Benefiting The National Healthcare For The Homeless Council
An East Nashville Christmas
Displays of neighborliness are nothing new for East Nashville, but the multi-artist benefit album and series of live shows dubbed An East Nashville Christmas really do take fellow feeling to a new level. Spearheaded by Phil Harris, producer, engineer and proprietor of PH Balanced Recording Studio near Five Points, the album features the first new track from the original lineup of BR549 in a good long while, and 17 other seasonally appropriate performances that find the sweet spot between retro-roots classicism and bohemian whimsy. The remainder of the pickers and singers run the string-band-to-honky-tonk gamut, from the Kenny Vaughan Trio to Sam Bush, Jesse Lee Jones, Derek Hoke, Julie Lee, Mike Farris and David Mayfield Parade. Some of those folks along with several others will appear at the Station Inn release show and the Bluegrass Underground date, backed by a house band that boasts the likes of Mike Bub, Christian Sedelmyer and Paul Niehaus. Last, but certainly not least, they’re raising funds for a worthy cause, the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Additional shows take place Dec. 18 at The 5 Spot and Dec. 19 at Music City Roots at The Loveless Barn. Stay tuned for a more in-depth feature in the Dec. 13 issue.
Nashville TN |
A formidable combination of passion, ambition, innovation, and talent, Christian Sedelmyer exemplifies a new generation of musicians. A five-string fiddle player who is influenced in equal part by Neil Young and Stuart Duncan, Christian’s unique and progressive improvisational ideas, technical facility, and ardent musicianship have garnered him a strong reputation in Nashville, where he now makes his home. Originally from Erie, PA, Christian grew up studying classical violin, while simultaneously playing 60’s and 70’s era folk rock in his dad’s band. After graduating from Wake Forest University with a business degree, Christian took a consulting job in Washington, DC. It took less than a year for him to realize that working a nine-to-five was not going to allow him to satisfy his musical curiosity.
Nashville TN | Singer-Songwriter
The story of The Danberrys begins in the late 1990's in Dickson, Tennessee, population just over 12,000.
Dorothy Daniel first discovered her soul mate and singing companion, Ben DeBerry, while in junior high school. "When Ben was in eighth grade, and I was in seventh grade,” Dorothy told Billboard, “(I saw him play) ’Knockin' On Heaven's Door’ at a talent show. He had this teal electric guitar, and I fell in love with him.”
Once they started dating in high school, they discovered their own musical connection not long before graduation, when Ben pulled out his guitar and strummed along while Dorothy sang a couple of Jewel tunes. During college, they went their separate ways until one fateful night when they crossed paths at a late night bar. The next day, they confessed what they both knew all along: they had always wanted to be together. Not long after that, they were married.
The five years they spent apart yielded the songs that would become the building blocks of The Danberrys. "I didn't write all that much during that time," says Ben of the years they were separated. "What little I wrote had more of a rockier, electric sound." Dorothy, however, came back to the relationship with a stack of songs on which she’d been working. "They were all songs about how much I missed Ben," she laughs, "And how I wanted to be with him."
Four of those cuts made it onto the band's 2011 EP, Company Store. Touted by Larry Vanderpool of The Examiner as a record steeped in Appalachian music tradition and oozing rich soulful harmonies, Company Store won The Danberrys a 2011 Independent Music Awards "People's Choice" trophy and the honor of appearing on stage at The Ryman with the legendary Robert Earl Keen.
"We put the EP out as a total experiment," says Ben. "It was like: we have these songs, we're here in Nashville, there are 300,000 studios available and players who want to play the stuff so let's see what happens. Then WSM Radio found it and liked it and thought we were perfect for the Robert Earl show. It was quite the honor."
Stoked by the success of Company Store, Dorothy and Ben returned to the studio this past winter with engineer Wilton Wall, mandolinist/co-producer Ethan Ballinger and friends to record their first full-length album, The Danberrys. Drawing on a broader palette of moods and sounds than existed on the EP, the couple chose to lead off the set with the gentle quiet of "Here We Go Round."
