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A BARBERSHOP FOR MEN & WOMEN OF ALL AGES WA L K I N A N Y D AY O F T H E W E E K F O R A Q U A L I T Y C U T O R S T Y L E

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MARCH 22 APRIL 12 APRIL 26 FOR AN INVITE: WWW.NATIVE.IS/RSVP

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CONTENTS MARCH 2018

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66 44

THE GOODS 17 Beer from Here 19 Cocktail of the Month 22 Master Platers 85 You Oughta Know 87 It’s Only Natural

FEATURES 26 Salt & Vine 36 Harlan Ruby 44 Soccer Mommy

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58 Spring 2018 Nashville Fashion 66 Paul Collins NATIVE NASHVILLE

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BEHIND THE ISSUE: Spring 2018 Nashville Fashion It takes a village, as they say. But when it comes to shooting a fashion editorial, it takes a village and a stellar set location. That’s why we were ( just a little) on edge when our planned location for this month’s fashion editorial fell through—and fell through less than twenty-four hours before the shoot to boot. Luckily, veteran NATIVE photographer (and local miracle worker) Brett Warren and the good folks at Alabaster Collective were there to help us out of a bind. We can’t thank them and the rest of the team behind this shoot enough, and we hope you enjoy our Spring 2018 Nashville Fashion spread, starting on page 58 of this issue. Stay well dressed, Nashville.

PRESIDENT, FOUNDER: PUBLISHER, FOUNDER: OPERATIONS MANAGER:

ANGELIQUE PITTMAN JON PITTMAN JOE CLEMONS

EDITOR IN CHIEF: COPY EDITOR:

CHARLIE HICKERSON DARCIE CLEMEN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: ART DIRECTOR:

HANNAH LOVELL COURTNEY SPENCER

SENIOR ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE: ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE: PRODUCTION MANAGER:

KELSEY FERGUSON SHELBY GRAHAM GUSTI ESCALANTE

DESIGN INTERNS:

SARAH MORRIS LEXIE ROLAND

EDITORIAL INTERN:

KYLE COOKE

WRITERS:

CHARLIE HICKERSON NATHAN DILLER CHRIS PARTON COOPER BREEDEN

PHOTOGRAPHERS:

FOUNDING TEAM:

MACKENZIE MOORE JOSHUA SIRCHIO TAYLOR RABOIN

FOUNDER, BRAND DIRECTOR:

DAVE PITTMAN

FOUNDER:

CAYLA MACKEY

FOR ALL INQUIRIES:

HELLO@NATIVE.IS

NICK BUMGARDNER DANIELLE ATKINS EMILY DORIO DYLAN REYES MARCUS MADDOX BRETT WARREN AUSTIN LORD

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M U R P H Y R OA D

3431 Murphy Rd - 615.457.1300 - dosenashville.com 14

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@DOSENASHVILLE


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WITH CHARLIE HICKERSON NATIVE Editor in Chief Beer Name: Bearwalker Brewery: Jackalope Brewing Company Style: Maple Brown Ale ABV: 5.1% Food Pairing: The Belcourt Theatre popcorn Appearance: Murky brownish amber with a cream head Aroma: Maple, chocolate, caramel, nuts Where to find It: The Belcourt Theatre Overall Takeaways: In one of my favorite episodes of Mad Men, Bobby Draper—shortly after learning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination—is watching the original Planet of the Apes with his dad (and Mad Men lead), Don. When the movie ends, they decide to stay and watch it one more time, but not before Bobby tells the usher, “Everybody likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.” I pretty much love going to the movies all the time, but I especially love it when I’m sad. It allows you to forget about life for a couple hours; it’s one of the few places you’re encouraged not to look at your phone; and, if you go often enough like me, it allows you to partake in a comforting set of rituals. For me, one such ritual is getting a Jackalope Bearwalker and a bag of popcorn at The Belcourt. The beer’s sticky-sweet, super-forward maple notes contrast perfectly with a big pile of buttery, salty popcorn. And because of Bearwalker’s caramel and nut flavors, you almost get a Cracker Jack thing going on when you mix it with the popcorn. On days when you’ve come to the movies in hopes of relieving a little sadness, might I suggest pairing your Bearwalker with a couple of Reese’s Cups. It might induce a cavity on-site, but hey, life’s too short for bad movies and limited sugar intake.

r e k l a w r Bea

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SMILIN' EYES BY BEN CLEMONS OF NO. 308 PHOTO BY NICK BUMGARDNER If one asked what two drinks come to mind on St. Patty’s Day, most would say Irish whiskey and beer. Luckily, this year Jameson has gone ahead and made it easier for us with their newly launched Caskmates IPA, a triple-distilled Irish whiskey finished in IPA barrels. After some “tastings,” I decided to try a recipe I had concocted a few years ago for a Jameson event. Cooking down some bananas and a small touch of sugar into this whiskey resulted in a beautifully smooth yet comfortably bold sipper. After adding a few dashes of bitters and a couple cubes for temperature and a touch of dilution, I had one of the most enjoyable and fun Old Fashioned riffs I’ve drunk in a long time. Don’t take my word for it, give it a go yourself! Sláinte!

THE GOODS 2 oz banana-infused Jameson   Caskmates IPA Whiskey 2–3 dashes Angostura bitters 1 oz cold brew coffee

DIRECTIONS Combine the whiskey, bitters, and coffee. Stir and pour into a freshly iced rocks glass. Garnish with skewered banana slices. BANANA-INFUSED JAMESON CASKMATES IPA WHISKEY 1 bottle Jameson Caskmates IPA 2 bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4 cup simple syrup Combine ingredients in a large mason jar and seal. Bring a large pot of water to 150 F (use a candy thermometer to check the temperature). Place the mason jar in the pot and cook at 150 F (do not allow to reach 160 F) for 90 minutes. Remove the jar and allow it to cool before straining and serving.

