Throwback Thursday Morning Shuffle – Delivering Noise Mix

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Tonight is one of those Nashville nights with so much live music going on… (even with the postponing of the Margo Price Album Release Show at Third Man Records due to her impending appearance on SNL (Go Margo!).  Suffice it to say, if you go out to see live music anywhere in East Nashville, you are probably making the right call.  The 5 Spot, The Basement East, Mad Donnas, and The American Legion all have awesome folks playing.  (plus there are probably others that are not coming to my mind right now).

Meanwhile, it is Thursday and thus time for Throwback Thursday here at the ole E2TG.  Most people don’t know that the term “Throwback Thursday” originated in the mid 1980s in Chicago.  It was a day set aside to remind Chicago Cub fans that they were not to keep homerun balls hit by opposing ball players.  “Throwback Thursday” as in throwback those homerun balls hit by the Mets or whoever.  Now you know!

“Love Hurts” by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris

We begin with the classic duet from the posthumously released Grievous Angel album.  The song was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and first recorded by The Everly Brothers. In addition to the Parsons and Harris version, I snuck a video into the playlist of my friends Taylor Alexander and Lindsay Ellyn singing this one. Taylor and his band, Tennessee Tapwater have been added to the Gram Parsons 70th Birthday  Bash -GPI IX Nashville – which will be held at Douglas Corner later this year.

“Something to Du” by The Replacements

From Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash… a tribute to a great Minneapolis post punk band by another great Minneapolis post punk band.  Trivia: I once used this title as the inspiration for a short story.  The song is better.

“Egungun Riot 1976” by Femi Akinyemi’s JuJu Lucky Stars

Next up 19 minutes of incredible Nigerian music from the late 1970s (I think). I could not find much information about this band or record on line.  Aquarium Drunkard recently released the track with no accompanying text.  I wonder if Patrick and Uggy from Valued Customer have heard this?  Anyway, it is truly amazing music.

“Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” by Swingin’ Medallions

Thank you shuffle for allowing me a forum for some shameless self-promotion.  This 1966 release happens to be the theme-song of my forthcoming radio show that I am co-hosting with Sue Havlish on Nashville’s new radio station (low power FM) WXNA.  Sue and I met some of the other DJs this past weekend, and next week we will join them for some training (I’m guessing we will be reminded of those seven words we will not be allowed to say on the air).  Our go-live date is rapidly approaching and I hope I can announce that soon. The Swingin’ Medallions hailed from Greenwood, South Carolina. 

“A Legal Matter” (live Who cover) by The Alarm

I recently found my copy of a CD Mini Disc of the Welsh band The Alarm that featured their song, “The Stand” along with two live tracks including this cover of the song by The Who.   I was really pleased when my CD drive could read the mini Disc.

“Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

This was the first big hit song for Kenny and his original band.  This song was written by Mickey Newbury. produced by Mike Post – who went on to become famous for his work on television theme songs.  The track features backward guitar playing by Glen Campbell.  


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Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle – Cardboard Fruit Mix

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ICYMI – E2TG posted a preview of new release of rare field recordings by Alan Lomax which will be released this coming Friday (April 8).  Read about it HERE.

Man oh man!  There is so much good music that has been or will be released over the next couple of months.  I am digging through album streams and downloads and my disorganized inbox and mind and furiously trying to get some reviews done.  Expect some soon.  And in the meantime, look for tracks from some of these new releases in shuffles – perhaps beginning today…

I think this shuffle fulfills our Wild Wednesday mission.  Basically, the “Wild Wednesday” playlist consists of songs that I decided to add to the “Wild Wednesday” playlist for reasons not even I understand.  Wild!

“Hole Digging Party/Take On Me” by Discount Ravioli

Throwing it back (I know wrong day) to the very first Discount Ravioli album. Improvisational songwriting at it’s best with an impromptu cover of  a 1984 hit single by a Norwegian band that we will not name to avoid possible legal action. Aha!  (Note: Another vintage video featuring the Nork brothers was substituted into the shuffle since Discount Ravioli have heretofore eschewed videos.  This video shows that the Nork boys have been into music for a very long time.