"We took a slight chance leading off with that tune," notes Dorothy, "especially in this day and age, when everyone wants to grab your attention with louder and faster." Following "Here We Go Round" is the careering drive of "Rain In The Rock," a cut that's one part country gospel and one part runaway train. There's more country gospel with "Blow On Wind," a tune that owes its inspiration to Neil Young and The Band, the godfathers of Americana who regularly inspire Ben and Dorothy’s songwriting.
The Danberrys also has a chant-like ballad ("Meet Me There"), a gorgeous country hymn worthy of comparison to Emmylou Harris ("Jordan"), a song about living the Southern life ("Jimmy") and an exuberant party song a la Stephen Stills' Manassas ("Come Give It"). There's even a trucker song ("Big Rig") that Ben wrote in the studio, picking up the terminology from the back of a compilation of old highway songs.
"I thought I'd make it nonsensical," says Ben of ’Big Rig,’ "except that it's not nonsense if you have the key to the terms. I hear from the truckers that the lingo is kosher,” he laughs, “so it's not too fraudulent."
Early reviews of The Danberrys are, naturally, 100% positive. “The vocals and the harmonies are outstanding, as is the instrumentation all over the disc,” says Chuck Dauphine of Music News Nashville. “I don’t know if you can define it, but all The Danberrys need is to be heard!”
“There’s a flavor of bluegrass that’s always worked on me,” says Music City Roots’ Craig H., adding that their music is “characterized by old world tonalities, polished, modern drive and jazz-smart instrumental work.”
For their part, The Danberrys – who are still a self-managed grassroots operation – are humble yet excited about their album and about the future. “We tried to arrange the record in different ways but what it came down to was making it more than just a bunch of songs. We wanted to make it a ride you could listen to from beginning to end.”
As for the future, Ben says: “We already have demos for three more tunes on tape, so we’re getting ready to do it again.” For current and future fans, that’s nothing but good news.
Jeff and Vida
"By the time most kids had little more to show for their teen years than a driver's license, brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall had already amassed three box sets' worth of mad-scientist studio experiments in their basement lair. Now, their self-starter Infinity Cat label is looking like a blue-chip stock, while their two-man prog-punk project is shaping up as one of the city's most exciting acts. The proof's in their current CD Castle Storm...
Todd Grebe and Cold Country
Todd Grebe has long been a fixture of the acoustic music scene in his hometown of Anchorage, but has recently ventured out of Alaska’s cold country to seek his fortune on a larger scale. Both as a member of Compass recording artist, Bearfoot, and as featured vocalist and bandleader of his own group Cold Country; he is well on his way to accomplishing just that.
In 2010, Todd moved to Nashville to further his musical career. Shortly thereafter he joined longtime friends as a full time member in the newgrass group Bearfoot, yet continued to write material in the stylistic vein of Cold County. Influenced by the musical landscape of his adoptive hometown and inspired by the many talented musicians of the area, he soon had enough material to complete another album. After recruiting Angela Oudean (fiddle), David Long (mandolin) and Mike Bub to form the nucleus of a new Cold Country band, Todd bunkered down in a Nashville studio during the winter of 2010 to record a second album.
Co-produced by Bub, engineered by industry stalwart David Ferguson and featuring performances by renowned session drummer Larry Atamanuik and banjo master Rob McCoury, the resultant album- entitled Until Tomorrow- is an exceptional sophomore effort. Seamlessly incorporating elements of bluegrass, swing jazz, and country, Until Tomorrow is strikingly reminiscent of music made in Nashville circa 1950’s and 60’s. In fact, if the Grand Ole Opry was anything today like it was then, one might assume that Todd Grebe & Cold Country would be a weekly guest. As things stand now, though, Todd has certainly made a case for himself to be included in conversations regarding upcoming Nashville songwriters while his band, Cold Country, is poised to make their mark on an unsuspecting American roots music scene.
