaroo Press, because nothing about it belongs here. I step forward to approach a black door towards the end of the strip and ring the bell. While waiting for an answer, I study a dripping, white blob with the letters “KP” inscribed in the middle. The door opens abruptly, breaking my furrowed brow, and two enthusiastic French bulldogs, Scout and Samo, come bounding towards me, slathering me with welcome. After I’ve been sufficiently licked, I take in my surroundings. Old arcade games line the walls, and Coca-Cola paraphernalia blocks the hallway. A life-size E.T. sits blanketed in the corner, next to a painting of a faceless man with one arm and a nub. This is not your usual print KANGAROO studio. The overPRESS INFO: whelming collection of books, Kangaroo Press is located on posters, games, 3rd Avenue. For crates, figurines, posters, books, signs, and paintand t-shirts, and ings reminds me more check out: of some senile, old guy’s clut-

tered basement. But for Ryan, this is a creative laboratory where ideas come to life. I look at this seemingly normal guy (short dark hair, black-rimmed glasses, button-up) backed by the wall of endless things that inspire him to be one of the most creative printers in town. When we meet a week earlier, he apologizes for his tired demeanor, explaining that he had just returned from Lollapalooza. He was on business, delivering a t-shirt order to a friend whose cat, Lil Bub, recently became an internet sensation—think the feline counterpart of Boo, that adorable puffball of a dog. This explains the cardboard boxes lining the hallway of his studio, all adorned with a picture of an enthusiastic cat. Needless to say, Ryan Nole is not your average printer. His company, Kangaroo Press, offers in-house letterpress and screen printing. “Letterpress and screen printing are getting phased out by digital means, but people still want that tactile, handmade feel you get with the old printing methods. That's what we specialize in,” Ryan informs me, squinting through the sun at a back corner table. The bulk of Ryan’s business consists of musicians, which means printing primarily posters and t-shirts. But he has inadvertently begun to attract other customers because of his highly creative approach. Small business owners are seeking him out, looking to brand their business with innovative design. In his studio, he digs through

a haphazard pile of clutter and hands me a gift card he designed for Woodland Wine Merchant—a hand-letterpressed booklet that opens to reveal a precious paper coin. Ryan’s other clients include 12 South Taproom and Imogene + Willie, the latter of which has formed a special bond with Ryan based on their similar aesthetic. Along with designing their initial clothing tags and the rivets on their jeans, Ryan also created the concert posters for the store's now-defunct event, “Supper + Song,” a candlelit concert series that once took place in the jean shop’s backyard. These types of jobs are more than simply filling an order to Ryan; they’re collaborations. “I always try to morph my style to fit the client. I want it to look like something I would do, but I also want it to be very derivative

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of what they do,” he says. We pass one of the posters for “Supper + Song” that features a golden beehive oozing honey with the Imogene + Willie emblem tucked within. As I study his creative space, I’m bombarded with tokens of Ryan's obsession with pop culture and all things nostalgic. “I'm a big collector—old arcade games, old Coke machines, old metal signs. I have a problem,” he admits. He’s been surrounding himself with these things since he was fifteen years old, and they have wedged themselves into every piece of his work. “People try to make things look vintage, but it looks fake—like it belongs at Walmart. I make it, and it looks like it was sitting at a flea market and you found it in the dirt,” he says, holding both of his hands up, grasping an invisible treasure. One of his dearest treasures is CocaCola—McDonald's Coke to be exact. All of a sudden, he becomes strangely serious. “If you really want to get down to it, there are three Cokes: Mexican Coke, McDonald's Coke, and regular Coke.” Leaning back in his chair, he continues,

“To me, McDonald's Coke is the best by far. I've said this since I was seven years old, and everyone I've ever met thinks I'm crazy.” But I don’t think he’s crazy. After years of unintentional research on the subject, McDonald’s Coke definitely stands out among the crowd. I never really gave a second thought as to why that is, though. I just drank it. Ryan tells me about the time he met a guy that worked for Coca-Cola. It was his job to drive around to every McDonald’s and recalibrate the soda machines, ensuring that every McDonald’s Coke tasted exactly the same. Aside from Ryan’s appreciation for good marketing and branding, perhaps this is the reason why he likes Mickey D's Coke so much. Like his passion for collecting, Ryan's interest in art started when he was just a young boy. Since his mom was a teacher, Ryan would often find himself with hours to kill as he waited around for her after school. So he started wandering into the art studio. It wasn’t long before he started taking art seriously. By the age of thirteen, he realized he could use his talent to make money. “I kinda got my start bootlegging,” he admits. His friends were in punk bands, and at their shows he would set up shop, selling his printed shirts for ten bucks apiece. “I was in the straight edge, hardcore scene, and I would come up with some stupid, straight edge shirt. I did one with Chewbacca that said, ‘Let the Wookiee win—Go vegan,’” he recalls.


This side job eventually helped him save enough money to buy some real printing equipment. By high school, he was regularly printing posters and t-shirts for his friends' bands. During college, Ryan was living somewhat of an artistic double life. He was designing and printing for bands on his friend's record label, while majoring in letterpress to become a fine art bookmaker—two very different occupations. He sold several of his art books to private collections, though ultimately he became frustrated with the professional art world. “There were all these people in charge of buying art, who aren't artists, telling me I was doing my colophon page wrong. I could have burned the colophon page. I could have made it a hat instead of a book if I wanted to,” Ryan says. Frustrated after spending hours building books that were receiving a fraction of the attention—and the profits—that his posters were garnering, Ryan decided he had enough. So he turned his focus to screen printing, which reached a wider audience than a book would, gathering dust on a shelf in someone’s study. Ryan’s frustrations were embodied by a dogmatic printmaking teacher who was set on maintaining the division between “art” and graphic design. “I’d do a band poster—a bird eating the word ‘Fugazi,’ for example. She’d say, ‘I don't know what this is, but it isn’t art.’” They quickly became enemies. She suggested he change majors to graphic design, where she thought his work would be more acceptable. Although he was discouraged, he decided graphic design would teach him how to make his art a marketable



product. Despite the change of major, Ryan remained enrolled in printmaking classes, and she grudgingly allowed him to continue using her studio for projects. Ryan's validation came with his final thesis show, titled And In This Corner. “There were four different rooms, and I picked the far left corner. I did a white-on-white, silkscreen kangaroo boxing a boxer. Then I did a shipping palette of screen printed boxes that read 'Job 263.' They looked very much like Warhol's Brillo Boxes—shrink-wrapped and all lit up,” Ryan says. On opening night, his friend dressed in a UPS outfit and carried a clipboard. Each box was numbered with a matching card that Ryan handed out to those in attendance. Everyone exchanged their cards for their respective box, and inside they found a handmade, letterpress booklet; a poster; and a t-shirt. “Each box was my portfolio,” Ryan explains. As people started to open their


boxes, others packed the room to see what the commotion was all about. It became clear that And In This Corner had won the boxing match with the other printmaking shows, successfully pulling everyone into his gallery. Baffled by his ingenious idea, I ask Ryan to explain his concept. “Graphic design is about making art and making it accessible as a product—producing that product, shipping that product, getting it in the hands of the people, and moving on to the next one. That's why it was ‘Job 263.’ Tomorrow I'm going to be working on ‘Job 264.’” In a quest to prove his artistic vision to the naysayers, Ryan discov-

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ered that he was exactly where he belonged. “That’s when I realized this is what I love to do. I remember my dad saying, ‘Alright, you’re graduating. What are you going to do?’ and I said, ‘I think I’m doing it.’� Ryan is the kind of guy who welcomes new challenges—whether it’s designing a glow-in-the-dark poster one day for The Black Belles, or a color-changing shirt the next for Third Man Records. He’s not the kind of person that can do the same thing over and over. Lately, Ryan has been working alongside My Morning Jacket—everything from designing posters to appearing with them onstage in a 1950s bear costume unearthed from his private collection. Yeah, that happened. The band even commissioned Ryan to design something for their “Under the Sea�themed prom at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia. He made individual cards covered in sea creatures, with a place to insert your prom photo. Ryan shows me a card, but instead of seeing him and his prom date smiling awkwardly, I see members of My Morning Jacket causing a ruckus in vintage, sherbet-colored tuxedos. Ryan Nole has come a long way since his art school days. Whether it’s making shirts for one of the internet’s most celebrated cats, or printing 13,000 shirts for Brooks & Dunn, Ryan remains true to himself in every project he takes on. Even though he’s been featured in major design publications, Ryan doesn’t need others to validate his work. He knows he’s onto something good.

February 19-24

March 5-7


| Broadway Special

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Monkey’s Paw

Owners of No. 308, Ben Clemons and Alexis Soler, are good pals with the owner of St. Germain. Their friend is a jet-setting jokester with an affinity for Family Guy’s evil monkey (you know, the one that hides in Chris’ closet). Somehow, whenever the three are together, that monkey comes to the forefront of conversation. So in honor of this cocktail’s main ingredient—St. Germain elderflower liqueur—they chose the name “Monkey's Paw.” But don’t let the monkey scare you away. This concoction is sweet, bubbly, boozy, and gulpable—a perfect recipe to satisfy St. Germain and St. Valentine.

