E2TG at Americanarama VI 9/21/2013

Grimey’s know how to through a party.  Their annual Record Store Day event is always awesome, and Saturday wasthe sixth installment of the original Americanarama – a free day of music in the middle of the Americana Music Association Conference.

Grimey’s which began in a small shop in the Berry Hill section of Nashville and blossomed into one of the best and most respected record stores in the world. They are a magnet for musicians and music lovers.  Metallica recorded a secret show at The Basement located below the shop but named the ensuing record “Live at Grimey’s”.  Just about every cool band that comes through town, does an in-store at Grimey’s.  In addition, they are champions of many of the great up and coming bands.

Believe it or not, this was the first year that I was able to make it out for Americanarama, and I think I picked a good year.

The day began with The Reneaus who are either from Bowling Green, Kentucky or Nashville depending on who you ask.  Regardless, I was not familiar with The Reneaus for this performance, but I now consider myself a fan. 

Steelism were next, and although I was already familiar with them, this was the first chance I had to see them live. Steelism is the brain-child of Spencer Cullen Jr. and Jeremy Fetzer (Caitlin Rose).  They have an amazingly original sound. Fronted by a Pedal Steel Guitar and featuring two drummers… favorite quote of the day, “I’m still hung over and the stage is leaning…”

Next up were The Dexateens. I’ve liked their music for a long time, but seeing them perform live was revelatory. I now count myself as a huge Dexateens fan. This was one of the most fun and energetic shows I’ve seen in a fair bit of time. The band’s extensive and entertaining bio on Facebook mentions that they began as a punk band, and this spirit shows through.

After The Dexateens set, I decided to go inside to Howlin’ Books and Grimey’s, Too, and then I grabbed some lunch from Mas Tacos. Somehow,  I made it back in time to introduce myself to a couple of The Dexateens and then to see Daughter play their set.  I had ever heard of Daughter, but they have almost 300,000 likes on Facebook. They are from the UK.  They played a stripped down set due to their regular instruments already being at the Exit/In where they were playing that night. They had a awesome atmospheric, moody sound which I really liked.  Quite a transition from The Dexateens, but it was good.  After their set, they were surrounded by hordes of young people (and by young people, I mean people younger than me which was I guess about half the crowd – give or take a few dozen).

Next up was T. Hardy Morris who is in the band Dead Confederate. We’ve played a few songs from his solo album Audition Tape, so it was good to see him live. I enjoyed the music, and I’m not sure if it’s a persona or a personality but there was a bit of aloofness which I found a bit off-putting. Maybe especially after the complete openness of The Dexateens. But, I do know it’s dangerous to compare bands, and like I said, the music was great.

Next up was The Autumn Defense featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco. This was just some amazingly glorious music. Some delicious melodies and classic sounding vocals.  Just brilliant. The inclusion of The Troggs classic Love is All Around Me underscored the classic sound that this band has captured.

Next up was one of most anticipated sets of the day.  British Folk/Punk legend Billy Bragg took the small, slightly sloped stage and for about thirty minutes spoke truth and held court. After playing a few songs from his latest album including a Woody Guthrie cover which he introduced by referencing the brilliant Mermaid Avenue albums and acknowledging the presence of John Stirratt who along with the rest of Wilco played on those records, Bragg acknowledged that it was the 30th Anniversary of the release of his first album, Life’s a Riot With Spy Vs. Spy.  He said since the album was only 17 minutes long it was not worth renting out the Ryman or hiring symphony and that he could play the whole album as an encore and that he actually had enough time left to play it, and thus he launched into a blistering song by song cover of that masterpiece.  There was a palpable energy running through the crowd.   

After Billy Bragg headed inside to sign autographs and meet and greet, the ones of us who remained heard a couple of songs from the soon to be released High Cotton: A Tribute to Alabama. T. Hardy Morris came back from a ragged yet somehow brilliant version of the title track, and then the always amazing Amanda Shires (joined by Rod Piccott) performed her contribution to the record as well as one song from her new album.  To be honest, I expected more from this set, but hey, I got a free t-shirt and seeing Amanda Shires perform is always a plus.