“Psycho, Pt. 1” by Bill Frisell

The theme from the Alfred Hitchcock classic – performed by the innovative jazz guitarist Bill Frisell from his latest album When You Wish Upon a Star.

“Easy Rider” by Big Brother and the Holding Company

A song from the self-titled debut album by the San Francisco band that was fronted by Janis Joplin during the early years of their existence.

“Emo Girl” by Circus Propaganda

Another track from Botany – an album on the Dord Music Group label by the now defunct band Circus Propaganda – which featured many Dord and former Dord artist who we continue to feature regularly. The song is about an Emo Girl.

“Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard

A definitive song of the early rock and roll era.  Originally the song featured extremely ribald lyrics, but to make the song palatable the lyrics were re-written by Dorothy LaBostrie, and as they say, the rest was history.

“What Goes On” by The Dils

The Dils were a California punk band featuring Tony and Chip Kinman who would go onto form Rank and File in Austin, Texas with Alejandro Escovedo.  This is a live version of the Velvet Underground classic – which was released on an album called Dils, Dils, Dils in the early 90s.

“Go Down Hannah” by Heritage Blues Orchestra

One of the highlights of the Heritage Blues Orchestra show I saw at The Franklin Theater last year, was their version of this song written by Lead Belly.  Coincidently, John and Alan Lomax recording of Lead Belly doing this song was released by the Library of Congress in 1995.

“The RIP Dimebag Song” by Smokey the Firebear

Another Smokey the Firebear song – this time from the Teshio Democracy EP.  A song about a rip in a dimebag… I think.

“Poet” by Sly and the Family Stone

From There’s a Riot Goin’ On… the 1971 album by Sly and the Family Stone.  Man, I love this music.

“Georgia Grind” by Thomas Morris and His Seven Hot Babies

How about a jazz recording from the 1920s?  How about it! 

“Gone” by Strange Majik

One of those new releases I alluded to back in the opening paragraphs of this post (remember?)… Strange Majik is releasing his new album on April 22. It is called Raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll, and in some ways it is a return to the blues rock sound of his previous band The Dead Exs but the music still retains the groovier style of his 2015 album Lights On.  Expect a full review soon, but in the meantime, enjoy this first listen… such a deep groove… man oh man!


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Lost Train Blues (Preview) (John and Alan Lomax – Rare Early Folk Music Recordings)

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(more after the Jump)

In my opinion, it is next to impossible to overestimate the cultural importance of Alan Lomax. Before there was Americana, there was American folk music.  Music made for the joy of making music – made to tell stories and share experiences.  This is music that might have been lost to time if not for the incredible work of Lomax and the field recordings he made over the middle decades of the previous century.  His work in exposing this hidden treasures played a vital role in the American and British folk revivals of 40s, 50s, and 60s. The music of these years continues to influence musicians and songwriters to this day.

Alan Lomax would have turned 100 years old back in January, and in observance of this anniversary, Brooklyn-based is unveiling a 22 selection release (vinyl and digital). Twelve on the songs on this collection have never been released before.  The release on Friday April 8, will coincide with the opening of the Brooklyn Folk Festival.  I have had the chance to listen to this album, and it is a remarkable piece of musical history and an incredible listening experience.

I am pleased to preview three of the selections from the release.  I have included the promotional information about the release below.

Pre-order information is available using the widgets above

“Brooklyn’s Jalopy Records has rebooted its homegrown folk music record label with a brand new release, ‘Lost Train Blues: John & Alan Lomax and the Early Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress.’ This collection, curated by Brooklyn Folk Festival producer Eli Smith, was compiled for the centennial of famed folklorist Alan Lomax’s birth. It will be released on vinyl and via digital download on April 8, coinciding with opening night of the Brooklyn Folk Festival. Twelve of the songs are never-before-released.