1 oz Beefeater Gin 1 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur 1 oz Gran Classico Bitter Cava topper Grapefruit peel

Stir all ingredients, and pour into a coupe glass. Top with Cava or your favorite bubbly. Garnish with a grapefruit peel. Enjoy responsibly. -Ben Clemons, No. 308 20 / / / / / / / /


YIELD:  1  X  10�  GALETTE,  FEEDS  6

CHOCOLATE HONEY ALMOND GALETTE Don’t  let  this  be  a  repeat  of  last  year’s  Valentine’s  Day.  Shame  on  you  for  trying  to  pass  off  Duncan  Hines  Confetti  Cupcakes  as  homemade.  No  nookie  for  you,  right?  This  February,  use  your  head  and  you  might  just  get  some.  But  what  do  you  do  when  you’ve  already  made  everything  that  can  be  made  for  your  honey  on  Valentine’s  Day?  Need  not  worry  or  get  those  panties  in  a  bunch—we’ve  got  you  covered,  thanks  to  Claire  Meneely,  the  baking  mastermind  at  Dozen  Bakery.  She’s  whipped  up  the  perfect  little  something  special  for  your  sweet-­toothin’  sweetie  pie—the  Chocolate  Honey  Almond  Galette.     GALETTE  DOUGH:


)N A BOWL MIX mOUR SUGAR AND SALT Using  a  pastry  blender,  cut  butter  into  mOUR MIXTURE UNTIL BUTTER IS CUT INTO PEA sized  pieces.  Can  also  be  done  with  a  food  processor  or  mixer.   Just  make  sure  all  the  ingredients  are  cold.  Add  ice  water  and  mix  until  dough  comes  together.  Press  the  dough  into  a  disk,  wrap  in  plastic  wrap  and  refrigerate. 22 / / / / / / / /


In  a  bowl,  mix  almond  paste,  sugar,  mOUR AND BUTTER !DD EGG VANILLA and  almond  extract,  and  mix  until  smooth—increasing  the  mixer  speed  if  necessary.   Can  be  made  ahead  of  time.  Refrigerate  until  ready  to  use,  then  warm  up  just  enough  to  spread. DIRECTIONS:  GALETTE  ASSEMBLY

/N A mOURED SURFACE ROLL OUT COLD galette  dough  to  a  12â€?  circle.   Spread  frangipane  on  galette  dough,  leaving  a  2â€?  border.  Fold  the  border  of  dough  over  frangipane,  folding  dough  onto  itself  every  couple  of  inches.   Any Â

breaks  or  blemishes  can  be  called  â€œrustic.â€?   Brush  crust  with  melted  butter  and  sprinkle  with  sugar.   Bake  at  350  for  25-­30  minutes,  until  lLLING AND CRUST ARE GOLDEN BROWN Remove  from  oven,  let  cool  for  5  MINUTES lLLING WILL PUFF DURING BAKING and  collapse  during  cooling).  Sprinkle  chocolate  over  frangipane  and  bake  for  2  minutes,  until  chocolate  is  melted.  Depending  on  desired  look,  you  can  smooth  the  melted  chocolate  into  an  even  layer,  or  leave  in  melted  chunks.  Sprinkle  with  sea  salt  and  drizzle  with  warm  honey.   Slice  and  serve.  Once  galette  has  cooled  to  room  temperature,  you  can  also  put  it  in  the  fridge  for  5  minutes  to  set  chocolate,  if  desired. -Photo by Emily Spence

MA R C H 14 - 16 Featuring music from the hit film, along with Elgar’s evocative Enigma Variations.

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TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG Breaking from the shadows of a family legacy and a dark past, Justin Townes Earle has a lot of life left to document by caroline randall williams

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photos by joshua black wilkins

Justin Townes Earle is wiser than anyone younger, and younger than anyone wiser. I don’t remember the first time I heard Justin play. I do remember, however, the first lyric of his that stuck in my mind. It was December of the early 2000s at The Radio Cafe, a venue that no longer exists in Nashville. Singing along to his characteristic, piston-like strumming, the words stretched out of his mouth: “It’s taking all my strength / just not to shed a tear / ’cause I’m spending Christmas / in state custody this year.” Like I said, it wasn’t the first of his shows I’d seen, but it was the first one where he wasn’t “Steve’s kid” anymore. I was sure he was going to be a star.

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Fast-forward seven, maybe eight years. I’m supposed to meet up with Justin at Crema on First Avenue. He drives up in his grandfather’s maroon, semi-ancient Chevy pickup truck. All I see are arms and legs as he gets out of the car. He’s a mile tall and immaculately turned out in his particular brand of style—from his Persol shades and vintage, navy blue polo, to his stomping boots and crisp jeans. A somewhat unexpected Louis Vuitton wallet tidily emerging from his back pocket like a gentleman’s handkerchief. A mess of necklaces hangs partially obscured by his collar, and tattoos peek out from everywhere. He cuts a striking figure to say the least. There’s one in particular I remember on the back of his neck—the word “poet,� etched in typewriter script. I ask him how many he has—he’s not sure. “I’m taking it slow,� he says. “I’ve got a lot of life left to document.� For someone who lived the better part of his teens and twenties in and out of rehab, this sentiment is refreshing. And it didn’t just seem like he wasn’t planning on living past thirty—he freely admits it. But he’s past that now. Lifting up his shirt right there on Crema’s porch, he gamely shows me the newest addition to his collection, scrawled across his lower left rib cage: “This machine kills fascists.� I wrongly identify the words with Bob Dylan. But he’s quick to correct me, “Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan said it, but Woody Guthrie said it first.� This tattoo, as well as the rest of his most recent markings, was done by the same guy, an Australiabased tattoo artist to whom Justin has made himself a faithful disciple. Australia, he says, is his home away from home. According to him, most touring musicians don’t make the most of the land down under. “Most people,

"Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan said it, but Woody Guthrie said it first."


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if they go there, play Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, and maybe Perth. That’s five shows. I go for a month and play twenty-two shows. The people love beer and barbeque. They’re laid back—like Texas, but with surfing.” As for right now, he spends most of his time on the road. He calls New York home, and lately, he’s been spending a lot of time in Nashville—his everchanging hometown. “I think I speak for everyone who grew up here in the eighties and nineties when I say that I don’t recognize


Nashville anymore. I remember when the tallest building on the skyline was the South Central Bell Building.” Nashville continues to evolve from the few blocks of Music Row and the stretch of lower Broadway that once comprised the bright lights of the city. But there are some things that have stayed true to the spirit of Nashville that Justin cherishes. When he’s in town, you might catch him at Robert's Western World, where he can still find a bologna sandwich, listen to real country music, and watch folks two-step across the dance floor. But you’ll hardly find Justin on small stages in Nashville anymore. In terms of venues, he thinks big—not like Bridgestone Arena, but big, like The Ryman. But there can’t be too many young musicians (excluding the bedazzled, Affliction-wearing kind) that aspire to play at the “Mother Church of

Country Music,” or even have the balls to voice that dream. Justin, however, at the ripe age of thirty, can already say that he’s walked the same stage that legends like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, and Loretta Lynn have all graced. And more than once. He’s even accepted an award—the Americana Music Award for Best Emerging Artist in 2009. Despite Justin’s monster success of late, he’s no stranger to trouble. A spot of bother in Indiana in 2010 landed him in jail and then in rehab again, but this was, as he tells it, not without its silver lining. “Before, my fans used to be kind of hands on, but since Indianapolis, they keep their distance like they’re intimidated. It’s actually pretty nice.” Don’t get him wrong: he loves his fans. But the success he’s experienced over the last couple years has put him in the spotlight, and he considers himself a

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5) "7& 4 /"4)7*--& 5/ t 30 / / / / / / / /

private guy. Even though he’s played Letterman twice, you can still catch him playing some intimate shows in Nashville. We inevitably arrive at the giant, bearded and tattooed, cigarette-smoking elephant in the room: his father and rockabilly legend, Steve Earle. Paying homage to Townes Van Zandt, Steve named Justin after his own mentor, the godfather of his son, and arguably one of the greatest songwriters of all time—who penned classics like “To Live is to Fly,� “Poncho and Lefty,� and “Tecumseh Valley.� And Steve has left a giant legacy of his own: a substantial body of work to which he continues to add, a couple collections of short stories, and more recently, a blossoming career acting in HBO series Treme and The Wire. Performing, however, is not the only family tradition Justin inherited. Both he and his father have well-documented struggles with substance abuse, something as influential to their images as their musical talent. When I mention the similarities between them, Justin responds surprisingly detached. “Anyone who has a parent who’s an artist will get comparisons at first. You just have to keep your distance. It’s the ones who come out swinging their family name around that fail.� While Steve makes it a point to stay socially relevant, Justin forges his own musical ethos. “I’m not political,� he stresses for the second time today. As far as his own sound and taste goes, Justin can always be relied upon to introduce his listeners to some compelling folk (pun intended)—from his wild and wonderful “South Geor-

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE INFO: For more information about Justin Townes Earle, visit Follow @JustinTEarle

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gia Sugar Babe” to the lonesome and wistful “Olivia,” who we meet on his most recent album, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now. I ask him about his song “Harlem River Blues,” from his fourth album. It’s a foot-stomping, churchgoing, hand-clapping suicide note. I’m curious to know what inspired the man to write such a peculiar song. “It’s church music. Ray Charles did that. ‘I Got a Woman’ is a church song with new lyrics.” I guess church applies the gospel to life; Justin applies life to the gospel. We discuss his foray into a bluesier, rootsier sound—a sound that strays less into country and more into soul. “People have exhausted the roots of country music.” Justin tells big truths, both in his music and his life. “Look the Other Way” is a pretty raw indictment of a mother figure, but when I


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ask him about his own mother, he shakes off my attempt to pin the lyrics to something personal and reaches for a more universal assessment: “I think everyone at some point has been disappointed by their mother.” The point is, his insights go beyond attaching a specific person or scenario to any one song. “Most of the people in my songs are composite characters.” That’s why his songs communicate so effectively, because we can all relate to his creations, but there’s always room for ambiguity. “I try to leave things up for discussion,” he adds. These days Justin is living pretty high on the hog. His most recent album received favorable reviews from Paste, Billboard, the BBC, and Rolling Stone, to name a few. And he’s not the first act anymore. As he points out, with a look of incredulity that’s a credit to his humility, “It’s gotten to where guys I grew up listening to are opening for me. It’s crazy. I just try to be as respectful as possible.” Speaking of other opening acts, he singles out NA-