For the last three years, Todd has been committed full time to the successful Americana band Bearfoot, with some career highlights being: performances at Grey Fox, La Roche Bluegrass Festival, Red Ants Pants Festival, ROMP, Shakori Hills, and more; having the #2 music video on CMT pure music video channel for 3 weeks straight; and getting to #16 on the Americana Radio Charts. As Bearfoot begins an indefinite hiatus, Todd looks forward to pursuing Cold Country as a national touring act.
Off The Wagon
Nashville TN United States |
For nearly a decade, Off The Wagon has enjoyed playing bluegrass music for audiences in Nashville and beyond. Featuring a steady rotation of songs by both classic and lesser-known names in bluegrass, the band cut its teeth on the stage of the world-famous Station Inn and other local venues. Off The Wagon continues to grow and delight audiences with favorite bluegrass standards, deeper cuts, and original tunes that put the band's unique stamp on the traditional bluegrass sound.
Nashville TN |
Quite simply one of the best voices to be heard in music today, Grace Adele has mixed elements of Americana, Country, and Retro. With her silky sultry vocals she caresses every word in songs of love, loss and laughter.
While on past tours Grace Adele has performed on many radio shows such as WDVX's The Blue Pate Special, Knoxville TN and WFPK Louisville, KY. She is hired for private events, folk festivals and art festivals are just a few examples among many other events.
Grace Adele surrounds herself with the finest talent. Whether she is performing as a duo with her partner in crime, mandolinist Keenan Wade or traveling with her string players known as, The Grand Band, the group always delivers an all out striking performance.
A talented instrumentalist herself Ms. Adele adds a spark of comedy as a master of the kazoo and even provides a little tap-danced percussion on occasion. It's a show that encompasses everything from a traditional fiddle tune to original melodies that are both instantly memorable. Listen to her once and you'll be entranced; see her perform and you'll understand just how compellingly vital and engaging an artist can be.
Nashville TN | Americana
Derek Hoke has crafted a collection of equally endearing and infectious songs for his long awaited sophomore release – Waiting All Night. Out August 21, 2012 on Electric Western / Thirty Tigers, Waiting All Night picks up right where Hoke left off with his first release Goodbye Rock N Roll. There is a significant difference here though. If Goodbye Rock N Roll was slow crafted, simmered in Hoke’s brain on low, and came to life on a lazy saw dust floor one night in town, then Waiting All Night was born under the lights on stage. It’s clear that Hoke and his band have been affected by the past years of playing week after week. Nashville has a way of doing that to a singer. A way of molding a voice around the lingering smoke and whiskey hanging in the air night after night. And first and foremost, Derek Hoke is a singer. The songs, even the ballads, reach out and yearn for a late night in a dark room. It’s the same feeling you get when you leave the house at 2am to catch last call…because if you don’t you might miss something. You might miss the steel guitar or meandering piano solos and telecaster riffs. Well, get out of the house, because you won’t want to miss a tune on Waiting All Night.
Nashville TN |
Southern girls have it so good, since they're usually beautiful, fun and have that irresistible drawl where they can tell you to fuck off and make it sound like you're getting an extra piece of pie, with ice cream on top. Throw in a little talent, maybe some long legs or soft curves, and you can kiss your composure goodbye. Then there's Jen Duke. With the voice of an Angel and the wiles of a Siren, she'll lure you in with buttery purrs and the distant memories of smoky shadows, dirt roads and honky tonks. It is the sound of country blues, mountain bluegrass and old-time gospel, of sorrow and hope, righteousness and redemption. She sings the songs of a Southern girl who is complicated and messy, simple and plain-spoken, sacred and profane.
Born into music in New Orleans, Jen was joining in with her piano-playing Grandmother as soon as she could speak. Always singing, playing and listening. The sounds of the brass bands and bayous slowly seeped into her vernacular. In a town where music is always in the air, she soaked up a diversity of influences from street musicians on washboards and whistles to Django-jazz and Delta blues. She was sought out for her sweet tone and quick pickup, and did studio work with various bands, including members of the Cajun-centric Red Stick Ramblers.
I believe that music is a vehicle for a higher message we all have the ability to attain. However, the voice, and the power of words is not enough. We must go out into the world and make a concrete difference from the ground up. And remember, it's not the gun you shoot but what you load it with that measures the impact you have.