The record features 22 selections from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, most of them have never been issued before. The record includes work songs, ballads, blues, political and union songs, guitar, banjo and fiddle music and Native American vocal music.  These recordings were made between 1933 and 1950 and represent the birth of the folk music collections at the Library of Congress, now the largest repository of folk and enthographic holdings in the world. The record demonstrates the groundbreaking work of Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, but also places them with the context of other important early field workers.

The deluxe record includes liner notes by Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg, as well as a 14 page booklet with photographs and original research about each song, artist and folklorist. The cover features an original lithograph by artist Jeff Tocci.  Each selection has been retransferred from original discs and tapes at the Library of Congress and has been carefully remastered by sound engineer Don Fierro for the best possible audio fidelity.

Jalopy Records has partnered with well known Oregon based vinyl label Mississippi Records to manufacture and distribute this and future releases.  Jalopy Records is the record label of the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, a grass roots cultural center for traditional music, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.”

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle – Alright, Alright Mix

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Good day, hepcats!  Had a blast seeing Matt Phillips and The Philharmonic out at Charlie Bob’s last night.  The band sounded fantastic and it was great hearing how much Matt’s sound has evolved since I saw him last year at Music City Roots (which was awesome, too by the way).  I hope he makes it back to Nashville for a more extended visit. 

Lots on the horizon, trying to keep all those juggles balled… no wait, that is not it…

It’s Tuesday!  Time to find out what we have “Trending” on E2TG. 

“Picture” by Jean Synodinos

First up, another track from Love and Blood the latest album from this Austin-based singer-songwriter.  I dig this album. 

“Stop this World” by Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue

Next, we have our first listen to this new album by a band made up of great bluesmen from California and Texas – including Mark Hummel and Anson Funderburgh.  The band’s self-titled album is due out April 15. This is authentically, real blues music.  Dig it!

“It’s Gonna Be (alright)” by Ricky Mirage

I am pretty sure (but won’t swear by it) that I was turned onto this record by a Facebook post of Aaron Lee Tasjan.  Ricky Mirage is the alter-ego of Chicago musician Nick Harris.  The album Pop Goes the Sun is a trippy, poppy good time. The last couple of tracks have been hanging around the playlists for a while – it is great when they come up.

“C Vitae” by Leapfrogtown

Another awesome track from Dreaming in Public.  I am really digging this band from London – so is my shuffle function.

“The End of Mystery” by Jason P. Krug

I think I am just figuring out what the term “Spirit Animal” means in popular vernacular.  It’s like a “Patronus” from Harry Potter, right?  Well, anyway, I think Jason P. Krug is my spirit animal. Long-time E2TG readers will recall that I have been writing about Jason’s old band Grimm Generation for several years – including an interview which was when I first felt like Jason was someone I knew – someone who could be me… He just released The Zen of Losing.  Expect a full discourse/treatise on the album  – which has blown me away upon initial listening. In the meantime, as logic would dictate, the first track up on the shuffle is the last track on the album.  The album comes with my highest recommendation.  It is about as real and raw and powerful as music gets these days.

“Stolen” by Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival released Sands of Now last year as a live album/DVD.  It was recorded at the Boulder Theater.  We have been featuring this one for several months – still have a couple more tracks to go.  Enjoy!

“I’m Alright” by Angela Easterling

If I had had one more song in the shuffle with “alright” in the title, I was going to subtitle this one, the Matthew McConaughey Mix. This is another from Common Law Wife. It is an infectious uplifting song for those days when life does not feel so uplifting.

“My Dog Thinks I Am” by Lori Kelley

Our second Lori Kelley song in as many days.  Lori is one of the best songwriters working today. I know she is beginning to get some songs cut by other performers. If Nashville knows what it is doing, this is a trend that will continue.  Awesome catchy songs with a lot of spirit and heart.