As the sun began to descend, the crowd thinned a bit, which is a shame because those who left, missed out on the final set of the day. Willie Sugarcapps is the new project (supergroup really) featuring Will Kimbrough, Greyson Capps, Sugarcane Jane, and Corky Hughes. They play a break amalgam of traditional music from the South. Folk, Blues, Country,  what have you, and they have a whole lot of fun doing it.  I’ve been a Will Kimbrough fan since his days leading the Bushmen, and I thoroughly  enjoyed this set.  Their new album is out now. Check it.


It was truly a great day of great music. Special thanks to all the staff of Grimey’s for putting this thing on. And a shout out to Sandy – a long time Billy Bragg fan for buying me a beer.

Stay tuned for a quick run down of our normal shuffle in a bit…

I created a You Tube Playlist to commemorate the day…


Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Tripped Up Again Mix

 Reminder, Saturday April 20 is Record Store Day.  Be sure to support your local brick and mortar record store.  I have to say, Nashville appears to be THE place to be for RSD13.

Grimey’s New and Preloved Music as always has a stellar lineup for live music and DJs.

RECORD STORE DAY! – Saturday, April 20th, 10AM-8PM
10:00 – Store opens
11:00 – djb (DJ set)
11:30 – Poplar Grove Middle School Ensemble (performs selections from Beck’s “Song Reader” album of sheet music)
12:00 – Daniel Bachman
12:30 – Pimpdaddysupreme (DJ set)
1:00 – Paramore
1:15 – MINDUB (DJ set)
1:45 – Alanna Royale
2:15 – The Record Wranglers (DJ set)
2:45 – Josh Rouse
3:15 – DJ Hammelandeggs (DJ set)
3:45 – PUJOL
4:15 – Janet from Out The Other (DJ set)
4:45 – Hotpipes
5:15 – D-Funk (DJ set)
5:45 – The Features

 Third Man Records has live music by Karen Elson and Mark Watrous plus they have this:

In addition to the Nashville RSD festivities, I know our friends Tim Lee 3 are playing at Lost and Found Records in Knoxville, Tennessee.

If anyone else has Record Store Day events to promote, please let me know, and I will try to get it mentioned in the next couple of days. Bottom line people, support your local record store(s) not just Saturday but all through the year.

Pre-Shuffle:  In the pre-shuffle today, we heard a couple more tracks from the KidGrownUp mixtape by Christian Robins.  If you haven’t – check it out here.

 We heard music from a couple of totally unrelated but equally awesome Nashville artists.  Leroy Powell and the Messengers released their latest album, Life and Death, at the end of February – this is some real deal Country/Rock.  Grass Root Kids have been getting a lot of buzz in the past several months since I first found out about them.  Among their members is the daughter of a good friend.  They have a 3 song sampler from their Debut Ep Loose Change out on Noisetrade.

Rounding out the Pre-shuffle is a raucous and totally cool cover of the Hank Williams song, Lost Highway, by The Replacements from their brand new benefit CD, Songs for Slim. The record is to support Slim Dunlap who took Bob Stinson’s place in The Replacements, and who suffered a devastating stroke.

Shuffle after the jump.

  • “Built for BBQ” by The Slaughterhouse Chorus from The Appetizer (2013)/The Slaughterhouse Chorus (2012)
We had the good fortune of seeing The Slaughterhouse Chorus live on their No Tour for Old Men with The End Men just a few weeks back.  They play an awesome mix of Americanaish Punk, and it’s even better than that description implies.

  • “Waiting Around to Die” by The Be Good Tanyas from Introducing Townes Van Zandt via The Great Unknown (2009)

A Shuffle that includes a Townes Van Zandt song cannot be over-appreciated, and this gorgeous cover by the Vancouver Alt-Folk group The Be Good Tanyas was very much appreciated.

  • “Indian Ate a Woodchuck” by April Verch from That’s How We Run (2011)

A traditional old time fiddle song done up right by another Canadian musician.  For the video we have another April Verch song and another artist doing Indian Ate a Woodchuck since we couldn’t find a video of April’s version.

