Moore:Music ®

Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

Truly a Music city


Kev and Miki enjoy the music at The Basement. Pic by Patricio

Already blown away by the house band at the Second Fiddle on Broadway on their afternoon session, Miki and I decided to head out to The Basement in Southern Nashville, where Tuesday night is new faces night. We thought it would be a great opportunity to listen to the up and coming acts that are emerging on the Nashville scene. What I didn’t expect was the high standard maintained throughout the show. I’m going to go through them one by one, because they each deserve a mention in their own right.  First up was:

 Jordan Hull , who had re-located to Nashville in order to further his career. An unassuming guy, his guitar and harmonica were a perfect foil to an unusual voice that delivered some very well crafted original material.  A great choice for an opening act, it boded well for the rest of the evening.

 Lisa Auge, a female singer-songwriter, was possessed of a remarkable voice, and a really original songwriting craft, her lyrics really drawing you into the narrative. She, too, if I remember well, relocated to Nashville from Ohio to pursue her dream. Surely one to watch in the future.

A great outfit fronted by Mark Bates sat at the keyboard, and yet more great original material with thought=provoking and original lyrics, reminiscent of Ben Folds, with a sprinkling of Tom Waits, delivered in inimitable style. The guitarist had a great, haunting echo-soaked wash of a sound played on a gorgeous old Gretsch that must have been worth a fortune.

Another great cherry red Gretsch took to the stage next , ably played by Bob Lanphier (I think)  who, backed by a solid band gave a great vocal  performance to boot.

Following  Bob was a duo, Dear Companion, featuring Loren Francis & Maja Alderin, a Bostonian guy and a Swedish girl from Stockholm respectively. A late addition to the bill apparently, but certainly a welcome one. Beautifully crafted songs with unusual arrangements performed on acoustic guitar and piano, with Maja’s haunting vocal a perfect counterfoil to Loren’s lead. Truly original music.

Things cranked up then with the arrival of The Octagon, a New York band fronted by Zachary Mexico who I discovered  is also a writer, with a book published just last year.   A punk band for the new decade with a healthy dose of humour, they exploded into life, and certainly put a smile on Miki’s face!   This three piece power outfit but a little new york groove into Nashville’s Basement.

Another three piece followed – World Bazaar – possessed of an outstanding drummer who gave every single beat 100%.  In fact, the whole three piece were amazing, particularly thewir last track which had so many different shades you could be forgiven for thinking it was a 6 piece on stage. The only weak point for Miki and I was the vocals from the lead guitarist, which, while adequate, didn’t match the quality of everything else they were doing. I feel this band would improve 100% with a big-voiced frontman .

The final act of the night was Kings of Disco, who had the unenviable graveyard slot, which Miki and I admittedly left halfway through, but more due to our continuing time-zone confusion and exhaustion as opposed to any fault on their part. Some nice syncopated strat rhythms accompanied our exit.  We were amazed at the variety, and above all, sheer quality of this free admission Tuesday night down here at the Basement. It happens every Tuesday night, and if you’re ever in Nashville, I urge you to check it out.

 Also, a mention to Patricio, a local resident from L.A. who now lived here in music city and searched for new talent, recording and promoting them, who befriended us and gave us a little insight into the scene at the Basement and Nashville as a whole.

Taking my seat in the Ryman Auditorium

A couple of nights later, we attended the Nationwide final of the Colgate Country Showdown, hosted by Leann Rimes, which had distilled 500,000 hopefuls down to 5 finalists all chasing a $100,000 prize, operforming at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. The venue was a cross between  a concert hall and a museum, with glass display cases along the back wall containing posters and stage costumes of the country stars of yesteryear.  We chatted briefly to the Pedal steel player in the band as we made our way into the gig. 

The backing band run through Ms.Rimes play on piece for the Cameras

The finalists were Casey Lee Smith , a 17 yearold singer/guitarist, Kendall Phillips, a female singer songwriter, Whisky row,  a male guitar vocal duo, Terry Lee Spencer, a guitar vocalist, and Karla Davis, a female guitar/vocalist –  and the winner was Karla Davis, who turned out to have the best voice of the bunch, and reasonably good songs, but for me really leaned much more towards R&B than country. Now, I,m not a country fan, but if I was, I’d be a little concerned at the continued watering down of this cultural artform. The fourth contestant Terry Lee Spencer, whilst not always on the money vocally, certainly embodied more of what I would consider the country spirit, particularly in his two original songs, and the second song by duo Whisky Row  “Leather Glove” was a beautiful piece.  The winner’s second original song “Whiskey’s gotta job to do” was clever, the”narrator” being a bottle of Jack Daniels” – born in Lynchburg Tennessee, and I could see the song achieving more success for the writer, than she will herself as a performer. All in all, though I was surprised that the standard of artists at The Basement two nights before was far superior to this heavily-sponsored national final.  We left thinking we’d really just been witness to “American Country Idol”.

But what a treat to dip into the musical delights of this wonderful city! So much to see, so little time!

Kev Moore

January 17, 2010 - Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Touring, Writing | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Why not check out my Nashville music piece over on moore:music? […]

    Pingback by Travelling the Music Highway « Café Crem | January 17, 2010

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