An East Nashville Christmas feat. Tim O'Brien, Derek Hoke & Julie Lee
Whatever else people say about East Nashville — that it’s the free-spirited antidote to mainstream music, that it’s hipper-than-thou, that it’s perfect fodder for a surface-skimming trend piece — there are some undeniably neighborly musicians over there. For the second year in a row, a small army of them are pooling their quirky, interpretive wit and songwriting originality for the live performance of An East Nashville Christmas. Last year’s edition doubled as an album release show that traveled to multiple venues around town, while this year’s will be broadcast live on Lightning 100. What hasn’t changed is that the proceeds will go to The National Health Care for the Homeless Council, headquartered on Gallatin Road, close enough to the Barista Parlor to pick up the aroma of artisanal espresso. It’s a loaded, acoustic-leaning bill, featuring Tim O’Brien, the David Mayfield Parade, Nora Jane Struthers and loads more.
Nashville TN | Country
In Tim O’Brien’s music, things come together. The uncanny intersection of traditional and contemporary elements in his songwriting, his tireless dedication to a vast and still-expanding array of instruments, and his ongoing commitment to place himself in as many unique and challenging musical scenarios as possible has made him a key figure in today’s thriving roots music scene – and well beyond it. O’Brien’s presence – be it as a bandleader, songwriter, mentor, instrumentalist, or vocalist – has been strongly felt not only in his own rich music, but in the many recordings of his songs by such artists as the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Nickel Creek, Kathy Mattea, the New Grass Revival, and the Seldom Scene, and in his recorded collaborations with Steve Martin, the Chieftains, and innumerable others. Most recently, O’Brien has been performing before capacity crowds in the band of Mark Knopfler, who described O’Brien as “a master of American folk music, Irish music, Scottish music – it doesn't matter; a fine songwriter and one of my favorite singers.”
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 | 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.
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 | 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.
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
Jeff and Vida
Nashville TN | Country
"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...
The Blow Jays
Nashville TN |
The Blow Jays are an up and coming band based in Nashville, TN. Their original mix of Orleans style funk, heavy psych blues rock, and even jazz and rebel country, is informed by four members with eclectic musical backgrounds and experience. Consisting of Michael Witcher on lap steel, Ethan Ballinger on guitar, Ben DeBerry on bass, and Jon Radford on drums, with all contributing vocals, they have each honed their crafts on the road with nationally touring acts and in the studio. Together as The Blow Jays they make glorious noise while stretching out on both originals and choice cover tunes ranging from Funkadelic to Freddie King to John Prine. Formed after Michael and Ethan met playing in bluegrass bands, The Blow Jays are an outlet for exploration, as they play with an infectious and often reckless energy where anything is bound to happen. With a sound somewhere between The Meters, early Sabbath and the Band of Gypsies, The Blow Jays are an exciting live force not to be missed.
East Nashville TN | Singer-Songwriter
Jamey Wood has searched for his calling in various environments - selling books door-to-door, working in oil refineries and chemical plants, and helping his grandfather run a bent can grocery store.
But working as a singer/songwriter in Nashville tops them all.
His debut album Worth Having features 10 original songs backed by various musicians, many of who are friends he has met since moving to Music City in the mid-1990s.
Tennessee is Wood's 11th state to call home during his 31-year journey. He graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a Music Business degree and has been trying to find his niche in the music industry ever since.
Worth Having, produced by John Van Meter, will be released June 9 at East Nashville's 3 Crow Bar with a concert featuring Wood backed by Jamie Hartford, Rick Lonow, Dave Roe, Molly Thomas and Chris West, with an opening set by Ballhog!
Wood plays guitar and mandolin in Ballhog!, an eight-piece band that features original songs and traditional bluegrass instruments alongside drums and a horns section. Ballhog! has toured regionally for 5 years and shared the stage with acts such as Patti Griffin, Todd Snider, Will Kimbrough, and Scott Miller. His album includes not only Ballhog! band members but also friends and acquaintances from the local music scene including Jamie Hartford, Todd Snider and Chris Roberts.
Wood credits Van Meter, who has previously produced acts including Johnny Stats and Blue Merle, for the direction of the album. He signed the longtime friend onto his project because of their similar tastes in music. "I have tried to write stuff that you don't hear people writing songs about a lot," Wood said. "I wanted to almost be different for the sake of being different while learning the trade. But now that has grown to the point where I've found my own voice."
Nashville TN | Rock