  •  “Power Failure” by Minuteflag from Minuteflag (1985-86)
Why not close out a shuffle that included a bunch of folksy, countryish music with a straight up avant garde jam featuring members of Minutemen and Black Flag.  “Yes, This is the way I want to…


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The Bluefields – In-Store @ Grimey’s – 5/17/2012

First of all apologies for the crappy cell phone pictures, there were people there with better camera equipment who took better pictures, so hunt them down.

The Bluefields have this released their first album, and they were booked to do an in-store performance at Grimey’s New & Preloved Music (one of the best record stores in the world – btw).  

Warner E. Hodges, Joe Blanton & Dan Baird
Dan Baird played bass and sang

So I posted a brief commentary on Facebook on this show as soon as I got home. 

Words can not express how awesome it was seeing The Bluefields this evening at Grimey’s New & Preloved Music.Warner E. Hodges Dan Baird and Joe Blanton brought the house down. – oh and I will try to find words to express how awesome it was tomorrow.

After I posted it, actually just before (as you will see from the last line), I thought, well I’m a writer and a music blogger so I best find some words to express how awesome it was.  Well it took me a couple of extra days, but here goes nothing.

When I approached Grimey’s, I saw the band standing out front. I got there early, and I had some time to think about this event. 

First of all, if you don’t know, I need to tell you about the Band:

The Bluefields are Warner E. Hodges (Jason & the Scorchers, Homemade Sin), Joe Blanton (The Enemy, Royal Court of China) and Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites, Homemade Sin)

Warner E. Hodges :

Memories: Seeing the Scorchers play Labor Day 1985 at Cat’s Records.  Such an amazing experience. The Movement (Richie Owens band who played one of my favorite song’s Lost Horizon) and the later Tim Kreckel and the Sluggers  opened the show and were both amazing, but the night belonged to the Scorchers.  From the first explosive note, you could see where that the name was appropriate.  The stage burned, and every moment was a joyous and infectious blur of twirling microphone and slinging guitar.

In the later part of the 80s, I got really into the local music scene in Nashville.  Bands like The Questionnaires and Walk the West and others.  I was still going to school in Cookeville, but whenever we could we would drive up to Nashville and catch a show (it was usually weekends at the Cannery) and at almost every show I attended, Warner Hodges joined the band for the encore and it was always the Rolling Stone’s Honky Tonk Women.

Flashforward:  2012 – I got to stand next to Warner’s mother, Blanche (a musician herself) and watch as Warner and the Bluefields tore it up. I got to tell her how much her son’s music had meant to me over the years, and she told me that he originally had not shown an interest in the guitar and that he had not begun playing guitar until he was ten.    Warner plays with such intensity and yet such ease, and he flashes this genuine and warm smile periodically throughout the show.

Joe Blanton:

Memories:  Around the same time that I saw the Scorchers for the first time, I remember hearing this local band on WRVU (sadly off the dial now) – The Enemy had this one song, Jesus Rides a U.F.O. that I loved. I remember going to see R.E.M. at Vanderbilt in November of 1985, and a friend pointing out the members of The Enemy in attendance.

A few years later (very few) The Enemy broke up and out of the ashes came Royal Court of China. To me Royal Court of China always had a larger than life feel.  They played blistering hard rock suffused with a Southern Gothic spirit.  Joe Blanton’s voice I remember most and the perfect blend of the two styles of music.  RCC got signed to a major label and made an amazing debut record.  After that, the band split with a couple of members forming The Shakers who took the Southern Gothic mysticism to new heights while Joe and some others carried on as Royal Court of China and made a stunning hard rock album.  I loved The Shakers and the hard rock RCC album, but I always missed that perfect fusion of the original lineup.  Still Joe Blanton’s guitar and vocals were always amazing.

Flashforward 2012 – Joe Blanton still has an amazing rock and roll voice, and he can play guitar pretty well, too.  Before the show, it was clear that he was the detail man of the band – setting up video cameras.

