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PUBLISHER Lisa McCauley EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Chuck Allen MANAGING EDITOR Joey Butler

CALENDAR EDITOR Emma Alford

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Emma Alford, Sarah Hays Coomer, Melissa Corbin, Terri Dorsey, Sarah Farrell, Jeff Finlin, Randy Fox, James “Hags” Haggerty, Eric Jans, Heather Lose, Henry Pile, Tommy Womack DESIGN DIRECTOR Benjamin Rumble

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Chuck Allen

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Stacie Huckeba

ILLUSTRATIONS Benjamin Rumble, Dean Tomasek

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Dave Cardaciotto, Eric England, Heather Lose, Tommy Womack ADVERTISING DESIGN Heather Lose, Benjamin Rumble

SOCIAL MEDIA Nicole Keiper

INTERN Victoria Clodfelter

ADVERTISING CONTACT Lisa McCauley lisa@theeastnashvillian.com 615.582.4187

www.theeastnashvillian.com

Kitchen

Table Media Company Est.2010

© 2013 Kitchen Table Media, LLC The East Nashvillian is published bimonthly by Kitchen Table Media, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.

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Cover

48 The Wild Feathers

Like the proverbial duck on the water these guys’ calm exteriors belie the fact that they are paddling like hell toward something big Jeff Finlin

Features

32 43

66

Los colognes

Working hard at playing together is easy Henry Pile

The king of clearview avenue

After a lifetime sharing stages and studios with music legends, fiddle king Buddy Spicher is content to oversee his little 5 Points empire

His Window to the World Doug Lancio’s sense of what’s right

Peter Cooper’s ‘Field of Dreams’ is in his own back yard Randy Fox

Tommy Womack

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Triple Header

72

He’s been everywhere, man

But now “NashPhil” Kaufman is good in the ‘hood Heather Lose

Hundred 80 The Mile-an-Hour Man The too-fast life of Randy Hughes Randy Fox

Randy Fox

on the cover

The music issue By Hatch Show Print Photograph by Chuck Allen Assembled for digital press by Benjamin Rumble

continued on page 10

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East Side Buzz

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matters of 24 More development

Gallatin Road zoning quandary continues Terri Dorsey

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Eric Jans

Dinner Lab pops up on Gallatin Road Melissa Corbin

commentary

14 Editor’s Letter 16 Astute Observations 29 Walkin’ after midnight

to dress your 87 How inner rock star

Chuck Allen

Sarah Farrell

James Haggerty

104 East of Normal Tommy Womack

Sarah Hays Coomer

In the kNow

12 30

91 East Side Calendar

About our cover The editor

Emma Alford

Know Your Neighbor: Behind the scenes at Eastside Fish Heather Lose

parting shot

Ayla Williams sings! Photographed by Dave Cardaciotto

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About theCover A

s of Oct. 12, 2013, after 134 years in five different locations around downtown Nashville, Hatch Show Print is moving to 224 5th Ave S, where it will occupy four custom-designed spaces in the expanded Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. We recently spoke with Celene Aubry, manager at Hatch Show Print, about the excitement of the upcoming move. What excites you most about the upcoming move? Where do I begin . . . the floor plan! The layout of the new print shop is  inspired by the 1923 floor plan of the shop that was right behind the Ryman on 4th Avenue North, and the design even includes wood floorboards set at a 45-degree angle, which, in the original shop, provided the stability needed to carry the weight of tons’ worth of presses, type and paper. Not only is it ergonomic, it allows us to place the presses along an 80-foot glass wall looking onto the lobby, giving Omni hotel guests, concert goers heading to the CMA Theater and visitors to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Hatch Show Print the opportunity to watch the prints literally roll off the presses. It is the most colorful part of the process, where all the design and typesetting work come together.  In addition to creating the space for us to lay out the print shop properly, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and architects Tuck-Hinton have designed four distinct Hatch-centric venues, if you will: The print shop itself has room to grow and add presses; our retail shop is going from a 250-square-foot hallway to a 1600-square-foot space with an entire wall covered in the 100 plus posters that will be for sale (among other cool stuff ); Jim Sherraden’s monoprint artwork and the classic prints made from the historic wood blocks will finally get the wall real estate they deserve in a separate gallery that looks out onto 5th Avenue South (right where our neon sign will be hung!); and, last but not least, we will have our own “wet” classroom, where we can get inky and inspired with folks through demonstrations, hands-on printing and more in-depth programs.   One of the most important reasons for this move, especially for those of us keen on preserving, protecting and sharing the history of Hatch and its interaction with so many different worlds — Southern culture, all genres of music and just about any form of entertainment that was popular post light-bulb to pre-television, as well as advertising, commercial art and graphic design — is moving into an environment in which we can preserve the collection of wood blocks, type, ephemera and other artifacts of Hatch Show Print for generations to come. A huge bonus is that we’ll be under the same roof with our

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coworkers and compatriots at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, working side-by-side with them to organize and document everything in a way that will make it easier to share the Hatch story the world! We tell other people’s stories every day, in 40 words or less, with every poster we make in the shop, so it’s exciting to think about being able to tell more of Hatch’s history, whether it’s with a hand-carved wood block or the meticulously kept business file we have for Colonel Tom Parker that dates back to before Elvis was King.   Can you give us a brief description of the educational programs that will be available?   Our goals are grand! We will start by offering daily artifact talks and tours, which will present the history of Hatch Show Print and explain the process of letterpress printing — an outmoded technology that has become a craft and an art. We will continue to participate in the family programs offered by the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum that we’ve done in years past. As we settle in and get into our groove, we will expand into longer and more in depth programs.   We are fortunate to have two veins of rich source material that lend themselves to the subjects of history, art, language arts, math and science: Hatch Show Print and letterpress printing. We’re working with our Education Department to develop curricula for primary and secondary level students, and we have plans to offer lectures and talks, daylong immersive workshops and multiple-session workshops that kids, students and adults can participate in after school and in the evenings. Will the “feel” of an old-school print shop be carried into the new location?  This will be Hatch Show Print’s sixth location, and only the second time the space was designed and laid out specifically for the needs and daily workflow of a print shop. Of course, we plan to paper the walls with posters to draw people’s attention, as we’ve done before. But two things we often hear come to mind: When visitors step inside Hatch, they realize they are in a print shop because they smell the ink and they hear the presses cranking. We have an incredibly creative and versatile staff of designer-printers who work with the gorgeous collection of wood type and blocks of imagery every day, getting the ink out and keeping the presses rolling. We believe this type of immersive experience will guarantee that anyone visiting us will know we’re carrying on the tradition of letterpress printing in the 21st century.


Saturday, September 28 with THE

LONDON SOULS

Monday, September 30

The Making Of...

I

n celebration of the move to their new location, The East Nashvillian teamed up with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Hatch Show Print for this issue’s cover design. Realizing this idea presented certain challenges, however. For starters, our magazine is produced almost entirely in the digital world, from the digital images provided by most of our photographers all the way through to the PDF files we upload to the printer. Hatch Show Print, on the other hand, relies on the same letterpress techniques they’ve been using for well over a century. Letterpress is an entirely mechanical process done entirely by hand. So how do we bridge these two worlds? Fortunately for us we found a sympathetic spirit in Heather, the Hatch designer and printer that put the actual letterpress prints together for us. Because our masthead uses a traditional font, Heather was able to find a very close approximation in Hatch’s extraordinary collection of wooden block type. She even found a way to replicate the trapezoids behind each letter in our masthead. Once the “type was set” she printed various versions of the masthead on different papers. For all of the copy, Heather used her design skills to set the type in a way — and with the instantly recognizable look — that made Hatch Show Print famous. She then printed this, along with the other design elements, the same way she printed the masthead. The resulting prints were taken to Chromatics for scanning, using their very expensive, very high-end scanning process. This is where the “analog to digital” conversion took place, giving us the high-resolution image files we would need in order to assemble the cover in the digital world. This is where our intrepid designer Benjamin Rumble stepped in. The standard size for a Hatch Show Print is 14” by 22”. The magazine is 8.5” by 11.25”. The magazine in not only smaller, but also it is dimensionally different; by printing and then scanning the elements separately, Benjamin was able to reduce elements as needed in order to lay them out in a meaningful way. We all agreed that keeping the photograph of The Wild Feathers in the digital world was the best approach. It is the only element of the cover that never lived in the analog world, although we did use a half-tone process provided to us by Hatch. We hope you like it. We sure do.

with special guest X

Saturday, October 5

Wednesday, October 16

Monday, October 21 with SCOTT

MILLER

Wednesday, November 13 with HURRAY

2nd show added

FOR THE RIFF RAFF

Sunday, November 17

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Editor’s Letter What a long, strange trip it’s been ...

P

erhaps the strangest thing about Nashville these days — and East Nashville in particular — is that people are actually moving here to make a go of it in rock ’n roll. It wasn’t that long ago when getting the hell out of Nashville was the top priority for any self-respecting band, with the destination being, more often than not, LA. Now there seems to be a movement afoot describing itself as the “new” Nashville. An interesting concept, although one that totally disregards reality. For what Nashville is today, especially where the music scene is concerned, results entirely from a continuum. One doesn’t have to work very hard in order to connect the dots. To think that the foundation upon which some “new” Nashville stands was built in a year, five years or even a decade is ludicrous. Period. This is a concept that could only be generated by people who are willfully ignorant of history, especially where music is concerned. Such people, naive in their intellectual makeup, are ultimately inconsequential because theirs is an attitude of exclusivity. Not only that, they’re boring and have nothing to say.

B

ut enough of that. Our September|October issue is called “The Music Issue,” and with it we attempt to connect a few of the dots. For me it really began in the early 1980s at a club called Cantrell’s. I was lucky to have been there and been a part of it, and I saw some of the best bands of my generation there. Without a doubt, the leader of the pack back then was Jason & the Nashville Scorchers. I remember seeing those guys after they’d been on tour for a while. They’d already made a name for themselves, so this particular show was much anticipated and it was packed. That night they were absolutely brilliant. All the pieces had fallen into place, and they were, in that moment, the best rock ’n roll band on the planet. There has been a lot of ink spent on tracing the origins of what is known today as “Americana” back to the Scorchers.

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D

oug Lancio not only witneesed that scene, he was integral to it; the Questionnaires were one of the biggest draws in the late ’80s. He went on to produce Patty Griffin’s breakthrough record 1000 Kisses in the basement of his East Nashville home in 2001. I doubt anyone will argue about how intrumental Griffin has been in popularizing the Americana genre. Peter Cooper moved to Nashville after the “alternative” music heyday of the ’80s, but he recognized the influence it had, and continues to have, on the Nashville music scene. As he puts it so succinctly, “I’m ... terribly disinterested in the ‘Music Row is evil and the East Side rocks’ thing. It can all work together.” Can-I-have-an-AMEN?!? Fast-forward to the two young bands featured in this issue: Los Colognes and The Wild Feathers. They recognize that what they do can’t exist in a vacuum of “new-ness.” On the contrary, they’re like sponges, soaking up everything they can find, exploring the myriad trails of musical influences like hounds on a scent. Hit the rewind button and we go back to the 1950s and Randy Hughes. There was a really happening scene in East Nashville then. Those were the days when you knew somebody had hit it big because they moved to Madison. The legendary Road Mangler Phil Kaufman rounds out our features for the music issue. The guy partied with Keith Richards and Gram Parsons — what more do you want? Maybe, if I can ever find the time, I’ll get around to telling more of the story and connecting more of the dots. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this issue. I’d also like to give a shout out to Mary Ann at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as Celene, Heather and Jim at Hatch Show print for our cover. Enjoy the music and keep on keeping on.


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{ astute observations } for the

E ast Side ... & beyond By

James “ Hags ” Haggerty

Attention East Nashville and beyond:

James M. Haggerty,

It is I, and I have something to say!

P

ut the banjo down! Back away from the banjo. Go back up the mountain with that thing on your knee and leave it there. Oh! Susanna will not cry for thee. You of the Rollie Fingers mustache and the PBR can — don’t you like to rock? You know, visceral, rebellious, smashing, crashing, kick out the jams motherf*#kers ROCK!?! Did Ben Franklin touch his finger to the key on the kite string so you could reject electricity? Hell, no! And that was in 1752. What are you guys, Amish? After a good day of barn raising, do you sit around for a good plinkety-plank on the ol’ banjo? Come on now! You’ve made the damn thing a fashion accessory. When you tune it like a guitar and strum chords on it, I cry foul! I have listened to the songs of the modern banjo crop. AAAAAA OOOOOO AAAAAA OOOOOO AAAAAA!!! That’s not a chorus; those are vowel sounds, an English as a second-language class, a soccer stadium stomp-along. Before there were banjos, there were electric guitars!!! People did not come from miles around to hear Johnny B. Goode play the banjo just like he was ringing a bell. Jimmy Page did not channel the dark magic with a Les Paul and a dragon suit so you could sit on the porch uploading

iPhone photos of your banjo jam to Instagram. No way. Did Jimi Hendrix flip a Stratocaster over, play it left-handed, dry-hump it and then set it on fire so you could stare timidly at your shoes while you plink away and sip your seven-dollar coffee? Absolutely not!  Surely, Angus Young has not spent his entire adult life in a schoolboy uniform bashing out killer rock ‘n roll damnation riffs for nothing. Perish the thought! Guitar heroes all! Rock ‘n roll rebels — dangerous, dark, drunk, mischievous, fun-loving, loud, in your face and proud. And they wrote great songs; the timeless, stay with you for a lifetime kind. OK, I’ve ranted and raved. I’m the type of guy that likes to do that. But my inner Keith Richards (maker of riffs designed to last a lifetime) tells me all will be well. Don’t fear for the future of distortion and windmills (the Townshend type, not those Dutch things). The next Ike Turner, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Replacements, R.E.M., Smiths, Cure and Nirvana — they’re always right around the corner. Just waiting to melt faces. All will be well.  How do I know? About five years ago, I had a bass student who was in the sixth grade. He asked me if I had ever heard and could I show him how to play “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n Roll)” by AC/DC. I smiled and said, “yes.”  Banjo Schmanjo.

— We would like to make it clear that this is Hags’ opinion. It just so happens his opinion

is identical to our own. When he’s not perfecting the theme from “Deliverence” on bass (through a Marshall stack with a Big Muff Π), Hags can be seen eight nights a week playing around town with pretty much everybody. Fortunately, he still finds time to provide The East Nashvillian with his “astute observations” about life here in the promised land.

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EAST SIDE B U Z Z

Improving the looks of Gallatin Road has been the unsolved riddle for East Nashvillians who take pride in the renovated charm of their neighborhoods and the trendy restaurants and shops surrounding the corridor. A makeover has proven tricky, however, because it means dictating how property owners can use their land. A few years ago Metro planners and neighborhood leaders thought they had worked out a zoning plan solution called Specific Planning (SP), which set design rules for new development and halted the future growth of businesses considered undesirable. That plan, which applies to more than 700 businesses along Gallatin Road, fell apart earlier this summer when the State Appeals Court ruled the SP invalid. The resulting confusion leaves businesses and property owners with millions of dollars at stake. One of the best examples is the case of Conoly Brown, the Tennessee Quick Cash owner who won his six-year legal battle against Metro Planning when the zoning plan was overturned. He had lost nearly $100,000

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overnight when it originally went into effect. He paid $160,000 for property at 934 Gallatin Road where he planned to relocate his business, but the seller did not tell him about the impending zoning change — a change which prevented his car title loan business from operating on the site. “We’ve had it for sale ever since, and the only offer we’ve received is for $50,000,” says Brown.

September | October 2013

Prior to its reversal, SP zoning meant new businesses such as pawn shops and cash advance stores could not open along Gallatin Road from 5th Street to Briley Parkway. Brown complained the zoning change had ulterior motives: “East Nashville groups are trying to get rid of the services that supported the people who live there.” The intention, community organizers said at

illustrations by benjamin rumble

Gallatin Road zoning quandary continues


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the time, was to help direct future growth so it would no longer resemble routes like Charlotte Avenue or Nolensville and Murfreesboro Roads. But highly traveled roads are prime locations for the clientele Brown and his competitors want to attract: working people who cannot borrow funds from their local banks. He says Tennessee Quick Cash customers know their credit will not be checked. “Everybody who borrows has to have a job. If they have a job and a banking account, we’ll basically loan them money.” Brown says their customers pay interest rates ranging from 10 to 22 percent. Because there are more than a dozen competing quick-loan stores along Gallatin Road, Brown says his business needs bright lights, prominent signs and visible parking. “Whoever has the easiest parking lot to get in and out, with the best access and visibility … they will do the most business.” Since the needs of a quick-loan building didn’t mesh with the sidewalk storefronts planners envisioned of Gallatin as a pedestrian corridor, SP banned such businesses as a permitted use. In June, Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell ruled the SP plan “be declared null and void because the ordinances that

restrict their rights to use their property lack any reasonable or rational basis, thereby violating their constitutional rights to due process and protection of the laws.” The Metro Planning Department reverted back to the original zoning plan from seven years ago, which is mostly commercial. That move creates problems for newer businesses like The Dog Spot because the old zoning doesn’t allow the doggie daycare business to operate in its current site. Co-owner Andy Baker says the zoning confusion hurts the whole area. “The biggest problem now is people don’t know what to do, so they are not doing anything. No one is going to develop anything while this is in limbo.” Over the summer community leaders, neighbors, property owners and government officials have been mulling over a new zoning plan that continues to spark controversy. City planners say the new zoning proposal is about the shape and location of new buildings, without targeting certain businesses. The multi-use zoning categories require new buildings be built with sidewalk storefronts and parking located in the back. It also restricts the size and types of signs lining Gallatin Road.

Some business owners share the same concerns as Baker, who argues it’s dangerous to require their customers to park in the back of the building off an unsightly alley. “What was the rear of the building will now be the entrance, and it’s disgusting. You’ve got trash and criminal elements, and it’s ugly looking and very unsafe.” He adds, “The restrictions on signage are huge.” Metro Councilman and Gallatin Road business owner Anthony Davis says the proposed zoning categories are a great opportunity, “particularly for North Inglewood, as it has been hamstrung on use options by having ‘office/ residential’ as the underlying land use policy.” He believes the signage restrictions will be negotiable as the proposed plan moves forward. “I am open to compromise on signage. I feel it is time to lose the old pole-sign mentality.” He adds the requirement for sidewalk storefronts can be amended to impact larger developers more than small businesses. Work on rezoning will continue this fall, but no matter how the plan changes, or how upscale the Gallatin Road marketplace becomes, Conoly Brown says it’s still a prime location for quick-cash businesses like his. “Our store sites

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“Word is that you are looking for a Realtor. I just closed on a house in East Nashville.