TIVE’s own first cover girl, Tristen, saying “I’ve seen her have a bad day, but never a bad show.” Coming from a man who’s sung his way through concerts he can hardly remember, that is high, high praise. And Justin’s taking better care of himself now, not beating up his body like he once did. As he puts it, “I knew I could do a show messed up, but then I would start being late. And then I stopped showing up. It’s not respectful to my music. And it’s not just me anymore; I have people that depend on me.” Not only does he have a band and crew behind him, but he’s got family as well. “I just bought a quarter of a house that I didn’t even want to buy, but it was for my mother. I would do anything for her. ” He made some serious headway with a pack of American Spirits during the course of the interview, and maybe there was something hand-rolled and suspiciously fat poking out from the package, but the hard drugs and the booze have been replaced by a holistic lifestyle. “I’m just trying not to tempt fate,” he says. “I

eat red meat once a month. I do yoga. You don’t need to get on a treadmill; you can get your cardio from walking the dog.” Not something you’d expect to hear from a guy who’s been to rehab thirteen times by the age of thirty. Walking outside, he whips out that big ole “cigarette” from his pack and lights it—“I smoke about six to eight of these a day,” he adds with a grin—and proceeds to show me quite the eccentric collection of items in the back of his truck. Apparently, Justin collects Native American beadwork and miscellaneous silver and leather goods from junktique shops out west. His next stop after leaving me, in fact, is to Imogene + Willie’s, to see about turning a rather fetching Navajo runner into some kind of vest. As I said before, Justin’s got quite the keen eye for style— going so far as to mention how he’d like to open a store sometime in the distant future. Proving again a wisdom and shrewdness that belies his thirty years, he just shrugs, “This shit won’t last forever.”


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photography by ryan green

Chet Weise wears many different hats—poet, musician, literature professor, economics enthusiast, and recreational pilot. For the past two years, Chet has put on poetry readings at Dino’s Bar in East Nashville, dubbed “Poetry Sucks!.” I meet with Chet to talk, not just about his poetry group or his personal writing, but also about the art of language and its growing presence in Nashville. Chet informs me that along with musicians, Nashville has a wide array of speakers, writers, poets, orators, and storytellers. While getting beers at Dino’s, he explains how “Poetry Sucks!” is not only an outlet for writers to give breath to their work, but also an opportunity for writers to “put their balls on the line” and engage a crowd with language alone. Nashville has a rich literary history, though it may not always be front and center in our community. Its presence has peaked and ebbed over the past century. In the 1920s and 1930s, heavy hitters of the literary scene, like John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren, developed a branch of literary theory called “New Criticism” at Vanderbilt University. This same collective was also part of the poetic coteries The Fugitives and the Southern Agrarians. In the late 1960s, Klyd Watkins created the “Poetry Out Loud” series, which recorded poets reading their work onto vinyl. And today at Vanderbilt, poet and professor Mark Jarman is setting the guidelines of a return to poetic form, aptly titled “New For-

malism.” Chet tells me Nashville’s language scene continuously rediscovers itself. Chet’s one of those rare people who’s good at anything that he tries his hand at. He left economics for punk; left music for words; combined his knowledge of both; and is now a professor, poet, and guitarist in local punk rock outfit ULTRAS S/C, with Ben Swank of Third Man Records and Jemina Pearl, formerly of Be Your Own Pet. With long hair, a black leather jacket, a few tattoos, and one serious pair of chops, Chet doesn’t look like the average college professor. As our discussion meanders from literary theory to stoner metal, it becomes obvious that Chet is a master of good conversation. We discover our mutual obsessions for Dylan Thomas and the band Sleep. I show him the Dylan Thomas tattoo on my ribs, and he tells me about his pilgrimage to the White Horse Pub where Thomas died in a drinking contest after eighteen straight whiskies. He then pulls up his sleeve, revealing his forearm, and shows me two tattoos: one of John Lee Hooker, the bluesman who made Chet want to play music; and William Blake, the poet who made Chet want to write music. Chet has been living in Nashville for the better part of eight years. After growing up in Memphis, he pursued economics at Auburn University before leaving the PhD program to tour with his band, The Quadrajets, and later The Immortal Lee County Killers. Coincidentally, he moved to Nashville when

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he was ready to put music away, and instead decided to refine his writing skills. He commuted to Murray State University in Kentucky to attain his MFA, where he found his voice as a writer. His openness should not be confused with conceit. Chet adamantly claims that “Poetry Sucks!” is not starting anything new; it’s continuing a tradition. Chet knows that there are writers in Nashville—he just had trouble finding them at first. “I wanted to read poetry, and I wanted to hear poetry. There was no place for me to read around here. So I made a place.” After finding the right venue and audience, he decided to use his DIY roots to create “Poetry Sucks!.” The event certainly bears Chet Weise’s trademarks—a word of mouth following and a scarce internet presence. He tells me, “When you start doing things, it builds a momentum. When you start driving your wheels, you don’t know who the hitchhikers are going to be.” “Poetry Sucks!” is an outlet for people to collectively listen to and receive someone else’s words. Chet is a firm believer in the idea that “an artist never knows what they are saying until someone hears it.” More and more people are having social interaction through technology rather than face to face. Live poetry challenges people to stand together for a few minutes and listen to one another. What Chet initiated has completely obliterated people’s assumptions. “Poetry Sucks!” takes the highbrow out of the art form and abandons its relationship with academia. It’s a place for people to grow together, share language, and reach the common goal of human interaction. The series is like a rare concert

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where the entire crowd is quiet, completely engrossed. “People don’t write poetry to read [it] in a library or a classroom. They write poetry because they have something to say, and they want to go out and have fun,” Chet explains. The Romantics and the Bohemians wrote poems to impress girls and get drunk—exactly what Chet is trying to bring to Nashville. The poets who read at the events range from bartenders and ex-strippers to musicians and nationally recognized writers. It’s where the veneer between performer and listener disappears. “It’s another way for people to have fun, read, drink, and hopefully get laid.” Although they are closely connected, Chet’s poetry is not defined by “Poetry Sucks!.” It’s grounded in his personal identity, which has deep roots in the South, also known as “the id of the United States,” according to Chet. His poems contain conflict, love, violence, God, the South, and Nashville. They are couched in all that has happened in his life. “An American Prayer For the Second Coming” is about the Great Nashville Flood of 2010 and has been published in multiple literary journals. It’s also part of an anthology of poems and prose called Apoc-

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alypse Now, alongside works by Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates. His love poem “In The Pines” fastens the pain of love and maturing with an existent, visceral, and physical pain. The result is a chilling and beautiful piece. “Poetry Sucks!” is not about one person; it’s about having a venue for people to experience a collective feeling, where the poem can stand on its own. Hopefully, Nashville’s literary scene will start to mature again after a period of dormancy. Since Chet started “Poetry Sucks!,” readings have also popped up at places like East Side Story and The Stone Fox. The language scene in Nashville is making noise— so keep your ear to the ground.

AN AMERICAN PRAYER FOR THE SECOND COMING Before my brother murdered the sea, I thought he acted like a gentleman. Before I saw birds drown, I never listened to women reading bibles. A police officer found the 30-06 rifle wrapped inside a blanket. Combing the blood of the sea from our scalps, we saw him on the news. People cried like televisions left on all day. After that, who could ask why the Harpeth river jumped its banks or if we deserved the rain filling Nashville's ditches. Dirt and nails on the floor of our house, children in the street playing in the water, a blues LP turns inside my rib cage, clicks on its turntable; they still shovel birds into bags. There is shame today in every thing— I have a rib inside of her, but I can not protect my wife. Our house no longer dreams. A cop clicks the button: Please evacuate your homes immediately. His voice follows his car. There is no escape: all airplanes are booked. Even the neighbor's dog has been abandoned, scared, choking. Brown water swirls with sickly colors. Please God, come back and this time, breathe fire.

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-0$" .64*$ IN THE PINES We ran as children into the pines, Arkansas night wet our cheeks. We shared stolen cigarettes. We watched the smoke curl from each other’s lips. Every July at the lake—campers, coolers, barbeque. We cut our hands with a razor once dragging the knife across the palm, gripping it tight to make it count, leaves turned red at our feet, cutting louder than our breaths— imagine shivering and answering nothing when your lover asks what’s wrong, and meaning it.

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by gillis bernard

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photos by dabney morris

On a bright and early morning, I meet Odessa Rose Jorgensen at her apartment before she hauls off to Austin, Texas, to perform with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. The twenty-six-year-old blondehaired, blue-eyed folk goddess has been playing alongside the beloved indie band on their international tour since last spring. With the upcoming debut of her first full release, Odessa is truly coming into her own. Sunlight pours in through a large window, warming the cozy

space, and it’s not hard to imagine Odessa playing her violin, strumming away on her guitar, or penning lyrics. With its cream and seafoam-colored walls and yawning wooden floors, the apartment has a vintage vibe that reflects her style. She wears her long, naturally golden hair loose atop a shiny, netted silver sweater, and her powder-blue skinny jeans are tucked into a pair of woven leather boots that hit just below her knees. Her eclectic, thrift store-inspired getup, paired with her surfer-meets-flower child look, equals effortless beauty. Odessa disappears for a second and then walks gracefully back

into the space, carrying a chair as she apologizes for the lack of seating. “I’ve never had a stick of furniture in here,” she tells me. “I just love the natural acoustics of an open-sounding room. I don’t want to disrupt it.” Perhaps this belief in the sanctity of sound began as early as her childhood in Santa Rosa, California. “We always had good music playing,” Odessa says with a smile, hooking her heels onto the lower rung of her chair and rocking forward. “Good,” at this point in her life, consisted of classic rock ‘n’ roll, traditional folk, and country—such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, //////// 41