“Carpetbagger Song” by Richie Owens and The Farm Bureau

Richie and company just recently released Dia De Los Azules, and I got to hear the band tear through some of those new songs last Friday.  (This is a band you want to see live as often as you can – by the way). Today, we have a timely tune from the album Tennessee.  (Speaking for myself), I don’t think of everyone who moves to Nashville as a Carpetbagger… to me it is those people who come here and begin buying up and tearing down historical landmarks and putting up non-descript over-priced condos and trendy upscale mixed-use. This is becoming an all too frequent occurrence on Music Row and elsewhere in the city.  Anyway, this song is about that kind of person/enterprise. As someone said yesterday, if this trend does not stop soon, tour buses will soon drive down Music Row and tell the wide-eyed tourist, “see that Bed, Bath, and Beyond?, Elvis (Presley or Costello) once recorded in a studio that used to be on that spot.”  Editorial over… anyway a great tune from one of my favorite Nashville bands.  The band members have all been part of the local music scene for a long time.


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Music City Monday Morning Shuffle – Marshall Tucker on My Stereo Mix

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Back at it on a Monday!   Had a good time Friday at The Country (after checking in with Tim Carroll and company at The 5 Spot) – Richie Owens and the Farm Bureau  + Saint Luke’s Drifters.  Richie and company have a new album out now.  Saint Luke’s Drifters are finishing up their new album.  If you get the chance to see either one or both of these bands, I highly recommend it.

Tonight: My recommendation is Matt Phillips and the Philharmonic from 7-9p.m. at Charlie Bob’s on the eastside.   Here is the Facebook event, if you Facebook.

This is definitely prime season for new music – look for some awesome new albums coming up in the next few months – I think I got at least 5 albums to listen to and possibly review over the last four or five days.


“Down The River” by Ben Lowry

Another track from Somnium, the solo album by Ben Lowry of the band Bang OK Bang.  For some reason  (the banjo and vocals and lyrical content) this song reminded me of Hallowed Ground, the much maligned sophomore album by Violent Femmes.  In the face of widespread criticism, I am a proponent of the Femmes album. No, I do not think it is better than their seminal debut, but it is bold and in its own way subversion.  That being said, even if you aren’t a fan of the Femmes album, you will probably dig Lowry’s album.   

“I’m Gonna Love You Forever” by Carolina Story

From the Chapter Two EP.  Carolina Story are about as damn good as it gets.

“Theme from Crazy Aces” by Crazy Aces

Instrumental Rock from Nashville’s Crazy Aces… it’s their theme song!

“You Could Be My Baby (Samuel Stewart Remix)” by SHEL

The remix of the first single from SHEL’s forthcoming album, Crazy Enough. We featured the unremixed song earlier.

“Jesse” by Tom House

From Winding Down the Road – an album that was produced by Brock Zeman.  Tom House is a Nashville treasure.  Check out his music.  

“40 Miles” by Zachariah Red

E2TG debuted this song when it was released. It was the first single off of Zachariah Red’s EP Backbone. A driving, roots rock song of the highest caliber.

“WHIP” by Ricca Vita

Okay – this right here is why I love Nashville (and love my random shuffle function).  Ricca Vita’s music could not be any different  than Zachariah Red’s music.  So, that in and of itself, makes the transition here really cool – showcasing the diversity of music being made here in the home of the Grand Ole Opry… but wait, there is more.  Timothy Ryssemus – the mastermind behind Ricca Vita – also happened to have co-produced Zachariah Red’s record. Any way, I love the Ricca Vita album, and this track is just so damn good.   

“Promise Me Beautiful” by Lori Kelley

Moving on, another awesome song from songwriter Lori Kelley’s album, More.  Gorgeous vocals and great songs – a great combination.

“Swimming New Orleans” by The Grey A

Okay smartypants!  The Grey A are a Washington DC band.  But Grey Jacks used to live down here, and this album was recorded in Middle Tennessee and features a lot of local folks including Kelly Smith, William Tyler, and the Nashville Horns.  You may recall, I reviewed the My Country album when it was released in late 2014. “Swimming New Orleans” was released as a single (a wonderfully packaged vinyl 45) in 2015, and ahead of the forthcoming release of the next single (watch this space), I thought we would add this song to the playlist.  So, yeah, I stand by it’s inclusion in the Music City Monday playlist.  E2TG trivia gurus already know that Howard Rabach (who was probably one of the first ever readers and supporters of this blog) plays bass with The Grey A, who have some great shows coming up in support of their new single – including a date  with Austin Lucas +  Joey Kneiser and Kelly Smith (who Grey Jacks played with in Glossary at one point).