I worked with Jeremy Hundley. It was a great experience.

extremely familiar with the East Nashville market and trends and he is a joy to Jeremy is knowledgeable,

work with—unless

you are looking for a pushy, obnoxious guy who thinks he knows what you want more than you do, dresses like it’s 1980 and wears way too much Polo cologne.

Then he is definitely NOT your Realtor.” —John, Golden Spiral Creative JEREMY HUNDLEY, REALTOR Hodges & Fooshee Realty Inc. call or text 615-481-7321 HundleyHouse@gmail.com

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are based on traffic count, not based on trying to be in somebody’s neighborhood.” His legal victory means he could open on Gallatin Road, but he says he will concentrate on improving his 21 other sites. — TD

Dinner Lab pops up on Gallatin Road

At 2412 Gallatin Road sits a slate gray, nondescript building that is full of energy and great talent. The East Room — home recently to another edition of the highly successful East Nashville Underground — is in the back of the house, and Pizza Buds can be found in the parking lot. There has also long been an empty kitchen space, but not any more. It’s now Dinner Lab’s East Nashville residence. Dinner Lab originated in New Orleans and was recently established in Austin. Founders Brian Bordainick, Francisco “Paco” Robert and Drew Barrett also felt Nashville would be a great fit for their mission, which is to provide a platform for up-and-coming chefs, sous-chefs, line cooks and even home chefs to tell their story through the cuisine they are most passionate about. One could say Dinner Lab is for foodies looking for something a little different. It’s what might happen if a flash mob and a pop-up

dinner were to have a baby. After an initial $100 fee, members are privy to regular updates of upcoming dinners. They have to move fast to snag a ticket though: It’s a one-night affair and sell-outs are the norm. The location is kept secret until the day before the dinner, when an email with all of the details arrives in your inbox. It could be anywhere from a mechanic’s garage, rooftop or warehouse, to an art gallery, museum or farm. Each dinner will cost about $50 with tax and tip included. Dinner Lab’s inaugural Nashville dinner was held inside a 100-year-old feed and seed warehouse, currently under renovation to become The Track.One Motorsports building. Earlier in the week a multi-city, Google Hang-Out, Sazerac Happy Hour helped the team with their game plan. Nashville’s cocktail consultants Pour Taste greeted members with a very special cocktail and the dinner party began. Chef Lalita Kaewsawang, the very first Dinner Lab chef in New Orleans, shared her delectably aromatic Central Thai comfort food with Nashville that night. Seated at two long tables were folks from all walks of life. At one moment, there was a discussion about biscuits, a “meat-and-tater” kind of guy loving his first

taste of green curry, pallets of LetterLogic mail rolling overhead and Queen and Bowie’s “Under Pressure” was on the playlist. All five courses, paired with a thoughtful wine and beer selection, had the party lingering well after the last course was served. East Nashvillians, please welcome one

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of the newest culinary gifts to the ‘hood. Clare Dietzen is their regional manager and Andrea Pinkard is Nashville’s event manager. If you would like to become a Dinner Lab member, have a space to host a lab or want to share your story through five courses, visit www.dinnerlab.com. — MC

More Matters of Development

The most exciting new development in the works is 1100 Fatherland on the empty lot owned by Mark and Patti Sanders, who also developed the Shoppes on Fatherland, the 37206 building, and other properties in the immediate area. It will feature two restaurant

after a recent donation to the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s collection, three priceless instruments, invaluable to the history of Bluegrass, have come home to the Precious Jewels exhibit.

GiBSon rB-GranaDa MaStErtonE Banjo Earl Scruggs helped define bluegrass music with his three-finger picking style. Scruggs acquired the Granada in the late 1940s and used it on the “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” recording credited to Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys. He continued to play the Granada for the rest of his life.

Martin D-28 Guitar as a key member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in the1940s, and then as partner to Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt helped shape and popularize bluegrass music. He purchased this guitar in 1956 from a West Virginia pawnshop and used it on most Flatt & Scruggs recordings and performances.

GiBSon F-5 ManDoLin Bill Monroe’s Gibson F-5 Master Model is the most famous mandolin in american music history. the label inside was signed by Gibson’s legendary engineer, Lloyd Loar. Monroe bought the instrument in the early 1940s when he spotted it in a Florida barbershop window. Monroe played it until his death in 1996.

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$2 oFF aDuLt GEnEraL aDMiSSion no other discounts apply. not valid on discount packages. Valid through october 31, 2013. Code: EASTNASH

222 5th Ave. South • Downtown Nashville • 615.416.2001 Country Music Hall of Fame.org • Follow Us: countrymusichof The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the State of Tennessee in 1964.

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spaces: One for Nuvo Burrito, with the second space still for lease. There will be three retail spaces, two of which have already been reserved for successful stores that have outgrown their space at the Shoppes on Fatherland. Rich McCoy, the architect on the project, is also excited about the street space running through the middle of the project that can be used for receptions or a gallery space for events. At the Shoppes on Fatherland, most of the action involves businesses moving. In addition to the stores leaving for 1100 Fatherland, The Trunk Nashville is moving to the front facing Fatherland, and Rosebuds East is moving to one of the side shops. Elaine Hensley, co-owner of MOXIE fearless furnishings, is happy about the progress: “Being a part of an evolving artisan and merchant community is exciting, it connects us with people around the city who support local small business.” New stores are Adobe and Jones Fly Company, a fly fishing store. Coming soon is a shop featuring hemp products. Nearby, at 10th and Russell, architect John Root is working on a large mixed-use development with 16 townhome row houses with a two-story commercial space anchoring the corner. 715 Woodland has recently broken ground. This is a four-story apartment project across from East Park featuring 54 apartments. Next door at East Side Station, Nashville Sweets and Yeast Nashville are open. Inside, East Nashville Family Medicine plans to open late this fall. Primary care will be available for all ages and will include well child and adult physicals as well as sick care, walk-in urgent care and occupational health. The office plans to have extended weekday hours and will have limited hours on Saturday and Sunday. Center 615 just had their grand opening. The office spaces at 615 Main Street are almost completely leased but developer Christian Paro has co-working space available. One of the newest tenants is Epps Interactive, an online marketing agency started by Michael Epps Utley, who recently brought his company back to East Nashville from the D.C. area. Another new tenant, Coles & Colomy, is a web-marketing firm focused on SEO, content marketing and social media. Coming soon to Porter Road and Greenwood is Boone & Sons Market, owned by Miguel Sanchez and Cameron Monzon. Sanchez also owns Wild & Local Foods in the Nashville Farmers’ Market. The market will specialize in fresh produce and prepped foods, meats, seafood, soups and sides, as well as local and regional craft beers available for growlers. They hope to be open at the end of September.


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ES B

At 700 Fatherland, a new home boutique called Rustique Nashville plans to open by October. Owned by Erica Judd and Karin Farr, the store will feature refinished furniture, home décor and gifts. Around the corner will be Wild Flower Salon, owned by Devin Eddins, who also plans an October opening.

The Krystal on Gallatin and Cahal has been torn down and will become a Speedway gas station. Mickey’s Tavern, a new dive bar, is open at 2907 Gallatin Pike. It features “No DJ’s. No bands. No karaoke. No trivia nights.” Open daily, 5 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.

At 972 Main Street, the Sine Systems building across from Hunter’s is empty, with a sign on the door saying “Opening Soon Mexican Restaurante.” Changes The new Japanese gastropub being built near Ugly Mugs has changed its name to Two Ten Jack, referencing a popular casual Japanese card game. The Post, a coffee shop/smoothie/juice place, was to open near Holland House, but the owners are now scouting for a new location, with hopes to open by year’s end. Recent Closings Stained Glass and Accessories has vacated its 1701 Fatherland space and moved to 3341 Town Village Road in Antioch. Feast in the Fifth & Main building. No word on what is happening next with that space. Eat Well Market at Riverside and Rosebank, across from the Piggly Wiggly that also recently closed. That intersection is slated for some big changes. — EJ

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Naz Arts Academy & Naz Rec present

Combining recreational and artistic enrichment to nurture and inspire young people

Spend Fall Break with us! Week 1: Oct 7—Oct 11 Week 2: Oct 14—Oct 17 hosted by

For more information and registration visit www.nfcn.org Naz Arts Academy Director, Shiloah Fenn at shistonestudios@gmail.com

Naz Rec Director Director, Matthew Dunlap at mdunlap@nfcn.org September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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Walkin’ After

Midnight

By Sarah Hays Coomer

W

hen I traded Los Angeles for Nashville in 2007, I did it with more than a little trepidation. The guy I was shadowing was a 40-something entrenched bachelor, a drummer who had been on the road for decades. My creative heart was broken in L.A., and I was in search of a fresh start. As I dreamed of a new home with lush, green trees and summer storms, I also felt my throat tighten at the thought of long, dark, winding roads with sporadic street lights. I would miss my city streets. Over the 10 years I spent in New York and L.A., I developed a habit of walking for hours in the middle of the night. It was a form of therapy I cultivated in my twenties to deal with catastrophically bad body image and mounting anxiety. No matter how many latenight slices I ate, no matter how many cocktail-waitressing gigs and temp jobs I got fired from, I could always walk. The sidewalks were my lifeline, and they were free. When I made the move to Tennessee, for my sanity, I needed to know I would have sidewalks to pace long after everyone else pulled the blinds and crawled into bed. Steps from my front door, I longed to be able to turn left or right and start strolling. When I landed in the heart of Lockeland Springs, I discovered I could breathe. The sidewalks went up and down hills, passed by old houses in various states of rehabilitation, and opened onto Shelby Park. At the time, 5 Points was growing, but I never dreamed I

would be lucky enough to live squarely in the middle of what I can only describe as one of the most welcoming neighborhoods I have ever known. Over the years, as I walked — accompanied by my four-legged babies, Elvin and then Ringo — I put on my headphones and watched the transformation of East Nashville through the eyes of Will Hoge, Jack Silverman and Erin McCarley. I saw storefronts come and go, and one day noticed that they came and stayed. Structures were erected in empty lots to house shops for people who create things with their hands and display them for voyeurs like me, Elvin and Ringo. The sidewalks have introduced me to people who care for five, six, or even seven foster dogs to keep them from being euthanized by Metro Animal Control. They rescue these bedraggled souls from the street, provide them medical care and doggie biscuits, and treat them like family until they find forever homes. I walked nightly until I found an outdoor patio with a beautiful, tattooed waitress who brought me cabernet while I looked up at the stars, inhaling the maple trees and knockout roses framing the view. When I had a baby not too long ago — a small human who keeps me homebound more than I might like — the sidewalks emancipated me in a whole new way. The mini-man and I have struck out for epic walks almost every day since he was born, and the neighborhood has continued to stretch and

yawn wider and deeper than I ever could have imagined. It has risen up with a pavilion two blocks from my house that hosts weekly concerts. It has surprised me with a Hootenanny just a few blocks further flung where I can sit under a tree with my boys (two- and four-legged), drink lemonade and watch the sun go down with music dancing in my ears. I do a double take at least once a week, walking by a house that was transformed seemingly overnight or a restaurant packed to overflowing where there used to be a hair salon. I have found a yoga studio, an ice cream shop, two farmers’ markets, and a park with a picnic table and an unrestricted view of a gleaming fire engine … every little dude’s dream come true. When I moved here, I was looking for a place to heal, a place where it would be OK that I came from L.A. and wasn’t all that enamored with cowboy hats. I had one non-negotiable. My need for sidewalks led me to East Nashville, a place where I can start walking and never stop. Recently, Karl Dean has taken to fixing my sidewalks, making them smooth and shiny, and he will never know the depth of my gratitude … and the gratitude of all the dog walkers, stroller pushers and little ones learning to walk who will traverse the safety of our East Nashville sidewalks in the years to come as we watch schools, hookah shops and sushi restaurants pop up like dandelions in the summer sun.

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know

your

neigh

bor

Behind the scenes at

EastsideFish Story and Photos by

heather Lose

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en years of running a restaurant is a powerful long time, with thousands of early mornings and late nights. Bo, owner/operator of Eastside Fish, sits in the front of his Gallatin Pike restaurant among the murals, artwork and souvenirs that adorn every cheerful wall. That’s right, just Bo. That’s what he goes by. He’s talking about his decade in business; about performing the tasks most people will never see. “Administrative duties, research and development, being creative, staying with the times — like serving healthy foods — and trying to provide a value,” he laughs. “Front of the house, back of the house, all around the house at the same time! You’re the first one here and the last to leave. I’m probably here about 6 or 7, and sometimes I don’t leave until 10 or 11.” In addition to being an able manager, Bo is a creative guy. He does most of the designs and

with that, being the crunkest fish in town … it means everybody is all hyper, so that’s what I said about my fish, you know? It’s crunk! It’s the best! Makes you jump up and around.” If you can’t go to Bo, he’ll come to you. It’s easy to spot the Eastside Fish catering truck as you drive past 2617 Gallatin Pike. Bo enjoys getting out of the “back of the house” and out into the world. “We do catering and concessions, festivals and reunions, frats, churches, music — whatever you want to do, we can accommodate that.” He talks happily about his team’s ability to swoop in, take care of business and leave not a trace behind. Bo’s attention to detail is one of the many reasons Eastside Fish has stayed in business for a decade while so many other restaurants have come and gone. He pays attention and is a pillar of his community. Gallatin Pike has seen a lot of change and speculation since Eastside

warmer,” he says. He keeps abreast of foodie trends and has tweaked the menu accordingly. “We try to be more conscious of consumers’ desire to eat a little bit more healthfully. So we have nutritional facts out there and disclosures of what we fry in. Our side items are cooked fresh daily, and we don’t use any canned items.” Signs near the ordering window read, “Zero trans fat, peanut and vegetable oils, wild caught, USDA inspected.”

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astside’s biggest seller is also just plain big. “Our flagship, our trademark, our claim to fame is the O.G. Giant King Fish Sandwich! That’s what everybody hears about and that’s what put us on the map,” Bo says. “It’s a whiting fish sandwich, but it’s the biggest whiting fish sandwich in Music City — some say on dry land! You get two big ol’ size fillets, over a pound and a half of fish, and we

“... that’s what I said about my fish, you know? It’s crunk! It’s the best! Makes you jump up and around.” logos, marketing and promotion himself. “My saying is, ‘You know where to get it, the truth is in the skillet—here at Eastside Fish.’” That guitar-shaped skillet on the T-shirt? Yep, Bo made that. He also designed the restaurant’s logo and helped design its website. “We have another slogan: ‘We’re the kings of fish.’ And I couldn’t be a king without the team,” he says. Bo’s crew includes four or five employees, and casual labor as needed. “I have some people who have been with me since the beginning, off and on.” Bo is quick with credit for others. He is thankful for his family, especially his brother and mother and his grandmother, who helped start the business. He credits his higher power for allowing him to get up every day and do what he does. Most of all, he’s grateful for his customers. Many are from the neighborhood, but he also feeds people who are just passing through Nashville and heard about the place on NPR, or read about the “Crunkest Fish in Town” in a national magazine like Gourmet. Bo says, “They come from everywhere — Europe, Britain, all over the U.S., California, New York, Florida. We had some folks come through from Miami yesterday. I am ecstatic about that!”

Fish opened, and plans for this stretch of road continue to be discussed. Bo keeps an eye on what’s going on out there, but it’s his focus inside that keeps the place afloat. “This is one of the most difficult and stressful businesses. They have TV network shows — food channels and programs about restaurants, cooking, chefs — so you can kind of get an idea about what goes on in the kitchen every day. When you’re handling food and you’re dealing with the public you have all types of agencies to deal with. The health department, water department, fire department … you have to be in compliance.” Nothing else would matter if Eastside Fish didn’t deliver a tasty product. Every meal is cooked to order; freshness counts for Bo. “We don’t have fish just laying around up under a

give you extra bread with that, and dress it up with hot sauce, mustard, pickles and onions.” For smaller appetites there are smaller fish sandwiches on the menu, as well as burgers, chicken, shrimp and “’hood wangs” — a term Bo coined to describe his chicken and buffalo wings. “They’re from the ’hood, for the ’hood.” Bo enjoys the public, and at the end of the day, it’s his customers’ satisfaction that drives him. “Every time the door opens it’s gratifying, and it warms my heart. Does me good, because they could go anywhere but they come in here to support us.” He promises a festive parking-lot party to celebrate the eatery’s 10th anniversary. Bo’s a creative guy, and his mind is hoppin’ — much like the crunk music that inspired Eastside Fish’s well-known tagline.

