Posts Tagged ‘TN’

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With his sophomore album Shape & Destroy, Nashville-based artist Ruston Kelly now documents his experience in maintaining sobriety, and finally facing the demons that led him to drug abuse in the first place. But while Kelly recounts that journey with an unvarnished honesty, his grace and conviction as an artist ultimately turn Shape & Destroy into a work of unlikely transcendence.

With its unsparing reflection on what Kelly refers to as “the cycle of frustration and temptation after getting clean,” Shape & Destroy took form during a period of painful transformation. “It wasn’t surprising to me that getting sober was a challenge, but there were moments when it was challenging in a way I’d never experienced before,” Kelly says. “There’s so much repair your brain has to do—spiritually, emotionally, physically—and at one point I really felt like I was losing my mind.”

As a means of self-preservation and catharsis, Kelly eventually turned to the ritual of free writing, a practice that led him to the album’s title. “This phrase just came to me one day: ‘Shape the life you want by destroying what obstructs the soul,’” he recalls. “I realized that was the ticket to healing myself and healing my mind: figuring out what kind of person I want to become, and then getting rid of everything that keeps me from being that person.”

In light of that epiphany, Kelly felt a profound lucidness that soon catalyzed his creative process. “From reading about other artists who’ve gone through recovery, I was sort of expecting a dry spell after getting sober, but that didn’t happen,” he says. “Instead I felt this very heightened awareness that lent itself to so much more artistic output, and the songs just started pouring out.”

That momentum continued as Kelly headed into the studio, co-producing Shape & Destroy with his long time producer Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer, Elohim). Working at Dreamland Recording Studios in Upstate New York (a space converted from a 19th century church), Kelly enlisted musicians like Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick, bassist Eli Beaird (who also performed on Dying Star), and a number of his own family members: his father Tim “TK” Kelly played steel guitar, while both his sister Abby Kelly and his wife Kacey Musgraves contributed background vocals. And in shaping the album’s nuanced yet potent sound, the band deliberately channeled the raw vitality Kelly continually brings to his live show.

“This was the first time I ever recorded completely sober, and I wanted to take the intensity of whatever it took to get me here and leave that splattered all over the wall,” says Kelly. “Rather than telling the band how or what to play, I translated that intention to them to get us all on the same page, and the songs came together exactly the way I needed them to.”

Though Kelly booked nine days at Dreamland, the sessions were so kinetic that the band tore through almost the entire album in the first 48 hours. That unchecked urgency is particularly evident on tracks like “Brave”—a plea for redemption made even more poignant by its stark recording, several times spotlighting a tearful crack in Kelly’s voice. “My father was supposed to play on ‘Brave’ with me, but I decided to do a take by myself to get my bearings,” says Kelly. “It was just me and my dad in a room late at night, him watching me sing this song about trying to live up to the principles he raised me with. I’ll never forgot how powerful that felt.”

Ruston Kelly has released a few great singles so far this year, including “Radio Cloud” ahead of his forthcoming album Shape & Destroy, out later this month via Rounder Records. “Radio Cloud” was the Nashville singer/songwriter’s third single from the album. It’s a cathartic country-folk ballad, following the release of the very Elliott Smith influenced “Rubber” and “Brave.” The album is sure to be an enchanting, emotional masterpiece.

Describing Shape & Destroy as a “mental-health record,” Kelly reveals all the false starts and setbacks in getting sober with a specificity that’s unflinching but never heavy-handed. As the album unfolds, his lyrics drift from forthright to poetic to sometimes even storybook-like (an element manifested in its recurring images of wishing wells and stars, flowers and wild storms). On the piano-laced and luminous “Mid-Morning Lament,” for instance, Kelly proves his gift for gracefully entwining wit and confession (sample lyric: “I wanna spike my coffee, but I know where that leads/And it ain’t the safest feeling when the angel on your shoulder falls asleep”). Another elegantly layered track, “Alive” twists classic love-song sentiment into a moment of tender revelation, its dreamy mood magnified by TK’s sighing steel tones and Kelly’s delicate storytelling (“On the horizon/The sun is setting pink/You’re cooking something in the house/Singing John Prine/What a beautiful thing/To be alive”). “To me ‘Alive’ is a testament to how powerful love can be, especially love from someone who embodies a very strong and empowering feminine spirit,” says Kelly. “It’s like they’re able to lend that spirit to you, so you can pick yourself back up and declare who you really want to be.”