Featured Friday Morning Shuffle – April Fools Mix

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ICYMI:  Read my latest manifesto here.

It’s April 1 – no joke.  Today, D. Boon would have been 58 years old.  Hard to believe he had been gone for over 30 years.  The music he made in his too short life was very important to me.

We have some Featured Friday music to kick off the fourth month of 2016

“Alcatraz” by PONY BOY

We start off our April with another awesome song from Pony Boy’s Blue Gold album.  This is a good one. Produced by Justin Collins and Adam Landry for Cosmic Thug…

“New Yorkian Dairy Company” by Jonas H. Sjøvaag’s Navyelectre

 Another track from this Norwegian artist. I am not sure if this is considered a bonus-track for the Large Ensemble album, but in any case, it is a great song.

“Don’t F It Up” by Chase Walker Band

Chase Walker is a young blues guitar prodigy. He and his band have an album forthcoming called Not Quite Legal.  This is our first listen, and yeah it is good! The “F” word is only censored for the title, by the way.

“Runnin'” by Ashleigh Flynn

From a Million Stars.  I was thinking about Ashleigh Flynn this week.  When she was here in Nashville, she said Todd Snider’s “Play a Train Song” and Snider joined her on stage to sing a few lines.  This week, I got to see and hear Snider himself play that song on the very same (The 5 Spot) stage. Ashleigh Flynn is good, ya’ll.

“Six Feet Down” by Amelia White

Another from Home Sweet Hotel.  Such a great album – you really should check it out.

“Clarity” by Pony Girl

Pony Girl meet Pony Boy… Pony Boy meet Pony Girl.  If you guys ever put together a “Tale of Two Ponies” tour or split single – I hope E2TG gets a shout out… 🙂  Pony Girl are from Canada. The band’s new album is called Foreign Life.  Great stuff.  I just now noticed that Raphael Weinroth-Browne of The Visit (who we featured a while back) plays cello on this album. 

“April Fools” by Brian Wright

I promise this was not a plant! The shuffle brought this song up today of all days.  I think I’ve said enough times that Brian Wright is one of the best songwriters I know.  This is from the Café  Rooster Sessions Vol. 1.  Work is underway on Vol. 2, and I can’t wait. Brian Wright has been touring with Aaron Lee Tasjan and on his own, if he comes any where near you, do yourself a favor and go out and see him.

“Dancin’ Round The Nails” by The Jackals

We close out the week and the first shuffle of April with another track People by this outstanding Scottish band.  They will be playing later in April before a Manchester City football match sponsored by Blue Soap-Music  which is the source for a bunch of the great UK music that I feature here.


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Deep Thoughts with E2TG

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My mind has been a swirl of thoughts lately. Being a writer by design, my best way to sort through them all is to write them down.  And since, I have this blog, I thought I would use this space to share some of those thoughts.  Much of this is about or relate-able to music. Some might not be… whatever… there’s probably a song in there so I guess it is all about music….

Last night for whatever reason, I started thinking about the infinite vs. the finite.  Sometimes, my belief is that finite is all an illusion and all that is real is the infinite.  What I mean: let’s say someone I know (for arguments sake, someone I am not particularly fond of) experiences some degree of success (or happiness or love), sometimes, my reaction is to feel fear-based jealousy.  “There is only so much success (or happiness or love) to go around.  That bit that they are getting is just another piece that is not available for me.  The truth (to my mind) is that those things (success, happiness, love) are in infinite supply.  That other person obtaining those things has nothing at all to do with my ability to do the same.  I would go as far as to say that, to the extent, I allow myself to live in that fear-based jealousy, I am doing more harm than anyone to my own chances of obtaining any one or all of those things.