Dan Baird:

Memories:  I don’t remember the year exactly – maybe 86? But, this “new” band started getting tons of airplay on WRVU.  The Georgia Satellites.  They reminded me of the Scorchers in a way, but it was different, too. Then, I heard The Song, and damn if it wasn’t stuck in my head all the damn time.  RVU played it to death, but I never got sick of it.  This had happened before with songs I heard on WRVU – Peter Case’s Walk in the Woods comes immediately to mind.  But, then this funny thing happened.  Suddenly, this song began to get airplay on commercial stations and on MTV (and yes kids, MTV used to play music videos).  And wouldn’t you know it, this song made it to number one and Keep Your Hands to Yourself became and remains a iconic Rock n Roll song. The band ended up on Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve.

Dan Baird has been making music, great music ever since.  As a solo artist and with his band Homemade Sin (of which Warner is a member).

Flashforward 2012 – When these three guitarists formed a band, Dan Baird got volunteered to play bass. Dan Baird, who I think has one of the most distinctive voices in rock, joked repeated about his voice and his ability to play the bass.  As I’ve before and I say again, I am a non-musician music lover, and so my take on music is always much more emotional than technical. So, I don’t know how Dan Baird’s bass playing would be considered by a bass player, but I can say that the whole band sounded great to me.

Overall, my overall impression was of these three world-weary musicians who have seen the highs and lows of a life in music and press on because it is who they are. What I heard in the songs of the Bluefields from their debut, Pure, was maybe not the pure youthful, reckless country soul of that early Scorchers show, but truthful, direct songs that told stories that we all know so well.  What I saw, was these veteran musicians having fun doing what they love.  And what I felt was truly blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to witness it and to shake the hands of these men whose music made up such large part of my life.

Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Weighty Matters Mix

Sending out lots of love this morning to Levon Helm on yesterday’s news that he is in “final stages” of his battle with cancer. Cancer just plain sucks, y’all.  Here is Levon Helm in action from the Band’s Last Waltz followed by an all-star rendition of the same song, The Weight, led by Elvis Costello and featuring Mr. Helm on drums.  Enjoy.
Record Store Day is just days away.  If you are in Nashville, you have some choices – The Groove in East Nashville has live music all-day.  Jack White’s Third Man Records doesn’t have the Killer this year, but they are offering a release of last years RSD performance, Great Escape has sales at all of their locations. For my money, though, no one on the planet does Record Store Day up right like Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music.  Check out this schedule:
RECORD STORE DAY 2012 @ Grimey’s!!! – Saturday, April 21st 10am-8pm

Live Bands and DJs:

11:30 – djb (dj set)
12:00 – Langhorne Slim
12:30 – Best of Bread (dj set)
1:00 – The Grenadines
1:30 – Chris Crofton
2:00 – Blouse
2:30 – Pimpdaddysupreme (dj set)
3:00 – Jeff the Brotherhood
3:30 – Geezus (dj set)
4:00 – Caitlin Rose
4:30 – Kelley Anderson of SGRRC (dj set)
5:00 – Pujol
5:30 – DJ SRC (dj set)
6:00 – Lovedrug
6:30 – Janet from Out the Other (dj set)
7:00 – Kansas Bible Company
Films in the Basement:
1:00 – Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) — Bobby Bare Jr documentary (95 min)
2:45 – Andrew Bird: Fever Year — live concert documentary (81 min)
4:30 – Brick & Mortar & Love (documentary about indie record stores) (69 min)

