I have to say, being a music fan in Music City is an interesting endeavor. Historically, when people hear Nashville, they think first about the slick, country music coming out of the high-end studios on Music Row or maybe the good-natured Hee-Haw folks or else the Grand Ole Opry. And yes, all of those things are part of Nashville - a big part. Nashville, though, has always had more to offer musically speaking. Lately, the other side of Nashville music has gotten some high-profile faces. With Jack White and the Black Keys relocating to our fine city.
In years past, artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan have lived and/or recorded here.
I grew up musically on Nashville Rock in the 80s. (There is a site for that!) It was a thriving and diverse scene, and perhaps like many other local scenes of the day, seemed perpetually on the verge of breaking big. The legacy of that scene lived on with a number of artists from that time making a living as staff songwriters and/or still slugging away - doing their thing.
Over the last couple of years, we've tragically and sadly lost a number of local musicians from my youth/young adult years. Paul Kirby (Walk the West, Cactus Brothers), Perry Baggs (Jason and the Scorchers), Michael Godsey (Raging Fire), Tim Krekel (The Sluggers) among them.
So, yeah, Nashville has been, can be, and is a great city for music. It can also be difficult and political and cynical and over-produced and all of that. Still for all the crap, Nashville is a great place to be a music lover and a music blogger.
I put together a playlist of artists who have (at least at some point) called Nashville home. I came up with 100 songs (limit one per artist) and probably missed a few, and it's an amazingly diverse group of amazing bands, artists and songs.... here we go...
First up is one of my all-time favorite songs. I can't listen to Jason and the Scorchers classic Broken Whiskey Glass without picturing the acrobatic leap from the drum riser on a later summer night on West End Avenue in 1985. (To be honest, I've reenacted that leap myself on a number of occasions when listening to the song when no one else was around). Broken Whiskey Glass was released on the band's full-length debut, Lost and Found.
Johnny Cash was an original. He began his music career recording at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, had a prime time television series, and in his later years made some landmark recordings (his American series) which included notable covers of Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode among others.
In 1969, Cash recorded a now legendary show at San Quentin Prison, at that show which was later released as At San Quentin, he performed a version of a song written by Shel Silverstein called A Boy Named Sue. The song became Cash's biggest crossover hit reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Finally, we have a song by Mikey Wax who was our 10th Band of the Week just about one year ago. Since then, he was released a new record called Constant Motion which features the song Counting on You which happens to be the third and final song in today's shuffle. Although he grew up on Long Island and currently lives in New York City, Mikey makes this playlist because he attended Vanderbilt University here in Nashville. Counting on You was featured just last week on the Fox Television show So You Think You Can Dance. And I'm absolutely sure, his having been Band of the Week on Ear to the Ground played apart in getting the song on the show... (wink, smile)