Like most of Shape & Destroy, “Alive” was captured in one of the very first takes that Kelly and his band laid down. To make the most of their time at Dreamland, the musicians ended up recording two songs that weren’t initially intended for the album, including “Jubilee”—a warm and rumbling track with a magical backstory. “For a long time I’ve been a huge fan of the Carter Family, especially Mother Maybelle, and a while back John Carter Cash invited me to stay at his grandmother’s if I wanted a writing retreat,” says Kelly, referring to the son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. “I wrote ‘Jubilee’ at Mother Maybelle’s dining room table and didn’t think it would ever make it on the record, but in the studio it turned into this train-song thing that felt really good. It’s just so strange to me that this Johnny Cash spirit came out without me even meaning it to.”

For the closing track to Shape & Destroy, Kelly chose “Hallelujah Anyway”: a minute-and-half-long piece centered on choir-like harmonies from Kelly and his collaborators (including recording engineer Gena Johnson), its lyrics nearly prayer-like in invocation (“And bury me in flowers/When I go I wanna bloom/And come back as the colour of a lovely afternoon”). “For me that’s probably the most important song I’ve ever written,” says Kelly. “It’s about having thankfulness for whatever it is that gives us this ability to be positive even in the thick of the blackest moments, and I can’t think of any greater weapon to turn against your lesser self. If I wrote that song and nothing else in my life, I’d be very pleased with what I’ve done as an artist.”

Ruston Kelly

 

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The Mute Group met and live in Nashville, Tennessee, the band are made up of John Westberry, Ryan LaFave, Zachary Gresham, and Amy Gill. They have produced a sound which is so unusual and obscure, thats is nothing short of brilliant. They describe their sound as ‘music that skews less vintage than ancient, medieval geologic. These are songs that might just as easily ward off the evil eye as entertain.’ This is a band which you can share with your friends and they will marvel in your well rounded musical appreciation while thanking you in the process.

The Mute Group has done what many bands have failed to do, they have maintained their unique sound from the first track to the last and that is what makes you happy that you have been engulfed into the abstract world of The Mute Group and their album Sinister Hand

The Mute Group perform songs composed in the spirit of Laurie Anderson, The Philip Glass Ensemble, Dirty Projectors, Black Moses–era Isaac Hayes, and the haunted, medieval folk songs unearthed by Thomas Ravenscroft.

This is theater music for strange, unwritten operas; chants for undiscovered liturgies; ballads for forgotten minstrels. This is music that skews less vintage than ancient, medieval, geologic. These are songs that might just as easily ward off the Evil Eye as entertain.
The Mute Group met and live in Nashville, Tennessee. The band is a collaborative project between a Byzantine chanter, a classical organist, a NOLA-trained jazz drummer, and a utility man of hitherto inexhaustible potential.

Band Members:
Amy Gill, Zachary Gresham, Ryan LaFave & John Westberry

From the 2019 album ‘Sinister Hand’ available on YK Records

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Not five minutes into the new Will Hoge album and he’s nodding to Black Sabbath.

“First rat off a dead ship / see you sinking like a stone,” the Americana rocker snarls over tense palm-muted chords on punk-metal rager “The Overthrow.” “TV preacher with a fat lip / crying in the pulpit all alone.” By and by the tension breaks, the song launches into a headbanging sprint, and an insistent Tony Iommi-style electric guitar riff cascades like white water.

“The Overthrow” is one endpoint of the continuum comprising Tiny Little Movies, the follow-up to 2018’s fiercely progressive My American Dream. Elsewhere on the spectrum, we have R&B-tinted Americana (“Is this All that You Wanted me For?”), heartland story song (“Midway Motel”), and saccharine Nashville balladry (“All the Pretty Horses”). Rock and roll may be Hoge’s native tongue, and he gives himself to that form’s release and untethered id with unmistakable abandon, yet he’s consistent and fluent in a respectable range of sonic languages.

Indeed, he speaks many on Tiny Little Movies.

“You can’t burn bright in a town this dark,” Hoge sings on the particularly Springsteenian “Even the River Runs Out of this Town,” rust and resignation and sincerity in his voice. “You can’t hitch your wishes to a one-horse star.” Its sparse instrumentation and gorgeous yet lonesome washes of ambient organ chords nod to The Boss’s Tom Joad era, though the straightforward poetry of small-town isolation exemplified by the song’s hook and title is Hoge’s own.