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MASTER PL ATERS

BY CHAD KELLY CHEF DE CUISINE AT BLACK RABBIT

PHOTOS BY DANIELLE ATKINS

BOILED PEANUTS & BBQ SAUCE

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THE GOODS 5 lbs raw peanuts 1 1/2 lbs kosher salt, divided 1 cup vinegar-based hot sauce   (we use our own house-fermented   hot sauce) 4 cups Carolina-style barbecue sauce   (we use a fermented version of our   Wurm’s BBQ Sauce)

DIRECTIONS Soak for 24 hours: the peanuts, 1/2 lb salt, and enough water to cover the peanuts. Remove the peanuts from the brine and rinse thoroughly. In a large pot, combine the peanuts, enough water to cover the nuts, 1 lb of kosher salt, and the hot sauce. Bring the peanuts to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium/medium high to maintain a steady boil for 2 hours. The peanuts will float until they have absorbed enough water, so use a large mixing bowl and a cast iron pan or similar to weigh them down. Add more water if needed throughout the boiling process to keep the peanuts covered. After 2 hours of boiling, add the barbecue sauce and continue to boil the peanuts until they’re tender all the way through. Stir the peanuts intermittently to make sure that the floaters have cooked at the same rate as the nuts on the bottom. Drain and eat immediately, or cool the peanuts in the liquid overnight (this allows them to soak up more flavor), then heat, drain, and serve. Store leftover peanuts in a jar in the refrigerator or freezer.

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MY SO-CALLED BAND - CANNERY BALLROOM BORN RUFFIANS - THE HIGH WATT COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS - THE HIGH WATT MARLON WILLIAMS - THE HIGH WATT LO MOON - THE HIGH WATT EARTHLESS - MERCY LOUNGE S. CAREY - THE HIGH WATT QDProm - CANNERY BALLROOM CAROLINE ROSE - THE HIGH WATT CINDY WILSON (of the B-52s) - THE HIGH WATT CURTIS HARDING - MERCY LOUNGE ROGUE WAVE - MERCY LOUNGE WILD CHILD w/ THE WILD REEDS - MERCY LOUNGE CHARLIE CROCKETT - MERCY LOUNGE THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE - CANNERY BALLROOM CAITLYN SMITH - MERCY LOUNGE BAHAMAS - CANNERY BALLROOM FAR OUT FEST - MERCY LOUNGE & THE HIGH WATT 24

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IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT

BY NATHAN DILLER PHOTOS BY EMILY DORIO

New executive chef Rahaf Amer brings her own flavor to Salt & Vine

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RAHAF AMER LEARNS FAST. The twenty-eight-year-old had only two other kitchen jobs before she was hired as sous chef at restaurant and wine bar Salt & Vine. Eight months later, she is now taking over as executive chef after the departure of Culinary Director Molly Fitzpatr ick Martin. “I used to think that I could never go on Hell’s Kitchen because watching that show would scare me, but after working here, I could go to Hell’s Kitchen and it would be like paradise for me,” Amer says, laughing, from across a large wooden table in the center of the space in Sylvan Heights. “It would be super easy.” Maybe that’s because Amer is used to Gordon Ramsey’s style of baptism by stovetop. She’d been at her first kitchen job a week and a half when a coworker burned her eyebrows off and Amer had to fill in. She didn’t know how to make most of the dishes, and the kitchen manager was unhelpful. Finally, the owner told her to make the dishes like she would make them at home. Afterward he asked the customers for feedback, and it was over whelmingly positive. Amer was relieved and felt more sure of herself. “I feel like those moments where you’re thrown in the fire are the moments where you’re learning the most, because you don’t have time to think—you just have to do,” she says. Amer never went to culinary school, as her Syrian parents insisted she get a traditional degree. After graduating from Virg inia Commonwealth University, the Washington, DC native opted to save money and take a real-world crash course by

working in local kitchens. But even before she was filling in for eyebrow-less chefs, A mer was passionate about food. As a child, she loved the Middle Eastern food and recipes passed down to her dad from her grandmother. However, the first meal she cooked was with a neighbor from Thailand when she was thirteen. They made pad thai, and she took it home to her parents and five siblings to rave reviews. “I just loved that feeling of everybody being like, ‘Oh my God, this is really good and you made it,’ and ever since then I’ve just been cooking,” she says. “I mean, I cooked in college for all my friends and ex-boyfriends— that’s how I got them in the first place.” She continued to teach herself by watching Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, but says she owes most of her knowledge to her time in professional kitchens—like the gastropub she’d worked at for four months when her boyfriend got a promotion that required him to relocate to Nashville. “It was either find a new boyfriend or move, and it’s a lot easier just to move these days, so that’s what brought me here,” she says. At first, Nashville wasn’t her taste. “When I first moved here I hated it. I was like—every restaurant I went to, all the food was the same,” she says. “It was shrimp and grits and trout, shrimp and grits and trout, and coming from DC where you have a mixing bowl of everything, I was just like, ‘What the hell?’” But as the food scene has grown, so has her fondness for the city. “Now I kind of see when I go out to eat the types of stuff I used to see in DC, which is really cool,”

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says Amer, whose long dark hair is pulled back beneath a BNAembossed baseball cap. After a stint at Bellev ue gastropub {PUB}licity and as a private chef, she got the job at Salt & Vine via Craigslist when they opened in 2016. The brainchild of owner and sommelier Mattie Jackson (daughter of country music legend Alan Jackson), partner and general manager Hannah Schneider, and Martin, Salt & Vine serves lunch and dinner and specializes in market boards and shareable plates, which Jackson then pairs with various wines. Behind a white curtain in the back of the restaurant is a tasting room that they use for weekly wine tastings as well as for private events—for which Amer will often create custom menus. And the bottle shop next door stocks a variety of reds and whites, all handpicked by Jackson, and most are priced modestly between $13 and $25 per bottle. The cu isine is eclectic, incorporating flavors from around the world, and the minimalist interior allows the food and drink to shine without distraction. The large open room has a market counter and retail space in the front, while communal tables, a polished concrete bar, and yellow metal chairs finish out the space. The walls and ceiling are a clean white, and even on a rainy day the space seems bright. There isn’t a tablecloth in sight, as part of the restaurant’s mission to take the pretension out of wine. Now that Amer is in charge of the kitchen, she’s been able to get more creative. Her initial specialty was traditional French food with the occasional twist,