ODESSA ROSE INFO: Follow Odessa on Facebook at

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and Townes Van Zandt. Her father was a talented musician, singer, and songwriter. “He’d get home from work and immediately start playing guitar,” she says. At only four years old, little Odessa enrolled in violin lessons that continued throughout her teens. Even though she didn’t start playing guitar or seriously writing her own melodies until about three years ago, it’s clear her dad passed down his passion for music and shared his gift for creating and performing. Twelve years after she picked up her first pint-sized violin, Odessa wrote her first song. She remembers sitting on the porch of her family’s house in front of her dad’s old Yamaha 16-track digital recorder. It was the first time she experimented with the guitar, which also belonged to her father. “I just started layering a bunch of shit, and I didn’t even let anyone hear it.” But don’t worry—Odessa still has that initial recording. Her first song seems to belong in the past because her life after moving to Nashville has changed completely. Not many twenty-six year olds can say they’ve performed their own material on three different continents. She’s jammed with the likes of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons, and Old Crow Medicine Show, not to mention Abigail Washburn, Gill Landry, and Rayland Baxter. After graduating high school in 2004, Odessa headed to Colorado to stay with her aunt and uncle for a few months. She ended up accompanying her uncle to a free bluegrass music festival called Hardly Strictly in San Francisco. While she was there, Odessa asked a musician where most of the bands were from. Nashville. Once the festival ended, Odessa bought a round-trip plane ticket to Music City for two weeks in early August. “I literally knew no one,” she says. She intended on staying in a hostel. On the taxi ride from the airport, Odessa asked the driver where to catch some good live music. That evening, taking the cabby’s advice, she walked all the way to Station Inn from Midtown to see her first show in Nashville. “I walked everywhere,” Odessa says, nodding emphatically. A friend of hers recommended Casey Driessen, a fiddle player and teacher in Nashville, and she scheduled a lesson. “I walked and hitchhiked down Gallatin Pike with this ridiculously huge backpack on.” She giggles and extends her hands out to either side to show the dimensions. Odessa walked down the strip in the thick summer heat until a nice old man finally pulled over and picked her up, later dropping her off at Casey’s house. That’s what I call Southern hospitality at its finest. One of the first shows she recalls attending was Julie Lee and Sarah Siskind’s band, Old Black Kettle, at the Station Inn. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, I want to know these people!’” she exclaims. And within two weeks, she had made a few friends along the way. Among them was Emily Warner, who accompanied Odessa on a flight back to



San Francisco to help her make the move to Nashville official. The two girls packed up her silver Honda Civic to the brim and roadtripped back down South. The first night, the two slept in the car; the other nights, they bummed on the street for hotel money. Eventually, they made their way to Tennessee. “I really felt like Nashville was where I needed to go,” she says, placing her hand on her heart. Odessa got her first gig while checking out customers at the Produce Place. Well, to be fair, they aren't your ordinary customers. Gayle Davies, one of Nashville’s first female producers, and her son (performing rock and country musician, Chris Scruggs), were chatting about how they needed a fiddle player on a track. From the other side of the counter, Odessa piped up, “I can play fiddle!” And on the spot, Gayle invited her over to record. Her humility is summed up in the title track of her EP, For Granted. She croons soulfully through the soft piano and jazz influences, with the song’s final seconds showcasing her skills on the violin. The lyrics are so universal you might think Odessa charmed the words right off the pages of your journal: “I lose perspective / Forget where I am / I get discouraged and lose sight of home / But you’re always waiting with your arms open wide / And a steady hand.” Odessa continued to play on other musicians’ records and alongside local bluegrass and rock bands. A few years later in 2008, the fiddle-playing songstress toured nationally with Biscuit Burners, a bluegrass Americana band from North Carolina. They traveled via a silver 1970s Volkswagen Eagle. In the last weeks of the tour, Odessa found out that her father, who had been sick for the past five years, was dying. So, she headed home to California to be with her family. Soon after her father died, she quit the band and secluded herself in a house in North Carolina for the summer. “I really would only leave the house to get





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up and walk down to the neighborhood pub and grab a beer at night,” she says sheepishly. It was during this period that Odessa focused on writing her own songs and mastering the guitar. Even though she didn’t have one of her own, she practiced on any guitar she could find. When she returned to Nashville that fall, she started developing the songs of For Granted on a guitar with only three strings. My jaw drops. Three strings? “I was never classically trained, so I just played around with different tunings,” the songwriter says nonchalantly. Throughout 2009 and 2010, Odessa continued to perform on multiple crosscountry tours, starting with Bearfoot, an Alaska-based bluegrass band; later with The Felice Brothers, a folk and rock band; and her friend Gill Landry, one of the singers and guitarists of Old Crow Medicine Show. Only a week after finishing the tour with Gill, she set out, yet again, with singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter. Driving around in a mint-green 1968 Plymouth Valiant on the verge of breaking down, the duo spent three weeks playing shows and braving Mother Nature. They even survived a treacherous snowstorm in Utah and a trip down to the Marfa lights in southwest Texas. It was during this tour that Odessa got her first taste of performing her own music live. “People would listen, and it felt like the most satisfying thing I had ever done. It opened my eyes. You can really do anything. Anything. There are no boundaries; people set them for themselves,” her blue eyes growing wider. “If you have a passion, desire, vision, or even just an urge to get up and do it—you can.” Her energy is contagious, inspiring even. Odessa has this unassuming confidence that puts you immediately at ease and invites you in. She possesses a raw, youthful freedom that attracts people. Among them was acclaimed music producer Jacquire King, who offered to produce her first album in the fall of 2011. He has worked with a laundry list of talented artists, from Kings of Leon to Norah Jones. Guided by Jacquire, Odessa and a phenomenal handful of musicians—Ian Fitchuk, John Radford, Michael Rinne, and Richard Bennett—all gathered at the House of Blues to begin recording, but something felt off. Odessa remembers taking a walk around the block with Jacquire 44 / / / / / / / /

mid-recording session, and they came to the conclusion that there was no creative energy in the air. “I had really never been in a space like that before, with a big clock on the wall ticking away the hours and dollars,” she explains. Up until that moment, her only experience recording was by herself on her dad’s old Yamaha recorder, moving to different spots in her room to play with the acoustics. While they couldn’t record the album in her apartment, she and Jacquire did the next best thing—they shifted the process to sound engineer Brad Biven’s house. She and the other musicians were recorded solo or in trios in different places throughout the house. Multiple tracks were then layered on top of one another to make different configurations. “Sometimes Brad and I would run around the house banging on things when we were looking for a certain sound,” she laughs. Then last spring, just a week before finishing the album, Odessa was in a life-threatening accident. She was biking up 21st Avenue when a car catapulted her off her bike. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital where the doctors told her that if she hadn’t been wearing a helmet, she would have most likely died. Though most have faded,

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the remaining scars cast shadows on her brow and lip, leaving evidence of the fall. She was discharged from the hospital with a neck brace, a prescription for painkillers, and an order for bed rest. Along with bringing the recording to a halt, the accident slowed her down. “Moments like that remind you to be thankful for life and everything we’re given.” With her body in a state of recovery and her spirits sunken, Odessa’s soul was starving. On the brink of sweet self-fulfillment, her musical journey was hit by a storm to test her strength. So when Edward Sharpe invited her on an international tour with the Magnetic Zeros, a bed-ridden Odessa could have jumped out of her weary, blanket-covered bones. There was exactly one month


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until she would embark on this new endeavor. She phoned her doctor, who told her that she would start feeling normal in four weeks. “That was all I needed to hear. I showed up to practice the first day, and I still had my neck brace on,” she chuckles. Determined as ever, Odessa didn’t let her injury squash her spontaneous spirit. After closing a show in Rome, she and the band were sharing a celebratory drink when they were told that the tour’s sound monitor and bus driver had both quit. Abandoned by two key members of the tour, the rest of the crew was stuck, anchored down by the driverless bus full of instruments and gear parked outside the Italian venue. To make matters worse, they were scheduled to perform in Paris the next day. Odessa and Magnetic Zeros member Jade Castrinos inter-

preted the unexpected events as an opportunity for adventure. “We decided, ‘F*ck it, we’re going to Paris,’� Odessa says. Leaving some of the band in Italy, the two musicians packed up their massive bags and caught a 3 a.m. train to Paris. She and Jade finally disembarked later that morning and were blearily stumbling around the St. Germain neighborhood when they heard singing voices from Sunday Mass at Notre Dame. “It sounded so beautiful I couldn’t help but go in,� she says. Packs and all, the pair were welcomed into a pew of the iconic cathedral. “We were almost falling asleep we were so exhausted, but it was just so moving and powerful, even though I didn’t understand a word,� Odessa says. Though neither of the young women spoke French, they joined in singing the hymns, matching the notes where they couldn’t make out the meaning of the words. After touring throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia with the band, Odessa finally finished her album this past fall. Popping up from her chair, she runs over to a far corner of the room. “And I finally bought myself this,� she says, as she crouches over a black leather guitar case. The latches click, and she flips it open to reveal a glossy, honey-colored beaut of an electric guitar—the “Blonde� Gibson Les Paul III, the modern model of the same guitar that Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton once played. It seems that Odessa’s got her priorities in check. Despite the fact that her poor little-Honda-that-could was in dire need of repair, she chose to spend the fruits of her album success to buy her first guitar. “I walked all the way from downtown carrying the case on top of my head,� she laughs. I can imagine the lithe and pretty Odessa, striding up Belmont Boulevard with the unwieldy case teetering atop her head. I’m curious to know why she went for an electric over an acoustic though. And with a flip of her hair, Odessa looks over her shoulder at me, smiling playfully, “You don’t have to be a shredder to make cool sounds.� She bites her tongue before turning back to admire the apple of her eye, her new Les Paul, and I see both blondes shining in the autumn light.