Tiny Little Movies skews toward punk-rock on “Con Man Blues” and folk-rock psychedelia on “Maybe this is Ok,” while “That’s how You Lose Her” evokes the late Tom Petty. “I’ve seen the lights of New York City / I’ve seen the wildflowers bloom,” Hoge sings on the blissful, weightlessly enamored “Likes of You.” “I’ve seen a man go next to crazy / but baby, I ain’t never seen the likes of you.”

For two decades, Will Hoge has carried the torch for American rock & roll, carving out his own blue-collar sound rooted in amplified guitars, melodic hooks, southern soul, and rootsy stomp. It’s a sound that nods to the best moments of the past – the punch of Tom Petty’s anthems; the countrified twang of Buck Owens’ singing; the raw, greasy cool of the Rolling Stones – while still pushing forward into new territory, with Hoge’s storytelling and larger-than-life voice leading the charge. Trends come and go. Yet Will Hoge remains a mainstay of the Americana landscape, hitting the road year after year, turning new pages of a career whose twists and turns – including No. 1 hits, a near-death experience, major-label record deals, and hard-won independence – sound like stuff of some long-lost movie script. Maybe that’s why Tiny Little Movies, his eleventh album, feels so cinematic.

Maybe ‘Tiny Little Movies’ is a rock record. Maybe it’s an Americana record. And maybe — okay, this is more likely — each tune is its own self-contained unit. Unlike its conceptually unified predecessor, this record is comprised of 11 distinct nuggets, each immersive in its own fashion.”

 

Will’s new album Tiny Little Movies available June 26th

Brave is a sword song. Writing it made me feel armed to face my lesser self. Because becoming a better version of myself requires taking account of the painful missteps along the way and fighting the anguish of facing them. And to ultimately (and hopefully) come out better than who I was before. Taller and stronger. This is the highest achievement a human being can hope for, everything else is secondary.

In conjunction with the song, Kelly will release a new “Brave” t-shirt today with a design featuring his handwritten lyrics. All proceeds from t-shirt sales will be donated to MusiCares.
The new song adds to a breakthrough series of years for Kelly, whose most recent project, Dirt Emo Vol. 1, was released this past fall via Rounder Records (stream/purchase here). Co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K, the eight-song release consists of Kelly’s favorite songs including a rendition of Dashboard Confessional’s “Screaming Infidelities” featuring the band’s lead singer Chris Carrabba, a live cover of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” and new versions of The Carter Family’s “Weeping Willow” and Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.”
Kelly’s version of “All Too Well” was released to widespread critical praise and garnered attention from Swift herself. Billboard declared, “Kelly puts his own haunting spin on the track with yearning vocals, delicate percussion and soaring instrumentation,” while UPROXX praised, “his rendition is a beautiful tribute to the raw emotionality of the original. He makes the song his own with atmospheric instrumentals, replacing Swift’s driving percussion with drums that sound more soft and searching.”
The EP follows the release of Kelly’s critically acclaimed, full-length debut album, Dying Star, in the fall of 2018 . Co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K, Dying Star landed on several “Best of 2018” lists including Rolling Stone, Paste, UPROXX, American Songwriter and NPR Music, which declared, “Kelly digs down deep on Dying Star to fearlessly put forth a set of songs steeped in emotional twists, turns and complications…This here is powerful stuff.”

Ruston Kelly performing Brave. © 2020 Rounder Records., Distributed by Concord.

Baker

Memphis, TN-based songwriter Julien Baker is the latest addition to the Matador Records roster. The 21-year-old’s devastating and vulnerable debut album, Sprained Ankle, which was originally released in 2015 and now gets re-released by Matador. The album was recorded at Spacebomb Studios, though Julien’s songs don’t share the down-home gloss of the other albums produced there. Instead of beefing up her honest tunes with rich layering like Natalie Prass or Matthew E. White, Baker pares her songs down to their simplest possible format: alone, singing and playing acoustic guitar directly into the microphone, sometimes in a single take.