I have my head on straight with a few screws loose- you may think I'm bluffing, but I am playing this game honestly and with a full deck.
Rachael Hester is a second-generation musician with a passion for traditional music that comes through in both her singing and her writing. Fully submerged in the Nashville music scene as a child and raised in the outskirts of Nashville, her roots in country music are as authentic as they come. Influenced by the classic country and western swing artists she grew up around and the 60’s and 70’s folk music she fell in love with at a young age, her music has a wide range of traditional sounds tied together by her unique, pure voice. Her debut album “Only Time Will Tell” is a project proudly produced and co-written by her father and Nashville fiddle player Hoot Hester.
Nashville TN | Singer-Songwriter
"As a vocalist, she's a powerhouse, owning a solid gold tremolo laced with attitude and blessed with range that she wields with style... a world-class singer." Billboard Magazine Just when you think you can label Julie Lee into one category or genre, you hear something different. Lee is a collage, a real scrapbook of various traditional American styles. In her songwriting, as well as her work as a visual artist, Julie takes bits and pieces from each of her myriad influences to make something of her own that is both old and new. Though a Maryland native, Lee has lived in Nashville, TN for 14 years and travelled and performed extensively across the US and Europe. She has had her songs recorded by Country, Bluegrass, and Contemporary Folk artists, most notably and recently by Alison Krauss, who included Julie's songs Jacob's Dream and Away Down The River on her most Platinum-selling collection A Hundred Miles Or More. "When I first heard Julie Lee was taken by her ability to be artful, truthful, commercial and refreshing at the same time. Not at all easy in this day of artiface and facade." -Rodney Crowell
Nashville TN | Jazz
“Music is life,” declares Rod McGaha matter-of-factly. “It’s about finding the common thread, the common bond that we all have. I don’t care whether you’re a classical musician or a jazz musician—let’s see what we have in common, and unite to send a message.” That’s why the critically-acclaimed trumpeter elected to mesh a hand-picked lineup of first-rate jazz musicians with an accomplished string quartet on his new album, A Gentle Man. The resulting sound is both elegant and intimate, distinguished by both technical virtuosity and emotional directness. With its emphasis on dreamy ballads and fresh interpretations of classic material, the album harks back to such string-kissed trumpet touchstones as Clifford Brown With Strings and Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain. “I wanted it to have that classic type of sound,” McGaha explains—but without the grandeur of, say, the large ensemble heard on Sketches. “There’s a certain intimacy about the string quartet,” he says. “A jazz quartet is more personal than a big band, and a string quartet is more personal than an orchestra. I wanted it to be more cozy.” For the self-produced A Gentle Man, McGaha assembled a crew of players he felt would be best suited to create that “cozy” atmosphere: guitarist Andre Reiss, bass player Roger Spencer, drummer Marcus Finnie, viola player Kristin Wilkinson, cellist Kristin Cassell and violinists David Davidson and David Angell. Jeff Steinberg played piano and wrote the arrangements. “I try to choose musicians like Duke Ellington did, each one for his or her own individual character,” McGaha says. “There are certain cats that have different sounds, so I think about who I want in each chair.”
Kenny Vaughan Trio
Born in Oklahoma, raised in Denver, Kenny Vaughan's earliest memories of music are his father's jazz record collection:
“My dad listened to Jimmy Smith, Mose Allison, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Miles Davis, Tony Mottola, and used to take me to hear Johnny Smith play at Shaner's in Denver. My neighbor, Charles Sawtelle, listened to Flatt and Scruggs and played Salty Dog on his Martin guitar for me. I knew then and there that I wanted to do that! I got my first electric guitar when I was twelve. The first thing I played was ’Folsom Prison Blues’. My first band played Stones, surf, '60's garage punk, and Memphis soul. I saw the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Cream, Howlin' Wolf, Captain Beefheart, Buck Owens and The Buckaroos, The Dead, The Doors, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Johnny Winter, John Mayall, and Led Zep's first stateside gig, all before I was sixteen!"