This leaves out the whole idea that those things are all relative and esoteric ideas. Often the only thing standing in my way of success, is my own (often false) belief that I have not already obtained success.  This is not in any way to diminish the value or necessity of working hard and pushing forward to some better place.

So, to make it more plain… if a music blog that is not E2TG reaches some milestone of “success” (be it followers or page views or money or notoriety or whatever), it is all too easy for me to say, well, there go my chances of making something better of E2TG. And that thought process uses proceeds to focusing on everything I have not achieved and (at least for me) that path leads to remembering every instance where somebody slighted me (or seemed to slight me) thus reinforcing my belief that my efforts to date have been futile and a failure.

But, to unpack that a little, what if I instead acknowledge and maybe even celebrate the other blog’s success while at the same time rejoicing in where I am at this very moment. From there, it is okay to acknowledge a little jealousy but only to extent that it motivates me to work harder to build on the success that I have already achieved.  Sometimes to do this, I have to find a way to really believe and trust that I have been successful up to this point and that that success will be a springboard to even greater success.  For me at least, this often requires me to let go of comparing myself to anyone else, letting go of comparing myself against my own expectations.

“Wow! 10 people follow me.  (it does not matter for this moment that 1,000 people follow Blog X or that I expected to have 10,000 followers by this point.) Those 10 followers make me a success.  It may not be the level of success where I want to land, but I have not landed, I am still flying.  Now, how can I get to 20 followers.”  (This is hypothetical – I have more than 10 followers – I think).

The other thought is about the long road to peace after something painful and difficult – especially when that pain and difficulty was brought about by another. Embracing peace and letting go (that phrase again) of resentments and ill-feelings is not always easy – especially when the other party is continuing to behave in the way that brought about the pain in the first place. The desire to exact revenge or to gain some concrete acknowledgement of the past wrong can be powerful. To the extent that I am able to turn away from those ideas, I can begin to experience peace, but sometimes that is not an immediate result. Sometimes, the immediate result of choosing that path, is more pain. Pushing through that pain and staying on the road to peace is essential.  That is if peace is what I want.

Thinking about the state of the music “business” and the changes which have occurred.  They just are… is there a path back to how things used to be? I don’t know, and I’m not entirely sure that this the right path.  I am a person who values art (which includes music). A popular meme compares the money we (as a society and as people in that society) are willing to spend on (for example) a cup of coffee vs. the expectation (of many) that a song or an album or a live music event should be free. So there is a whole other conversation to be had about how we reached this point – the fact is we are here. Now what?  Thinking about services that musicians (and others use) – like social media, streaming services, etc.  It is (in some ways) easier today than ever before to produce music and put it out into the world.  High quality home recording, sites to distribute music, apps so that fans can know when you are coming to their towns.

To get personal for a minute, thanks to modern technology, I can write Ear to the Ground and put it potentially in the hands of many people with relative ease.  Furthermore, thanks to social media, I can interact with my readers and develop relationships with the artists I am writing about – a bunch of them.  So, I have wondered about ways to monetize E2TG while maintaining my commitment to being a resource for exposing new artists and celebrating the incredible diversity of music in the world today. There are ways to do it (or at least try to do it).  I have witnessed sites who do all those things to generate clicks and revenue by getting bands to compete in contests and polls.

I have to pause right here and say that I do not begrudge or want to demean any artist who partakes in such contests – I recognize the potential value for the band. Think of my comments as a cautionary tale (with some first hand experiences and second-hand witnesses)

In the first year of Ear to the Ground, I came up the idea of having a poll to select an Band of the Year. To be honest, I was only halfway serious about it, and it really ended up being a lot of fun.  Everyone who competed seemed to enjoy it, and man oh man did my page views explode.  After that I began doing a Band of the Month poll.  Again, the first few were tons of fun – I think in particular about a battle between by friends MAKAR and The End Men.  The contest was spirited and a really positive experience.  Again, my page views went through the roof.  A few months along the road, I began to see that some bands took the polls very seriously and some didn’t care or notice at all. For me, the focus moved away from the music and to toward the competition.  I started to feel like I was in someway using the bands to improve my page views but that the page views had nothing to do with the content of Ear to the Ground or the “art” of the bands I was wanting to write about,

Contributing to this evolving sense of unease was seeing bands that I had begun to follow who seemed to be putting more energy into contests and things of that nature than into their music. For my own mental health, I had to step back and think about if this was what I wanted to do with my site. It wasn’t.

