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I am someone who, despite my strongly held political opinions, believes in the value of those who hold differing opinions. What we have lost in recent years is the concept of the loyal opposition. Still, I am not arrogant enough to believe that my opinions are 100% right, 100% of the time, or that those who have different opinions are 100% wrong, 100% of the time.
That being said, I am 100% sickened by the supposed adults personally, viciously, and childishly attacking the teenage survivors of a horrific school shooting. I am 100% disgusted (though not surprised) by the same people who refuse to bake a cake or issue a marriage license to two people who are in love just because they are the same gender, but who have no problem supporting a "president" who has done the things it is clear that the "president" has done.
I strongly believe we, as a nation, need to find our way back to a place where differences can be debated and compromises can be made, but I am increasingly unsure how we can get to such a place.
So, for now, I hope we can get rid of the clear and present danger in front of us (sooner rather than later) and undo the damage that has been done, and that in taking these steps we can find a path to what now seems an impossible destination.
The March for Our Lives across the country and around the world was inspiring. The vileness of some of those who criticized this movement was depressing.
As usual, when life/the world/whatever gets me down, I turn to music to lift me up. It is Monday, so, I dig into the Music City Monday Spotify playlist to get a sample of just some of the incredible music that has come and is coming from this awesome, frustrating, wonderful city.
"Life on the Farm" by Richie Owens and the Farm Bureau
When it comes to names that have recurred throughout my 30+ year love affair with Nashville's rich and diverse music landscape, the name Richie Owens stands high atop that life. From his days with The Movement and producing and releasing music under the Neo Records label to his most recent work with Smoky White Devils, Owens' music has captured my attention. This is a track from his In Farm We Trust album with his long-running band Richie Owens and the Farm Bureau.
"Be Real" by Jon Byrd
As I have talked about before, there was a long period where I was out of touch with Nashville (and other new) music. Trying to reconnect to that side of myself was one of the primary reasons I started E2TG. The last few years, I have been trying to play catch up. I look to key events in that journey - one being a show at The 5 Spot hosted by Mark Robinson and the Alternate Root. The line-up was a who's who of artists who have come to be among my favorites. One of those was Jon Byrd. It's hard for me to imagine now, not knowing Byrd's music, but there I was. This is a track from his album that gave the name to his great band - Byrd's Auto Parts. This is a song, I love to hear live.
"Sally Ann" by Wild Ponies
Coincidentally, Wild Ponies latest album Galax contains a Jon Byrd song from Byrd's Auto Parts. I mean, the coincidence is that Wild Ponies came up in the shuffle right after Jon Byrd. Wild Ponies are another great Nashville band on which I was late to the party. My first exposure was at their annual Americana Fest week picnic - at The Building. Since then, I know if I see Doug and Telisha play music, my spirits are going to be lifted. Galax was recorded in Galax, Virigina. A few of my favorite Nashville musicians (Will Kimbrough and Fats Kaplin to name two) were joined by some of the old-time musicians who live around Galax. This is their cover of the traditional song.
"Out of Habit" (Live) by BR549
I lived downtown in Nashville in the early 90's. Just off Broadway. Compared to how things are now, at night and on weekends, downtown Nashville was a ghost town in those days. It had a odd, depressing charm that suited my younger self fine, but in terms of culture and economics - it was not a good thing. Just a few years later, bands like BR549 began playing the honkytonks on lower broad - bringing a renewed energy to traditional country music - and ultimately bringing bodies down to Lower Broadway. The rest, as they say, is history.
"Questions at the End of the Day" by Joe, Marc's Brother
Joe, Marc's Brother has been a force in the Nashville music community for many years. I knew the band name long before I knew the music. When I started going to The 5 Spot a few years ago, there was some Joe, Marc's Brother graffiti in the Men's Room. When I finally heard the music, I understood why there was so much talk. This is a track from the album The Debut of Joe, Marc's Brother (1996).
"I Ran Into the Night" by Tom House
A running theme through much of today's shuffle are Nashville a bands/artists who have been making music for many years whom I have only just discovered within the last few. Tom House fits that mini-theme nicely. This is a track from his album Inside These Walls. House is a true Nashville original. His music is hard to pin down - country, folk yes.. with a wild spirit and reckless abandon. He has become one of my favorites.
"When It Rains" by Year of October
I often (sort of) joke about how, in the early days of this blog, I was the Nashville music blogger who wrote most often about bands not from Nashville. A big part of that was the time it took to get (back) into this community. One of the rare exceptions to this rule was Year of October. This band led by Josh and Phlecia Sullivan have caught my year with their outstanding songs. Musically, they have grown so much since I first heard them. This is a track from their latest album Trouble Comes which came out last year.
"The Night David Bowie Died" by Lilly Hiatt
I am not one to make Top Ten lists, but I do read them and I judge them (kidding sort of). For me, whenever I read a Top Ten List for 2017 that did not include Lilly Hiatt's ground-breaking Trinity Lane album, I just assumed that the list-maker had not heard the album.
"Infinite Sky" by Joe Pisapia and Stefano Barotti
It took me a while when I started hearing the name Joe Pisapia to make the connection that he is the Joe in Joe's Marc's Brother. In any event, this is a track from Joe's latest album Connection. When I saw him - with an incredible band - at The 5 Spot a month or so back, he introduced this song as one he wrote with an Italian songwriter (Stefano Barotti). He said that they didn't really understand each other's language, but they connected through the universal language of music and wrote this wonderful song.
"Pretty Polly" by Fats Kaplin and Kristi Rose
Among the wonderful musicians that I have gotten to know and whom I get to see on a pretty regular basis, Fats Kaplin and Kristi Rose are among the most talented and most delightful. Both Fats and Kristi have long been integral parts of the music community in Nashville (and beyond). It seems fitting to end this week's Music City Monday shuffle with this track which was on Kaplin's World of Wonder album.