S

o, about this crunk thing: What does it mean? “Crunk is a word that is slang, that’s incorporated into our vocabulary now, and it’s like a hyper sensation,” Bo explains. “So like if you are dancing, or something like that, and you get crunk, it’s like you are hyper — something like wave surfin.’ So when I came out September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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Working hard at playing together for Los Colognes

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by Henry Pile

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photos by Eric England

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“We accidentally moved to Inglewood.”— Jay

D

jay

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on’t bullshit Jay Rutherford. He’s not a hack. He’s not a burnout. He’s not on holiday in Nashville with his guitar and a handful of songs. The fact is, Jay Rutherford is serious, and he might be the most intellectual musician in East Nashville. His education in language, philosophy, and communications casts the line for his effortlessly prolific nature and ability to offer delightfully verbose commentary on subjects ranging from crock-pot cooking to the thought process motivating René Descartes. Jay Rutherford might also be the goofiest, Vine app prolific, and most weirdly interesting musician in East Nashville. That’s saying a lot. Jay, lead vocalist and guitarist for Los Colognes (pronounced “cologne” like the perfume plus “ace” like the World War II fighter pilot), doesn’t travel alone. His brand of thought-rock requires a sidekick, a partnerin-crime, a simpatico fella with equal or greater proportions of bizarre-i-tude. This would be drummer Aaron “Mort” Mortenson. Mort delivers a “take it as it comes” attitude about life, but stares down his musical road with fierce passion. Jay and Aaron grew up on the west side of Chicago and have been friends for more than 13 years. Inside this long-term relationship exists a trust framework so strong that when Mort, who was traveling from Chicago to Nashville playing sessions, suggested the duo make the move to Nashville, there was no question. They packed two sedans and made the drive to ... Franklin. “My friend lived in Franklin, and he had a house — but he backed out at the last minute,” Mort says with slight relief. “We accidentally moved to Inglewood,” Jay recalls. As the story goes, another friend suggested they look in East Nashville because it seemed to fit their lifestyle. Eventually, Mort convinced another friend from Chicago, bassist Gordon Persha, to move down. Gordon found a house across the street and shares it with keyboardist Micah Hulscher. Together with second keyboardist Chuck Foster, and guitar September | October 2013


“I’m only six months deep. I’ve got seven more years before I feel like I can tell anybody that I’m attempting to play (bebop).” — Mort players Zach Setchfield and Wojtek Krupka, Los Colognes was born. At the core of the band lies Jay and Mort. The band is an institution that exists solely on their complete financial, emotional and intellectual investments. For Jay and Mort, everything revolves around Los Colognes. Most notably, their social media endeavors. If you haven’t downloaded Vine, do that now and follow Los Colognes. The guys dive into six seconds of looped humor with fervor. Mort and Jay both admit to serious consideration and thought for each outlandish Vine. They’ve coerced employees at Sam Ash to let them climb onto props and recruited innocent volunteers as extras. They’ve also poked fun at Mort’s nerd-turned-Internet-billionaire role in a Bart Durham commercial. If you haven’t seen that, it’s worth looking up. Despite their goofy social media stunts, the guys are truly engrossed in their craft. Mort admits to four-hour-per-day drum marathons and lengthy in-depth expeditions into musical history. Right now he’s studying jazz bebop. This fast tempo style of playing requires extreme focus, physical stamina, and mental precision. “I’m only six months deep,” he says almost apologetically. “I’ve got seven more years before I feel like I can tell anybody that I’m attempting to play (bebop).” Already, Mort is so well respected that, by the time you finish this sentence, he could get a gig as a backing drummer for any player in town, but he’s using his spare time to explore a modern jazz technique because he genuinely enjoys musical theory and the relationships of various genres. As a guitar player, Jay digs through layers of world sounds and grooves. He gently lifts elements of Afro-Cuban rhythm and weaves it into the Tulsa sound he and Mort have spent years developing. His lyrics are drawn from personal experience, but he leans into the language of literary masters like Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver all the while taking careful steps not to over-intellectualize any part of the song. Jay ensures that every word is within the listeners reach while every line offers a clever twist. “Less is more” is a general philosophy for the band. “If it feels

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es Planning world domination tak on the kind of care and cooperati nes for which the men in Los Colog are very well dressed

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“We don’t build a castle with a moat and say, ‘This is my project and not yours.’” — Jay like pulling a lot of weight, we’re not going to do the song,” Jay explains. The lightness and looseness of the music is the most important element. Each phrase offers a turn as the mellow vibe rides easy over the gentle back of the groove. The guys describe the sound as a crock-pot, not a microwave. The longer the music sits in a slow boil, the richer it becomes. Don’t rush it, they say. The lyrics are laconic, and the music is played with finesse. The feel is quintessential J.J. Cale. J.J. Cale is the godfather of the Tulsa sound. This loosey-goosey blend of blues, country and rock memorialized in his iconic songs like “Cocaine,” “Travelin’ Light” and “Clyde;” songs that have been reinterpreted by Eric Clapton, Widespread Panic and Waylon Jennings, respectively. Cale’s recordings span the years 1972 to 2009, and he shared a Grammy win with Clapton in 2008. Due to his reclusive nature, the entire Cale story is told though the music he made and the genre he left behind. Cale died in California on July 26 of this year. Jay reflected on that day and admitted a deep sense of pain. At the same time, Cale’s passing was a bigger reason to showcase the Tulsa sound. As Jay explained it, “Taking it from a higher level, this was more of a cause for us to keep doing what we were doing and doing it in a way that honors that tradition.” Less than a week after Cale’s death, Los Colognes headlined a benefit show for fellow East Nashvillians and friends Luella and the Sun. As a tribute to Cale, they kicked off the night with “Call Me the Breeze” and dropped in other Cale tunes like “After Midnight.” Jay felt strongly that they could be torchbearers of Cale’s spirit and that now, more than ever, they need to deliver honest and high quality music that represents the best of what Cale offered. To reach this level of authenticity, Los Colognes exists on a strict diet of not being on a strict diet. They are 100-percent committed to their sound and know that to get there requires flexibility in performance. Although they sometimes cycle through members in the band based on availability, their players don’t sit down with charts; instead, the approach they take is in alignment with the overall goal

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“‘Working Together’ ... took five years to live and five minutes to write.” — Jay — they need to know the songs without knowing the songs. The Tulsa sound requires some Zen and it’s no surprise that they host a band yoga night as opposed to rehearsals. “We don’t practice,” Mort says thoughtfully. “I don’t want to ‘learn it’ too much.” To get to this point of knowing without knowing, they toiled through long days and late nights. Going back to their arrival in Nashville, Jay recalls some odd nights at venues less interested in their hook-averse song style. Though, Jay said Nashville was far quicker to catch on to their concept. “We could have played these songs for years in Chicago and no one would have ever gotten it,” Jays says of the J.J. Cale feel. With his lyrics striking much similarity to the vivid-yet-sparse style of John Prine, Los Colognes would surely find a welcome home in Nashville, and, at the 5 Spot, they found exactly what they needed. Bolted into the late-night spot at the storied musicians hangout, Los Colognes explored their musical universe and invited other players to orbit around or fly by. In short order, they developed important relationships with musicians like Rayland Baxter, Nikki Lane, and Kevin Gordon. They developed a solid reputation as a backing band and played in support of future manager Jacob Jones. They played shows with and in support of The Lonely H, Luella and the Sun and Steelism. These groups are more than peers. Jay and Mort consider them some of the best musicians in town and value the strength of those relationships. This rapid immersion into the East Nashville tableau strengthened their adoration for their new home. “Three days into [living here] I felt like this is where we need to be,” Mort said. Jay, who works on the west side, finds himself defending East Nashville at times. “When somebody says that East Nashville is just a hipster place, I say ‘No, it’s a place where people go to develop careers, to build studios, to work hard, to get better at their craft, create business models, develop companies and start families.’” Above it all they are proud to live here and appreciate the values of the community. When they stepped into the studio to record their recent album “Working Together,” Mort

gordo

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and Jay found themselves in need of players because their semi-regular crew was booked and/ or out of town. Again, East Nashville delivered with generosity. Fellow musicians gave their time and expertise with as many as 15 different people appearing on the album. This notion of recruiting musicians for a recording session is far from original but the ease and speed at which this can be done in East Nashville is unique. “We don’t build a castle with a moat and say ‘This is my project and not yours,’” Jay explains. “Everyone stands on each others shoulder. Everyone is proud of each other’s.” Moreover, the idea of gathering a group of

talented players in different arrangements for different songs also taps into the J.J. Cale model. Find the right people with the right feel and don’t apply restrictions. The music will happen if everyone is open to explore. As such, the music happened. “Working Together” opens with a 30-second bed of keyboard imagery and gentle single note guitar work seeping through an echo chamber. The slow boil warms into a reggae guitar riff and subtle line warning the listener that “Your king-size bed / has gone to your head.” Talking through that reggae feel, Mort explains, “We worked on [King Size Bed] for a

micah

while going through several pocket attempts and groves.” The feel was just different enough that placing the song anywhere but first would sound odd. Jay adds, “Where else are we going to put a white-boy reggae song sung from the point of view of a female worried about her man cheating on her?” The title song and album single, “Working Together,” captures a bit of Dire Straits and Grateful Dead. Taken from a particularly difficult experience in Jay’s personal life, the song “took five years to live and five minutes to write.” The song sat on the shelf for quite a while until one day, out of the blue, Jay returned to the demo tape and made a few adjustments to the music. After playing the new changes, he and Mort quickly discovered a hook strong enough to suit the clever refrain: “Working together is easy / Living together is hard.” With that, their most poppy song was written. “We never set out to write a single,” Mort says with surprise. “We just landed on it.” Mort is surprised because the idea of “a single” is not their goal. Los Colognes is a lifestyle band creating a vibe that extends beyond the narrow reach of one song. Like The Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic and other long-term survivors in the lifestyle category, Los Colognes wants to be defined by the overall culture they promote rather than the type of radio station that plays their music. They know this road is long, but they look forward to the journey. They’re already earning some significant notches in their belt: They’ve signed a deal with Starbucks for in-store radio play; a West Coast tour is in the works for the fall; and they plan to stop in Chicago for a show at the end of the tour. “I don’t think we’re ever going to have some exponential rise. I think it will be a slow burn, and that’s what the music is, so it’s appropriate,” Jay says quietly channeling a notion fit for a J.J. Cale tune. Maybe he’s right. Either way, it’s getting warmer around East Nashville, and Los Colognes is enjoying every minute of it. _____________________

#workingtogetheriseasy www.loscolognes.com

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Jack Spencer. Niñas, Día de los Muertos (detail), 2000. Archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist. ©Jack Spencer

Presenting Sponsor:

The Atticus Trust

Through October 13

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by:

919 Broadway Downtown Nashville fristcenter.org

September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM FC4197_Mab_EastNashvillian_JackSpencer_HP.indd 1

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photo courtesy of Buddy Spicher

The Brazos Valley Boys (Hank Thompson’s band, early 70s): Jimmy Belkins, Buddy Spicher, Tommy Jackson, Johnny Gimbel, Hank Thompson, Merle David, Keith Coleman

The King of Clearview Avenue

After a lifetime sharing stages and studios with music legends, fiddle king Buddy Spicher is content to oversee his little 5 Points empire

By Tommy Womack September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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B

uddy Spicher cuts a stylish figure. With his smart white fedora, snow-white hair and beard, and dark oval specs that don’t quite hide the twinkle, he evinces a Southern colonel charm — at 78 years young, evoking the quiet grace of a life well lived. Spicher’s legacy as a country fiddle player is unmatched. A simple list of the artists he’s worked with could max out the 1,700-word limit for this article. Bill Monroe, Ray Price, George Strait, Crystal Gayle, Kitty Wells, Audrey Williams, Reba McEntire, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan, Asleep At The Wheel, Elvis Presley, George Jones, Webb Pierce, Bob Wills, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks, and on and on and on. In his niche of country music history — double-stop fiddling — nobody touches him. “Double stop means playing two-part harmony on the fiddle, playing two strings at once.” explains his son Matt, himself an artist manager and producer. “He can play three-part harmonies as well, which is just about impossible.” Local multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin grew up watching Buddy play on the Wilburn Brothers television show. “Buddy is the ultimate fiddle player,” Fats says, “and I mean fiddle. His music comes so purely from fiddle tradition. I was always amazed watching him because Buddy has an extremely unorthodox left-hand positioning. I watched him and wondered how in the world could he comfortably play like that.” When asked about that, Buddy stated, “I could hold my left hand (the fretting hand) like that because I don’t need to be in any position where I’d have to make vibrato. I don’t do vibrato at all. I mostly play double stops.”

In a fit of prescience, Buddy bought three houses on Clearview Avenue in 1988. You couldn’t open a lemonade stand in 5 Points these days for the money Buddy laid out for these properties. One building houses what is now The Fiddle House (where Buddy lives in the back), one is where Paula, his wife of 50 years, lives (an arrangement that appears to work agreeably for the couple) and one house is currently being fitted to be The Treehouse, a restaurant getting its name for the tree house out back that Buddy built for his granddaughter years ago, a structure he added onto compulsively, year after year, until it became that rarest of tree houses: one with an upstairs and a downstairs. “5 Points was nothing like it is now, back in ’88 when Buddy bought these houses,” Matt Spicher says. “It wasn’t a great place to hang out. The only bar was Shirley’s, where the 3 Crow Bar is now, and you didn’t go in there.”

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orn and raised in Dubois, Pa., Buddy made his way in young adulthood to Wheeling, W.Va., where in the early ‘50s he found himself a place on the WVA Jamboree, broadcast on WWVA and unique among other shows, such as the Opry or the Louisiana Hayride, inasmuch as it got its start in 1927 as entirely instrumental music and, on top of that, almost entirely fiddles. (No one ever sang a lick on that show until Roy Acuff did in 1938.) If a future fiddle master was ever going to find fertile ground in which to grow and flourish, nothing better could be imagined. “My first big influence was Del Potter.” Buddy said, “Him and Tommy Jackson.” The road work started in 1957 when he joined the touring band of Audrey Williams (Hank Sr.’s wife) and she invited him to move to Nashville and set him up to live — as so many up-and-comers did — at a legendary haven called Mom Upchurch’s, at 620 Boscobel. “Mom’s was a wonderful place. She’d feed you, give you a place to stay, and when industry people needed musicians, they called Mom,” Buddy said. “Everybody stayed there.” Matt adds, “Webb Pierce, Mel Tillis. You can just go down the list of songwriters passing through. They all stayed there.” “It was all about making friends and helping each other out in those days,” Buddy adds. “If somebody needed to borrow my car, I’d loan ’em my car. “My first job, even though I wasn’t really a bass player, was going out with Carl Smith, playing bass for him. We’d back up other artists who didn’t have regular bands, people like Red Foley and Webb Pierce.”

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Brian Christianson, owner/operator of the Fiddle House, with Buddy Spicher

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he Fiddle House is many things – a fiddle store, a repair shop, a teaching facility, a center for jam sessions and house concerts, and, in a way, a temple, a house of reverence for all that is fiddleness. (Although it must be mentioned that they carry truck in mandolins, banjos, and tenor guitars as well.) Situated in the front two rooms of Buddy Spicher’s own house at 1009 Clearview Ave. in 5 Points, The Fiddle House has been open 2 1/2 years and has become a mecca for people consumed with all things fiddle. It’s a warm and woody place. “It sounds great in here,” Buddy comments.


And then came the sessions. “I started to get a lot of work because I was good at playing second fiddle, harmony fiddle. When George Jones came in to record, he used his own fiddle player, Charlie Justice, and I would play harmony fiddle with him. “Then I started getting some work with Bill Monroe because he liked the twin fiddles. In those days, Western Swing was still kind of around, so there was still a demand for that sound. That led to some road work and sessions with Hank Snow, playing alongside Chubby Wise, who was Hank’s fiddle player. Then, a friend from Mom’s, Shorty Lavender, who played fiddle for Ray Price, he got me a job playing twin fiddles for Ray. “It was mainly road work there in the late ’50s,” Buddy continued, “but more and more sessions started to happen, for Mac Wiseman, Bill Monroe, anybody who loved twin fiddles.

drummer for many years was Buddy Harman. The bass player was Bob Moore, and the rhythm guitar player most of the time was Ray Edenton. The piano player in the early days would have been Floyd Cramer, and then later it became Pig Robbins.” He may never have been presented with a jersey, but Buddy soon enough found himself at A-level status as well. Seeing how whole string sections were now a part of the Nashville sound, he taught himself to read music, just to be prepared should the skill prove useful. “The thing about session work,” Buddy explained, “is that, once you’re ‘in,’ you’re IN! I found myself doing three sessions a day. The first one would be 10-1, then the second one would be 2-5, then the last one would be 6-9. And every so often, I had a four-session day, and that fourth session would be 10-1 as well, just at the other side of the day.”

“It was all about making friends and helping each other out in those days.

If somebody needed to borrow my car, I’d loan ’em my car.” “Tommy Jackson took me under his wing and we played a lot of twin fiddle together. I remember we backed up Little Jimmy Dickens. Sometimes Tommy would be really busy and I’d play with another great fiddle player, Cecil Breyer, on some Webb Pierce, Carl Smith, Johnny Jack and Kitty Wells sessions.”

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he road work ground on for about a decade. “In ’68, I got off the road and concentrated on doing studio work. The fiddle was popular then, with Charlie Pride and Mel Tillis, Faron Young, George Jones, a lot of others, using them.” When asked about his own musical heroes, Buddy’s eyes light up. “The A-Team. Those guys were my heroes, still are. First off, Hank Garland. He was the #1 guitar player. Next to him was Grady Martin. If there was another guitar player in place of one of them it would be Pete Wade. The

As if to prove the point, he initiated a jam session then and there with his sons Matt — who just produced a record for Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis — on guitar and David, who had just gotten off the road with Kathy Mattea moments before and didn’t hesitate to unwrap his doghouse bass and join in. Fiddle House proprietor Brian Christianson moved to Nashville in 2000 from Minnesota with a degree in stringed instrument repair, coming to ply his trade as a violin luthier. He got a job working for Fred Carpenter at the Violin Shop. A decade of skill sharpening and word of mouth made him one of the most indemand fiddle repairmen in town. An

Around 1969 came the group known as Area Code 615, an all-star band of session aces including Mac Gayden, Charlie McCoy, Kenny Buttrey, Norbert Putnam, Bobby Thompson, David Briggs, Ken Lauber, Weldon Myrick, Elliot Mazer and Buddy. The group put out a couple of their own albums in addition to a volume of session work. “I remember we backed up this pretty little unknown girl named Linda Ronstadt on ‘Long, Long Time.’ We had a bit more of a rock sound and did some work with folk artists like Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie.” Then came a mildly comic moment in Buddy’s remembrances. He said, “Now there was that record by that one fellow that I think they mixed me out of. I heard the record and didn’t hear my fiddle. Now who was that?” Buddy thought to himself. Bob Dylan??? “Right!” Buddy declared, “That’s who I meant.”

accomplished musician himself, Brian plays with Opry member Mike Snider in The Old Time String Band. Working alongside Brian is Jennifer Halenar, a Chattanooga native and accomplished luthier, fiddler and button accordionist. Tyler Andal, who specializes in bows, also works part time at the shop when he’s not on the road performing with a variety of acts. The front room is the customer counter and the workshop, where the visitor may see fiddle surgery performed in real time. The room behind that is its own thing of beauty, wall-to-wall fiddles all hanging from the ceiling down to waist-level — a sight to rival anything at Gruhn’s. The

room otherwise is empty, in order to better accommodate any and all jammers who might come to congregate or to make a place for an audience to sit and enjoy one of the regular house concerts held there. Jam sessions for fiddlers are a feature at The Fiddle House, the first three Thursdays of every month. The first Thursday is for old-time fiddle playing, the second Thursday is devoted to Irish music and the third is reserved for bluegrass. Private lessons are also offered, and if you’re not careful, the living legend living in the back might be your teacher. For more information, and to see a schedule of upcoming house concerts, pay a visit to www.thefiddlehouse.com.