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and she rarely stepped outside her comfor t zone. But she acknowledges that Martin left her with big shoes to fill. “I was probably a little hesitant to push the boundaries at that point,” she says. “You know, I’ll always think about the guests that we have coming, but I feel a lot more confident and comfortable just putting my own spin on stuff without having to get three other people’s approval or verification before, which I think is really cool.” The lunch menu consists of lighter fare, including a hummus tartine with zucchini, pickled red onion, and an herb goat cheese spread, and the Sambal salad with napa cabbage, arugula, carrot, avocado, radish, crispy mushroom, green beans, and cilantro, along with myriad sides. The dinner menu is a little heartier, featuring dishes like beef sliders with gruyere, caramelized shallots, and thyme aioli, and crispy Brussels sprouts with radish, dried cranberries, hazelnuts, and citrus vinaigrette. For those just looking for something to snack on while they sip their wine, they have smaller items like radish toast with cream cheese, smoked salt, and lemon, which is a patron favorite. They also offer a number of gluten-free and vegan options. The kitchen staff is small, consisting of just four people right now, but being in charge for the first time has forced Amer to channel her newfound confidence into her role as the team leader. “I try to really run the kitchen, like, treating everybody as a human being, not just a number here,” she says. “But also, you have to be assertive. You have to get


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your job done. So, I always say, ‘I’m your friend outside of work or off the clock, but during work, it’s like, we gotta go.’” Salt & Vine’s staff is largely made up of women, which Amer says is a nice change from her previous jobs where she was oftentimes the only woman in the kitchen. She noticed a clear double standard. “You feel the need to overcompensate because all these guys are looking at you and they’re like, ‘Oh, you can’t lift this big bag of potatoes up, so you’re a lesser cook than I am,’” she says. “So, I guess that’s one of my biggest struggles that I’ve had to kind of overcome working in a maledominated industry is just having to earn the respect of people that you shouldn’t have to earn the respect from.” In a couple of hours, these benches and the seats at the surrounding tables will be filled with customers, and Amer will be back in the kitchen. The hours are long, and she’s here all the time, completing countless tasks. She tirelessly works on new dishes and half jokes that she’ll rework a recipe seventy-five times, asking Jackson and Schneider to try each iteration. She won’t stop until it’s perfect. “I’ve really found my voice I guess in the past year and now you can’t shut me up,” she says, laughing. Sometimes her self-assuredness still falters. “There are some days where I wake up and I go, ‘I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing,’” she admits. However, she’s been training for this job since she was thirteen, and now that she’s got it, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Most of the time it doesn’t feel like I’m working,” she says. “The people here are great, I’m doing what I love to do, and I get to drink wine like 75 percent of the time that I’m here, so it’s not a bad gig.”

MEN. WOMEN. HOME. GIFT.

WITH BETHANY MERRITT

Salt & Vine is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

MARCH 29 AT 7PM LINDSEY MILLER APRIL 19TH AT 7PM W W W. N A S H V I L L E J A Z Z . O R G

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2-4-1 SLICES & BEER MONDAYS STARTING AT 4PM

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UP IN THE AIR

BY CHRIS PARTON PHOTOS BY DYLAN REYES

At Harlan Ruby, one creative family is spreading “sparkle and joy and happiness” across Nashville

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“CAN YOU WRITE, ‘TIME TO

veg out on some chicken wings’ on a balloon?” asks a customer in East Nashville’s Harlan Ruby gift shop, sheepishly approaching the register with eyebrows raised and fingers crossed. A strange request to be sure, but the staff doesn’t even blink. She’s come to the right place. Decked out in bright splashes of color and a dump-truck load of glitter, Harlan Ruby is slowly becoming Nashville’s first and last stop on any search for quirkycool—a curated jumble of party supplies, home goods, kitschy statement pieces, and custom balloons . . . all of which seem to combine femininity with a mischievous sense of humor. In fact, making a giant balloon that reads “Time to veg out on some chicken wings” in handlettered calligraphy is just the kind of off-the-wall fun Sunny Becks and her two daughters, Fiona Flaherty and ten-year-old Prudence Crumpton, do best. “We have so many customers walk in who are like, ‘This is the most magical place on earth. This is what the inside of my head looks like,’” says Flaherty, taking a break with her mom and sister after a very busy Valentine’s Day. “Those are the kinds of praises we get, and we just want to take that and sprinkle it all over.” Housed on Woodland Street near East Park, Harlan Ruby is actually one of three companies born in 2016 out of Becks’ first oddball business—the online hu la-hoop pu r ve yor Hoop Supplies. That charming creation is still up and spinning, but it was always Becks’ dream to expand her scope and open a physical shop. So when eldest daughter Flaherty returned home from

college with a degree in fashion design, they did just that. But what sta r ted a s a collection of homemade and hand-illustrated goodies has morphed into something more. Based on Flaherty’s vision of spreading “sparkle and joy and happiness wherever we can,” Harlan Ruby now features a wide assortment of Pinterest-able brands and caters to a clientele that ranges from Belle Meade moms to working-class dads, country stars, and everyone in between. “We started really searching for designers who were either female-based or had a weird sense of humor,” Becks explains. “Thinking outside the box, that’s what really spoke to us.” Indeed, the shop is packed with delightfully clever trinkets— think Spencer’s Gifts with a master’s degree and you’re on the right track. Pot holders featuring Trump a nd H i l la r y photoshopped into a stained-glass portrait of Mary and baby Jesus (you’ll have to guess which is which) sit next to a rack of off-color dish towels and novelty socks. They’re surrounded by bath bombs, jewelr y, a nd ever y sparkly thing needed to throw the best-decorated shindig your friends have ever seen—including the city’s most buzzed-about balloons. Through the shop’s offshoot balloon company, Vroom Vroom Balloon, the family has become Nashville’s go-to purveyor of the unlikely (but Instagram-ready) party favors. Specialty balloons have surged in popularity and are fast becoming their signature business. Becks and Flaherty keep