Record Store Day releases go on sale at 10AM!!! Line forms in back, by the parking lot.
I’ll be there most of the day so if you stop by, come find me.  I may even have a freebie to give you.  I’ll be the guy who is trying to look like an aging hipster and failing so miserably that you won’t even be able to tell that that is what I am doing.  I’ll be crashing the stage for some photos and hope to do a recap by the end of the weekend.
Now to today’s list:
First Up is Book of James by the band We Are Augustines from Brooklyn, New York from their debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships.  We Are Augustines rose from the ashes of the band Pela. The vocals and the expansive sound are reminiscent of The Call – but see what you think.
No Title (Molly)  is from a collection of demos called…er…Demos by composer John Maus.  Since it’s a demo, this track has an unfinished quality to it, and to be honest, I’m not sure I have the whole track or just a sample, but in any case, I like it.
Below is a link to 2011’s We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves by John Maus.
What’s next? Well, you see, next we have Lyle Lovett from his latest album, Release Me, doing a Lyle Lovetty cover of the Chuck Berry classic Brown Eyed Handsome Man
If this was a gossip blog, I might have stories to tell about Lyle Lovett, but it’s not so I’ll just tell you that I used to see him in the audience at basketball games when I was in college. Also, I was fortunate enough to have seen Lyle and his Large Band back in the early 90s.
And finally, yo man, the 1980s were rough. Yeah, yeah… we wore funny clothes and had weird hair-dos, but man let me tell you.  We didn’t have the internet or cell phones or HD Television. Yes, the 80s were rough, but it was a simpler time. Oh and pushing and struggling were involved. And, I know for someone of my particular age those were supposed to have been my glory days, but I prefer to believe my glory days are still arriving.
 Anyway, to get a taste of that decade (for those who weren’t there or can’t remember)… today we have a live version of Eighties by post-punkers Killing Joke. This is the song which may or may not have been appropriated by Nirvana for their song, Come As You Are.
So, yeah man, I survived the eighties. 
Affiliated Links:
Band of Skulls / Band Of Skulls & We Are Augustines Band of Skulls / Band Of Skulls & We Are Augustines
Band of Skulls at Commodore Ballroom Vancouver on 04/10/2012


Kerrville New Folk Competition Finalists: Pierce Pettis, Ellis Paul, Steve Earle, Stephan Said, Lyle Lovett, David Wilcox, Jimmy L Kerrville New Folk Competition Finalists: Pierce Pettis, Ellis Paul, Steve Earle, Stephan Said, Lyle Lovett, David Wilcox, Jimmy L
Chapters: Pierce Pettis, Ellis Paul, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, David Wilcox, Dave Carter, Danny Schmidt, Joel Rafael, Meg Hutchinson, Diana Jones, Devon Sproule, Nanci Griffith, Anais Mitchell, Mindy Smith, James Mcmurtry, Robert Earl Keen, Antje Duvekot, Martin Sexton, Ralston Bowles, Joe Crookston, Slaid Cleaves, John Gorka, Jonathan Byrd, Tish Hinojosa, Bob Malone, David M. Bailey, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Pat Wictor, Mark Erelli, Anthony Da Costa, Owen Temple, Storyhill, Rachael Sage, Karen Mal, John Wort Hannam, Sally Fingerett, Michael Bowers, Zo Lewis, David Massengill, Dick Siegel, Juliet Wyers, Nels Andrews, Raina Rose, Wild Carrot, Les Sampou, Cosy Sheridan, Eric Schwartz, Annie Gallup, Corinne West, Johnsmith, Erik Balkey, Jay Mankita, Barbara Kessler. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 212. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher’s book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: Ellis Paul (born January 14, 1965) is an American singer-songwriter and folk musician. Born Paul Plissey in Aroostook County, Maine, Paul is a key figure in what has become known as the Boston school of songwriting, a literate, provocative and urbanely romantic folk-pop style that helped ignite the folk revival of the 1990s. His pop music songs have appeared in movies and on television, bridging the gap between the modern folk sound and the populist traditions of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Having grown up in a small town in Maine, Paul attended Boston College on a track scholarship where he majored in English. An athletic injury sustained during his junior year changed the course of his professional career. Paul picked up a guitar to pass the time while sidelined, and discovered that playing guitar and writing songs was the creative outlet he had been looking for. After graduating from college he began playing at open mic nights in the Boston area w…More: http: //booksllc.net/?id=2770615

From the Woods to the Basement….