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photo courtesy of Buddy Spicher

From Extreme Left (left hand visible only) Leslie Wilburn, Buddy Rogers on drums, Loretta Lynn, Buddy Spicher, Lester Wilburn on bass, Buddy Emmons (right hand visible only) on pedal steel

Asked about his most momentous studio achievements, Buddy mentions “Love In the Hot Afternoon” by Gene Watson, “Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait, and the aforementioned Linda Ronstadt single. “When I hear one of those in the grocery store,” he says, “it makes me feel really good.” While he’s still a “go-to” guy and still plays the occasional session, Buddy has streamlined his life down to his properties and the beloved fiddle shop that occupies the front part of his residence, where he does some teaching. His star, though, remains undiminished. His grandson, Corey Ladd (who is working to open The Treehouse in the coming months), remarked, “People say my grandfather puts everyone at ease when he comes in a studio, like everyone then knows it’s all going to go all right.” When it comes to modern country music, well, safe to say Buddy doesn’t care much for it. Ever the gentleman, he chooses his words carefully. It doesn’t seem to be his nature to gripe. A father of five with a passel of grandkids, with sons and daughters who are musicians whom he can jam with, Buddy says, “I’m the luckiest man in the world.” Indeed he may be, and deservedly so. His happiest moment in Nashville? Ever? “When Hank Garland shook my hand and said, ‘Boy. Welcome to Nashville.’” Buddy smiled. Bob Dylan may slip his mind, but then again, Bob’s no Hank Garland.


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W ild Feathers The

Like the proverbial duck on the water, these guys’ calm exteriors belie the fact that they are paddling like hell toward something big By Jeff Finlin Photography by Chuck Allen September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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he backstage is littered with plates of food, cold and half-eaten, strewn out across the leather furniture along with guitars, beer bottles, ketchup, stage clothes, cowboy boots and hats. Chicks swim in and out in schools, like skirted calamari, taking turns hugging the boys; the smell of a band on the road is in the air — visually, not malodorously. Ricky Young, one of the band’s front men, is drinking a beer and running through Freedy Johnston’s “Bad Reputation” on acoustic guitar: “I know I’ve got a bad reputation, And it isn’t just talk, talk, talk. If I could only give you everything You know I haven’t got.” It looks like the typical rock ‘n roll scene, but something is askew. Instead of the usual diabolical atmosphere that makes the fish stop swimming in the tank when a rock band comes rolling into the room, there is sweetness in the air — a somewhat calming tone that gives this band a totally different feel. It’s not ego, sarcasm, stale beer and pantyhose swirling through the air; instead there’s a sense of effervescent harmony, camaraderie and acceptance. As the band starts warming up backstage before going on to a sold-out 3rd and Lindsley crowd, you can hear it come out right away in what they do. Lead guitar player Preston Wimberley sits down at the piano and starts running through “Georgia on My Mind.” The rest of the band gathers around and just starts singing along, leaving one with the impression they’d be perfectly content doing this for the rest of the night were it not for the 500 or so fans awaiting them on the other side of the wall. Are these guys for real? No Bon Jovi fist pumps or pre-show weight lifting here. They seem so happy and at ease in the moment it’s almost as if they were going nowhere. But that’s far from accurate. The Wild Feathers eponymously titled debut album was released Aug. 13 on Warner Bros Records. With a steady stream of roadwork that has included opening slots for folks like Paul Simon, Ryan Bingham and Willie

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Nelson, as well as what seems to be solid music biz support from heavyweight establishment figures, it could just be that these young ducks are queuing up for what could be a crazy wild feather flight. The record, produced by sonic alchemist Jay Joyce (The Wallflowers, Emmylou Harris, Cage the Elephant), is solid American fare with soaring harmonies, insightful songs and arrangements, and a rock ‘n roll edge. “When we did the record everything had just started. They didn’t have a drummer yet. Preston and Taylor had just moved here. It was a lot of work,” says Joyce. Perhaps more important than his prowess as a painter of grand sonic landscapes is Joyce’s ability to bring a sense of cohesiveness to a record. “He’s kinda fucking hard on ya in a good way,” says bassist Joel King.” He didn’t let us get away with anything. If we were half-assing it or were getting too fucked up drinking he’d say, ‘Y’all get the fuck outta here and come in here tomorrow and be ready to go.’ In the long run he’d always make us better. He’d make us fight for our own bullshit. That’s why ya get a producer though, ya know? If ya don’t want that then just get an engineer and record your tunes. In the end, he didn’t feel like a producer, he felt like a part of the band and that’s what ya want.” By recording one song a day, start to finish, everyone stayed engaged. “We’ve been in studio situations before where everything was built, track by track,” says Young. “It gets so boring, and you’re thinking, ‘Really? This is how records are made?’ Jay’s approach kept everyone involved; kept the energy level up.” Fred Eltringham was recruited to play drums on the record. “I told him the situation, and that I needed him to hang with the band,” says Joyce. King adds, “I think the key to having a career as a musician is the ability to hang. You can be a great player, but if nobody wants to hang out with you, who cares? Fred’s an incredible drummer, and he’s a blast to hang out with — he kinda showed us how it’s done.” The band’s live shows are no exception. Fierce guitars and drums offset the often beautiful and wistful harmonies. Drummer Ben Jarvis comes across like an inbred cousin of Muppet drummer Animal and gives the band a credible live dimension that eclipses the schlocky safe element of ‘70s country rock or contemporary Music Row drivel. They take turns on lead vocals and harmonies effortlessly — even within the same song, in a way not unlike The Band — without it sounding disjointed or inconsistent. It all flows in a credible, natural sonic dimension. There’s a diversity going on here that is unique these days, a chemistry of opposites, personalities and abilities that seem to all come together to make a greater whole.

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oel King is the sweet, talkative mover and shaker. He seems to have a way of gluing it all together; of doing whatever it takes, even going as far as switching from guitar to bass as his main instrument after the band went through bass player after bass player. Ricky Young looks like he rolled out of the Dust Bowl somewhere in a flatbed Ford with his acoustic guitar in tow. His innocent vocals and playing offer a classic Americana dimension to the band. Taylor Burns, on the other hand, is the quieter one and carries a passion that takes the whole thing to a deeper level. As the band ran through its set at 3rd and Lindsley, the first few songs were great. But then they went into the dirgey Burns tune “How.” It was a turning point in the show and everything after that carried a deeper intensity and feeling; the whole thing went up a notch. His passion and depth seem to take the band to a higher level. The happy-go-lucky Preston Wimberley brings lightness and sets a musical bar as he switches effortlessly between guitar and pedal steel. He’s like the band’s musical smoke machine. Then there’s the newest member, drummer Ben Jarvis. He’s like a bubbling volcano, bringing a Keith Moon-like element of uncertainty to the proceedings — a rock ‘n roll joie de vivre, as it were. One gets the feeling with him that you never quite know what’s going to happen next. He’s the element of surprise. It’s a band in the highest order. All hailing from Texas except for Oklahoman Joel, each member grew up with a deep sense of southern musical traditions, while at the same time being raised on artists like Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and Tom Petty. (Which was apparent at 3rd and Lindsley when they ran through a Zeppelin and Petty tune at the end of the night.) Eventually Ricky and Joel both wound up in Nashville, where they connected in 2010. Occasionally, they’d get together to write music and play. They’d kick around Stones songs, riffs they’d written, ideas here and there. “Ricky and I wanted to do something with a bunch of singers, not just one lead,” Joel says. They had a vision of a band where each member was as indispensable as the next. Of course, finding the proper matches for something like this is no easy task, for with strong voices often come even stronger egos. Mutual friends suggested Taylor Burns, whom they said had strong electric-guitar skills. Next they found Preston, who rounded out the loose harmonies, and added guitar virtuosity. The four gathered to play music in Austin, and it clicked nearly instantly. Instead of a battle of wills, it was effortless. The Wild Feathers found their missing pieces and were born; leading them to become what Joel calls a “four-headed monster. Not a bad four-headed monster — a good one.”


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Clockwise from top: Hanging in the green room at 3rd and Lindsley before their first sold out appearance in Nashville; Joel King making sure the set lists match; Onstage at 3rd and Lindsley

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t’s another hot, muggy summer day in Nashville. Rolling into Riverside Village, neck bones are the special at Bailey & Cato, and as we enter the Village Pub yesterday’s beer and pretzel dogs hang in the air. The mood is quite different from the pre-show hoopla from 3rd and Lindsley. Joel and Ricky are relaxed and talkative and seem to be happy for a few days off before heading out on the road again. PBR tall boys and cigarettes start jaws a-flapping. The boys start reminiscing about what it was like when they first threw everything they owned into the car and moved to Nashville. When Joel first got here from Tulsa he arrived at the place he was staying and the door had been kicked down and the house completely ransacked. Shit was broken and scattered everywhere. With nobody home and no one to contact, he huddled in the back room and tried to sleep through the night. The cops had left an incident report on the kitchen table for whoever might happen to show up. The bloated corpse of an overdose victim had been found just a week prior to King’s renting another place. “We got it real cheap,” he says with a smile. Ricky lived in Cleveland Park. “The SWAT team used to come and take all the guys across the street away every week,” he says. “They’d handcuff them with plastic ties and march them all into the paddy wagon. It was rough but we never got hassled the whole time we lived there. We were poor, and we worked shitty jobs for a long time. I look back and wonder sometimes how we made it through.” After a few years kicking around

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Nashville an A&R guy named Jeff Sosnow at Interscope Records started sniffing around, eventually flying them to L.A. to play for some “people.” He set them up businesswise, signed them to a development deal and it looked like things were moving in a positive direction. Recording and performing started happening and the excitement started building. Then, the next thing they knew, they were getting dropped. “We we’re devastated,” Young says. “We were like, OK … is this it?” But Sosnow believed in them and told them to hang tight, that everything would be all right. A month went by, and then more time until Sosnow wound up landing at Warner Bros. Finally he called and said that he was going to offer them a deal. The roadwork continued, the record got made and the rest is history. Another round of PBRs are brought to the patio table. The boys pause for a moment as Memphis Slim comes spilling out of the speakers onto the wooden deck of the bar. A Harley Davidson gooses it round the corner in the heat. Cigarettes are exchanged and lit.


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“That was an uncertain time,” Ricky says. “We didn’t know what the fuck was gonna happen.” “But really, when I look back on it, that’s really when we cut our teeth,” says Joel. “When we thought we were gonna have to do it on our own we booked a tour, brought Preston on board and figured out who we were as a band. We wouldn’t be the band we are today without all the shit that’s happened to us. We still did what we had to do.” In the Wild Feathers song “Hard Times” the lead vocalist croons: “Every wind that blows my way Picks me up easy I don’t carry the weight.” There’s an acceptance as a result of all the shit these guys have gone through that’s refreshing. Doing without and continuing to give us everything they haven’t got has seemed to make them better and molded them into who they all are as individual parts of a bigger whole. “Everything I haven’t got,” as the Freedy song so eloquently puts it, has turned out in the long run to be the greatest gift. Knowing this seems to have made them better, more unique and the band they are today — and in the end has made them all the better for us to listen to.

Jeff Finlin is a singer songwriter living in Nashville, Tenn. His song “Sugar Blue” was featured in the Cameron feature film Elizabethtown. His tenth release, “My Moby Dick,” is available on Bent Wheel Records.

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His Window to the

World

Doug Lancio’s

Sense of What’s Right By Randy Fox September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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oug Lancio still remembers that pivotal moment when his life changed. It was November 1982; he was a 16-year-old student at Brentwood High and, like many teenage boys, he was in a rock band. When he wasn’t bashing out ZZ Top covers in his parents’ garage, he was going to rock concerts. “I saw R.E.M. at Sarratt Center,” Lancio says, between sips of coffee in the kitchen of the converted East Nashville bungalow that houses his recording studio. “I went home and wrote 10 original songs. I took them to my band, kicked the bass player out, moved the singer to bass, changed the name of the band and said, ‘We’re only playing original music.’” What influenced Lancio that autumn evening was something that went far beyond the music of one jangly, moody rock band from Athens, Ga. Something fresh and exciting was happening in the music of the early 1980s. The doors that punk rock kicked open revealed an

rock scene. Bands roared inside, and the crowd spilled over into the parking lot, making it an epicenter for Nashville’s fledgling DIY culture. It was the perfect place for Lancio’s reformulated and rechristened band. “We played maybe three gigs at Cantrell’s, and then Tom Littlefield asked me to join his band, Basic Static. That was great because I loved that band.”

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asic Static soon evolved into the Questionnaires, who quickly garnered a reputation as one of the sharpest and hottest rock bands in town. Managed by the team at Praxis International, Nashville’s first rock-focused management agency, the band soon built a following that extended beyond Music City. “I graduated from high school in 1984,” Lancio says, “but I’d been missing school because we were on the road opening for X and Bow Wow Wow and going to Atlanta to play gigs.” After building a following through their live shows and a few self-produced recordings, the Questionnaires signed with EMI in 1987 and were whisked off to Dave Edmunds’ studio in

lexicon. “We were on the road with 38 Special,” Lancio says. “Everything that was MTV then was metal. We were trying to be a straight-up rock band. We were on a major label, and we were in territory that was unknown to us.” By the next year, the Questionnaires were finished. Lancio and band mate Chris Feinstein hooked up almost immediately with former In Pursuit lead man Jay Joyce and drummer Michael Radovsky to form Bedlam. The idea was to get back to power pop and rock ’n’ roll the way they wanted to play it, but suddenly they found themselves caught up in a brand new rock music wave. “Bedlam did one live gig, and we had a record deal with MCA,” Lancio says, still amazed at the turn of events. The playing field had changed once again thanks to a certain band from Seattle, as the byword of the day became “grunge.” “Bedlam was basically a pop band until the Nirvana thing hit,” Lancio says. Although he stayed with the band to record their first album, Into the Coals, he soon found himself ill at ease. “It all became about this grunge dynamic or whatever you call it,” Lancio says. “I just didn’t feel at home anymore, and that led me to leav-

“People were there just to hear her (Patty Griffin) sing those songs ... and they would start crying. It was a really good show if everybody was crying.” alternative world to the bloated dinosaur that corporate rock culture spawned in the ‘70s. The revolution wasn’t about one sound, or style, or beat; it was about following your passions and creating music with meaning — even if it broke all the rock star rules. Lancio has followed that philosophy throughout his career — from the alternative rock heyday of the 1980s to his career as an accomplished sideman and session player with such artists as Nanci Griffith, Matthew Ryan, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt and many others. Following his instincts and going after what feels “right” has also been the guiding principle of his career as a producer, garnering him the reputation as musical Zen master by helping artists find their own sound without imposing his ideas upon them. For Nashville in 1982, there was one place where the philosophy of going with your gut and doing it yourself ruled: the Broadway dive bar known as Cantrell’s. Although Cantrell’s didn’t start out as a punk club, it soon became the nexus of a vibrant punk and alternative 60

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Wales to record their first album, with bigname producer Pat Moran at the controls. But the boys from Nashville soon found out they were a long way from the Cantrell’s parking lot. “I don’t know how much EMI spent,” Lancio says. “We were there for three months. Every instrument was cut separately. That was the time, that was the process of that producer, but it was incredibly tedious and was not fun. We were a simple four-piece rock band with simple pop-rock songs, and they were being picked apart and ironed.” The resulting album, Window to the World, was released in 1989 and featured great songs and good performances from the band, but like so many late-‘80s rock records, the sound was polished to a glossy sheen. Much of the grit and charisma of the Questionnaires’ live performances and earlier recordings were swept into the dustbin. By the time of the release of their second album in 1991, the game had changed for alternative rock bands as the major labels seemed intent on stripping the “A-word” from the rock

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ing. They were turning into something else that was probably better served as a trio.”

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n the surface, quitting a band signed to a major label with two cuts on the Reservoir Dogs movie soundtrack may not sound like the wisest move. For Lancio, it was in the same league as his R.E.M. epiphany of a decade earlier. He was doing what felt right. “I was kind of worn out,” he says. “I left all my rock bands and said I’ll just work as a guitar player and find someplace to fit. That’s when I started playing with Todd Snider and Matthew Ryan. And then I started playing with Nanci Griffith and that was like my first real job.” Lancio wasn’t the only musician suffering from malaise in the ‘90s. To some in the alternative rock scene of the ‘80s, the heralded breakthrough of Nirvana and many other college rock bands left them with the question so well-expressed by the band X just a few years earlier: “This is supposed to be the new world?” While some thrived in Lollapalooza-land,


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others found new inspiration from formerly overlooked genres and styles, opening the door for a slew of revivalists and roots rockers that would eventually be corralled under the Americana label. “It was all ‘new’ music for a while and then it was like, let’s back up a bit,” Lancio says. “I didn’t have anything in common with Nanci Griffith, other than she was looking for a guitar player, and I was looking for a gig. That was the first time I was introduced to contemporary folk music. It wasn’t my scene necessarily, but it spoke to me at the time.”

photo courtesy of Tom & jackie littlefield

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hroughout the mid-‘90s, Lancio worked as a guitarist for Griffith and many other artists. Although he never actively pursued a career as a full-time session man, his skill as a musician and sense of empathy for other artists’ music led to steady work in the studio. “I’ve been around long enough that people know me that I don’t know,” Lancio says. Eventually that network of connections led him to Patty Griffin, the artist with whom he built some of his most successful collaborations. Like so many other turning points in his career, it began with a moment of pure instinct. “Patty was over at ( Jay Joyce’s studio), and she played me a song. I heard one song, and we had a musical connection. I told her, ‘When you’re ready to put a band together I’ll drop everything I’m doing.’” At the time, Griffin was beginning work on Flaming Red, the follow-up to her 1996 debut album, Living with Ghosts. While Griffin’s first album had been a straight release of demos recorded by Griffin with just her guitar, her second was a full-blown rock production. Lancio joined her band for the album as well as the

following tour. After the success of Flaming Red, Griffin recorded another rock album in 2000 with Lancio on guitar, and she signed on as an opening act for the Dixie Chicks’ monumentally successful Fly tour. Although Griffin was playing for thousands of fans each stop of the tour, corporate mergers and other assorted record label imbroglios meant she had a record ready to go, but nothing to sell to fans. Eventually A&M dropped her from the label with the third, completed album locked away in their vaults. (Universal Music Enterprises will release the “lost” record, Silver Bell, in October 2013.) With no immediate prospects, Lancio suggested she cut some demos in his makeshift basement studio in East Nashville. “She had all these songs that had been passed over for previous records. She recorded them all live in just two days. We made a list of things that we wanted to have overdubbed on each song, just three or four instruments. We overdubbed four days later — crossed off each thing on the list and said it’s done. At that point I was thinking, ‘This can’t be a record. We haven’t worked hard enough. We haven’t got to where we hate it yet.’ The two of us were out on the road doing shows and ATO Records picked it up and put it out as-is.” Released in 2002, 1,000 Kisses proved to

be a defining moment in Griffin’s career. Navigating a stylistic meridian between the sparse sound of her debut album and the big rock sound of Flaming Red, 1,000 Kisses is one of those rare albums where an artist’s voice, songs and sound come together in a perfect confluence. Neither Griffin nor Lancio fully understood what they had accomplished with

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the album, but it soon became apparent when they hit the road in support of it. “Immediately after it came out we played a sold-out gig in Chicago,” Lancio says. “Up to that point I felt like we had the volume of a rock band to hide in. I was scared to death. We didn’t even have a rhythm section, it was just Patty, me and a cellist. That’s when the rubber hit the road. People were there just to hear her sing those songs, not to hear a band, and they would start crying. It was a really good show if everybody was crying.” It wasn’t just a game changer for Griffin; Lancio also found the spotlight shining on him. “All of a sudden I crossed that line where people said I could produce records. A lot of singer-songwriters sought me out, wanting me to work with them.” What many of these artists didn’t realize was that Lancio hadn’t necessarily solved the “universal singer-songwriter hit equation;” his years of working as a sideman and following his sense of what was right had developed into an ability to help artists find themselves. “I come from the land of songs,” Lancio says. “I’m very much about serving the song, and I’m sensitive to singers and getting to the realness of singers and their voice. I like to preserve that, however it happens. There are certain things I do in the studio, but I’m not really conscious of them at the time. But I can hear the thread through all the records that I’ve produced.”