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Vroom Vroom technically separate from Harlan Ruby so they can partner with other local retailers without competitive concern, but the two brands are different sides of the same coin. On top of selling fabulous party packages and hand-lettering anything a customer wants, they also do whimsical, mind-boggling balloon installations and creative workshops, and one thing is for sure—these aren’t the boring old balloons of your childhood. “It’s boutique and bespoke balloons,” Flaherty explains, adding that the variations of size, material, and design are almost limitless. “We do a lot of customization, and that really sets us apart from everybody else.” At this point “everybody else” is basically Kroger and Party City, but Vroom Vroom Balloon is operating on a totally different wavelength. “I think balloons have been [a s s o c i a t e d w it h] a c h e e s y atmosphere,” Becks says. “We focus mostly on color and aesthetic. If you come in for one balloon, we want it to look just as cute as if you were leaving with a whole bundle of fifty. We want it to have a cute clip and a cute bow, and we want you to feel good walking out.” Back in December 2017, Becks and Flaherty were feeling lukewarm on the balloon idea. But after designing a massive install for Belmont Boulevard’s Proper Bagel, Vroom Vroom’s social media accounts exploded. “Our following tripled in one week,” Flaherty says. “All of a sudden wedding planners and event planners were calling us, and everyone was flooding our inbox with ‘I want to do that for my baby shower. I want to do that for my birthday.’ All of a sudden we were ‘the people who do balloons,’ and it hasn’t been the same since.” Over-the-top birthday parties,

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unicorn-filled wedding rehearsals, glitzy grand openings, and more are now ever yday occurrences, with eccentric-gift givers seeking them out and celebrities like Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris lining up to get their balloon on. But as nice as the swell of success has been, it’s working together as a family that means the most to Becks and her brood. “I haven’t not looked forward to going to my space for the past ten years,” she says. “And I can tell you there were plenty of times in the corporate world where I dreaded going in.” As a former medical secretary and office manager, Becks says her family’s new “normal” is simply a better way of life—and Flaherty adds that it makes business sense too. “When you can understand someone’s headspace that is your business partner and really get them on every level, I think it’s easier for you to be there for them where they need you to be,” she says. “Like, somehow we’re these magical puzzle pieces that perfectly fit together.” Me a n w h i le , t he y o u n g e s t generation of the family is also getting in on the fun. Harlan Ruby and Vroom Vroom Balloon are Becks and Flaherty’s ventures, but the Hankabee Button Company? That is the work of ten-year-old Crumpton. While watching her mom and oldest sister get their businesses off the ground, Crumpton was taking note. She started accepting orders for cute custom buttons and magnets in the first grade—making her one of the youngest business owners in Nashville. “It’s kind of fun to be in charge,” says a w ise-beyond-her-yea rs Crumpton, who just set a goal of making two thousand buttons a month. “I love being with them at the shop because I can learn new things.” But Becks isn’t necessarily


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C O M E S E E U S I N O U R N E W L O C AT I O N ! 2934 SIDCO DRIVE, NASHVILLE, TN 42

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concerned with teaching the girls to follow in her footsteps. She just wants to prepare them for the road ahead. Knowing full well that Crumpton may not be able to bank on a stable company job in the emerging “gig economy”—and that her quality of life may be better without one—she figures the lessons Crumpton will learn while running Hankabee will be invaluable. “I think what makes me feel better is to know she’s creating something for her future,” Becks says. “I want her to know that she has options in life. Whether the button company goes for a little time or a long time, she knows she has the power. She can figure out resources and find people to help her, that kind of thing.” As the day comes to a close, another customer strides into the shop—this time with a frantic look about her. “Is it possible to make this button with a yinyang on it before 11 a.m. tomorrow?” she asks. There’s a make-your-own button station in the corner, Becks explains, or Fiona will design one and Prudence can put it together right now for about $25. (Without the design fee, buttons run between $25 and $60 for a 25-pack, depending on size and style.) Taking their unconventional business model into account, Becks says she’s not sure where her family’s creative passions will lead from here. But she does know two things without a doubt—they’ll take the journey together, and Nashville will always be home. “I just want to be a part of Nashville’s celebration and happiness and creativity,” Becks says. “Somebody asked me at a dinner the other night, they were like, ‘Oh, balloons, that’s so odd. Where are you gonna go from there?’ And I said, ‘Dude, I just came from hula hoops to balloons, I have no idea.’” Harlan Ruby is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

223 4TH AVE N - 615.953.2794

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I WANNA BE THAT COOL

BY CHARLIE HICKERSON PHOTOS BY MARCUS MADDOX

Singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, a.k.a. Soccer Mommy, on her debut album and being okay with being vulnerable

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SOPHIE ALLISON IS EASY TO find in a crowd. I’m meeting her at Portland Bre w on 1 2 S out h —w a l k i n g distance from the BelmontHillsboro house she grew up in— and it takes all of three seconds to spot her in the crowded coffee shop. Yes, I obviously knew who I was looking for before walking in. And yes, Allison’s fuschia eyeshadow and expertly crafted, just- Daria -enough outfit make her hard to miss. But there’s still something about her that tells me I would have found her no matter what—even if I hadn’t seen a picture of her beforehand. She has an intangible air of coolness about her, that perfect mix of aloofness and charm that so often surrounds people who make good art; she greets other, equally cool people that walk into the shop with a monotone “hey” and nonchalant head nod; and I can imagine random people going up to her at restaurants and asking her if she’s a musician, or an artist, or someone they should know. If they even have the courage to talk to her, that is. “People have said that I seem very cold at first, from my outward persona,” she says matter-offactly, less than thirty minutes into our interview. “But it’s not [my] inner self. That’s kind of what romanticizing people is all about: their outward persona is what you’re seeing, and you’re deciding that’s all they are.” And sure enough, that isn’t all that Allison is. Under the moniker Soccer Mommy, the twenty-yearold has released vulnerable, gutwrenchingly confessional music since 2015. Her songs can make you squirm, sigh, or cry—sometimes all in the same track—and call

