Today's subtitle is a tribute to the mind-blowing weekly party that goes down every single Wednesday night at Fran's Eastside Tavern in East Nashville, Tennessee. Tim Carroll and Darrin Bradbury have been doing this thing since July or so, and I've only missed a couple. When it began, Darrin would play for an hour or so and then Tim would take over and then they would play together at the end of the evening. In time, drummer David Strayer began sitting in and then (when he returned from an extended time up North) Cameron Carrus joined in on the upright bass, and the Fran's Eastside Super High Band was formed. Now-a-days, Tim begins playing sometime before 8:30 (I don't think I've ever made it there before he began) and the band joins in as they arrive. Darrin plays (with Tim playing guitar). Singer Luella Wood has been known to serenade us with a few songs each night, and at various times Trombones, additional guitars, and other assorted folks have joined in the party. Special guests have been known to show up including singer/songwriter legend Dave Dondero and last night Nathan Kalish and the Lastcallers. It's a seriously fun night and if you can handle the copious amounts of second-hand smoke, you should come on out if you are in the area.
Last night's show ended the traditional "Freebird" and "Wagon Wheel" one-two punch which Darrin Bradbury managed to lyrically mash-up in the manner of our subtitle.
On to the shuffle:
Matt King has his feet planted both in New York and in Nashville which makes him doubly appropriate for Ear to the Ground. Thanks to the shuffle his songs make a neat frame around the rest of the shuffle today. This first one is a song about coal mining and Harlan, Kentucky. I've actually been to Harlan which I think gives me some authentic Country/Americana street cred. Right?
"Future Tidings Shall Sing" by Batkhi Dahn
Batkhi Dahn is the side project of The Foresters Bassist Hayden Nork. It's a pretty whacked-out Christmas number, and I mean "whacked-out" in the most complimentary way possible. It's trippy and a whole lot of fun. Somehow, in my mind, I picture a conversation like this:
Hayden: I have a new song for The Foresters
Evan and Liam: um... well it's cool and all, but... um...
Hayden: Fine, I'll just start a side project!
It's not easy being a middle child - believe me, I know.
"Coming Through the Pines" by Blackfoot Gypsies
A song from their debut album and once again the shuffle provides some excellent timing as I prepare for tonight's Lockeland Springsteen Christmas show at The Five Spot which featuring Blackfoot Gypsies, Alanna Royale, Cory Branan, and others.
"The Masque of the Red Death 1964" by Sci-Fi Romance
I'm going to keep posting these awesome songs until I've posted them all. Sci-Fi Romance/Vance Kotrla sat down to watch a marathon of classic horror films and ended up writing a song about each of the films and recording the songs in a very lo-fi way. In lesser hands, this could be a great concept that ended up kind of stilted and cheesy, but these are not lesser hands and the result are some incredible distillation of classic stories into highly original and surprising songs.
"Blind Fascination" by The Torn Images
Another great rocker from The Torn Images full-length debut. Coincidently, we had two Southern California bands that are essentially solo projects. Briand Arabaca is the solo artist behind The Torn Images.
"Northern Lights" by American Aquarium
I don't know how many ways to say how great I think American Aquarium are. We have featured several songs from Burn. Flicker. Die and we still have a couple more to go. There isn't a bad song in the bunch and almost all of them are truly great songs.
"Fire on a Sunny Day" by Ben Arthur
If You Look for My Heart is the title of the new album by New York singer/songwriter Ben Arthur. It is also the title of his new novel. The two works are interrelated but independent, and you can get them both at Noisetrade.com. The album features guest appearances including Rachel Yamagata and Aesop Rock. Fire on a Sunny Day is a dark, disturbing, and awesome song about obsessions. I look forward to bringing you more of this album.
"The Kiss" by Judee Sill
One of the ever-present themes of Ear to the Ground is that of connections. Most of the time, I try to let the shuffles speak to this theme without explicit comments, but I have been known to post lengthy commentaries on how all music and indeed all humanity is interconnected. This idea was reinforced for me recently and it involves the late tortured folk/pop singer Judee Sill. I was turned onto Judee Sill by my friends in Valued Customer and soon grabbed this song off of the website Freegal. A few weeks later, I went to a show by the awesome Aaron Lee Tasjan, and he performed a song that was dedicated to Judee Sill. The song was incredible and I was blown away by the seemingly mystical forces which tied this connection together for me. If pressed, I think I would have a hard time drawing connecting lines from Valued Customer to Aaron Lee Tasjan (other than the insane amount of talent they both have), but lo and behold, Ms. Sill whose truly tragic life ended in 1979 completed the puzzle and it suddenly all made sense.
"Santa Came Home Drunk" by Clyde Lasley and The Cadillac Baby Specials
A Christmas song that's lyrics consist mainly of types and brands of booze. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
"Howl" by The Lucky Jukebox Brigade
Another appearance by The Lucky Jukebox Brigade. A song title which lead me down a rabbit hole which resulting in my downloading of a poem written and read by Allen Ginsberg which will be in a forthcoming shuffle I'm sure.
"Before It's Gone" by Matt King
Completing the frame we circle back around to Matt King and another brilliant song from his Raw album.