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hat emphasis on finding what’s right and getting there by whatever means is evident in all of Lancio’s production work with artists like Gretchen Peters, Jim Lauderdale, Todd Snider, Matraca Berg and others. “I’m proud of all my records, even though I get to a certain point that everything we’ve done is no good,” he says. “Once you get away and you get perspective and it comes up on your iTunes shuffle, you say, ‘Wow, that’s really good.’” It’s that same sense of knowing when something is right that has kept him living and working in East Nashville. “I didn’t migrate to East Nashville on purpose,” Lancio says. “It was just an affordable place to buy a house and that’s why a lot of musicians ended up here.” He may have moved to the East Side before the buzz began, but it’s the sense of community that has kept him here. Lancio lives in the same house near Stratford High where 1,000 Kisses was recorded 12 years ago. He also serves as an assistant coach for his son’s Little League team at Shelby Park. “For me there’s a sense that there’s a new beginning here,” Lancio says. “You can look down the road four or five years and see where something good is developing. “I’ll tell you what I love about East Nashville,” he continues. “It’s kind of embarrassing, but three days ago or so I ran out of gas going home. I was kind of spaced out and just forgot to buy gas. I was on McGavock and Riverside. I had two hours before I had to pick up my

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son, and here I was walking around in the heat. Within two red lights I had five people stop, three of which I knew, and they all wanted to help. The first guy that pulled up said, ‘I just bought a house down the street. I’ve got two gallons of gas, let me go get it for you.’ While I was waiting for him to come back, everybody was stopping. I grew up out in Brentwood; I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen out there.”

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ack in Lancio’s Chapel Street studio, he reflects on the sense of being in the right place at the right time. It’s a feeling that he first discovered at Cantrell’s 30 years ago and still feels today, even though the location has changed. “I was pretty much a kid back then,” he says. “I was 16 and decided I was going to play Cantrell’s, and they let me. That was a huge deal. Being in that parking lot was a real integral part of my upbringing. It’s gone, but at the same time there are so many people who were there that are still around. “We really didn’t have aspirations to be big rock stars; it was just the excitement of being at that time and place. I still have that. I’m really lucky to be what I am, and it’s funny how it worked out. I walk around my neighborhood with my son, bumping into people who were in the parking lot at Cantrell’s, but now they’re out walking with their kids. We were all doing the same thing then, and we’re still doing it.”


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Triple

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Header Peter Cooper’s ‘Field of Dreams’ is in his own back yard story By Randy Fox Photographs by Stacie huckeba

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o truly love Nashville, you must come from somewhere else — or so the saying goes. That’s certainly true for Peter Cooper. It’s a sunny August afternoon, and he’s just walked the short distance from his house in East Nashville to the 3 Crow Bar. As he settles into a chair and orders a locally brewed Yazoo Dos Perros, he has the comfortable manner of a man who’s found his home. The journey to find that home began 20 years ago. Cooper, fresh out of college, made his first pilgrimage to the Music City, beginning with a stop on Broadway. “The first place I went was Gruhn Guitars,” Cooper says. “The first person I saw was John Hartford sitting in Gruhn’s playing a banjo. That night, I went to a John Hiatt show, and the next night I went to a Townes Van Zandt show. I thought, ‘this might be a good place to live.’” It would take a few more years for him to confirm his suspicions, but today, 20 years after that first journey, Cooper’s life and career are firmly woven into the musical fabric of Nashville as a musician, music journalist and music history teacher. Although Cooper was born in South Carolina and spent his high school years in Alexandria, Va., he had little exposure to country or bluegrass. As a teenager, he was a fanatical baseball fan when one concert changed the course of his life. “On my 15th birthday I saw the Seldom Scene,” Cooper says. “I didn’t know anything about roots music. It was like opening a book for me. They played every Thursday night at a club called The Birchmere in Alexandria. I was much more interested in baseball, and I didn’t know what music could be. I was like, ‘what is this?’” For Cooper, bluegrass was just the opening inning. It proved to be a gateway to a world of music much richer than the Top 40. He was soon exploring that world with the passion of a baseball fanatic, but instead of players and stats, he was learning about songwriters and hot licks. “It got me into a whole spectrum of music — Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Guy Clark, John Prine — really inventive music that also relied on smart, layered lyrics. Emmylou’s whole catalog is like the encyclopedia of how to make records – how to choose songs, how to phrase, how sometimes an un-athletic singer can be the most compelling.” For a fan eager to trace roots or explore different branches of the American music tree, it was an exciting time. “That was when Nashville opened up and had what Steve

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Earle referred to as the ‘Great Credibility Scare,’” Cooper says. “All of a sudden you had the roots covered with Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam. Then you had these literate singer-songwriters who were as much influenced by Bob Dylan as Hank Williams, like Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Foster & Lloyd, and the O’Kanes. And then my freshman year in college, I found a tape in the bargain-bin cassettes called Fervor by Jason & the Scorchers. They became my favorite rock band. Nashville, which just a couple of years before that had been really castigated in terms of the hip factor, was suddenly this place where you could make music that defied categories.”

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fter several years of teaching middle school and writing about music and other topics in his native South Carolina, Cooper moved to Nashville in 2000. As head music writer for the Tennessean, Cooper has built a reputation for his literate, witty and insightful columns. He’s an enthusiastic booster of the Nashville music scene while not flinching from applying criticism where required. His position as a journalist also led him to becoming a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, teaching a course on the history of country music. “I only have a bachelor of arts degree,” Cooper says. “No journalism classes, no masters or doctorate, and no singing lessons. I am fundamentally unqualified for anything I do,” he says with a bit of dry wit. Lack of formal qualifications aside, his experiences as a musician and music journalist have shaped his writing. “To me, they aid each other,” he says. “I’ve found when I’m writing good songs I’m often writing good columns. Listening deeply to other people’s music helps me in my writing and to be inspired. Probably the greatest writer about music alive is Peter Guralnick, and I don’t know if he’s ever strummed a G chord on the guitar. So I certainly don’t think you have to play music in order to write well about it, but it does help from my perspective. “That’s all I can offer in writing music or writing about music is perspective,” Cooper says. “If people hear my music or read one of my columns, they’re getting my perspective. I certainly don’t like everything, but I understand what’s not moving for me may be moving for someone else. I don’t have to like a person’s music to write about their story. I can tell their story even if I’m listening to Tom T. Hall while I write it.” Focusing on the stories behind the music has allowed Cooper’s writing to navigate the middle ground between music snobbery and show biz shillery. “I don’t see a lot of use in snarkiness and abject dismissal,” Cooper says, “the kind of music journalism that treats the

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writer as some all-knowing judge, as if the entirety of the music world exists to please him. I’m also terribly disinterested in the ‘Music Row is evil and the East Side rocks’ thing. It can all work together. ‘Modern country’ is all the stuff that gets lumped in as Americana. Roots rock, bluegrass, contemporary folk — it’s all happening now. So why do we give the power of that label to the small slice that we don’t like. People want to turn everything into a football game, creating some type of false rivalry.” Although Cooper originally came to Nashville with a primary goal to write about music, he soon fell victim to the “Nashville Syndrome:” Hang around musicians long enough and eventually you become one yourself. Cooper had experience playing and writing songs from his college days and the occasional open mic night, but it was an offer he couldn’t refuse that forced his hand.

“I

didn’t play much at all when I first came here,” Cooper says, “maybe the Bluebird once a year. Around the middle of the aughts, I got to know Todd Snider, and out of the blue he asked me to open some shows for him. A few days later he said I needed to have something to sell or I was going to lose a lot of money travelling. It forced me into the studio to quickly make an EP.” Cooper soon discovered one of the big advantages of knowing your heroes personally. “I called Lloyd Green, my favorite pedal steel player and favorite musician,” Cooper says. “His solo on Don Williams’ ‘Some Broken Hearts Never Mend’ is the first guitar solo I can remember singing along to. That started a relationship that’s been transformative for me personally and musically.” It’s a collaboration that’s continued through all of Cooper’s albums, both his solo records and his duet recordings with singer-songwriter Eric Brace — including Cooper’s 2010 “solo” record, The Lloyd Green Album. “The pedal steel is what you hear most on my records, even though they’re not strictly traditional country music. I give Lloyd the guitar and vocals parts, and he paints all over the place. He knows when and what to play on steel guitar a lot better than I do. He not only elevates the songs but puts a sonic stamp on them.” For Cooper’s most recent album, he recruited Green and many other friends who just happen to be top Nashville musicians. They provide the backing for songs that reflect many of the same traits of his music journalism: literate tales of individuals traversing the hills and valleys of life, with a dollop of dry wit and told from a singular perspective. The focus is on transitions that run deeper than what they appear at first glance. The album’s title track, “Opening Day,”


“I’m also terribly disinterested in

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draws its metaphor from Cooper’s other obsession, but the story is far more universal than the baseball diamond. “The song about baseball is not really about baseball,” Cooper says. “I wrote that song when my son was born. He’s 3 now. Things are always perfect at the beginning, like the start of baseball season, but it all changes soon enough. It’s a hopeful song about inevitable disappointments.” The crafting of a simple story that turns out to not be so simple is what appeals to Cooper. “For me there’s a storytelling art,” he says.

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“The place that inspires me as a writer was in the ‘60s and early ‘70s when there was a band of songwriters who changed the language of Nashville music — Mickey Newbury, John Hartford, Kris Kristofferson, Tom T. Hall and others in that pack. All of a sudden there was a different kind of country song. There are so many lessons to draw from Tom T. Hall and Kristofferson. There’s a lack of finger pointing. They told you the story but didn’t tell what you’re supposed to think about it.” As much as Cooper enjoys his career as

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a musician, it doesn’t mean he’s looking to ditch his other gigs. “Sometimes people will say about my music, ‘I know that’s what you really want to do,’ but I’m not trying to get out of one thing into another. I enjoy the balance.” After a pause, he adds with a smile, “I wouldn’t mind people showering me with more money for each of these things. That would be just fine.”

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t 3 Crow, the waitress brings another round of Yazoo, and Cooper spies award-winning singer/songwriter Gillian Welch on her way to nearby Woodland Studios. It’s a good excuse to steer the conversation to the state of the Nashville music scene circa 2013. “We no longer have to spend time defending this as a total music city,” Cooper says. “We’ve got some of the biggest rock acts in the world living here. We have a symphony that has been financially challenged but has still accomplished remarkable things and won Grammys. You’ve so much of the bluegrass, folk and singer-songwriter scene centered here. You’ve got Rahsaan Barber and what his label, Jazz Music City, is doing. Just look at the per capita of musicians. I think Nashville in 2013 may be the greatest music city that has ever been.


“When Kris Kristofferson decided to move here (back in the ‘60s),” Cooper says, “he did so because he had hung out with Johnny Cash and Cowboy Jack Clement over a few days. He told me one time, ‘I knew that even if I couldn’t make it as a songwriter I could still hang around these incredibly inspiring and intelligent people.’ I feel that way now. “You always run into interesting people that you know. Nashville’s a great adult playground. We’re just full of musicians, artists, painters, chefs and what have you. And they all seem to support each other. They realize that not only does the greater reward come from supporting each other, but it’s just a fun way to live your life.” When Cooper speaks about his adopted city, you can hear the undeniable enthusiasm in his voice. It’s the spirit of the true fan — the kid who enthusiastically roots for his favorite big league team, and looks forward to each new season with its promise of hope for exciting plays and victories. “Nashville is not some sports team that loads up with free agents in a last-gasp effort to make something of themselves,” Cooper says, returning to the baseball metaphors to speak on the future of Music City, U.S.A. “This is the deepest farm system that there is.”

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He’s been everywhere, man But now “NashPhil” Kaufman is good in the ’hood story and photography by Heather Lose

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he rock ‘n roll universe is studded with legends and stories, and one of its brightest, most fascinating luminaries is a figure operating in the shadows, far from the spotlight. “Road Mangler” Phil Kaufman is arguably the best-known road manager that has ever worked music’s highways, and his stories are intertwined with the stuff of legend. Once upon a time, rock ‘n roll was lascivious and epic. Marauding rock gods and their minions roared from city to city, plundering women, trashing hotel rooms, and horrifying parents. Televisions were smashed on sidewalks. Vats of drugs and booze were shared openly. For the kids in the audience, it was all larger than life. For Kaufman, it was just another day on the road, and it was his responsibility to make sure the show went on. Kaufman’s business card has two titles on it: “Road Mangler Deluxe” — which is also the title of his autobiography, first published in 1993 — and “Executive Nanny Service,” the title bestowed upon him by Mick Jagger. He’s been wiping bottoms and warming bottles since 1968, when he took a job taking care of Mick and the boys while the Stones were in Los Angeles mixing Beggars Banquet. The job paid $100 a week. Since then, Kaufman has worked with a cast of characters that includes Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Frank Zappa, Etta James, Vince Gill, the Divinyls, Joe Cocker, Dwight Yoakam, Lynda Carter, and Nanci Griffith. To date, he’s only set one client on fire, which is a pretty good track record. Kaufman has resided in East Nashville for seven years. Pulling up in front of his duplex, you know you’re in the right place when you see the Tennessee license plate that reads, “PH KAUF.” His home is full of memorabilia illustrating his many years in show business. The interview begins, and the zingers start flying. Kaufman is funny, warm and smart. And he loves living on the East Side. “It’s just a very comfortable place to live. It’s user and bruiser friendly. This street that I live on, it’s just two blocks long, and there are no sidewalks, so it just gives you that feel like you’re out in the country. I told my landlady, ‘You couldn’t get me out of here with dynamite.’ I just signed another three-year lease, and if I told you how much I pay, everybody would be knockin’ on my door. So I ain’t gonna tell ya. But it’s a hell of a deal,” he says.

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his is a man who could live anywhere. He’s seen a lot of territory. Kaufman was born in Oceanside, N.Y., in 1935. His father’s side of the family was in showbiz; they were “vaudevillians,” according to Kaufman, and his dad was the leader of a big band in the ’30s. The family moved around a lot during Kaufman’s childhood, and he joined the Air Force in 1952. He ended up in the Korean War and was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron running photoreconnaissance missions. He left the Air Force in 1956 and traveled to Los Angeles in 1957. Between the late ’50s and the late ’60s, Kaufman crisscrossed the planet, racking up a motley collection of hometowns and girlfriends and stories, a few stints in jail, and one notorious bunkmate who would later shock the world: Charles Manson. Kaufman tells the story. “When I was in prison for marijuana, I didn’t get to pick my roommate. And this was a dorm situation. He was in the dorm, and I got to know him. It was 1965, ’66. Maybe ’67. And he was a singer; he played guitar and all that stuff. That was my contact with him. And then when he got out, I hung out with him for about three weeks, in about 1968, and then I divorced myself from him. (Editor’s note: The Tate/LaBianca murders took place in August 1969.) So that was my basic contact with Charlie. He used to call me on the phone. The last time he spoke with me, he was talking — I think it’s in my book — but I was going, ‘Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. You know the difference between you and I?’ I said, ‘You’re doing life and I’m living it.’ And then I hung up on him. And I haven’t heard from him since.” Kaufman left Terminal Island Prison in 1968 and drifted to Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles, a hilly area near Sunset Boulevard and Laurel 74

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Canyon populated with disenfranchised, hippie folks. It was later that year when he met the Stones and began “moving people, not equipment,” as his business card states. Kaufman describes his profession: “I’m a tour manager, but I was once a road manager, the difference being tour managers have iPods and electronic devices, and a road manager had a roll of quarters and a yellow legal pad, and a ‘Stop the bus, there’s a phone booth!’” Has anything else changed out there on the road? He nods knowingly. “Well, the drugs and the groupies … that’s still going on, but it was rampant in the ’60s. It was obligatory. You had to be crazy to be on the road, and so we were! But now, with the electronic age, people tell on each other. So it’s kind of hard to be crazy on the road if you have a significant other. Touch a tit, you’re gonna get a twit,” he laughs. Does he miss the old days? “No. Nobody could have continued that and lived.” He pauses to amend his words. “Only Keith Richards, who can eat nails and piss rust; he’s the only one. Gram Parsons tried, and he died. He and Keith were buddies, and he was like, ‘Hey!’ They had similar tastes. ‘I can do what Keith does!’ Wrong.”

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aufman is perhaps most famous for making a pact with Parsons that he couldn’t not keep. Kaufman was Parsons’ road manager for a while, and they also bummed around in their free time. In July 1973, Parsons and Kaufman went to the funeral of Clarence White, a fellow musician on the country rock scene in Los Angeles. Kaufman tells the story in his autobiography. “We had told Gram we wouldn’t let him have one of those long, family-and-friends funerals.” The two had gotten drunk after White’s funeral and made a pact that if either of them died anytime soon, “the survivor would take the other guy’s body out to Joshua Tree, have a few drinks, and burn it. The burning was the bottom line.” Tragically, and ironically, Parsons died of an overdose of morphine and alcohol two months later. Kaufman managed to borrow a hearse from a friend and snagged Parsons’ coffined body from LAX before it was flown down to New Orleans for the family. Kaufman and his partner in crime, Michael Martin, managed to talk their way through several layers of security, including a policeman who had to move his car so they could drive away with the casket. “At this point, we were getting a little giddy. We were driving out of the airport. We had Gram. We had our buddy in the back. We were talking to him. We said, ‘We got you, buddy.’” Then the two, slinging back beer and Jack Daniel’s, drove to Joshua Tree National Monument and stopped near Cap Rock. Contrary to popular lore, there was no real significance to the place. The two had just gotten so drunk along the way that they couldn’t drive any further. They got the coffin out of the hearse and opened the lid; poured in the high-octane gas they’d bought during the trip and lit a match. They watched as their friend was reduced to ash and then they hightailed it out of there.

