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And so it begins... you know, if my Americana 2016 experience ended last night, I think I would be pretty darn satisfied...
I decided not to risk getting shut out of the venue, so I drove straight from work to the Pub at The Basement East and hung out with friends and listened to Terry Rickards and Darrin Bradbury play music by East Nashville musicians. Then, we joined the line to get into The Basement East. Caught part of a set by a talented group of students from Nashville School for the Arts.
Later, Chuck Mead led a pretty amazing band with special guests through set that included Mead singing The Who's "Can't Explain", Sarah Gayle Meech singing Blondie's "Heart of Glass", and a cover of a song by The Pogues - plus Patrick Sweany... plus, plus... And that was the "opening act"!
So, I knew that Aaron Lee Tasjan and Friends was going to be epic... I mean, it's ALT and last year's set was epic so... 2014 E2TG Artist of the Year Darrin Bradbury kicked things off with a rocking rendition of his classic "Life is Hard (The Ballad of Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, and Daffy Duck)"... Zach Schmidt - one of my favorites - was up next with one of my favorite songs of his, "Company Man", 2015 E2TG Artist of the Year Jon Latham did his song, "Waitressing Sucks" and there were suddenly a bunch of new Jon Latham fans in the house. Brian Wright did a face-meltingly good performance of "Glory Hallelujah" - I mean... Brian Wright always blows me away, but this was next level good. He and Aaron Lee have been playing together quite a bit and it really shows because they were incredibly tight throughout the set. ALT did "Made in America" and "Ready to Die" which were both amazing. There was more, but I'm running short on time... Then, Jon Latham returned to the stage with the great Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites, Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, The Bluefields) and my mind was blown. I could have just gone home right then and have been satisfied... but I didn't.
Lee Ann Womack was next with an incredible band and a bunch of friends... like Waylon Payne, Brent Cobb, Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell (who sang Todd Snider's "Play a Train Song"), Patty Griffin, and more.
Kind of sort of as we speak, Darrin Bradbury is joining Margo Price, Aaron Lee Tasjan and others for an NPR segment at The Country Music Hall of Fame. I don't know if you can even imagine how it feels to have watch the ascension of Darrin Bradbury over the last two plus years. I am beyond proud of him and glad to know him. I am at work and not able to be at the Hall of Fame, but I will be there when he takes the stage at The City Winery for his official showcase performance before James McMurtry takes the stage. Other recommendations for tonight: Allen Thompson Band at ACME Feed and Seed at 11pm and Tim Easton at The 5 Spot at midnight. My night will be begin at The 5 Spot for Amelia White's Residency show with guest Renee Wahl and the Sworn Secrets and an appearance by Jon Byrd. It will be nice to be back in the friendly comfines of The 5 Spot.
Let's get to the shuffle while I still have a few minutes to write... It is Wild Wednesday - let's get Wild!
"Sidewalk" by Adeem the Artist
We begin with another track from Kyle Adem is Dead. As I have said, I absolutely love this album. Please check it out!
"I'm Going Fishin'" by Brock Zeman
Some recreational advice from Brock Zeman and his album Rotten Tooth (2013). I love seeing Zeman and his frequent collaborator Blair Hogan play, and I hope they make it down to Nashville again soon!
"Illegal Smile" by John Prine
So, John Prine is playing at The Station Inn tomorrow night for AMA, and they just announced that he will be playing his 1971 self-titled debut album in its entirety (this song is the opening track on that classic album). As of last night, the AMA app showed 700+ scheduled to attend that show. If you have ever been to The Station Inn, you know the math just doesn't work. A whole bunch of people are not going to make it in. But, this is a once in a lifetime kind of event... so I can't blame anyone for trying to get in. By the way, Aaron Lee Tasjan said that John Prine listens to Jon Latham's album, Real Bad News almost every day. Did I mention that I super proud of my Artists of the Years?
"The Day the Last Ramone Died" by The Coal Porters
When I received No. 6 - the new album by The Coal Porters in the mail and saw the title of this - the opening song, I knew the album was going to be amazing. The song is an incredibly moving story of Sid Griffin's first time seeing the band through the 2014 death of Tommy (the "Last Ramone"). I still find it hard to believe that the whole band is gone. This song is destined to be a classic.
"Drive" by Roi and the Secret People
Roi and the Secret People are from Pennsylvania. This is a track from their most recent album called Phoenix. They are currently working on the follow-up. I really like this band and look forward to hearing more.
"The Eyes of a Fool" by Saint Luke's Drifters
How about another from Trials and Tribulations by Saint Luke's Drifters. I can related way too much to this song. The band describe themselves as Rockified Country. They playing a music that is reminiscent of (but not imitative of) some of the great hard rocking country band of my youth - like The Scorchers and the previously referenced Georgia Satellites. This song - written by Mitch Laney - does bring to mind the Satellites. Highly recommended.
"Poor Butterfly" by Frank Sinatra
From Francis A. and Edward K. - Old Blue Eyes and Duke Ellington perform a song that was first published in 1916. The song was inspired by Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly".
"Just Like a Woman" by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Calexico
And we close with a stirring Dylan cover off the soundtrack to the film, I'm Not There. Gainsbourg is the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Calexico are a band that formed in Tuscon, Arizona by two members of the band Giant Sand. Their contributions to the I'm Not There soundtrack are amazing. Calexico's pedal steel guitar play, Paul Niehaus lives in Nashville now and I get to see him play quite often. I do not know if he plays on this track, but I could probably find out..