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by elise lasko 48 / / / / / / / /


photography by will holland

In my two years of living in Nashville, I’ve seen my fair share of music at a variety of venues and had my fair share of drinks at an assortment of bars. But never have I been to an all-in-one restaurant, bar, and music venue—until I went to The Stone Fox. Located off of 51st and Indiana Avenue, this newly-hatched joint is starting to make some serious noise. The first time I meet Elise and William Tyler, Elise is sitting in a booth with a co-worker talking business, interspersed with the occasional trickle of laughter, while William chats behind the bar with a friend. I take a quick scan of the place. Gleams of gold streamers adorning the stage’s back wall catch my eye, reminding me of eighties proms and pictures of toothy teens in gymnasiums-turned-dance halls. After the introductions, I settle down on the couch with the duo. Elise is in a plush chair across from me, and William sits to my left. They begin telling me about the origins of their new establishment. The siblings’ idea has been a long time coming. It was four years ago when she and her brother de-

cided to open their new venue. At the time, she was operating Halcyon Bike Shop as an original owner, after working for several years as a manager at the Belcourt Theatre. Though the business has firmly planted its roots in 12South, it was not an easy beginning. In 2008, Halcyon received the last business loan from the Nashville branch of Bank of America, before the fateful market crash two months later. “I watched them launch Halcyon and saw how crazy and stressful it was to initiate a small business. But I also saw the freedom and privilege that comes with working for yourself," William says. "There's something incredibly liberating about that," he adds, smiling at his sister. Seeing that sense of freedom spurred William to approach her with the idea of opening a bar and music venue. "It's been years in the making, but I never hesitated working with him," Elise finishes. “William and I have always been really close friends,” she glows proudly. “We never fought as kids, and we’ve always had a pretty harmonious relationship. When he was in high school, I ran his band’s fan club. So we’re long-time collaborators.”

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Picture a high school William jamming with his band while Elise is pressed up against the bars separating the crowd from the stage. Not only was she his biggest fan, but she also designed posters for his shows and sold copies of their CD any chance she could. But William and Elise’s dabbling in music didn’t start there. The siblings have been entrenched in the music scene from a young age. They grew up in West Nashville as the two children of a songwriter father—which might explain how William’s high school band, Lifeboy, landed a record deal at such a young age. I listen in disbelief as I try to imagine myself signing a record deal during lunch in my high school cafeteria. Well, that’s what happened to William when he and his band penned ink with Seymour Stein of Sire Records during a school day at the University School of Nashville. William continued to explore music after high school, before his band’s sudden breakup. Meanwhile Elise attended Belmont, graduating in 2006 with majors in psychology and sociology—“both of which are very valuable assets when trying to run a small business,” William chuckles. They dissolve into laughter, Elise’s giggle an octave higher than her brother’s. I have to catch myself from swiveling my head every few seconds to keep up with these two quick-witted tongues that volley conversation like a tennis match. After watching his younger sister admiringly as she talks me through the past seven years or so, William takes the wheel. The thirty-two year old has long since been a bar rat, having spent most weekends of his adult life at shows, both on stage and in the crowd. It was a chance meeting at one of these shows that led him to the next phase in his music career. Shortly after Lifeboy’s unexpected split, William was presented with an equally unex-

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pected opportunity. “Kurt [of Lambchop] came up to me at a show and asked me if I wanted to go on the road for a few weeks in Europe as one of their guitarists. I was totally flabbergasted.” He was nineteen at the time; so his decision to hit the road with Lambchop meant that instead of finishing college, he’d spend nearly a decade touring and recording with the Nashville-based band. But William’s lifelong dream of owning a business motivated him to take a break from the road, stake out a permanent residence in Nashville, and focus on opening his own venue with Elise. “I don’t have a college degree,” he admits. “Most of what I know I learned through touring. But I thought if we owned a bar, we could figure out a way to make that work.” He starts to mention that he missed some crucial things by not finishing college, but Elise quickly interjects. “William is being very modest, because he’s smarter than people I know who went to college.” He smiles shyly at his sister, explaining, “I was already cynical of formal education by the time I graduated high school.” Changing the subject after noticing her brother’s eyes shift to the ground, Elise chimes in. “William and I knew Nashville before it was cool. When our parents moved here, T.G.I. Friday’s was the hangout spot. Since Nashville’s makeover in the nineties, people have come to expect good food and drinks.” Not to mention good music. Hence, The Stone Fox was born. “I want this to be an oasis for people who are traveling,” William explains,

serving inspired, locally sourced cuisine. tuesday thru sunday 5p.m. - 10p.m.

celebrate life with food & wine. 1112 Woodland St Nashville, TN 37206 615.262.5346

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“[and most importantly] a place for friends to hang out. It’s not a depressing rock club. It’s got a lot of character.” Elise adds, “It has a strange combination of feeling relaxed, like hanging out at friend’s house, but it’s nicer than your average bar. It’s by the people for the people.” However, they don’t want to see themselves just as a music venue. “One of the reasons we put a lot of emphasis on being a full-service restaurant is that we don’t necessarily have to be a live venue every night of the week. We want to be selective in what we do because we don’t want to get bored with it,” William explains. Something they both take pride is the hospitality they show traveling bands. They make sure that their musicians have a free hot meal, and even a place to stay in some cases. It doesn’t hurt that they own a house across the street that doubles as their office and band lodge. William speaks from experience when he tells me that very few venues treat bands with the respect or generosity they deserve. But the two are both hell-bent to ensure that never happens at The Stone Fox. “We have so many bands that all want the same thing,” William tells me. “If you travel a lot as a musician, you appreciate the value of somebody who gives a shit.” William recognizes that The Stone Fox is planted in an ever-changing part

STONE FOX INFO: The Stone Fox is located at 712 51st Avenue North. For information on the menu, hours, and upcoming shows, visit The Stone Fox’s website at and follow @thestonefoxnash.

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of town. “Nashville is a growing city in a growing region, and there’s room here for people to be inventive and ridiculous in terms of opening small businesses.” And he’s right. They couldn’t have picked a better time or location for their venue. The vibe is very old school, but at the same time, populated by young people. Elise pauses, hearing the front door open to reveal her boyfriend, Michael Carter, a local filmmaker. She smiles excitedly and gives him a warm hello before returning her focus to the conversation. Meanwhile, William wonders if he can really have it all—juggling a career as a fulltime business owner and a touring musician. William admits, “I’m trying to have it both ways by running a business and then saying ‘Okay, I’m leaving for six months.’ That doesn’t seem fair, but we did build it into our business plan.” The siblings have a unique vision for The Stone Fox in the years to come. In fact, it’s already well underway—over the holidays, they doubled the size of their bar. “William and I are both very handson here,” Elise confirms. Each night of the week at least one of them is on-site visiting customers or rolling up their sleeves to serve drinks. But with William touring later this year, they both know they'll need other people they can depend on. The Stone


Fox is all in the family— everyone holds the same weight. They pick up each other’s slack and can depend on one another to take the lead if need be. I ask what they think The Stone Fox will look like in five years. William answers, “There’s only so much you can do to a building. You come to a confrontation of spatial limitations. But there’s no reason to think that in five or ten years, it won’t be as vibrant.” Elise agrees. “We had this initial energy that pushed something into existence. Now is the time to continue the momentum while we have it.” She elaborates, “One thing that William and I have always agreed on is that if we are going to stay in Nashville—which neither of us have ever left for good—we want to make Nashville a more cultured and enjoyable place to live. Instead of moving to Chicago or New York or Berlin. Why not bring the culture here?”

William adds to his sister’s vision, “I think a city like Nashville needs a place like The Stone Fox. There are a lot of places here that co-op young energy without really understanding its nature. As soon as something gets really successful, they neglect their grassroots essence.” So far, Elise and William are staying true to form. “We want different people’s creative input, but more so, we want to reflect our community and how diverse it is. There aren’t a lot of other venues like that,” Elise notes. Though William will hit the road after next month’s release of his new album, Impossible Truth, Elise plans on running things as usual. She notes how conducive their partnership is because she enjoys the day-to-day operations of running a business. William, on the other hand, contributes creative ideas, while still being able to focus on music. But Elise is quick to realize the difficulties she’ll face without him. So does William. “It doesn’t matter what you do—you could have a doughnut stand or a bank.” It will always be tough. But luckily with their business, they not only have each other as close friends and siblings, but also as partners.

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OUTSIDERS Ben Clemons and Alexis Soler left New York and Miami to start a life together. Now they’re stirring things up in Nashville