to mind everything from Mark Kozelek’s no-bullshit, fact-firing style on Benji to Joni Mitchell’s heartbreaking self-awareness on Blue. Sonica lly, it wouldn’t be totally wrong to lump her in with the ’90s revivalism currently sweeping Nashville rock—there’s some Liz Phair here, some Elliott Smith there. But it wouldn’t be totally right, either. Allison can effortlessly skirt from warm and breezy to gritty and aggressive with a single chord change, and her melodies are too damn catchy to be grouped in with a bunch of fuzzy garage rock. Or, to hear Allison describe the sound on her Bandcamp bio: “chill but kinda sad.” Whatever you want to call it, she has her own thing going on, and people have taken notice. Without an actual debut LP to her name, Allison’s checked off all the proverbial indie rock boxes: Pitchfork, The Fader, NPR , NME , Audiotree, and even The New York Times (she was part of a roundtable called “Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled by Women”). She’s also, as many of the above have reported, been defined by—and bristled against—the designation of “sad girl music.” She understands why the label came about, but she’s understandably not in love with it. “I don’t mind the idea of writing music for people who are sad and writing sad songs. And honestly, I’m a girl,” Allison says, with a slight chuckle. “What’s always bothered me about it is the way it’s used in a derogatory way. It’s like, ‘It’s just sad girl music. Sad girl shit.’ That’s the only way I ever really hear it used, is to put down an artist for being sad girl music. That’s just

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really what bothers me. It’s just the idea that being a sad girl is dumb, or weak, or vulnerable, or stupid. It kind of connects a negative connotation with being a woman and being vulnerable, and being sad and expressing it.” Shor t-sided connotations aside, being sad and expressing it has sort of always been Soccer Mommy’s calling card. Though Allison began playing guitar at five (she made her parents buy her an autographed acoustic at a Riders in the Sky benefit show), and though she played in various Nashville School of the Arts ensembles throughout high school, she didn’t start writing Soccer Mommy music until the summer before her freshman year at NYU. She’d written songs her whole life—her first was titled “What the Heck Is a Cowgirl”— but Nashville’s then-exploding punk scene didn’t feel like the right outlet for Soccer Mommy. “I wish I could write punk music, but I just can’t. And I obviously can’t sing it at all. It wasn’t the music I was writing,” she explains. “I just felt like if I’d tried to play [my music], there wouldn’t be a scene for it, and people probably wouldn’t like it. Or, if it was good, it wouldn’t be good enough . . . That’s kind of why I never really just tried to start playing shows with a band and get out that way. I just started making music basically for myself to put on Bandcamp.” The result was the aptly titled songs for the recently sad, a five-track EP recorded on an old TASCAM and released with little fanfare. She followed it up with the two-part songs from my bedroom EP (recorded during winter break) and the for young

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hearts tape (released via ultrahip, Queens-based tape label Orchid Tapes). The prolific string of releases and association with Orchid earned Allison a fanbase beyond her old NSA classmates, landed her national press, and culminated in Collection, a kind of greatest hits compilation of her back catalog that came out in August. “I was pretty much just doing it because I liked doing it,” she says. “It was fun for me. I didn’t think I would have a response just pop up out of nowhere.” On these early releases, Allison’s rolling chords, Kim Deal-y vocal overdubs, and mid-tempo melodies create a collection of songs that feel like that moment right before dozing off on a breezy, late-summer afternoon. And lyrics like “Do you think it’s sweet, I’m nervous talking to you / or am I just a freak? / Sat by me on the bus on the way back to school / I wish I was cool like you” nail the selfdoubt and isolation that come with coming of age. But there are some tinges of real, non-teenage melancholy too—spots where Allison hints that the summer and its carefree concerns can’t last forever. On “Waiting for Cars,” she sings over eerie piano plunks: “Saw you on the street one summer evening you were empty as could be / You were lying in the road just waiting for the cars to set you free.” It’s a haunting, bold meditation on being afraid to love—or maybe figuring out what exactly love even is. It’s this feeling that Allison expands and runs w ith on Clean, her first label full-length. Produced by Gabe Waxman (War


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on Drugs, Deerhunter, Beirut), Clean is Soccer Mommy through a warm, analog lens—one that augments, but doesn’t abandon, Allison’s lo-fi roots. What little studio f lourishes are added (the warped, wobbly fadeout on “Cool” or the startling change in mix near the end of “Still Clean”) make for a dynamic, cinematic work that until now has been missing from Allison’s catalog. It’s the type of album —and I use that term the way my dad would—you could leave in your car’s CD player for an entire summer or debate with a friend about which side is better. Thematically, Allison touches on some familiar ground: odes to unrequited love, meditations on self-doubt, and romanticized visions of other people’s lives. On earlier releases, these topics may have been discussed with lament, but Clean finds her addressing them with newfound ferocity. In each of the first three tracks, she compares people to animals, singing lines like “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog / that you drag around” on “Your Dog” and “She’ll break you down and eat you whole / I saw her do it after school / She’s an animal” on “Cool.” “I use a lot of violent imagery often to describe pain and emotions or sickness,” she says. “I think my anxiety is kind of a violent feeling that’s really intense and really angry . . . Usually when I write it in a song, it’s because I’m literally sick or something. That literally has happened—where I felt sick to the extent—or I felt anxious to the extent where I was sick.” In talking about sickness, Allison finds catharsis and a new

sense of agency on Clean . The anthemic “Your Dog,” with its chugging, minimal groove and scurrying guitars, is possibly the most scathing thing Allison’s ever written. It’s also the most empowering. “Women just making really confessional music and not being shy of it is in itself political,” she says of “Your Dog.” “So doing it in itself is just kind of taking a stand and acting, rather than just laying back and not wanting to be aggressive about what you’re doing . . . I don’t want to be somebody’s convenient person who’s there for them whenever they need it, [when] I’m not going to get that in return.” But Clea n isn’t onedimensional. It’s a complicated and multifaceted entity that finds Allison grappling with the same self-doubt and insecurity she faced on earlier releases. On tracks like “Cool” and “Last Girl,” she sings about wishing she were someone else—or at least the version of that someone she’s built in her head. Whether the subject in question is a love interest, a love interest’s love interest, or the unnamed “stoner girl” on “Clean,” there’s always someone who seems to have it better. Someone with, as Allison said earlier, an outward persona that’s been romanticized. “It’s not a hateful inferiority that I’m feeling. It’s just I do feel inferior to other people, or I feel like I’m comparing myself to other people,” Allison explains. “It’s just a ‘She’s beautiful, I feel ugly,’ kind of feeling. [It’s] comparing yourself to other people and letting it make you feel inferior, when really that’s all a way to pit women against