Again, I feel the need to pause – as I think about artists that I really admire who are or have recently been competing in various polls and contests.  My comments are not about you. My feeling is that if the site running the contest really cares about the artist and their art, and if they can offer something of value to the artist who wins the contest – more power to everyone. I have and still do vote for artists I like in contests and the like.  I guess, it is up to the artists themselves to determine if the poll or contest has value. (Thinking about it now, I might even add T.V. vocal competition shows to this discussion but that brings on more issues than I care to delve into in this already overly long post).  My caveat to the bands I care about is to hold onto your selves and your art. There are a lot of things out there – think of them as tools. Is that contest or that site or whatever the right tool for you now. And ultimately, the tool only has value if it helps your to do whatever it is you are trying to do.

Finally, I was talking this week about the idea of the “next big thing”.  This isn’t a new idea, but maybe the times in which we live have sent this idea into hyper-drive.  My thoughts on this are complex and incomplete and scattered, but here goes nothing….

Here is Nashville, I have often written about the mind-blowing number of excellent live music opportunities literally every single night out of the year.  This can range from Bridgestone Arena down to some small DIY space in East Nashville or West Nashville or South Nashville or wherever. As someone who loves and writes about music and who has friends who I want to support, the choices can be overwhelming.  What I am thinking about here – in thinking about the idea of the next big thing phenomenon…

 I think I need to explain that I am not trying to use the “next big thing” designation to put anyone down… so let me pause to unpack what I mean when I refer to the “next big thing” and where I think the dilemma comes in for me… Let’s say Joe Blow  (cause hey Joe is a cool buzz-worthy name) has been making awesome music for years. They have played to small crowds at small bars and been amazing. Now, through some combination of factors, Joe Blow has release an album that has caught on really well.  Now, Joe Blow is playing a larger venue and it is likely going to be a sellout or at least a sizable crowd. This is good for Joe Blow and it is good quality music.  The question/the dilemma: is that large capacity show featuring the undeniably awesome Joe Blow where I should go or should I go to some small venue with a relatively small crowd to see and write about Jane Doe  who may or may not one day be the next big thing.

And that is just choice A and B – not to mention choices C through whatever… the fact is that I sometimes chose to see Joe Blow and sometimes I chose to see Jane Doe. (And sometimes I chose to stay home and write long rambling blog posts).  In both circumstances, I have thought that perhaps I made the right choice and in both circumstances I have thought that perhaps I made the wrong choice…  So… I told you my thoughts were confused.  If I go to see Joe Blow and get wrapped up in the energy of the large crowd – does that have anything to do with the music?  Is Joe Blow better for having achieved this level of success or just more successful?   There can be an incredible amount of energy present in the midst of an intimate show where you realize you are experiencing something amazing – and are fortunate to be among the few who are there to see and hear it.

In the end, I don’t have an answer. I think I (sometimes) have an old school/punk rock mentality that equates success with selling out…

I don’t think that the Joe Blow show is by default better or worse than the Jane Doe show. As someone who writes about music and someone who loves to go out and see live music, I think my best bet is just to be extremely grateful to be in a place and time where all of these incredible options are available. And to make my choice and find the story that I am supposed to tell about whatever I choose to do and trust that just maybe there is someone at that (or those) other shows that is supposed to tell those stories.

Wow, I have been writing for a long time. I guess I will quit now.  Thanks for letting me work out my thoughts.

Here is a video of the Michael Stipe performance I wrote about this morning.  It is really rad!