There are a few things to expect when you frequent the bar scene in a big city: high prices, too many people, rude bartenders, and a DJ/drunk bro at the jukebox who thinks it's a great idea to play that terrible Journey song (you know the one) once every two hours. Thankfully, I don't live in a "big city" anymore, so I was able to leave a majority of these things behind. However, there are certain things I miss about big city bars—the atmosphere, the eclectic mix of people, and the one-of-akind drink specials. When I first got to Nashville, a part of me was relieved to know I could walk into nearly any bar around town knowing what to expect. There would be a pool table, a few dartboards, maybe a couple of draft specials, beer posters with babes in bikinis, and either a football game or some weird horror/art movie playing on one of the countless TVs. It was cool for a little bit; I liked knowing I could walk into these places looking like a trainwreck, and no one would really give a shit. It was comfortable, and so

by ann ravanos

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was I. After a while, though, things started to get a little too repetitive. I was getting bored. Not much later, I was taken to No. 308 for the first time. I’d been hearing stories about the place and its owners, Ben Clemons and Alexis Soler, since I moved to Nashville. Walking into No. 308 and being face-to-face with their cocktail menu was like having a stare-down with the Messiah. I had found a bar that was laid-back enough to “throw down” in, yet sophisticated enough to make me feel like an adult. Instead of half-naked eighties models drinking from coconuts and staring at me from an old poster, the bar has a very organic feel, with wooden accents and Edison-inspired dim lighting. If Thom Yorke lived in Nashville, he and his bowler hat would probably frequent the booth in the corner. Taxidermy geese and various creatures scale the walls, along with framed pictures of other animals—my favorite is an eagle that looks like it’s about to ambush a giant, stuffed beaver hanging on the wall beneath it. I grab a board game

photography by eric staples

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from the shelf next to the bar, take a seat next to the beaver, and realize this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between 308 and me... I had only visited 308 a handful of times before I realized this relationship was quickly getting serious—pounding drinks and “making it rain� like I’m R. Kelly at a strip club. However, I am not R. Kelly, and by no means do I have enough money to ever “make it rain� properly. So, when I had the chance to sit down with the powerhouse couple, I was overly delighted. I was finally going to get the chance to pick their brains a little. As sweet and charming as Ben and Alexis are, getting in touch with them is a pain in the ass. I know they are super busy; they have projects in the works; they go out of town for business, etc. So, it’s not their fault, but damnit, I was trying to find an excuse to go back to 308. After a month of playing phone-tag, we finally decided to meet up on a Monday afternoon. My first thought was, “Shit, does

this mean no drinking since it’s early?â€? My second thought was a little more rational: “Oh, good. I can finally write this story.â€? Priorities. Ben and I sit down and make small talk, and I automatically take a liking to him, as he looks like one of the Outsiders—dark features, dark cuffed jeans over leather boots, and a barber-style haircut. He opens his mouth and says, “F*ck it, let’s do this.â€? The whole Greaser thing suits him well. I notice a beautiful candy-red, vintage bike in the front window, which Ben tells me is a 1965 Yamaha Riverside. He says he’ll probably end up riding it home later. He tells me about his and Alexis' obsession with collecting vintage motorcycles. Three drinks on their menu are inspired by cafe racers—the ‘59 Club, the Ton Up, and the Ace. It all makes sense. Alexis walks in rocking bed head, wearing a white cut-off shirt, torn jeans, and high tops. She’s not too far from the Outsider look either. She even has a cafĂŠ racer of her own. Ben and Alexis are like two peas in a motor pod: confident, edgy, funny.

No.308 is located in East Nashville at 407 Gallatin Avenue, 37206. For information about menu, events, etc. visit Follow @No308

They’re one bitchin’ couple. Ben offered me something to drink before we rolled into a series of questions. “Want some water or something?” he asks. I think, “I’ll take a whiskey ginger.” “No thanks,” I say. “I’m not thirsty...” Not for water, anyway.

Haircut, Grooming: Melanie Shelley. Gentleman: Homer C. @ MACS/AMAX. Photo: Eli McFadden.

No. 308 INFO:

BOY MEETS GIRL It all started in 2009, at the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, which Alexis says, “is like South by Southwest for booze.” Sounds like a recipe of sorts. Ben, a renowned mixologist in the Big Apple, and Alexis, a bartendress in Miami, met through a mutual friend. And this particular traveling buddy happened to make plans to crash with a certain bartender from New York, who was also attending the conference. Ben meet Alexis. Alexis meet Ben. You could say they hit it off. After spending an entire week together—at what was essentially a weeklong alcohol tasting—they both returned home with plans to end things with their significant others. Their relationship caught fire a bit unconventionally, but it works for them. After only twenty-odd days of knowing each other, Alexis proposed to Ben in a hotel room in New York. I bet you can’t guess the room number—it’s the name of their bar.

2315 12South, Nashville

269-‐8029 //////// 57

“The second we decided to open, it became our child,” says Alexis, as Ben leans on her shoulder. Ben jumps in, “We haven’t gotten married because we’re here so much.” Even if they haven’t started their “family,” they already have one at 308. When the other bartenders and barbacks walk into work, they greet each other with hugs and

conversation. They may not be related, but there’s an unspoken bond among the 308 crew that extends to their patrons. “Most people that come to the bar are here at least five days a week.” As Ben tells me stories about their regulars, the two guys setting up the bar laugh, while Alexis throws in her two cents on how their bar fits in with the community.


“We get along with everyone on our side of town, and Ben and I hang out at Red Door and 3 Crow. I don’t think any of us feel like we’re competing with each other. We’re all just one, big, happy family,” she laughs. There are other places around Nashville to get a good cocktail, but those aren’t necessarily places you go to party. “They







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definitely opened the doors for high-end cocktails in Nashville, but we wanted to take it up a notch.” As Ben digs into a bag of Cheetos, “We wanted to bring fresh cocktails to Nashville without all the snobbery that’s associated with them.” “We’re still down to have loud, drunk people pass out in our booths…and they do,” adds Alexis. “It keeps this place humble.” Both started bartending long before they turned twenty-one, and ultimately fell in love with handcrafted cocktails. “I loved Nashville before I settled here and opened a business, but it was obvious the scene was lacking a good cocktail bar.” Enter 308. “With the two of us originally from Miami and New York, we wanted to bring a bit of our old homes to our new home,” Alexis finishes. Sitting at the bar on the cast-iron, saddle seat, I watch an artist at work. It’s time for Ben to make me a drink. When Ben mixes a cocktail, he gathers and tosses all the ingredients into a silver tin, as if he were mixing a magic potion. He then


smashes two tins together like cymbals, and starts to shake with calculated rhythm. He moves with the intent of a musician, making sure each ingredient is blended together perfectly. Ben presents his work of art on the black beverage napkin in front of me. I take a sip and whip out my iPhone. I’m going to assume that I’m not the only one that has Instagrammed a cocktail masterpiece. 308 does have an upscale ambiance, but there definitely isn’t any snobbery or outrageously overpriced drinks. Another thing that sets it apart from other cocktail bars is their weekly dance party, Whiskey Disco, as well as their Sunday Par-T Brunch with local DJs La Force. 308 may be among the swankiest places in town,

but they’re still down to get down. And this unique atmosphere has become an integral part of Nashville, as have Ben and Alexis. Ben says, “We don’t make our living as musicians. We are bartenders—we create things from the ground up, just like a lot of people in Nashville.” I moved here to escape the downsides of living in a big city. I’m in my late twenties; I still like to have a good time. But I’m past the point of finding any fun in a loud, crowded bar, where you can’t hear yourself think. It’s nice to find a bar down South that has a big-city feel without the big-city bullshit. I may not be there every night, but I visit enough to know my favorite drink…so maybe that does make me a bit of a town drunk, but at least I know they won’t judge me for it at 308.

R E E B T F A R 2-FOR-1 C S










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ISN'T HE LOVELY Emerging electronic producer and model, Dylan Stephens (pictured here), wears the boy/girl badge with style. “Being androgynous isn’t about dressing up to be what you are not,” he says. “It’s about being exactly who you are and letting all the possibilities emerge. People see what they want to see, and you have to allow their perception to unfold. Photography by Eli McFadden

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The Beauty: Dylan Stephens for MACS/AMAX | Concept, Hair, Grooming, Styling: Melanie Shelley @ TRIM Classic Barber & Legendary Beauty for MACS/AMAX | Sweater: by JUNE, Nordstrom, $330



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HONEY Chuck Hargett was leading the life of a bigwig advertising executive when a shocking diagnosis forced him to reevaluate his future by kelly hays


photography by cameron powell

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Nashville’s patron saint of cookies is no monster. He is intensely friendly and tirelessly optimistic, even in the face of hardship. He lives in the city and bakes out of a coffee shop in Kingston Springs. And although I have never seen Chuck Hargett—the owner and proprietor of gourmet cookie bakery Chucklet & Honey—dive face-first into a plate of chocolate chip cookies and shower the room with sweet shrapnel, I have no doubt that his passion for really delicious cookies is rivaled only by that of a certain furry, blue resident of Sesame Street. Chuck Hargett knows that even when there’s no slip of paper inside, sometimes your fortune can be found in a cookie. A slight, blondehaired man whose eyes never tire of smiling, Chuck (or “Chucklet,” as his mother used to call him) is a Zen cookie master. The story of his

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evolution over the past few years Chuck took a while finding his focus. from a stressed-out advertising A former advertising executive who executive to a beatific purveyor of was all too familiar with fourteenbaked goods is a lesson in grace. hour days bottled up in an office, To hear him describe it, grief and Chuck says his primary goal in his illness are not unpredictable plagues advertising work was to manipulate sprung on you by a tempestuous and people’s desires. Now that he’s uncaring universe. Rather they are become a cookie mogul, he’s still messages from the universe—or God tapping into people’s desires, but (he uses the terms interchangeably)— rather than manipulating, he’s that can send you on unexpected fulfilling them. And that feels good. journeys towards happiness, even “There’s this whole kind of ‘higher’ thing that drives me now. There’s a when you don’t want to travel. Chuck has spent the last two years purpose behind my business that’s focusing on what is really important: not only to serve, but to make people good friends, making people happy, happy. Loving God, loving others— and baking the perfect chocolate that’s what’s important to me now.” Many influences conspired to chip cookie. “I used to be a different bring about this happy change in person,” he says. “I used to be perspective, but the most pivotal concerned with status and hanging were anything but sweet: the death out with important people. But as you get older, everything starts to of his mother in 2004, and an unexpected diagnosis in 2008. come into focus.” The “Honey” in Chucklet & Honey Even with the benefit of age,

comes from Chuck’s mother. She was one of those saintly, Southern women, who believed every problem could be solved with baked goods or Epsom salt, and who signed every note with a doodle of a smiling angel. Her influence on Chuck’s life was so integral that when he mentions losing his mother to cancer in 2004, that unwavering smile in his eyes disappears completely. Not only is his passion for baking a source of comfort that reminds him of her, it keeps her legacy alive. The idea of turning that passion into a business never occurred to Chuck, until his health demanded he reevaluate his career in advertising. While living in New York, Chuck developed a curious, tingling numbness on one side of his face. It disappeared for a while and then reappeared on the other side. He matter-offactly tells me the story of his diagnosis. “When it moved to the other side of my face, it went from a thousand possible things to like, seven. Travelling numbness can only be a few things. My doctor said, ‘It sounds like multiple sclerosis; let me do an MRI.’” So they did the test, found the lesions on his brain, and diagnosed him right there. Though multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease that can be terminal, Chuck chose to see it as a blessing and a window of opportunity. As he puts it, at the time he was diagnosed, he was burnt-out on advertising—doing the same thing ad nauseam, pantomiming passion for work he didn’t really care for. His diagnosis was the alarm that woke him from a spiritual and professional stupor. “Everything just started coming into focus—what was important, what was good for me, and what was not. What God’s plan was, and what God’s plan is, started to make sense.” Initially, God’s plan involved chocolate, not cookies. Chuck left his job in advertising and got the ball rolling with a new business venture selling gourmet chocolates. He had an investor lined up and was nearing launch when the stress of the situation aggravated his MS, to the point where he lost the use of his legs for several days. It became clear that chocolate wasn’t the right fit. He abandoned that endeavor and reflected on what exactly he was trying to accomplish by starting a new business. Though he had broken from the executive grind, he realized he