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each other. And it’s an insecurity that definitely just makes a lot of women feel hateful toward each other, which is an issue. That doesn’t help us.” But what about the people that romanticize her? The fans that want to be as cool as Soccer Mommy? Surely there’s someone shouting along to the chorus of “Cool” (“I wanna know like you / I wanna be that cool”) with Allison, not the stoner girl, in mind. “That’s just a piece of you that they’re seeing,” she says. “It’s not the whole picture of you.” So what is the whole picture? “I don’t think I will ever not be vulnerable. I think I’ll always want to be more cool,” she says. Then later, when asked if she’s getting more comfortable as Soccer Mommy finds more success: “I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable in my skin. There will always be a cage that I’m trapped in. I think it will always be an eternal struggle.” That struggle, though, is Soccer Mommy. As is the case with like-minded songwriters such as Angel Olsen or Mitski (whom Allison opened for back in October), Allison is on the brink of a brave new world in rock—one in which women freely and honestly express themselves without being dismissed as “sad girl music.” As Allison told me just before leaving Portland Brew: “Everyone loves to say rock’s dead now. All these white dudes love to say rock is dead . . . It’s evolved. There are buzz bands, and it is still rock. It’s just not the exact same. It’s not all Strokes-sounding bands. That’s boring . . . There’s something new now.” And is Soccer Mommy that something new? “Hopefully,” she says unflinchingly. “I guess we can hope.” Clean is out now, and Soccer Mommy will play the East Room on March 23.

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1200 Clinton Street Ste 10 • 615.679.0221 • hello@purenashville.co 54

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SPRING 2018 NASHVILLE

FASHION

COAT AND PANTS_BLACK BY MARIA SILVER FUR COLLAR_TENNESSEE ANTIQUE MALL 58

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SHOES_MARNI FROM UAL


In honor of the eighth annual Nashville Fashion Week (happening April 3–7 at Oz Arts), we rounded up pieces from a few of Nashville’s countless talented designers for a spring fashion editorial. Though we do one of these nearly every season, Nashville’s ever-evolving fashion community still never ceases to amaze us. The innovation, creativity, and tenacity of these designers keeps our city looking—and feeling—its best, and we couldn’t be prouder. As past NATIVE cover story Manuel Cuevas said back in our July issue: “Fashion has really taken over this Nashville of ours!” We couldn’t agree more, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

PHOTOGRAPHER BRETT WARREN LOCATION ALABASTER COLLECTIVE PHOTO ASSIST: HANNAH RUSSELL MODELS: CLARE, DYLAN, & SYDNEY FOR AMAX TALENT STYLING: ASHLEY BALDING STYLING ASSIST: MEGAN PROCTOR BEAUTY & HAIR: ALICIA MARIE CAMPBELL (AMAX) USING RITUEL DE FILLE BEAUTY ASSIST: KIRIN KRISSBERG OF RUDY’S BARBERSHOP LIGHTING EQUIPMENT: THE VIDEO COMPANY

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ON DYLAN COAT_GIVENCHY FROM UAL JUMPSUIT_BLACK BY MARIA SILVER 60

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ON CLARE ON CLARE COLOR BLOCK DRESS_AMANDA VALENTINE TOP_BRANDONVALENTINE MAXWELL FROM UAL COLOR BLOCK DRESS_AMANDA TOP_BRANDON MAXWELL FROM UAL


DRESS_ONA REX BELT_MAISON MARGIELA FROM UAL SKIRT_ROSIE ASSOULIN FROM UAL SHOES_ALEXANDER MCQUEEN FROM UAL

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EARRINGS, BRACELET, RINGS_ PORTMANTEAU JEWELRY DRESS_CAVANAGH BAKER 62

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ON SYDNEY PLEATED CAPE, TOP, PANTS_ LAURA CITRON OF OPIUM VINTAGE

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ON DYLAN SUIT_ANY OLD IRON


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JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM

BY NATIVE STAFF PHOTOS OF COLLINS BY AUSTIN LORD

Local artist Paul Collins talks about the intersection of art and reporting ahead of his upcoming exhibit at Zeitgeist Gallery

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Paul Collins is a local artist and professor at Austin Peay. He has an MFA from Yale; he’s been a resident at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the Vermont Studio Center; and his work has been featured in New American Paintings, Fresh Paint, and Artvoices. For his new exhibit, Fortnight Sessions, Collins left the confines of his studio and painted eight locations around the world. Every month, he spent two weeks on-site chronicling everything from The Colosseum in Rome to a neon PBR sign at Grimey’s to election signs in North Alabama. The result blurs the line between journalism and impressionism and forces the viewer to rethink (or maybe just think about) the way we interact with the spaces around us. Read our conversation with Collins below, and check out Fortnight Sessions, showing now through March 31. You’ve been a studio artist for thirty years. What challenges emerged as you created art in public spaces for the first time? In no order: weather, my capacity for social interaction, working against the clock, and trying to capture life in motion. By creating live art in public places— particularly places where one wouldn’t expect art to be created—did you feel like you were making a political statement? Or did you see yourself more as a journalist reporting the events that unfolded before you? Both. I do want to be seen working to show the world that art is work and that making pictures is important. To your second question, I have thought of this process as journalistic, and that’s new to me. Maybe a slow journalism, maybe a could-bedrawn-better journalism, but still a witness story in the same way journalism brings experience to others. Even while drawing frozen brassicas at Rocky Glade Farm, I felt like: “Why haven’t I seen this before? People need to see this.” What drew you to the locations you captured for Fortnight? And during the process, did you find any similarities between these seemingly disparate communities?