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hese days, Kaufman spends his hours with motorcycles, friends and stints on the road here and there. Regretfully, he missed this year’s Tomato Art Fest because he was in Los Angeles taping an interview for the BBC. He’d like to petition for an encore because, “My dance card is empty!” He’s going on a music cruise with East Nashville musician (and The East Nashvillian May/June 2013 cover story subject) Todd Snider in February, and the two of them just finished up a video. “I just did a video with one of my favorite new guys in the whole world, Todd Snider. Todd has his own ZIP code. We just did a video of a wedding. I’m not sure what the sexual orientation was — who was the bride and who was the groom — but it was really fun.” Snider’s take on the proceedings? “We made a video of a gay wedding set in the South. The main visual we wanted to get was two men kissing while other clearly straight and clearly Southern men cheered. Kaufman played the father of a groom and gave his son away to be married.” Kaufman is in a motorcycle gang called the Sons of Arthritis — a bunch of old cats who like to ride Harleys. “You know the saying, ‘oy?’


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“ ... if you use a kick-start you can’t be in the Sons of Arthritis.

What we do is … we ride! And we stop! And we pee!

And we ride, and we stop, and we pee!”

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That’s our call. When you get on the bike you go, ‘OY!’ All the motorcycles have electric starts; if you use a kick-start you can’t be in the Sons of Arthritis. What we do is … we ride! And we stop! And we pee! And we ride, and we stop, and we pee!” Kaufman and his cohorts (who shall go unnamed by request) enjoy their road trips, recently thundering up the highway to Owensboro, Ky., the home of Moonlight Barbeque, a joint specializing in lamb and mutton barbeque. “The guys say, Clockwise from top: Kaufman’s business card; Zappa in all his glory, framed and hanging on the Mangler’s wall; Hatch poster for Radio Cafe, which Kaufman once managed.

‘How far is it?’ I say, ‘About four oys — maybe three if you take the Interstate!’” Kaufman is currently working with a young musician named J.J. Lawhorn. “I’ve been working all these years with artists as they matured, and now here’s this young kid that I think you might want to keep your ears open for.” He is still in demand for his “nanny services” on the road. “Some people call and ask me for advice — mostly for touring. In my line of work, the music is secondary. It’s ‘get the people from A to B, collect the money, hotels, airplanes’ — that’s it, you know? If the music is great, that’s a bonus. That’s good if you like it. If you don’t, you still go to work every day!” He expounds on what it’s like on the road these days. “It looks really romantic, especially from the audience’s point of view, but if you have a long tour, it’s very tiresome; you’re away from home, you’re away from East Nashville. You know, I’ll tell you something: I was just in L.A., and I just couldn’t wait to get back here! Like I’m sitting here in my chair now, here, with all my crap, and this is it! This is home, this is East Nashville!” His eyes crinkle. That happens a lot. Here’s a guy who has lived a couple of lifetimes already, and still finds the joy in each day. Nanci Griffith provides her view of what’s so special about Kaufman: “I love working with Kaufman because he’s a guy that makes decisions ... and he doesn’t nag me!” According to Eastside musician Elizabeth Cook, he possesses special skills. “It can get a little gangster out there in promoter land; you want a man that has access to a hearse working for you,” she says. Todd Snider has praises, and a prediction, of his own. “He will be the first tour manager to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. America is like a little backyard to him. He could draw it from memory. He has seen everything a couple of times, and he never takes anything very seriously, while very seriously getting everything done.” Snider continues, “He asked me how old I was once. I said, ‘I’m getting old.’ He answered, ‘And who’s getting young?’ I’ll never forget it.” Phil Kaufman’s book, Road Mangler Deluxe, is now in its third printing, and contains 365 pages of stories and photos. It can be acquired through rdmangler@ aol.com. Kaufman will be signing copies of his book at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, at noon on Oct. 5.

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Hi, I’m Russell Kirchner, your neighborhood canner. I invite you to join my upcoming canning course and other great classes at Nashville Community Education this Fall!

Classes begin September 3rd! View the class catalog and register online at http://Nashville.gov/ce For more information call us at 615-298-8050 or visit our website.

Nashville Community Education 4805 Park Ave, Suite 123 Nashville, TN 37209 connect. impact. explore.

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Randy Hughes early 1950s - Photo by Walden S. Fabry; courtesy of kathy copas hughes


The Hundred

Mile-an-Hour

Man

The Too-Fast Life of Randy Hughes

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andy Hughes is one of the best-known unknowns in country music history. As Patsy Cline’s manager and pilot of the small plane that took the lives of himself, Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins on a stormy March evening in 1963, his name is forever preserved as a part of country music’s great tragedies. But there’s more to the story of Randy Hughes than his excellent skills as a business manager and tragic shortcomings as a pilot. Some of Hughes’ friends called him the “Hundred Mile-an-Hour Man” because of his driving habits – pedal to the metal, anxious to get where he was going and

By Randy Fox

annoyed that it took time to get there – but it just as easily applied to his whole life. There were too many new friends to make, people to entertain, business deals to close and music to play. For Randy Hughes, the clock was always ticking. Hughes’ clock began ticking on Sept.11, 1928, in a small community just south of Murfreesboro known as Gum, Tenn. Ramsey Dorris Hughes, the only child of Raleigh and Ula Hughes, was a precocious bundle of energy. The Hugheses were poor tenant farmers and Ula struggled with a nervous condition. As a result, Ramsey was shuttled between living with his parents and his Aunt “Sackie” in

Toledo, Ohio. For a boy with a big, outgoing personality, performing came naturally, and Hughes finagled his first job as a singer on radio station WTOD in Toledo when he was just 17. After a short stint in the Air Force, he performed with local bands and on the radio in Hollywood, Fla. He began using the more radio-friendly name “Randy,” and worked hard at sharpening his performing style and stage presence. By 1950, Hughes was in Nashville and hustling jobs as a picker with artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Butterball Paige and Moon Mullican. He was also working at a record wholesaler that was just starting a

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label called Tennessee Records. When his boss asked him if he knew any good hillbilly singers Hughes replied, “How ‘bout me?”

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ughes’ first single, released in the summer of 1950, was a pair of hot hillbilly boogie novelty tunes, “When Elephants Start to Roost in Trees,” and “I’d Rather Be a Rooster.” With a record contract in hand, he was soon performing on the Grand Ole Opry, primarily as a guitarist backing Opry stars, but occasionally as a featured performer. Hughes’ widow, Kathy Copas Hughes, remembers his onstage charisma. “Randy was a great performer to have on the start of a show,” she says. “He’d get people warmed up, and then he’d introduce the star. He was in high demand.” While Hughes was working as a sideman, he continued recording for Tennessee Records as a solo artist, releasing nine singles between 1950 and 1952. They ranged from hillbilly boogie to honky tonk weepers, but his fourth single set the template for his best remembered recordings. In the fall of 1950, hillbilly singer Skeets McDonald scored a surprise jukebox hit with “The Tattooed Lady,” a slightly risqué appreciation of female anatomy. Tennessee Records specialized in rushing out knock-off versions of regional hits, and Hughes delivered a smokin’ hot cover of the tune. With sales racking up for Hughes’ version of “The Tattooed Lady,” more innuendo-loaded records followed – “Birthday Cake,” “Talkin’ in

dating Kathy Copas, daughter of Opry star Cowboy Copas. Though Hughes was seven years older, they were immediately attracted to each other. “I was 16 when I met him,” Kathy says. “I was a kid, but I had a lot of miles under my belt because I had been on the road with Dad. I really wanted to date Randy, and we had a very short courtship, maybe five months.” Their courtship was not only short, but also rather unusual, with dates shoehorned into small pieces of time on the weekends. Live appearances were the primary source of income for Opry stars at that time, but they were also required to appear on the Opry regularly or be dropped from the show. Country singers were typically on the road with their bands for five or six days of hard travelling on pre-Interstate system roads with a marathon drive back to Nashville for Saturdays. While Kathy occasionally toured with her father, Hughes was on the road almost every week as a sideman for different country stars. The hectic schedule resulted in a long-distance proposal. “I got a Valentine’s card from Randy while he was out on the road,” Kathy says. “He said it was time we should get engaged. When he came in that week we would talk about when he was going out, and when I was going out, and work out a wedding date. I told him yes, but he had to get my dad’s permission.” Cowboy Copas loved a good practical joke, so he was ready when his potential son-in-law showed up at his home on Richmond Drive in

George Morgan’s band, which had the reputation of being one of the rowdiest groups of players on the Opry — a perfect fit for Hughes. “Randy loved George Morgan and that crazy bunch; they were nuts,” Kathy says. Morgan once went so far as to stage his own suicide as a practical joke on his fiddle player and a hotel bellboy, a stunt that Hughes helped perpetrate. “George called Randy ‘Nickel-Nose,’” Kathy says. “He used to ask him on stage, ‘How did Mrs. Hughes feel when she gave birth to a nine-pound nose with a baby hanging off of it?’” While Hughes was out on the road with Morgan’s band of musical frat boys, Kathy continued performing with her father. “Randy and I didn’t fight much,” Kathy says. “We didn’t see each other enough.” For those short periods when the newlyweds were both in town, they rented a duplex on Ardee Drive in Inglewood, later buying a small, two-bedroom house on Kirkland Drive.

W

ith the arrival of their son, Larry, in 1955, Kathy stayed home more and the couple bought a new house at 4413 Gra Mar Drive in Inglewood. Randy eventually came in from the road, too, but his career in music was far from over. He juggled multiple jobs — band member on the Opry, song pitcher, artist booker, insurance salesman and stockbroker, co-founder of a publishing company and financial manager for Opry star Ferlin Husky.

Randy came in the door, Dad was sitting “When in the den with a shotgun on his lap.

Randy said, ‘You know what I’m here for?’ Dad said, ‘Yeah,’ and he cocked the gun. — Kathy Copas Hughes

­­

Your Sleep” and a classic double blast of double entendre naughtiness, “Not Big Enough,” backed with “Tappin’ That Thing.” It proved to be Hughes’ last blast at the jukebox, as Tennessee Records’ shadiness in regards to royalties caught up with them and the label folded near the end of 1952.

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ughes might have continued pursuing a solo career, but by that time he had other matters on his mind. He was

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Inglewood. “When Randy came in the door,” Kathy says, “Dad was sitting in the den with a shotgun on his lap. Randy said, ‘You know what I’m here for?’ Dad said, ‘Yeah,’ and he cocked the gun.” Despite the ominous tone, Hughes left free of buckshot and with parental approval for the nuptials. Randy Hughes and Kathy Copas were married on Feb. 19, 1953. After a one-night honeymoon, they both hit the road in opposite directions. By this point, Hughes had joined

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“Randy was very concerned about making a name for himself one way or another,” Kathy says. “He wanted to be more than just a picker. He worked very hard at whatever he did. I guess you could say he was ambitious and a little impatient, but those were good things for someone who manages other people.” He also added a swimming pool in the backyard of their Gra Mar Drive home that became a popular hangout for the many musicians that lived in Inglewood and Madison.


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Randy & Kathy Hughes at their home in Gra Mar Acres, Inglewood early 1960s; photo courtesy of kathy copas hughes


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September | October 2013 Randy & Kathy Hughes mid-1950s; photo courtesy of kathy copas hughes


It was the perfect set-up for Hughes: a place to entertain friends and conduct business. “On several occasions we had guests show up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” Kathy says. “Some people would come over after we went to bed and swim in the pool.”

D

espite his successes, he was still looking for that big opportunity. In 1959, he found it. “Randy was with Ferlin when he saw Patsy Cline perform on a package show in Washington, D.C.” Kathy Hughes says. “He just couldn’t quit talking about what a great singer she was. I thought she must really be something. He said, ‘I’m going to do the best I can to get her on the Opry.’” By the start of 1960, that goal had been achieved and Hughes took over as Cline’s personal manager, pouring a majority of his time and energy into building her career. “She was making a name for herself, but not making any money,” Kathy says. “I think Patsy and Randy really understood each other. Randy was like her savior. He was the one doing good things for her, and trying to get her into upscale venues instead of just playing bars.” Although there’s no doubt that Hughes and Cline shared a close friendship, some have speculated that their relationship went further. While such innuendo might be great for a movie script or some of Hughes’ old records, there is little evidence of that actually being the case. Kathy Hughes is quite forthright on the subject: “If they were having an affair, I don’t know how they had time for it.” By 1963, Patsy Cline was on the fast track to country music superstardom. The future also looked bright for Hughes, with plans to start his own talent booking and management agency. He was already handling the careers of Cline, his father-in-law and Opry star Billy Walker for the Hubert Long Agency. Nothing but success seemed to lie ahead of him. One sign of that success, and his desire to move as fast as possible, was the Piper PA-24-250 Comanche airplane that Hughes purchased in the fall of 1962. On March 5, 1963, Hughes landed his plane at the airfield in Dyersburg, Tenn. He was flying back from a benefit show in Kansas City and landed to refuel before making the final hop to Nashville, just 170 miles away. With a storm moving in, the airport managers advised him not to take off. Everyone on board the plane — Hughes, Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins — were exhausted and just wanted to get home. The plane left at 6:07 p.m.; shortly thereafter, Kathy Hughes and her mother drove to the Cornelia Fort Airpark in East Nashville to wait for the plane to arrive. It never did. For Randy Hughes, the clock stopped ticking at 6:20 p.m. on a lonely Tennessee hillside. September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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ress D Rock Star How to

all photos courtesy of Flickr under creative commons

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rom the tops of DEVO’s energy domes to the bottoms of Robert Smith’s Vans and every cone bra in between, music may be the most influential factor in predicting fashion trends. Everyone assumes music is something you listen to; just as importantly, music is something you watch. The Beatles were a fashion entity in and of themselves. Early in their popularity in America, they were the picture of clean-cut suits and mop-top hair. You almost have to wonder if Justin Bieber and Zac Efron realize they stole their famous early hairstyles from the original heartthrob musicians. As The Beatles’ popularity exponentially increased, their style became a little more rugged. With long, stringy hair and scraggly beards, they became the poster children for the “make love, not war” mantra. It’s no wonder the free-love

Your Inner

By Sarah Farrell

attitude was such a popular one in the ‘60s — the height of the Fab Four’s carefree influence. Counterculture was at an all-time high in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so much so that musicians became fashion icons simply by attempting to bilk the fashion industry. Jim Morrison, captured in a classic black-and-white photograph shirtless and wearing a beaded necklace, was arrested for allegedly exposing himself onstage in Miami in 1969. His case was overturned posthumously, and he lives on in our memories as the “untainted” Jim Morrison. Iggy Pop performed and is frequently photographed sans shirt, and Courtney Love often performed nude, which is ironic considering she is among the latest musicians-turned-models for Saint Laurent (formerly Yves Saint Laurent). Also well known for dismissing the fashion industry were Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway, two of

the three Thompson Twins, who infamously shaved their eyebrows. They later regretted it when the hot stage lights caused sweat to drip uninhibited into their eyes. David Bowie is well known for his garish makeup and cross-dressing tendencies (in addition to his early ‘70s mullet), but he was preceded by none other than Alice Cooper. While both gentlemen are known for their former tendencies to imitate the style of the fairer sex, Marilyn Manson wins the competition for implying a cross-dressing stage life. Plus, no man can apply the guy-liner like Manson. Speaking of mullets (thanks to Bowie), can we just talk about Joan Jett and her epic mullet? We can also hold her personally responsible for making black eyeliner, tank tops and punk-grunge style popular. While we’re on the subject of hair, we

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can’t walk away without discussing Sinéad O’Connor and Patti Smith. O’Connor has had a pretty consistently shaved head since the ‘80s; Smith, conversely, would go months at a time without shaving her armpits. Lately, an iconic mustache is considered a reputable accessory for the men in our lives. Freddie Mercury was the first heartbreaker to win over the ladies (and gents!) with his mustache, and men have been following his lead for years. Fortunately, most men stick to mimicking his influential facial hair, and not his memorable stage costumes. There is a chain of command in the “blonde women who go to extremes to get noticed” category. Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha are both accused of imitating Lady Gaga, who, in turn, is ridiculed for swiping Madonna’s style. While Madonna is credited with introducing outrageous costumes (a la cone bras and leotards), she follows in the glamazon footsteps of the untouchable Cyndi Lauper. The fact that Ms. Lauper debuted an exclusive lipstick for MAC Cosmetics only proves her staying power. While we’re on the topic of Madonna, we could easily assume she, Björk, Gwen Stefani, and grunge royalty Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love have nothing in common — except their influence over the fashion industry during the ‘90s. Visible bras, flannel button-downs, skinny jeans and bleached hair are making a

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comeback, but no one will rock them as hard as the original artists. High-end designers have been vying for the stars’ attention for years. When an A-list celebrity wears a designer’s dress on the red carpet, that designer enjoys widespread publicity they wouldn’t have received otherwise — all for the price of a single dress. Lately, those high-end designers have been reaching for musicians. Lady Gaga’s partnership and famous friendship with Donatella Versace is advertising that neither artist could obtain otherwise. Also among Lady Gaga’s designer suitors are Giorgio Armani and Philip Treacy. Hedi Slimane, creative director for Saint Laurent, has recently partnered with both Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. Versace helped Jennifer Lopez stand on her own reputation with the infamous green gown at the 2000 Grammys, and Tom Ford recently dressed Justin Timberlake while supporting Jay-Z. I’ll leave you with this thought: The recent trend in women’s pants is to have a bit of a drop crotch. Should we send

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our thank-you notes or letters of regret to MC Hammer? Ever looked back at pictures of your younger self and thought, “What on earth was I thinking??” Well, you’re in luck. You’re among countless others whose style was influenced by a favorite musician instead of a favorite designer or runway model. We can only hope the future generations will continue to make our same mistakes.


