March 25, 2014 – The Basement – Nashville

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One is tempted to draw conclusions….

I don’t get out to see live music as often as I would like.  So lacking adequate empirical evidence, I can only offer anecdotal proof of my theorem that on any given night at any given venue in Nashville (and probably elsewhere, but I don’t even have first hand anecdotal evidence of that), there is a ton of great music to be had – played by people you’ve heard of and people you are hearing for the first time.

Case in point:  The Basement New Faces Night – Tuesday March 25, 2014. 

I went out to see my friends and E2TG faves, Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray make a triumphant return to The Basement, celebrate their recent nuptials, and celebrate the release of their brand spanking new and awesome album Lean Into the Wind.

There were six artists on the bill, and each brought a unique and ultimately satisfying set of music to the stage.

I wish I had time for a full review, but I’ve created a handy You Tube playlist of all the artists.

Included:  Owen Danoff of Washington DC, Regan Lorraine from Nashville by way of Indiana, Kyle Adem from Knoxville, Geoff Koch from Nashville by way of St. Louis (which I must point out in my head I am pronouncing like the French do), Keelan Donovan from Nashville by way of Portland Maine, and the aforementioned Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray from California and DC. 

Just a couple of notes in lieu of a full review:

Owen Danoff sounded like he was going to start of with a cover of John Mayer’s “The Real World” and then actually said, “This is not a John Mayer song”, and it wasn’t.  Combining a variety of styles into a sound that his own – a bit a of trivia – Danoff is the son of the writer(s) of “Afternoon Delight” and “Take Me Home Country Roads”.

Regan Lorraine was joined by Jason Goforth, whose name was so familiar I had to look him up, and I saw where he played with Angel Snow – so I’m thinking that’s where I heard of him.  For the last song, Regan spent a lot of time tuning her guitar (and imploring the audience to talk while she did it).  The tuning was worth it as the song sounded amazing and Goforth played a harmonica through a modified old telephone receiver (forgive my ignorance if this is a common thing) which sounded otherworldly and amazing.

Kyle Adem writes really great songs and has a unique and very listenable voice.  I wanted to hear more.

Geoff Koch I really liked a lot and only wish I had something cool to say. Good songs, nice sound. It’s not faint praise, I’m just lacking an interesting factoid.  Maybe if he had fallen of the stage…. but I’m glad he didn’t. Oh yeah! He closed with and epic song that was really cool!

Keelan Donovan was backed by a great sounding band, has a great charming stage presence, and he writes some evocative and at times humorous and human lyrics. It sounds like music you will be hearing everywhere sometime soon.  I will definitely keep my eye out for other shows around town.

Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray.  What to say?  With awesome change of pace songs, powerful in both the quieter stanzas and when they blow out your eardrums and the walls. They are true road warriors and the near constant touring has served coalesced this bi-coastal band into a tight unit.  Ace drummer Ben Tufts and bassist Derek Evry (a talented singer-songwriter in his own right) provide the rhythm for newlyweds Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray (Erin and Chris) who play and sing with power, passion, and purpose.   They are also two really kind and generous people, and I’m glad I’ve gotten the chance to get to know them.  They are touring and if (when) they come to your town, I urge (nay implore) you to go and see them.


Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – In any Language Mix

First off, let me be the first (okay not the first by far) to say that the notion that Nashville is a great town for music is not hype. I don’t get out as often as I would like, but it seems like every time I do – amazing things happen.  Now, I don’t think I am that lucky a guy (although pretty lucky all things considered) nor do I think my mere presence inspires such awesomeness to occur. Therefore, my conclusion has to be that remarkable, amazing, and awesome music happens all the time in Nashville (East, West, and all points in-between).

Last night, it was an incredible night of music at The Basement.  Nashville people (or anyone who finds themselves in Nashville on a Tuesday night) get yourselves down to The Basement (under Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music) for New Faces night. Local and in-town artists of the Indie persuasion take the stage. Grimey curates, mans the soundboard… There was so much goodness last night, and I will definitely be back. I posted a bit about it over on Facebook. Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray were phenomenal.  They played at least two songs which will be on their next album – set for a spring ’14 release – which were both really great.  Fun night…

Today’s shuffle commences after the jump

“Nostalgia” by Dog Without Warning (from Bark.  Seriously, I love this band and this EP. They are CXCW alums, and I was first introduced to their music at this years “event”. The band reached out to me when the put out this record, and I fell head over heels for it. The music is a major departure from “Go Girl” which I previously heard and liked. Bark has a surprising folksy, Americanaish, country vibe going. Most importantly, it has great songs with killer hooks.)

“Eight Miles High” by Husker Du (Covering The Byrds. This is from an extended single which also includes the band’s classic Makes No Sense at All and a cover of the Mary Tyler Moore theme song. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, “What would Husker Du?”  What indeed.)

“Back to You” by Perrin Lamb (a talented alternative/Pop singer/songwriter from here in town.)

“The Shell” by Dr. Fate (Another great song on the Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen Compilation? Seriously?)

“Unforgettable” by Ani DiFranco and Jackie Chan (cover of the song popularized by Nat King Cole – who posthumously recorded a duet of the song with his daughter. Wait a minute!?????  Ani DiFranco and Jackie Chan? That Jackie Chan? Yep.  The results are as one might expect… it’s from the When Pigs Fly compilation)

Watch today’s video Playlist


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.