One thing has led to another. My first public project was a mural for the side of Alex Lockwood’s Elephant Gallery building last spring. A month later I was teaching in Rome, and it was that mural experience that got me painting on the street. Back in Tennessee I was showing the drawings to Anna Zeitlin of Zeitgeist Gallery and out of my mouth popped, “Now I want to draw Nashville and be a tourist in my own town.” It started that simply. But almost as soon as I began, I knew that these locations could line up to make a broader portrait of our world from different angles. Every time I start a drawing, regardless of location, I am working to frame the rich interplay of the human and the natural, of control structures and uncontrollable change. I’m hoping that capturing that dynamic will reveal our likeness. Step back and let me explain how badly the Trump election scrambled my eggs. It has challenged me to seek reality where my past work has celebrated imagination, rumination, and play. It has made me want to look specifically at society’s institutions and methods directly in a way I have not in past work. I try to let big questions lead me to a site where I then reside and meditate through pictures. Big questions like: Where does food come from? What does justice look like? What does democracy look like? Another big question that art always

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asks is, Why do things always disappear? Some ubiquitous things will simply not be here in a few years—you can’t not have perspective when drawing a phone booth at a gas station. I started to draw Fort Negley because I expected it to be screwed up by development, and I put Grimey’s on the list when I saw the “For Sale” sign on the building. Fort Negley is one of the locations prominently featured in Fortnight. Did you decide to draw it before or after the whole debate surrounding the Fort started? And, by drawing the Fort as it currently is, were you in some way reacting to proposed plans for turning it into this hip, urban, creative hub? I knew the site was richly and historically complicated, but I did not know about the debate when I decided to work there. I heard about the development plan on my first day there from the ranger. I was pissed. I thought cynically that it was a done deal and that Nashville’s unstoppable building orgy is just a sign of the times. I wrote a letter to the mayor and Parks Department and whoever and asked if we could just keep maybe this one thing for the next generation to develop. Just one? Fort Negley is a gem. Go visit. Seriously. Restoring the natural space under the derelict stadium and parking lot will enhance the city for generations in a way that even an Amazon headquarters couldn’t. I had the privilege of showing the drawings I made at their visitor center for the month of October. One of my drawings is of St. Cloud Hill’s sister, Edgehill, as seen through Negley’s Osage trees. It’s covered by a seamless carpet of buildings. I hope the comparison is obvious. Tell us about traveling down to Alabama and drawing during the Moore/Jones race. At what point in the campaign did you decide to go down, and what were your takeaways from covering such a divisive—and maybe even surreal—event?

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It occured to me on Sunday that I could just drive to Alabama for fourteen hours on Tuesday and draw an election. Well, hell . . . So I went. I felt like it would be the perfect test for this new modus that sprang from last year’s election to visit the most Trumpian election event of Doug Jones vs. Roy T. Moore. I have to admit I pretty much failed the test, but I’m calling it a productive failure. First off, the drawings are really boring—just scenes from polling stations and different roadside signs. I lost a ton of time chasing stories—like Roy on a horse! When I got to Gadsden there was nothing going on. I somehow didn’t think that both driving and drawing would be tiring, and I got home just exhausted. I did eat a fried hamburger and that was new. I also came back with some pictures in my head, and I drew those in the next few days. Those are the only pictures not made through direct sight, but they’re mine nonetheless. Every project teaches me something and tweaks my methods. Again, I met incredible people telling me incredible stories. I did have a few very intense conversations about my purpose there, and in the end I felt like it wasn’t my election to draw. I really hope to be geared up for Tennessee races this fall. About the public method behind Fortnight, you’ve said, “I was drawn to this method by the goal of increasing my own understanding of my surrounding community and that community’s understanding of art through my own discernible labor, openness, and strength of interpretations.” Did the project succeed in illuminating aspects of these communities? My writing sounds really pretentious there, but yes. Certainly I have had my eyes opened by what I’ve seen dropping into someone else’s situation. That process seems guaranteed to humble, inspire, and excite me as an artist. I have met just the best people and have gotten wisdom and humor and lessons from all of them. I believe it’s in the pictures I’ve made


Alabama News

Alabama Watching

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Rome Rooftop

Rocky Glade Farm Broccoli

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and better told there than here. As for affecting these communities, I’ll just say that I hope I have made an impression. When I set up to paint it draws people in and we talk, and if they agree to be in the picture, I’ll make two and they get one to take. That’s transactional, but it’s also a gift and a viral message. I hope it has the ability to remind them of what happened when they hang it on their wall or give it to their mom. Because the pieces in Fortnight chronicled places and events in real time, you obviously had to be hyperaware of your surroundings and in the moment. Would you say that approach was a reaction to how we often aren’t in the moment because of technology and social media? Great question, and yes. My devices and digital habits are the hand-forged bars of my personally insulated bubbledom. It’s a problem. I’ve got two amazing preteen kids, and I am scared shitless for the barren digital socialscape that awaits them. That said, I draw on a friggin’ iPad. It’s amazing! I’m not a Luddite. There’s no going back, only forward. Do you think you’ll go back to the studio for your next project? My immediate plans are to continue like this for a while. I’m excited to accrue a diverse range of subjects and publish them on an ongoing monthly basis. In the process, I’d like to expand the scope of the projects. Right now—by choice and constraint—I am working locally, but I’d love a challenge like trying to draw Congress at work or spending a month documenting freight going down the Mississippi. I have no idea what I could bring to those pictures that could make a new sense, but I’m excited about the challenge of bringing form to abstraction through direct experience. I am also still so bothered by my ignorance of the world, so I expect that there’s a lot of work ahead for me. I have imagined that I might map the world by targeting blind spots, sort of how Studs Terkel’s incredible book Working surveys the world of employment.

New name, same great people and services!

We are thrilled to announce that we are merging with our sister skincare

experts at Ona Belle Meade and changing our name to Ona Skincare East Nashville. We look forward to the year ahead and continuing to serve your skincare needs!

Fortnight Sessions is showing now through March 31 at Zeitgeist Gallery. East Nashville:

1013 Fatherland St.

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From the Windy City to Music City, Carey Ott has been releasing toe-tapping melodies for over a decade. He performed at Musicians Corner in 2017 and has a big year ahead of him in 2018. We sat down with Carey to discuss where he’s been and what’s next on the horizon.