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ericjans@ericjans.com www.ericjansinsurance.com health insurance life insurance disability insurance supplemental insurance long-term care health savings account (hsa) September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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over

•L datio n u o F e es & th c n a ontest c r F l e • d o in-up m P & w o rs o d sque sh n e l e r u v B l • ca o l & s k truc d o o F • lo Cl a f f u B n|

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Emma Alford

EAST SIDE C A L E N D A R

Calendar Editor

UPCOMING STOUTS ON THE SPEEDWAY

Taste of Tennessee Craft Brewer’s Festival

6 to 11 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6, Fairgrounds Speedway

Continuing NASCAR fans’ long tradition of drinking at the track, Nashville is hosting a beer festival on the Fairgrounds Speedway. Don’t worry: no drinking and driving involved here. You can even scoop up a shuttle pass to save yourself the hassle of finding a DD. More than 25 breweries are hauling out their hops, along with the city’s best food trucks, and Edley’s irresistible BBQ. Six Boots Collective and Bells Bend Farm will be in attendance to teach beer enthusiasts about their mission to grow hops for local breweries. They’ll have some old racecars on site to celebrate this speedway’s history, which if you didn’t know, is the oldest operating racetrack in America. You can even grab a photo with one of the old whips in the fest’s photo booth. Keep it G-rated; they’re not looking for car show model girls. Score your tickets on the fest’s website. 500 Wedgewood Ave., www.tasteoftn.com

PADDLE THE MAGIC DRAGON

Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, Riverfront Park

Flex your biceps for Nashville’s very own dragon boat race. This cultural festival celebrates traditional Chinese dragon boat racing. Shelby Bottoms Nature Center will be celebrating this tradition in the Dragonland children’s area of the festival. Whether you want to participate in the race or just be a spectator, this festival guarantees to be like no other in Nashville. 100 First Ave. N, www.nashvilledragonboat.org.

DON’T MEAN A THANG IF IT AIN’T GOT THAT SWANG

Krewe Jazz Group Nights

9:30 p.m. Fridays, Sept. 7 and 21, Oct. 4 and 25, Belcourt Taps

If you’re feeling funky and want to hear a little ragtime, cross the bridge and head over to Belcourt Taps. Some fellow East Nashvillians in the local jazz quintet Krewe will be playing a handful of shows through September and October. Choose from Taps’ array of beers and grab a burger, too. They have drink specials every night of the week, which makes the deal a little sweeter. 2117 Belcourt Ave., www.facebook.com/KreweNashville

EARFULLS FOR FREE

Live On The Green

5 p.m. to 11 p.m., every Thursday through Sept. 12, Public Square Park

You’ll be green with envy if you miss Live On The Green this year. The free outdoor concert series has a stellar lineup. In September you can check out the

last two rounds and catch artists like Local Natives, Lulu Mae, and Nashvillians The Wild Feathers, Moon Taxi and The Weeks. Check Live On The Green’s website for the full lineup. 408 Second Ave. N., www.liveonthegreen.net

WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM

Buffalo Bash

12 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, McFerrin Park Community Center

Celebrate the heritage of the buffalo that once roamed around our streets. Dickerson Road Merchants Association will be hosting a family friendly party to benefit Maplewood High School. There will be live music, grub, games and fun activities — even karaoke, if you’re brave enough. They’ll have a beer garden for the 21+ crowd. Come out and run with the buffalo. 310 Grace St.

FROM THE FARMHOUSE …

FOR THE KIDS

Holly Street Rocks Fundraiser

6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, The Building

Everyone knows how expensive having kids can be, and finding quality daycare for those little tykes stretches a budget even further. East Nashville’s Holly Street Daycare has been looking for ways to help families who can’t always foot the bill for childcare services. Holly Street is hosting its ninth annual Holly Street Rocks Fundraiser and Silent Auction to raise money for “Jamie’s Fund,” which helps provide tuition for families who need assistance. This year’s event includes a silent auction, as well as a beer and wine tasting. Tickets are $50 for the event. Holly Street Daycare has helped families in East Nashville for years; come out to help them continue this good work. 1008C Woodland St., www.hollystreetrocks.org.

CELEBRATE YOUR HEALTH

Music on the Lawn 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7,

Recovery Fest Nashville

The Farmhouse is opening its porch and lawn up to any Eastsiders looking to hear a tune. The converted American Tuxedo warehouse space will have musicians jamming in the front yard, with performances from Page 4, Linnae Reeves with Larry O’Brien, and Ken Price. If you haven’t gotten the chase to make it out to the Farmhouse to shop around, don’t miss this evening. Located right off Gallatin, it’s not outta the way for any Eastvillian. Pull into the Piggly Wiggly parking lot and look for the big white house. 3621 Gallatin Pike, www. farmhouseartandjunktiques.com

Recovery Fest Nashville is a grassroots movement about celebrating the positive impact of recovery from chemical dependency and other addictions and giving it the visibility and attention it deserves. September is National Recovery Month and Recovery Fest is an opportunity for the community to come together, encourage one another and celebrate the journey. It’s a free day of music, food, fun and fellowship. 592 South 1st St., www.recoveryfestnashville.com

Farmhouse Art & Junktiques

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, Cumberland Park

SERVIN’ UP AN ORDER OF NASHVILLE

Made in Nashville

FREAKY FRIDAY

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Centennial Park

Trick or Treat Tattoo’s Friday the 13th Special

Friday, Sept. 13, Trick or Treat Tattoo

Forget about Freddy Krueger; Friday the 13th just became your lucky day. Captain Morgan will be honoring this ill-fated juncture with a set of flash tattoos at the appropriate price of $13. Who knows, maybe this could be the best way to beat your triskaidekaphobia? Embrace the superstition and honor the ominous day the right way. 2100 Greenwood Ave., 615-881-5889.

It’s time to celebrate all things Nashville with the Tennessee Literacy Coalition. This fest is all about highlighting the best things you can find right here under your own nose. There will be live music all afternoon with a ton of vendors out in full force with their local and homemade goods for sale — and for the thirsty Nashvillians out there, the fest will have a beer garden with a selection of locally brewed craft beers and spirits. 2500 West End Ave., www.madeinnashville.org.

GOD BLESS AMERICANA

DINNER AT THE DINER

Americana Music Association Festival and Conference

Uncle Phil’s Diner

7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13, and Thursday, Sept. 14, Edgefield Baptist Church

Flashback to the ‘50s with this dinner theater program set in the age of poodle skirts and beehives. Edgefield Baptist Church is hosting “Uncle Phil’s Diner,” an interactive program centered in a ‘50s diner that’s awaiting the arrival of the night’s entertainment, The Desotos. Proceeds from the event will go toward East Nashville Cooperative Ministries. It’s a family-friendly night, serving up a classic diner meal. The only thing missing is the Fonz. 700 Russell St., www.edgefieldbaptist.org.

Sept. 18-22, citywide

‘Merica-na. It’s time for the Americana Music Festival and Conference again. The festival will take place over four days with educational sessions by day and oodles of musicians taking the stage in various venues across the city by night. Held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, the conference will feature an array of panels, seminars and lectures with top music biz professionals. Tons of musicians will perform throughout the event, including East Nashvillian Alanna Royale, the North Mississippi Allstars, Luella and the Sun, Rayland Baxter, Johnny Fritz and many more. If

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ES C you want to check out all the showcases, you might want to invest in a wristband. It will get you into all the shows — unless the place is packed out to capacity. Otherwise you can buy individual tickets to showcases for $20. For those looking to get educated, you’ll need to register online to attend the conference portion of the event. Log on to www. americanamusic.org to learn more, register or purchase wristbands.

TAKE ME TO THE PICTURE SHOW

Grassy Knoll Movie Nights

7 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 15, Oct. 20, side lawn @ Bongo Java East

Bring your own blanket, relax and enjoy the show. You know you’re tired of paying $11 to sit in a stuffy movie theater. It’ll only cost you $5 to watch, or $4 with a canned food donation to Second Harvest. Only $1 for the kiddies. Food trucks and local brews will be on standby, so you won’t go hungry or thirsty. Check Grassy Knoll Movie Nights’ Facebook page for what they’re showing each month. 109 South 11th St., www.facebook.com/grassyknollmovies

A NOT COOL NIGHT AT FAT BOTTOM

Tim Easton Live at Fat Bottom

7 p.m., Tuesday Sept. 17, Fat Bottom Brewing

If you don’t show up for corn hole Wednesdays at Fat Bottom, maybe you should drop in to see one of their live music acts. This September Tim Easton will play the brewery in support of his new album, Not Cool. Think folk roots meets honky-tonk swagger. Score a craft brew and burger and sit in for Easton’s set. 900 Main St., www.fatbottombrewing.com

EASTICANA

East X Americana

5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, East-Centric Pavilion

Before the big shebang for the 2013 Americana Music Festival and Conference starts off across the river, this side of town is hosting its own homage to Americana music. There will be a free and open party at the pavilion for the public. Bring your kids or your pooch and come enjoy some of the sounds from performances by Amelia White, Calico the band, and Tommy Womack. Check the pavilion’s website for the full rundown on the lineup for this free festivity. 1006 Fatherland St., www.east-centric. com

SORE FEET, GREAT CAUSE

Run For Mercy 5K

7:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Shelby Park,

Mercy Ministries is hosting its Run For Mercy 5K Run/Family Walk in Nashville and it’s kicking off in East Nasty’s very own Shelby Park. Mercy Ministries is a Christian program that works to help women who have been the victim of domestic violence, sex trafficking, physical or sexual abuse. They also work with young women who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders or

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problems with self-mutilation. If you want to help them support this cause, come out and run for their mission, be you a woman or a man. S. 20th St., www.runformercy.com

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

Dog Day Festival and Music City Mutt Strutt,

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Sept. 21, Centennial Park

It’s time to round up your pups and head to the park. Nashville Humane Association is hosting the Dog Day Festival and Mutt Strutt for another year. Register your pup to walk the dog walk while raising money for the fur nuggets at Nashville’s humane association. You can register for $25 on the day of the festival and it’s $20 for ages 11-17 or free for the kiddies. After the Mutt Strutt, the Dog Day Festival kicks off, which no K-9 wants to miss. They’ll have a shopping pavilion decked out with doggie goods, contests, a pet portrait booth, and even arts and crafts activities for Picasso pooches. Oh, and there will be some music and food for the Homo sapiens on site. You’re dog-gone crazy if you don’t go. 2600 West End Ave., www.nashvillehumane.org.

BARK SALE THIS WAY

East C.A.N. Yard Sale

8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, Eastwood Christian Church

Calling all early morning yard sale scavengers. We’ve got another stop for you to check out on your weekend rounds. East C.A.N. will be hosting a yard sale of its own this September to help raise funds for the organization. If you want them to keep rescuing those cute pooches and fluffy kittens, drop in and spend a few bucks for a good cause. Even better, donate items for the sale. We’ve all got stuff we need to clear out of those broom closets and attics; now here is the motivation. Contact info@ eastcan.org if you would like to make a donation for the sale. Everyone will be barking about this, so don’t miss it. 1601 Eastland Ave., www.eastcan.org.

WHO CUT THE CHEESE?

Southern Artisan Cheese Festival

Saturday, Sept. 28, Neuhoff Complex

Calling all cheese heads: The Southern Artisan Cheese Festival is back in Nashville for its third year. More than 20 cheese makers from six states will bring their stinky stuff to the festival this year. You can expect a barrage of over 75 cheeses to taste. Other artisans will offer samples and sell their handcrafted accouterments like breads, crackers, chocolates, jams and cured meats. There will be a generous selection of wines and Southern craft beers to wash it all down with. 1319 Adams St., www.southerncheesefest.com.


ES C SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

Trick or Treat Tattoo’s Halloween Special

DASH N’ BASH

East Nash Dash

Throughout October, Trick or Treat Tattoo

9 a.m. Saturday Oct. 19, Nashville Running Company

It’s Halloween, the time of year every girl uses as an excuse to throw on a skimpy outfit and call it a costume or when every bro in sight dresses up as Johnny Depp’s latest character. But I digress; this year you can celebrate the hallowed day in a new way. Captain Morgan is brewing up something in his cauldron for the East Side. For the entire month of October, he’ll be doing free Halloween flash tattoos. And just because it’s free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tip him handsomely — you don’t want to end up cursed. Go see what menacing designs are lurking behind his door. You won’t be disappointed. 2100 Greenwood Ave., 615-881-5889.

Here’s a race for us East Siders. The East Nash Dash, or E.N.D., is a four-mile trek through the heart of 5 Points and Shelby Bottoms Park. The funds raised will go toward Progress Inc., an organization that aims to help senior citizens and adults with disabilities. Come for the run and stay for the after party, where a handful of your favorite vendors will be on site like Fat Bottom, Yazoo, Castrillo’s Pizza and Bagel Face Bakery. There will be a huge bash post-race so you can kill the burn with a few beers. 1105 Woodland St., www.eastnashdash. org, 615-577-7717

Drink like a redneck and get an eyeful while yer at it.

Clay Risen: Book Release & Whiskey Tasting Event

6 to 11 p.m. Friday Oct. 11, East Centric Pavilion

Mark Twain said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” We agree. Humanities Tennessee is hosting a book release and tasting event for whiskey aficionado Clay Risen’s new work, “American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit.” It’s the only guidebook dedicated solely to U.S. whiskey, rye and bourbon. Risen will be at the release to answer all questions and hold many whiskey-induced conversations. Ticket are $35, which includes full participation in the tasting (a smattering of Tennessee and Kentucky spirits), as well as a copy of the guidebook. All proceeds will benefit Humanities Tennessee, so rest assured you’re drinking for a good cause. 519 Gallatin Ave. Grab your tickets online at www.humanitiestennessee.org

White Trash Beer Fest

The White Trash Beer Bash will have a plethora (y’all can look that up) of the finest low brow brews assembled outside out Toledo. Not only that, a troupe of scantily clad femme fatales will be there to put a frothy head on that draft beer. And don’t forget to bring the old lady, she’ll stay entertained while watching your drunken advances repeatedly shot down down like a duck with a bullseye on its belly. Some genuine musicians will be blasting out tunes for y’all to try dancin’ to. 1006 Fatherland Street, whitetrashbeerfest.com.

OOMPAH, LOOMPAH

Nashville Oktoberfest

5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, Germantown

The 34th edition of Oktoberfest is upon us, and it’s expanded into a two-day affair featuring four stages of live German music, authentic food and, of course, authentic beverages, plus vendors of a bevy of wares, street performers and tours of historic Germantown homes. Did we mention the authentic beverages? So get out your lederhosen and celebrate the day that everyone’s German. But pace yourself: Too much schnitzel and Doppelbock could leave you bährfenpüken. www.nashvilleoktoberfest.com

HOWLIN’ AT THE MOON

Full Moon East Nashville Pickin’ Party and Music Jam

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, Historic Howe House

Pickers and grinners of the East Side: There is yet another occasion for you to bring your string and jam. Historic Howe House is hosting its quarterly affair for all musicians, and admirers. If you don’t know a banjo from a bass, then bring out your lawn chair, a beverage of choice, and just breathe in the music under the full moon. Call Mitzi at 615-2286788 if you’d like to become a featured artist. 1925 Greenwood Ave.

WHISKEY WHILE YOU READ

7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, Barista Parlor

PUMPKINS, POPCORN AND A PICTURE SHOW IN THE PARK

Pumpkin Carvin’ and Movie Night

5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, Shelby Park

BYOP — bring your own pumpkin — to Shelby Park for a pumpkin carvin’, picture watchin’ party at the nature center. You bring the pumpkin; they provide the popcorn. They’ll be watching a “spooky nature movie” that’s appropriate for all ages. Come show your jack-o’-lantern skills. To register, call 615-862-8539 or email shelbybottomsnature@nashville.gov

FARM INTO FALL

East Nashville Farmers’ Market Fall Fest

3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30, Freewill Baptist Church.

Feeling farmy? East Nashville’s Farmers’ Market will be hosting its annual “Fall Fest” this October in the usual market location. Bring the kids for some pumpkin and face painting, and pick up some fresh, locally produced goods while you’re at it. There will be a petting zoo on site with a few of their cuddly cuties — hugs are free. There will even be a real tractor on site, for the city folk who have never seen one. This is EN Farmers’ Market’s September | October 2013 THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

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ES C closing event for the season, so don’t miss your last chance to pick up goods from the local spread before winter rolls in. 210 S. 10th St., www.eastnashvillemarket.com.

STOP, SHOP AND SWAP FOR THE SONGSTERS

Nashville’s Musician’s Swap Meet

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the first Sunday of each month, The Building

If you’re among the sea of musicians and songwriters in Nashville, you might want to drop in on the monthly Musician’s Swap Meet at The Building in 5 Points. The musically inclined gather to buy, sell and trade their gear. There’s always a smattering of various musical odds and ends: Guitars, drums, amps, fiddles, horns — you name it. You’ll also find vinyl, artwork, clothing and other music-related memorabilia. This folky flea market of sorts is free and open to the public. Stop by, grab a coffee at Bongo Java, grub down at Drifters and check out the musical arsenal. If you’re interested in renting a booth for the swap, contact Dino Bradley at 615593-7497. 1008-C Woodland St.