That decision resulted in a remarkable record, one full of beautiful, personal explorations revealed in stark intimacy. That choice makes a lot of sense for Baker’s voice, both in the literal and figurative sense. Rather than Prass’ sweet, soaring tones or White’s blue-eyed soul, Sprained Ankle is delivered in reedy whispers and chilled coos. Released just before she turned 20 years old, the record still sounds raw – not that her voice lacks control or power, but rather that the weariness of songs about death, breakups, and existential questioning are sung with incredible presence. They’re coming of age songs from someone still coming of age, the wounds still fresh, the big truths currently being revealed. There are the struggles of depression, drugs, loneliness, but the clear-eyed way she faces it all supersedes any platitude.

LP – The album comes with a new 7″ Funeral Pyre. Only Baker can make a song with such a darkly macabre title so heartbreakingly gorgeous, with her signature hushed-yet-lofty vocals soaring over a quietly fingerpicked melody that crescendos into layered, almost-orchestral beauty. The B-side, Distant Solar System, is another unheard song from the Sprained Ankle sessions.

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Roanoke is a folk/americana duo fronted band that uses rich harmonies, heartfelt lyrics, and roots music to create a captivating and unique sound. An exceptionally talented young quintet, Roanoke belie any geographic references implied by their name because they make their home in Nashville. That misnomer aside, the music they offer on their stunning sophomore effort, “Where I Roam”, reflects a clarity and cohesion that suggest that even early on in their collective career, the band possesses a knowing sense of skill and savvy. Seamless harmonies and the back porch setting suggested by mandolin, banjo and violin assure a seductive sound, a delivery that lures its listeners even on first encounter. Within the span of its five tracks.

Roanoke weaves a series of tender tales and nuanced narratives, all spawned from a decidedly heart-worn perspective. “Jordan,” “The Light” and “Without You” provide an uptick in energy, while the beautiful ballads “Losing You” and “Heavy Goodbyes” effectively ensure the emotional embrace. The couple at the helm, Joey Beesley and Taylor Dupuis, effectively mine this appealing presentation to full advantage, allowing Where I Roam to transport its listeners to destinations where the auditory appeal is undeniable.

Tennessee Stone explores the dynamic of two people experiencing the highs and lows of love. It’s about feeling lost and wanting to escape and runaway, but also realizing its very easy to lose your way while searching for the unknown. In those moments you think about the memories and emotions that once were, which leads to a yearning for the comfort of your home in another being.

“The infectious rhythm and mood carry through in the video, which takes an equally spirited look at the intricacies of relationships….Hauntingly shot at a small country farm, the video cuts between slow-motion shots, artsy interludes, and intimate moments of reflection, effectively evoking a feeling of absence.”.

“Swirling guitars and harmonica, plucky mandolin, and driving percussion dust the landscape of Roanoke’s adventuresome sound….Fans of the band will feel right at home with its soaring choruses, full-bodied roots instrumentation, and razor-sharp overall delivery. Newcomers to their sound will be captivated by the simultaneous tenderness and energy of the breezy, earthen roots tune.”
Band Members
Taylor Dupuis,
Joey Beesley,
Zach Nowak,
Kyle Breese,
John Fiorentino,

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When singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the phrase “Daddy Issues” scribbled on the bathroom wall of a now-defunct Nashville DIY venue, she mistakenly assumed it was the name of an all-girl punk outfit sure to become her next favorite band. Upon realizing that no such band existed, Moynihan and friends Emily Maxwell (drums) and Jenna Mitchell (bass) picked up their instruments, taught themselves how to play and started their own band. Three years later, Daddy Issues  release their full-length vinyl debut Deep Dream, out via Infinity Cat Recordings.

Daddy Issues writes self-aware grunge pop about friendship, lost love and life as an urban twenty-something. They openly discuss complex issues like bodily integrity but graft in bits of snark and charm to the otherwise arresting topic. This empowering viewpoint coupled with aggressive distortion and bubbly melodies gives the trio a distinct dynamism. Recorded on November 15th, 2018 in Chicago, IL.

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Nashville-based singer-songwriter Liza Anne Odachowski, who goes by Liza Anne, has never shied away from exposing her deepest, darkest emotions and even as she treads onto an exploration of a more pop-focused sound, she continues to tackle that melancholy. For “Paranoia”, Odachowski explores the role of her anxiety in her relationship, as it festers her thoughts and insecurities.

The song itself presents the duality of her new pop sound and distorted guitars, illustrating the contrast between how she presents herself and the reality of the obsessive, anxious thoughts that overwhelm her.

