Moore:Music ®

Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

The Basement Cafe revisited

If you're in Nashville, go there.

Choosing to spend our last three days of the two-month trip back in Nashville, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass of revisiting Tuesday’s “New faces” night at The Basement.

One of our best nights out of the whole trip, you can check out 6 new acts for no cover and reasonably priced beer. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and this time we were treated to some truly great talent. Shelly Fraley, on acoustic guitar and vocals, backed by just a harmony singer and a cellist, delivered a beautiful set, showcasing her songwriting and crystal clear voice.  We bought her EP, Up up and away which is great, but I must say, the stripped down live  renditions of her songs with the wonderful cello work were appealingly organic.  She is having some success placing her songs as soundtracks to a number of TV shows and should go from strength to strength. You can check her out HERE

Next up was an enigmatic singer songwriter who resembled a young Neil Diamond, and sang with the passion of a Dylan or Tom Waits. Aaron Berg delivered his exceptional lyrics in a voice of cigarettes and dark chocolate, and really drew you into the narrative. He gigs relentlessly up and down the country, and the two CD’s we bought from him, Songs for Madame X and The Love & Coffee tapes did not disappoint. You can find out more about Aaron HERE.

Singer and guitarist Anne E deChant also put in a good set, possessed of a nice gravel-edged vocal on the more forceful numbers, but it was the beautiful “Old Town Road” that was the highlight of her set, a song any of the songwriting greats would have been proud of. Find out about Anne HERE.

The act that had us retrieving our jaws from the floor however, was the wonderfully madcap The Heligoats. An oddball-looking bunch, we were on the verge of calling it a night when the lanky form of lead singer and guitarist Chris Otepka launched into a surreal soliloquy to set up their first track, reeling us in to his own very peculiar world. How many people do you know that can write a song about getting lost in the heating ducts at a party, or purchasing a swamp and having a grant to improve it from the government? Not only does this band do this, they make you want to listen to it. His lyrics were delivered “stream of consciousness” style, and the band were capable of quite stunning moments of light and shade, exploding one moment, beautifully restrained the next. The lead guitarist, looking like a ginger Roger Whitaker was equally compelling. Looking like he wouldn’t say boo to a goose, with a sheepish smile and reminiscent of a computer programmer, he nevertheless defied convention, letting loose great swathes of guitar noise on the unsuspecting crowd. Within minutes, we knew we were in the presence of genius. In the last ten or fifteen years, very few bands have been able to surprise and delight me, but The Heligoats did just that in equal measure. In a perfect world, they would be massive. If your world isn’t perfect, I would suggest stepping into the one created by Otepka’s lyrics. It’s fun. Give in to the madness that is The Heligoats HERE.

A word has to go to Mike Grimes, owner of the Basement and the record store Grimey’s above. His relentless pursuit of all things cool to put on The Basement stage, dispelling the myth that Nashville is all about country, is a credit to the city. The music world needs people like Mike to keep it alive. I salute you, sir.  Visit The Basement HERE.

Kev Moore

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March 7, 2010 - Posted by | Music, Recording, Rock, Touring, Writing | , , , , ,

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