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was still missing a sense of purpose and meaning behind all the hard work. It all became clear when he went back to those afternoons spent baking in the kitchen with Honey. He remembered her infectious smile, and how that smile was not only passed on to him, but to her food. Chuck wanted to keep that tradition and

share it with the people around him. So he set off on a deliciously arduous journey to perfect his mother’s recipes. He started with the basic, all-American, deceptively simple-looking, chocolate chip cookie. “I knew that was going to be the cookie for me. I worked really hard to develop the right density and texture. I

had to make it special, and I had to make it look good too. If it isn’t pretty, then it’s just a regular cookie.� The basic chocolate chip cookie recipe is comprised of only a few ingredients, and while they are easy to bake, they are difficult to bake well. So getting the right mix of chewiness, flavor, and appearance required a lot of taste-testing—a task Chuck and his friends were more than happy to undertake, even if there were some unintended consequences. “When I was working on the recipes, I was about thirty pounds heavier than I am now. I would not only eat them while I was baking, but I would eat them after. I didn’t know you could just taste the cookies and not have to eat them all. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.� After forty to fifty iterations of chocolate chip cookie recipes, Chuck finally landed on just the right mix—a dense, gooey, chewy disc of buttery bliss he calls The Chucklet & Honey. It’s the business’ namesake, signature cookie, and statement of purpose, all wrapped in one scrumptious package. Once Chuck had created a product he was happy with, he had to find a way to bring it to the public, and that meant finding a place big enough to accommodate large orders. “I’d just been diagnosed with MS, and I just told the investor the chocolate business wasn’t right. I had no idea what was next or where to go.� He found the perfect solution in a pair of lifelong friends—

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Amy Bruce and Katie Conley, the owners of Red Tree Coffee in Kingston Springs. “I was talking to Amy and Katie, and they said, ‘Why don’t you do it here?’ They’ve been friends of mine for twenty-five years, and now we’re together 24/7.” The company’s repertoire has expanded to include a maple oatmeal raisin cookie embedded with cranberries and a doublechocolate hazelnut cookie with Nutella baked right into the dough. And then there’s the heavenly confection known as the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Fluffer Nutter, consisting of peanut butter marshmallow cream sandwiched in between two peanut butter cookies. That’s enough to make a Nutter Butter blush in shame. These three varieties, along with the quintessential chocolate chip cookie and the mint chocolate cookie sandwich, represent the standard offerings available year-round. Other more adventurous flavors—like the rosewater tea cookie or firecracker cookie (bite-size versions of the classic chocolate chip peppered with hot cinnamon candies)—are available seasonally or by special order. Chucklet & Honey also developed a gluten-free, sugar free snickerdoodle and a gluten-free version of the signature chocolate chip cookie, which they sell at Frothy Monkey. A baker’s day begins when the world is still dark and cold and ends sometime when he’s just short of exhaustion—but you’d never know it looking at Chuck. His eyes light up like bonfires when he talks about working long hours with his staff of mostly seasonal and part-time employees, whom he calls family. And he’s the type of guy who gets giddy when he daydreams about developing the perfect macaroon. “They’re not really cookies. But when you get them right, they’re the perfect combination of everything. If I could conquer the macaroon, I think that would rock.” Although he would love to one day open a storefront in the 12South

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neighborhood, he has nothing but praise for Red Tree, the coffee shop that has become his foster bakery. “The beautiful thing about where we bake is that it’s almost like you’re stepping into somebody’s home. It feels like Mayberry.” Taking it slow is something Chuck tries to remind himself to do every day—to stop and smell the cookies once in awhile. “This time in my life has been an awakening. I wish everybody could feel what I’m feeling now. And maybe that’s why I’m doing this.” While few people would consider the loss of a loved one or an incurable illness to be blessings lovingly bestowed by the fickle hand of fate, Chuck Hargett accepts them with a saintly gratitude that is both inspiring and a little bit shaming. It’s hard not to treat optimistic phrases like “look on the bright side” and “when God closes a door, he opens a window” as anything other than oblivious platitudes, especially when they come from people who don’t know real suffering. But when Chuck Hargett tells you to stop and listen to what the universe is telling you—and have a cookie every now and then—you can’t help but pay heed. Or, in other words: C is for Cookie, and that’s good enough for me.

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DIAMOND IN THE STUFF In a world of fast trends and low standards, Emil Congdon crafts goods with no expiration date

by itoro udoko

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photography by daniel meigs

“They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.” It’s a statement you might expect to be followed by pining about “the good ole days”—when gas cost a nickel and everyone walked uphill, both ways, to school. But it’s true. We live in an age of mass consumerism and instant gratification. Most products have a shelf life of about a year before they’re rendered obsolete. And as a result, attention to quality has fallen to the wayside. Perhaps that’s why Emil Congdon has had so much success with his leather and canvas goods company, Emil Erwin. His handcrafted bags, belts, and wallets reflect a level of thoughtfulness that’s become increasingly rare these days—a breath of fresh air in a modern mountain of stuff. Emil’s attachment to leatherwork began in his hometown of Erwin, a sleepy, East Tennessee community that also serves as the namesake of his brand. He re-

counts visiting a local saddle shop as a kid, and leaving intrigued by the craftsmanship that went into taming leather hides. But though he was instantly captivated by the unique smell and feel of the raw material, it wasn’t until much later that he began creating with his hands. While in college, he was spurred to learn how to sew by a pair of pants that needed mending. He got a sewing machine the following Christmas and honed his skills enough to begin making bags—to impress girls, of course. “It was my version of a mixtape,” he laughs. “So clever,” I think, as it dawns on me that all those hours I spent compiling playlists could have been put to much better use. After college, he moved to Los Angeles in 2006 with his wife, Leslie, to pursue her acting career. Emil got an upholstery job doing custom interior work for highend luxury cars. It helped him

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further refine his handiwork, which he continued to put to creative use. “Leslie and I started selling these one-off bags on Venice Beach made of leather and other found materials—like chains I would find in the street and fabric from old military garments. I even made one with a chicken wing bone [that served as a clasp].” Leave it to the guy that created handmade bags in lieu of mixed CDs to do something so ingenious. As I smile in wonder, Leslie explains their early unconventional methods. “At that point, we had an idea of what we wanted, but no idea of how to do it.” Not knowing where to find a lot of the materials needed for their bags forced Emil to get inventive. It

“AT THAT POINT, WE HAD AN IDEA OF WHAT WE WANTED, BUT NO IDEA OF HOW TO DO IT." was a critical lesson in problem solving that helped his development as a craftsman. But his most formative period awaited him “back in Tennessee,” he tells me. Emil and Leslie stayed in California for only a year, before relocating to Nashville, where Emil got a job doing interior work for a different sort of luxury vehicle—custom tour buses. He shakes his head a little and smiles as he recalls the experience. “I worked for this company that built tour buses, really opulent tour buses. They were for country music stars, for the most part.” What that meant was a lot of rhinestone. And coat racks made out of revolvers. “They covered everything in leather, even cabinets! But it was a great ex-

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perience. It gave me a lot of practice on a sewing machine, working on all these complicated interiors with elaborate stitching.” He recounts hours spent practicing how to sew a straight line when there was nothing else to do. Eventually Emil was laid off by the tour bus company, after the business fell on hard times. Suddenly unemployed and with more time on his hands, Emil got serious again about selling bags. He and Leslie spent the following summer showing at various craft shows around the nation. They were well received. So well received, in fact, that many of their friends encouraged Emil to approach Imogene + Willie about a possible collaboration. Emil describes taking his work down to the jean shop, and clicking with the owners instantly. “They just turned to each other, and they had this sort of look in their eye like, ‘Oh shit. This guy’s for real.’” Emil and Leslie were able to develop an important relationship with co-founders Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, something they describe as eye-opening. “We hadn’t been introduced to that world before, all these different [fashion] brands and such. We didn’t even know it existed,” Emil says. He credits the partnership as being a watershed moment of sorts for the brand. “They