THEEASTNASHVILLIAN.COM

Keep On Movin’

10 p.m. until close Mondays, The 5 Spot

For those looking to hit the dance floor on Monday nights, The 5 Spot’s “Keep on Movin’” dance party is the place to be. This shindig keeps it real with old-school soul, funk and R&B. Don’t worry, you won’t hear Ke$ha — although you might see her — and you can leave your Apple Bottom jeans at home. If you have two left feet, then snag a seat at the bar. They have two-for-one drink specials, so you can use the money you save on a cover to fill your cup. 1006 Forrest Ave., 615-650-9333, www. the5spotlive.com

RECURRING

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SHAKE A LEG

rinc, y’all

Scott-Ellis School of Irish Dance

4:30 to 5 p.m. ages 3-6, and 5 to 5:45 p.m. ages 7 & up, Mondays, Eastwood Christian Church Fellowship Hall

You’re never too young — or too old — to kick out the Gaelic jams with some Irish Step dancing. No experience, or partner, required. Just you, some enthusiasm and a heart of gold will have you dancing in the clover before you can say “leprechaun.” 1601 Eastland Ave., 615-300-4388, www.scott-ellis.com

September | October 2013

BLUEGRASS, BEER, BURGERS

Bluegrass Mondays with Johnny Campbell & the Bluegrass Drifters

8 p.m. until close on Mondays, Charlie Bob’s

It seems you can find some bluegrass on most any night in Music City these days. To cure your end-of-the-weekend/beginning-of-the-week drag, head to Charlie Bob’s and bring your axe along. Watch the Bluegrass Drifters kick things off, then join in on the pickin’ party afterward. Have a burger, buy a few beers and add a little ‘grass to your Monday blues. Oh yeah — it’s also 50-cent wing night. 1330 Dickerson Pike, 615-262-2244, www. charliebobs.com

HAVE YOUR PIE AND DRINK A PINT, TOO

$10 Pint & Pie Night

6 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays, The Family Wash

Every Tuesday night at The Family Wash, you can score a pint of beer and a shepherd’s pie for just $10. The reigning music venue on the East Side, The Wash is home to an abundance of good music, and on Tuesdays, the club plays host to the long-running songwriter series, Shortsets, hosted by Cole and Paul Slivka. They offer a wide selection of craft beer, and they even have a vegetarian shepherd’s pie for herbivores. So sit back and enjoy the show, along with your pint and pie. 2038 Greenwood Ave., 615-226-6070, www.familywash.com


ES C FAT BOTTOM FOR YOUR BUCK

$10 Pint and Entrée Special

4 p.m. until close Tuesdays, Fat Bottom Brewery

Q: What’s better than a craft beer and a tasty meal? A: Cheap craft beer and a tasty meal. At Fat Bottom Brewery you can grab a pint of their liquid courage and an entrée for just $10 on Tuesdays. Peruse their beer garden and pick your poison; they’ve got plenty of options for the seasoned beer drinker. They’re always kegging fresh batches and pouring cold ones, so stop by to get your fix. 900 Main St., www.fatbottombrewing.com

TELL ME A STORY

DOWN THE CORNHOLE

Cornhole Wednesday Nights at Fat Bottom

5 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 9, Fat Bottom Brewery Fat Bottom and Lightning 100 are dropping bags for beers. Each Wednesday the two are partnering up at Fat Bottom’s headquarters for a cornhole tournament. If you think you can sink ‘em, head over to pound a few brews and bags. Each week there are different prizes, like VIP tickets to local shows. Grab a holin’ partner and go beat the heat with a beer. 900 Main St., www.fatbottombrewing. com

East Side Storytellin’

7 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month, A FIDDLE OF THIS AND A FIDDLE OF THAT Old Time Jam Fat Bottom Brewery Looking for something to get your creative juic- 7 p.m. until close Wednesdays, The 5 Spot es flowing? East Side Story has got you covered. They’ve partnered with WAMB radio and Fat Bottom to present an all-out affair with book readings, musical performances and author/musician interviews all in one evening. They host this lovely event twice each month. Check the website to see who the guests of honor will be for each performance. The event is free, but you’ll have to reserve a spot by calling ahead. 900 Main St., 615-262-5346, www. eastsidestorytn.com

The 5 Spot’s weekly “Old Time Jam” is a musical call to arms for all of East Nashville’s pickers and grinners. Bring your acoustic weapon of choice to play with the menagerie of musicians who turn up each Wednesday night. Share tunes and swap stories with the regulars. This bluegrass ball isn’t just for musicians though. Even if you can’t strum a chord, you can sit back and enjoy the rootsy jams. Three is no cover and beers are discounted a buck. 1006 Forrest Ave., 615-650-9333, www.the5spotlive.com

LEND ME YOUR EAR

Supper and Song

7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, Sky Blue Café

The neighborhood restaurant Sky Blue Café has begun opening its doors in the evening for the dinner crowd. Audrey Auld, an Australian singer-songwriter, saw this as an opportunity to liven up the café with some tunes. Auld is a country/Americana performer and each week she plays and invites other musicians to join in on the fun. Stop in, savor a good meal with some beer, wine or coffee and enjoy the music. There is no cover and dinner is served till 11 p.m. 700 Fatherland St., 615-770-7097, www. skybluecoffee.com

ART IS FOR EVERYONE

John Cannon Fine Art classes

6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, The Idea Hatchery

If you’ve been filling in coloring-book pages for years but you’re too intimidated to put actual paint to canvas, it might be time you give it a try. Local artist John Cannon has been teaching art classes at The Idea Hatchery since September. These are small, intimate classes; this keeps the sessions low-pressure and allows for some one-on-one instruction. If you’re feeling like you could be the next Matisse with a little guidance, sign yourself up for some of Cannon’s classes. 1108-C Woodland St., 615-496-1259, www.johncannonart.com

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ES C

KICKS FOR THE KIDS

Professor Smartypants

6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, The Family Wash

It’s only appropriate that a venue named The Family Wash hosts a family night once a week. Every Wednesday, kids eat free at The Wash and Professor Smartypants hosts. They call him the “master of disguise and intrigue.” He tells jokes and sings songs, but his comedy isn’t just for the kiddies; parents will enjoy his humor, too. Professor Smartypants goes on at 6:30 p.m. sharp so don’t be late. 2038 Greenwood Ave., 615-226-6070, www. familywash.com

FARM FRESH

East Nashville Farmers’ Market

D

. C O N S N A

brunch

A

D

O

M

M

3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Free Will Baptist Church

week

end Now open @

AM 9 2-for-1 mimosas & build your own bloody mary bar

1313 Woodland St 615.226.1617 96

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Take a detour from your usual trek to Kroger and stop by the East Nashville Farmers’ Market. They offer the “cream of the crop” in locally grown organic and fresh foods. Peruse local cheeses, milk, breads, herbs, fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies. A few merchants even sell handmade goods, such as soaps, candles, pottery and jewelry. More than 30 vendors haul out to the lot beside Free Will Baptist Church to provide the East Side with their fresh goods. Go out and meet the farmers who grow your food. They also accept SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Grocery shopping has never been this fun — or this homegrown. The Farmers’ Market will run through the end of October. 210 S. 10th St., www.eastnashvillemarket.com

HONESTLY, OFFICER ...

East Nashville Crime Prevention meeting

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays, Beyond the Edge

Join your neighbors to talk about crime stats, trends and various other issues with East Precinct commander David Imhof and head of investigation Lt. Greg Blair. If you are new to the East Side, get up to speed on criminal activity in the area. If you are a recent victim of crime, they want to hear your story. 112 S. 11th St., 615-226-3343

BRINGIN’ DOWN THE HOUSE

After-Hours Jams

7 p.m. Thursdays, The Fiddle House

Every Thursday, The Fiddle House, a full-service acoustic string shop, keeps its doors open for an after-hours jam. Each week, they alternate between “old-time” and “bluegrass” sessions. Sometimes only a few fiddlers show up for the soirees, but other nights the House is packed out. If you like to pick or if you just want to hear a good jam, check this place out next time you’re free on Thursday night. All skill levels are welcome and this pickin’ parlor is free. The music kicks off at 7 p.m. and ends whenever they feel like calling it a night. 1009 Clearview Ave., 615-730-8402, www.thefiddlehouse. com

September | October 2013

PALAVER RECORDS POWOW

Palaver Thursday Showcase

9 p.m. Thursdays, FooBar Too

Looking to hear some fresh new tunes without paying a pretty penny to do it? Head over to FooBar on Thursday nights — East Nasty-based record label Palaver Records hosts a weekly showcase to promote both local and traveling acts. It gives them a chance to scout performers, bands an opportunity to promote themselves, and gives music lovers a cheap show to catch during the week (only $3 at the door—you can’t beat that in Music City). You can see an array of different genres from week to week, and the beer always flows easy at Foo with $3 drafts. 2511 Gallatin Road, www.palaverrecords. com

THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING…

First Time Stories

7 to 10 p.m., first Friday of each month, Actor’s Bridge Studio

We all have our firsts, some better than others. Whether it’s a story about that first prom night (when you weren’t crowned king or queen), your first concert, or maybe that first kiss — these stories are the stuff of the stage. Actors Bridge hosts an open mic night that such soliloquys are made for. They call it “storytelling karaoke.” They only ask that you tell it straight from the heart in less than five minutes. Bring your first and it won’t be the last time you make it out to this night. Admission is $5; bring a few extra doll hairs for the cash bar. 4304 Charlotte Ave., www.actorsbridge.org

CHICKS AND GIGGLES

Girl on Girl Comedy

8 p.m. the last Friday of each month, Mad Donna’s

Once a month, Mad Donna’s hosts a standup comedy series, Girl on Girl Comedy. Nearly all the performers are women, although sometimes a guy is brave enough to take the stage. Girl on Girl is the brainchild of Christy Eidson, who hosts the show. Eidson has been doing comedy for more than 10 years. Once in awhile, they mix things up a bit with music, burlesque and the occasional male pole dancer. They even hand out prizes. Be forewarned: This is an R-rated event, so if you can’t handle anything raunchy or risqué, Girl on Girl is not for you. The show is 18 and up. Admission is $10 a head or $15 for couples. Show up early, snag a good seat and have a nice dinner before the debauchery begins. 1313 Woodland St., 615-226-1617, www. maddonnas.com

GET YOUR CREEP ON

The Cult Fiction Underground

8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Logue’s Black Raven Emporium

The Cult Fiction Underground is housed beneath Robert Logue’s Black Raven Emporium off Gallatin Road. Every weekend they host screenings of rare and classic horror and cult films under the shop for $5. There is a gothic-style bar and lounge area


downstairs also, so you can socialize and have a drink before (or after) the film. The dim basement creates an intimate gathering space for cult and horror fans. It looks like the kind of place Edgar Allen Poe might’ve stumbled out of over 150 years ago. The entrance is behind the building and parking is free. Check out Black Raven’s Facebook page to see what films they’re screening each week. 2915 Gallatin Road, 615-562-4710

DINING

Open Mon – Thurs 11AM – 9PM, Fri 11AM-10PM, Sat. 10AM-10PM & Sun. 10AM-9PM

TENNESSEE TITANS @ LP FIELD

12 p.m., Sept. 22 vs. San Diego Chargers 3:05 p.m., Sept. 29 vs. New York Jets 12 p.m., Oct. 6 vs. Kansas City Chiefs 3:05 p.m., Oct. 20 vs. San Francisco 49ers

TSU TIGERS @ LP FIELD

6 p.m., Oct. 5 vs. Southeast Missouri State 4 p.m., Oct. 26 vs. Eastern Illinois

NEIGHBORHOOD MEETINGS & EVENTS Shelby Hills Neighborhood Association

Café Fontanella by Amico’s – This award winning restaurant features a wide variety of Italian and American dishes, full bar, live performance stage, and a hospitable crew sure to please everyone.

2013 SOUTHERN LIVING Idea House

Now open to the public for tours Wednesday through Sunday from 9AM-3PM, after which it will become a luxury boutique hotel.

MUSIC CITY ZIPLINES

6:30 p.m. third Monday of every month, Shelby Community Center 401 S. 20th St., www.shelbyhills.org

Eastwood Neighbors

6:30 p.m. second Tuesday of every other month, Eastwood Christian Church

1601 Eastland Ave., www.eastwoodneighbors.org

The home respects historic tradition & reflects timeless Southern style, designed with guests in mind in a cozy, comfortable scale.

Zippers sail through the hills of Fontanel on steel cables with seven zip line options. Guides accompany tours & provide equipment instructions. Open year round.

ENTERTAINMENT

Greenwood Neighborhood Association

6 p.m. second Tuesday of every month, House on the Hill

909 Manila St., www.greenwoodneighbors.org

East Nashville Caucus

5 p.m. first Wednesday of every month, Metro Police East Precinct

The East Nashville Caucus provides a public forum for East Nashville community leaders, representatives, council members and neighbors. 936 E. Trinity Lane

The first Monday every month in the Pepsi Studio Gallery 7:30 PM

Tickets available at Ticket Master

The Trails & Conservation Greenway Walking trails wind through two and a half miles of woods under a shaded canopy of trees, soon to connect with a paved Metro Parks Greenway for foot & bike traffic.

4225 Whites Creek Pike • Nashville, TN 37189 • Office: 615.724.1600 Toll Free 877.357.8094 • www.fontanelmansion.com

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ES C Chamber East

7:30 to 9 a.m. first Wednesday of every month, Location: TBD

The Chamber East meets every month for a networking coffee to discuss community updates and how to grow and improve the East Nashville area. For the location of upcoming meetings, please visit www.nashvillecamber.com

Cleveland Park Neighborhood Association

6:30 p.m. second Thursday of every month, Cleveland Park Community Center 610 N. Sixth St., www.facebook.com/groups/ClevelandPark

Inglewood Neighborhood Association

7 p.m. first Thursday of every month, Isaac Litton Alumni Center

4500 Gallatin Road, www.inglewoodrna.org

McFerrin Neighborhood Association

6:30 p.m. first Thursday of every month, McFerrin Park Community Center 301 Berry St.

Rosebank Neighbors

6:30 p.m. third Thursday of every month, Memorial Lutheran Church

branches in the East Nashville area. It provides a support network for mothers to connect with other EN mothers. The meetings are open to all mothers in the designated area. Meetings host speakers, cover regular business items of the organization including upcoming service initiatives and activities, and also allow women to discuss the ins and outs, ups and downs of being a mother with other women. Visit www.momsclubeast.blogspot.com to determine which MOMS group your residence falls under.

Inglewood: 10 a.m. (email inglewoodmoms@gmail. com for location) Lockeland: 10 a.m. East Park Community Center, 600 Woodland St. Eastwood: contact chapter for time and location

1211 Riverside Drive

Dickerson Road Merchants Association

4 p.m. last Thursday of every month, Metro Police East Precinct

936 E. Trinity Lane, www.dickersonroadmerchants. com

MOMS Club of East Nashville

10 a.m. first Friday of every month, location varies by group

If you have an event you would like to have listed, please send information about the event to calendar@theeastnashvillian.com.

MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club is an international organization of mothers with three

YMCA RACE SERIES PRESENTED BY HEALTHWAYS

RACING TOWARD A BRIGHTER FUTURE

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

Thank you for another successful East Nashville Tomato 5K Our sponsors are committed to the Y’s vision of stronger individuals, families and communities. Because of their generous support of the East Nashville Tomato 5K and Kids Fun Run, we are able to continue working toward a brighter future through our commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. All proceeds benefitted the Margaret Maddox Family YMCA’s Annual Giving Campaign.

BRYAN, WARD AND ELMORE INC. JOHN BRACKEEN

Our Mission: A worldwide charitable fellowship united by a common loyalty to Jesus Christ for the purpose of helping people grow in spirit, mind and body.

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marketplace

come see us Fridays & Saturdays 11 to 5 Sundays by appointment a hip, eclectic mix of new & vintage clothing, hats, jewelry & home accessories

3621 Gallatin Pike, Nashville TN 37216 We’re in the big white house just past Hart Lane, next to the Piggly Wiggly Parking available in the back FarmhouseArtandJunktiques.com 615-775-2653

937 Woodland East Nashville 615.226.2288

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shalene france GRAYREALTOR

marketplace

M) 615.378.7699

F) 615.369.8629 | O) 615.383.6964

sgray@villagerealestate.com www.shalenefrancegray.com

We’ve moved on up. To the East Side.

now in East Nashville 224 S. 11th Street (at Fatherland) near Five Points formerly in The Mall at Green Hills 615-329-3959 • www.specsnashville.com • info@specsnashville.com

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marketplace

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marketplace

3 Independent Law Practices 1 Neighborhood Location

Look for the Blue Door The Law Offices of Andrew Caple-Shaw The Law Offices of Robbie H. Bell The Law Offices of Clayton Thomas Wraith

(615) 800-2348 307 N. 16th Street 37206 Walk-Ins Welcome

East side fish???

Parris

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East of normal By

To m m y Wo m a c k

On second thought…

T

his is not the original column I submitted for this issue. And thank God. I came to my senses just as the presses were about to roll. It’s not that the column I initially submitted is bad — it’s actually pretty good; nor that it’s tasteless (which it is), nor unfunny (it made me laugh while writing it), but more that it’s SO tasteless and SO gross that I was going to generate the kind of hate mail that either gets a writer fired … or promoted. My last column inspired one piece of epistolary indignation. If you remember, that was the piece about the Schermerhorn Center and how it would be a shame if it closed before anyone in Nashville learned how to spell it. Somebody without his satire radar activated thought I was making fun of the Nashville Symphony and let Chuck, our brave editor, know about it, who then let ME know about it. I was stressed for about 45 minutes until enough people assured me that the piece was funny and this one guy was just that: one guy. And THAT was a pretty innocuous column. The piece I just pre-empted (a lengthy speculation on which rock stars might or might not have herpes) would have had so many knickers in a twist I shudder to think about it. I’m a funny guy — I make upwards of $1,200 a month being a funny guy — but sometimes I go too far, and I’ll often be the last person to notice it. Like the time I tweeted “Dachau. Like us on Facebook.” I thought that was funny as hell. No one else did. I’ve never wanted to be one of those humorists who tests out his material on human guinea pigs before taking it to the stage. Telling a joke or knocking off a quick zinger is OK, but whole routines, no. It makes people hate you. So you just have to hit the boards and put your backside on the line; the farther out on the knife-edge

you go, the higher the hazard, the higher the reward. Or penalty. Most people don’t want to risk being pariahs, and I guess I can’t blame them. Like so many of those people, I came to this town to write songs and make friends, and I’ve done plenty of both. But I’m also the guy who called mainstream country music, in print, “the most heinous and rancid prefab sonic putrescence ever shat in the face of an innocent public.” That’s good stuff. It’s alliterative, descriptive and definite. It also might go a long way to explaining why certain suits have never gotten behind my career like I feel they should have. Back to the column: Thank God that maybe, at the age of 50, I’ve learned a thing or two about when to put the brakes on. I recognized in advance — on my own! — that a column on rock stars’ STDs (which they might not even really have) could have had people emailing Chuck in droves, asking him why he’s wasting space with my drivel. (Given how I’ve now spent 600 words writing a column about another column, that mail might come anyway.) So now I’ve got around 150 words to go. What to do, what to do … hmm … nice weather we’re having. No, really. Compared to the past few summers, it’s been darn temperate. None of this 100-degree crap for a week and a half. (Remember that? That sucked.) Granted, it’s been wet, too wet if you’re a farmer. Produce prices are going to spike. Not that I like salads much. Except at sushi restaurants. That dressing they put on them there — that miso stuff ? I love that. I’d eat a live crow with that stuff on it. I think I’m going to go write something for my own amusement that’s so disgusting it would gross out Seth MacFarlane, and that’s high cotton when it comes to disgusting. That man is an artist.

— Tommy Womack is a singer-songwriter and author, and a former member of Government Cheese and the bis-quits. His memoir “Cheese Chronicles” has just been released as an e-book by Amber House Books. Visit his website at tommywomack.com and keep up via his popular “Monday Morning Cup of Coffee” series. His column “East of Normal” appears in every issue of The East Nashvillian. He is currently working on both a new memoir and his seventh solo record.

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PARTING S H O T

ayla williams sings! tomato art fest June 25, 2013 Photographed by Dave Cardaciotto

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East Nashvillian Issue 19  
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