In this video, directed by Josh Gilligan and art directed by Brett Warren, they perfectly capture this by the use of two bedroom sets: one features Odachowski in natural lighting wearing a white-colored blouse, while the juxtaposing room features her in ultraviolet lighting wearing opaque makeup and a black outfit. As she dreamily coos in the first room, her dark self plays distorted guitar chords matching the intensity of her emotions, with both sides colliding.

“We wanted to express how the state of our rooms and how we aesthetically present ourselves mirrors, even elaborates on, our internal experience with emotions,” says Odachowski . “It was wild and healing to see so much of my internal world being externally experienced — it gave me a door into myself I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m not sure anything but art lets us look into ourselves in that sort of realized way.”

“Paranoia” is one of the singles off the singer-songwriter’s upcoming album Fine, But Dying, her first release for Arts & Crafts Records, out on March 9th.

Live at Lafayette's Music Room-Memphis, TN

Originally released as disc four of Rhino’s 2009 box set “Keep an Eye on the Sky”, “Live at Lafayette’s Music Room” captures performances Big Star gave in January 1973 at Lafayette’s Music Room in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. This is the same site that hosted the band’s legendary show during the May 1973 Memphis Rock Writer’s Convention — a gig that was instrumental in building buzz for Big Star — so this comes tantalizingly close to replicating how Big Star may have sounded on that storied date.

During this first half of 1973, Big Star were a band in transition, getting their sea legs after the departure of Chris Bell. His presence hangs heavy, with Alex Chilton singing songs Bell sang on No#1 Record and his DNA evident on such newer songs as “Back of a Car” and “O My Soul,” but it’s also evident how Big Star are turning into a rangier, rougher outfit under the undisputed leadership of Alex Chilton. The band feels tougher and funkier, particularly on the clutch of covers that conclude the album: Gram Parsons’ bruised country-rock classic “Hot Burrito #2” becomes a swaggering Stonesy rocker; a version of T. Rex’s “Baby Strange” seems like the blueprint for the Replacements, and the band drills down to the essential sleaze of Todd Rundgren’s “Sleaze.” This rawness, so absent on Big Star’s two finished studio albums, is the reason why Live at Lafayette’s Music Room is worth hearing even for non-fanatics: It proves that this power pop group was also a rock & roll band.

Live At Lafayette’s Music Room-Memphis, out on  (Omnivore Recordings) . It cemented them into legendary status due to the writers who witnessed it and carried the message of Big Star out in their writing, even though the band had only released one album, No#1 Record, and were unsure of recording a second after the departure of co-founder Chris Bell. What may not be so widely known is that the trio played the same venue four months earlier with the same power and passion opening shows for the Houston R&B band, Archie Bell & The Drells.

We’re only one week away from the release of Let The Record Play! But before it hits, we wanted to share one more song with you. The last song we wrote for the record, and a phrase that came up a lot while we were recording. Be sure to check out “Not Too Late” available everywhere .

Moon Taxi is an American indie-alternative rock band based in Nashville, Tennessee. The band was founded in 2006   The five-member band has released four albums since their inception that each landed in top spots on several hitmaker charts, and were the featured bands on late-night talk shows like “Late Show with David Letterman” and others. The band members who round out the group along with Terndrup are lead guitarist and producer Spencer Thompson, keyboardist Wes Bailey, bassist Tommy Putnam and drummer Tyler Ritter. The band will be releasing their new album on RCA Records.

Last but not least, we’ll be hitting the road for the Let The Record Play Tour next month.

Moon Taxi’s new album ‘Let The Record Play’ coming January 19th

The rock band Moon Taxi also shared the debut of the music video for their huge single “Two High.” Having sung the single during their tour earlier this summer, it has become an instant hit with fans and newcomers to their music alike. As noted in the press release the music video “trails the band and their fans throughout the world, backstage and on stage at their electrifying live shows that have them millions of fans.” Similarly, lead singer Trevor Terndrup states in the press release that the single is about “hope for understanding, hope for acceptance, and hope for our future.”

To celebrate the album release next week, we’re teaming up with Nashville’s Lightning 100 and Adventure Science Center to throw a one of a kind Planetarium Listening Party on Thursday, January 18th. We’re excited to be there to experience this along with you. Tickets include entrance to the planetarium show, a signed copy of LTRP on vinyl, koozie, commemorative laminate, and access to an open bar. A portion of proceeds will benefit Adventure Science Center, a non-profit education center.