Due to circumstances blah blah blah…. no music shuffle this a.m.  Too bad, ’cause I added some cool new songs to the mix, but we’ll get back to it in the morning.  In the meantime, I wanted to take the opportunity to catch up something. First and foremost, something I should have written a week ago:

Sunday March 11, I headed over to The Basement where a mere $5 got me in the door. The Basement is literally the basement of Grimey’s New & PreLoved Music. I arrived about 15 minutes after the announced 7:00p.m. showtime, a woman wearing a leotard with face make-up and feathers in her hair and a guy also with make up and feathers but no leotard were on-stage not yet playing.   A decent crowd assembled (decent for a Sunday night show).  I was hoping to meet Matt from No Country for New Nashville, but unfortunately I never determined who he was.

Anyway, a while later the show started.  Without an introduction, the previously mentioned duo began playing.  It was a beat-heavy electro-pop dance music. Not my favorite genre of music, but the female singer had a good voice and the songs were pretty good. After the first song, the singer introduced herself, but I couldn’t really catch it.  I found out later (yes cluelessness is one of more charming features) that this was Casey Desmond who was on The Voice last season. From what I read later this was actually a ASCAP showcase for Ms. Desmond, and also apparently some other Voice contestant’s where in the small club, too.  Now, I have to say, unless Cee-Lo had walked in in full peacock regalia, I’m not sure I would have realized anyone from the Voice was there.  All in all, I’d have to give passing mark’s to Casey Desmond. It was fun, she’s (obviously) got a great voice, and the music had enough of an edge below the pop to keep my attention.

 Next up was Battle Ave. from upstate New York.   Battle Ave. on Facebook name their genre as Rat Punk, Noise Bambi, and Pastoral Epic. I agree and then some. For me, noisy bands can go either way.  Battle Ave. fall on the good side of the coin, and I think I know why.  First, they have a great rhythm section: Samantha Niss on Drums and Max Schwartz on bass. What they also have is a unique vocalist (Jesse Alexander) and Alexander and Adam Stoutenburgh make loud noises on guitar. I hate to use fun in two straight reviews, but it fits. I just had a great time watching this band, and I wanted to hear more which is telling because the band I came out to see was up next.

After Battle Ave., I moved up closer to the stage and prepared myself to be blown away.  Having absorbed The Amboys’ Led into the Wood EP and checked out some of their live performance videos, I had high expectations for this show. I was not disappointed!  The band, nay, the movement called The Amboys exploded and if a typically reserved Nashville audience didn’t dance and crowd the stage as one would hope, I can guarantee that everyone who was alive in the club was moving their feet. 
Look, I love The Amboys and they killed it. You get that right. As I watched the show, and yes thought about what I was going to write, I was reminded of my stated reason for writing this blog in the first place. Namely, that there is tons of great music out there and tons of music fans thirsty for great music, and the internet, for all it’s ubiquitiousness, can be a great tool, but it can also be overwhelming.  So, I hear music that excites me, and I write about it, and maybe somebody reads what I write and checks out the band. Cool. So, I’m writing this not just to tell you that I had a blast at The Amboys’ show, but to implore you, if/when you get the chance, go see The Amboys – ‘kay.  And if you do, and are as blown away as I think you will be, drop me a line and let me know – deal?
Epilogue: (Where the writer reveals his unhipster-like lameness): There were two other bands on the bill Goldrush and Andrew Leahey, but with a sick wife and child at home and having to get up post-daylight savings at an ungodly hour, I bowed out after introducing myself to the Amboys. I think they hung around so, ask them about those last two bands.

Here they come now…

To paraphrase The Ramones and good horror movie protocol, “I Wanna Go Down to the Basement.”  The Basement in this case is the cavern-like club underneath Grimey’s New and Preloved Music. This Sunday, the fine blog, No Country for New Nashville* are hosting an show featuring several bands who are traveling on the their way to SXSW.  One of the bands is former Band of the Week The Amboys.  From the videos I’ve seen, their shows are a helluva lot of fun.  Nashville area readers, you should definitely check this out.  The show is only $5 and it starts at a work/school friendly 7:00p.m.  Here are the details:  SXSW Preview Show.

*Yes – as hard as it is to believe – there are other cool music blogs in Nashville.