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were able to give us some sage advice,” he some good people to have around. Several months after submitting an entells me. try, Emil was crowned Their relationship the winner of the culminated in a col"BUT IT’S NOT “Style + Design” catlaboration with Imogene + Willie for J. SUPERNATURAL! egory. It’s the same category local tie makCrew, one that sold IT’S JUST DONE er, Otis James (with out almost immediwhom Emil Erwin curately. Seeing the sucRIGHT." rently shares a studio cess of their collabospace) would win a ration, several friends encouraged the couple to year later. Interestingly enough, the winenter Garden & Gun’s inau- ner of 2012’s “Style + Design” category is gural “Made in the South” also a Nashville business—Sideshow Sign competition, an awards Co., which was featured in our September showcase that highlights issue. Once Garden & Gun’s inaugural “Made some of the region’s best artisans. Emil was initially in the South” issue officially hit the stands, reluctant, but Leslie con- the floodgates opened wide; orders started vinced him to enter. After pouring in. With the new wave of customsome delay, he submit- ers, Emil realized he’d have to quit his job ted an entry on the first at Dell. “He would come home from Dell of August 2010, the day and work in the garage [his studio at the of the deadline. “I had no time] until like three in the morning every expectations,” he admits. night. Then he’d wake up, go to work, and I listen and wonder if the do it again,” Leslie divulges. “Plus we’d same friends that encour- just had our second child. It was too much. aged him to approach So one night I just told him, ‘You can’t do Imogene + Willie are the this anymore. You have to quit your job. I ones that made him privy think we’ll be fine.’” So the following Monto the “Made in the South” day, he went to Dell and broke the news competition. If so, they’re to his boss. When asked how much longer

he could stay, Emil answered, “... Wednesday?” I laugh incredulously. Emil and Leslie crack up as well, which makes me wonder how humorous his boss found Emil’s reply to be. As if to answer my question, Emil informs me that “they were very supportive actually. They even told me if it didn’t work out that I could come back anytime.” Needless to say, it worked out. The Garden & Gun feature made Emil Erwin products a pretty hot commodity. So hot in fact, that the waitlist that immediately began after the issue’s release still exists to this day. Everything is made-to-order. So though there’s no prolonged wait for the leather accessories, the bags do take a bit of time. But that hasn’t deterred customers. “People always tell us it was worth the wait,” says Leslie. Emil agrees, before making an especially interesting point. “I think everybody’s been so desensitized by such poor products, ya know—disposable culture. [To the point] that when they see something that’s actually made like it’s supposed to be, they’re just blown away by it! But it’s not supernatural! It’s just done right.”

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"WE DESIGN STUFF THAT’S SUPPOSED TO BE USED EVERY DAY, FOR A LIFETIME." Emil and Leslie are determined to maintain the level of quality people have come to expect from them. As a result, they’re particularly mindful of anyone they may bring on to their staff in the future. The duo are weary of growing too fast; so they remain patient. “That’s something we stick to our guns on, growing without sacrificing the quality of our work,” he tells me. From crafting bags in place of mixtapes to found objects on the streets of Venice Beach, Emil has always done things his own way. So sticking to his guns is probably a good idea. Last spring, a year after quitting Dell, he received an email from Jay Bell, the Vice President of Barney’s New York, a giant luxury fashion retailer. Bell requested to

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see some samples of their bags with the possibility of offering them in their flagship store in Manhattan. Emil agreed to meet with Bell a month later, and bought a plane ticket to New York. He and Leslie spent the next month making samples and creating a lookbook. Finally the day arrived. “I’m trumping around Manhattan with a suitcase that weighs seventy pounds— a bag full of bags,” Emil recounts, with a chuckle. “So I went up there and met with him, and he was like, ‘Alright. I’ll take this many of this one and this many of that one, etc.’” And just like that, the Emil Ermin brand was carried in Barney’s New York. In fact, Barney’s was so enthusiastic about their partnership that they collaborated on the relaunch of their Barney’s Sports Com-

pany line. “We did two bags and two belts,” he says. Despite having worked with some of the biggest players in the American fashion industry, and being distributed internationally, Emil Erwin has no plans on changing its formula. “We design stuff that’s supposed to be used every day, for a lifetime,” he tells me. “We don’t make stuff that’s just going to be fashionable now. Our main focus is on functionality and durability, without neglecting the aesthetic.” This ethos is evident in all of their products. His signature style is hardy but refined, raw but elegant. Everything is made with an immaculate attention to detail—which leads to products that are sophisticated in construction, yet simple in design. When I ask the two where the brand draws aesthetic inspiration from, I receive a variety of answers. Leslie cites classic American brands and old military wear. Emil says he’s equally inspired by “the clever way they assemble the Lil’ Debbie racks you find in gas stations.” He even compares his bags to another influence of his—nature. He points out to me that trees can be beautiful, yet everything they’re composed of—limbs, leaves, bark, roots—serves a unique, functional purpose. Emil Erwin operates under the same spirit—the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A zipper is just a zipper, and a rivet is just a rivet—until you match it with a pocket. No one part of the equation can walk alone. But when constructed thoughtfully, the beauty becomes self-evident.

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Animal of the Month: The Mourning Dove

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Aves Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae

by Kelly Hays Zenaida macroura, takes its common name, “mourning dove,” from its “woo-OO-oo-oooo” call that’s often described as plaintive or lonely. In reality, these birds are anything but. The call of the mourning dove should b e “ B o w - c h i c k a - w o w - w o w, ” because these birds are prolific maters, having babies up to six times a year. If nature had any decency, the rear ends of birds would all be pixelated because bird sex is hardcore. I don’t know about the bees, but when it comes to the birds, it’s all anal, all the time. Birds only have one opening, called a cloaca, through which all business transactions, from excretion to mating, are conducted. That makes this dove one serious back-door beaut. This satyriasis (in the males, nymphomania in the females) is necessary because mourning doves have such a high mortality rate. It hovers around fiftyeight percent per year for adult mourning doves and sixty-nine for youngins. From ferocious tabby cats to streak-free windows, there are a lot of things out there that can kill a bird. But only the mourning dove is gangster enough to list firearms as one of its leading causes of death. More than twenty million are shot annually in the U.S.—as much as all other migratory birds combined—making it more dangerous to be a mourning dove than an alter boy named Lindsay. I’ve even killed a mourning dove with a BB gun. It was my first “hunting” experience, if you can call it that. It’s one of those rites of passage that comes with growing up in the Deep South. At some point, Maw’s going to

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ask you to get your Red Ryder carbine action, and clear out the birds that are purloining her plum trees. At the ripe age of ten, I wore my gun outside my belt for all the honest birds to see, and went at it with gusto—pockmarking several targets before scoring a solid hit to knock one to the ground. But I wasn’t prepared for the nitty-gritty task of finishing the deed. BB guns are made for paper targets, soda cans, and snapping one off in your cousin’s ass when he gets smart and makes a crack about your flat, prepubescent chest. They are not well suited to ending bird life. I had to pump a handful of pellets directly into this bird’s skull before it would quit twitching. I actually ran out of ammo halfway through and had to stop to reload, which any grand jury will tell you, is one of the ways they discriminate between first and second-degree murder. I once read a story about a young hunter’s first experience hunting with an air rifle. His first kill—also a mourning dove—plagued him with such guilt that he wept, even as he stoically followed the hunter’s code—gutting and dressing the bird, then browning its breasts on Triscuits in a toaster oven. For him, the takeaway was that hunting was a powerful experience, and dove meat tasted delicious. For me, the takeaway was that I was a jerk for

out gunning for mockingbirds. They love them because they are chipper, spritely, and ostentatious with their singing, like a tiny, avian Celine Dion. Mockingbirds are the popular kids of the bird world, and people willingly ignore them when they engage in unprovoked air raids on the heads of innocent passersby who happen to get too close to their nests. On the other But I still feel pretty bad hand, all the mourning dove ever about how I killed that dove, does is get fat, have lots of babies, and even worse about not eating and cry a little, and it gets shot all it. Killing it made me feel like the time. Let the mourning dove be an the kind of schoolyard bully who beats on kids that ride the object lesson to you in this cruel short bus. Harper Lee missed world: Laugh and the world a grand opportunity when she laughs with you. Weep, and you consecrated the mockingbird as get shot, disemboweled, and her sacred symbol through which cooked on a Triscuit. to channel her exposition of human cruelty and compassion. She should’ve named her seminal novel “To Kill a Mourning Dove.” You see, not many people are slowly killing a sad bird that just wanted to get its grub on with some plums. Maybe it would’ve turned out differently if I had eaten my dove, but I didn’t. As it was, I repented and buried it in a tiny, shallow grave marked with a cross made of Daffodil grass. I then retired my BB gun from lethal pursuits for the remainder of its days.

Overheard At N A T I V E

can’t get enough? follus on twitter @nativenashville for even more overheard at native quotes //////// 79

steet<3 steet


The Observatory Steet Style by Itoro Udoko




Matthew <3 There's no rule on how to pair a seven-foot scarf with a feathered hat. The only way to pull off a look this eccentric is with a deep confidence in your personal style. Thankfully, Matthew's confidence is well-founded. Ryder <3 I'm always surprised that more women don't wear skirts and dresses during the colder months. Find one made of heavier fabric— like tweed—and pair it with thick, woolen socks. You'll look cool, but stay warm. Whit <3 A bow tie is always the exclamation point of any outfit. Sadly, most people's bow ties usually shout the wrong things. Here, Whit shows us how to gracefully exclaim how fly you are. 80 / / / / / / / /

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Feb 2

Nashville Pioneers Pep Rally w/ DJ sets from: Wild Cub, Jeremy Todd & DJ La Force from QDP at Stone Fox

Feb 8

The CO, Reed Pittman, Emily Reid & Joseph LeMay (House Show)

Feb 9

Allen Thompson Band w/ Branches & The Bears of Blue River (House Show)

Feb 15

David Ramirez w/ Faye Webster (House Show)

Feb 23

The Black Cadillacs w/ Blackfoot Gypsies & Alanna Royale (House Show)

Mar 2

Star & Micey w/ Carolina Story (House Show)

Mar 9

Songs of Water w/ Boom Forest and THE Great American Canyon Band

Mar 10

Miracles of Modern Science (House Show)

Mar 18

Little Tybee w/ Colorfeels & Sol Cat (at The Basement)

Apr 5

Amber Rubarth (House Show) //////// 81

Voted “Best Pizza” in Nashville!

1012 Woodland Street

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Nashville, TN 37206


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