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NASHVILLE FASHION WEEK SHOW: TUESDAY APRIL 3 RD FOR INFORMATION AND TICKETS VISIT NASHVILLEFASHIONWEEK.COM 82

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THE NASHVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESENTS:

Rohan Kohli is Director of A&R at Warner Music Nashville where he works with Dan+Shay and Hunter Hayes. He began at Ozone Entertainment in New York as a manager for bands including Boys Like Girls and Hey Monday, as well as songwriters/producers Sam Hollander and Dave Katz. Continuing to work with Ozone, he moved to Los Angeles in 2012 and transitioned into full-time writer/producer management where he worked with writers and producers such as Martin Johnson, Ryan Ogren, Nick Bailey, and Kevin Bard in both pop and ďŹ lm/TV. In 2014, he moved to Nashville where he began working with country-focused writers/producers such as Paul DiGiovanni, Andy Albert, Danny Orton, and more, in addition to his pop and synch roster. In June of 2017, he joined Warner Music Nashville. He graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with a degree in economics.

SUBMIT YOUR MUSIC FOR A CHANCE TO BECOME A NEW ADDITION TO THE BOOM BOX LIBRARY!

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YOU OUGHTA KNOW: AV P HOTO BY E M I LY DOR IO There’s a certain duality that comes into play when talking about spring. On the one hand, most people are pretty happy about warmer weather and longer days. But on the other hand, sometimes the change in season also brings difficult personal change—in relationships, jobs, or mindset (plus allergies suck). As a result, spring, despite bringing approximately five billion outdoor events to Nashville, is often a little bittersweet. Fortunately, pop up-and-comer AV understands this. She’s releasing two tracks on March 16—her debut single, “Just Us,” and “Young & Reckless,” a collab with LA-based producer Guy Gabriel—that are perfect for both sides of spring. “Just Us” is classic break-up fodder, with AV singing, “You tell me you love me but treat me just like a friend” over moody, cavernous percussion. Meanwhile, “Young & Reckless” is a windows-down ode to resilience and being, well, young and reckless. It’s the perfect duo of songs to get you through whatever this crazy season might throw at you. For her favorite local dish, AV chose some appropriately sunny food: etc.’s Brussels sprouts. Says the singer on Nashville culinary veteran Deb Paquette’s sprouts: “They’re healthy for you and can be made dairy-free for my allergies. Plus, the way Deb prepares them—with smoked ham shank and dried cranberries and caramelized onions—makes them so different and delicious.”

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Most things don’t really die in the winter, they just become less visible. Birds fly south, caterpillars pupate, snakes hibernate, plants move their energy to their roots. But in the spring, when warmth and sunlight come into the picture, the earth is animated and flaunts its colors and vigor. In some cases it’s not just the warmth that kindles life but the spring rains as well. While the rivers rage and steal the show in the rainier months, the smaller dimples in the landscape also fill with water. Though they only temporarily hold water, these vernal pools (also called ephemeral pools) provide a refuge for a unique community of creatures. The short-lived nature of vernal pools means they don’t have the predatory fish you might find in most aquatic environments, so some animals can find refuge in these fleeting ponds. Free from the stresses of stream and lake life, their chances of prevailing increase. Some of the pool’s occupants will travel over land and use the pool as a breeding ground. Others will make their way by air. Yet others, revived by spring rains, will emerge from the soil. Many amphibians spend their winters hidden underground, under logs and leaf litter, or in other crannies near the ground. As it gets warmer, they emerge from their homes ready to bring forth new life of their own. Most amphibians will use aquatic habitats as breeding grounds, and some, like the charming tiger salamander and spotted salamander, migrate en masse to vernal pools and lay eggs in large jelly-like clumps. After hatching, the larvae live underwater until they develop into an adult, when they can leave the pool and find a home of their own. While the salamanders are only temporary vernal pool residents, other creatures are more permanent. When the rain begins to fill up the depressions in the forest, tiny crustaceans hatch from eggs that have laid dormant in the soil. Some of the more charismatic of these crustaceans are fairy shrimp, tadpole shrimp, and clam shrimp. These tiny relatives of the lobster

will not grow to be much longer than an inch, and since they live in such a temporary environment, they must mature and reproduce before the pool dries up. Surprisingly, these delicate little shrimp have hardy eggs that will survive in the dry soil and hatch when the next season’s rain fills the pools again. Wetlands of all types, including seasonal wetlands like vernal pools, are some of the most threatened habitats in the US. While there are basic protections for wetlands built into national law (the Clean Water Act), these protections by themselves aren’t nearly as robust as they ought to be. To add insult to injury, one of President Trump’s executive orders repealed what was known as the Clean Water Rule, which clarified which aquatic habitats fell within the purview of the Clean Water Act. Since they are small and temporary, vernal pools stand to get overlooked as a wetland and miss out on the protection afforded by the law. In rapidly developing areas, like many Middle Tennessee communities, these small patches stand a higher chance of getting plowed over without anyone ever knowing they were there. While this is a complex problem, everyone can play a small part. The first step is simply knowing that the puddle in the woods of your local park may be a home for some relatively unknown and underappreciated creatures. Even if you aren’t enchanted by the flittering fairy shrimp or you think salamanders are gross (for shame!), you might still appreciate the larger role they play in the ecosystem (e.g. fairy shrimp have been said to be an important food source for ducks). And shrimp and sallies aren’t the only lifeforms found here. Some of these pools may have unique plants not found elsewhere in the surrounding woods. Different kinds of frogs and insects make use of these pools, and research has even indicated that they are important for birds. In many ways, vernal pools are an underdog among ecosystems—all they need is a few champions to rally for their cause.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cooper Breeden is a graduate student in biology at Austin Peay focusing on plant ecology. Recently, he led the river restoration program at the Harpeth Conservancy, where he still acts as an ecological consultant. He has also worked in fisheries management, watershed and wetland restoration, and philanthropy.

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Profile for Native

NATIVE | ISSUE 69 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Featuring Soccer Mommy, Salt & Vine, Paul Collins, Harlan Ruby, and many more.

NATIVE | ISSUE 69 | NASHVILLE, TN  

Featuring Soccer Mommy, Salt & Vine, Paul Collins, Harlan Ruby, and many more.