Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bonnaroo & New Nash Releases

Even though its held more than an hour away, Bonnaroo tends to take over our city in subtle and not-so-subtle ways every early June. Rockers, music business VIP's, comedians, actors and other noteworthy folks usually fly in and out of Nashville International on their way to the festival and they often stay a night or two, so the star spotting possibilities around this time go way, way up. 

Reports of comedian Zach Galifianakis hanging at 3 Crow Bar with Nashville pal Courtney Jaye  and sightings of actress/activist Janeane Garofalo and SNL star Andy Samberg were interesting but not even an Olsen twins sighting (seriously, they spent their birthday at Bonnaroo) could compare to the rumor that ran through Music City on Thursday, June 12.  The pairing of Nashville's intimate indie listening room The Basement with the biggest hard rock band in the world, Metallica, not only seemed highly unlikely but simply impossible. How could a band used to playing in front of a hundred thousand people squeeze their sound into a venue better suited to a hundred? Well, somehow they managed, to the extreme delight of a reported 120 very lucky individuals (almost all of them Metallica fan club members). 

So why did this happen? No one seemed to know but we do know most of the story behind how it happened. The band knew they would be passing through Nashville on their way to Bonnaroo and since their management, Q Prime, runs a Nashville office led by John Peets (Black Keys, Gillian Welch, Nickel Creek) they set up this once-in-a-lifetime superfan dream gig. Apparently, the mini-Mettalica set was three months in the making so a huge pat on the back to the staff at The Basement and Grimey's Records for keeping this secret for so long (even from their family members... ahem). 

Also in Bonnaroo news, the festival featured a number of Nashville artists playing everything from the biggest stage to the smallest tent. Among the Music City set who rocked at "Roo": SuperdragThe Raconteurs, Ben FoldsDe Novo Dahl, Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The everybodyfields, The Greencards, Mike Farris, Jessie Baylin and Jypsi. Nashville newspaper The Tennessean and alt.weekly the Nashville Scene both have extensive festival coverage including video, pics, reviews and other news available via their respective blogs. 

In other Nashville not-so-country news. Hip rag Filter Magazine has posted their previously-run story about Middle Tennessee favorites The Features celebrating their win at the Diesul:U:Music Awards earlier this year in London with a photo shoot by legendary rock photographer Mick Rock (David Bowie, Queen, Blondie). Speaking of press, as usual the critics are understandably gobsmacked by the lyrical genius of Dave Berman and the musical musings of his underground all star band Silver Jews display on their new record Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. Another acclaimed artist who shares some band members with the Silver Jews, Cortney Tidwell, unveiled new material from her long awaited sophomore album to a packed house at the aforementioned Basement who also got to see a rare solo appearance from lambchop leader Kurt Wagner. Tidwell's stellar ensemble also featured members of The Lone OfficialThe Privates and The Altered Statesman whose latest record has been rightfully hailed as one of the best to come out of Nashville this year. 

Its been a busy Spring/early summer for Nashville's "other" side, with a slew of releases coming from numerous area artists including Katie Herzig who offered up her sophomore set, Apple Tree, and Matt Wertz, who, after years of successfully building a career as an independent artist,  is readying his major label debut with a new single "5:19" available now via iTunes, Amazon and Rhapsody. Wertz's pal and frequent touring partner Dave Barnes has been out promoting his Razor & Tie records debut Me+You+The World. He was even asked to swing by MTV's TRL on a very Tennessee day (Memphis Oscar Winning rappers Three6 Mafia and Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams from Franklin, TN were also guests) to show his video for "Until You" which you can check out by following the link. Nashville psychedelic pop savants De Novo Dahl officially unveiled their Roadrunner records debut Move Evert Muscle Make Every Sound last month and are appearing at nearly every major music festival in America this summer including their aforementioned apperance at Bonnaroo as well as All Points West, Lollapalooza, Download Festival and and the legendary Summerfest in Milwaukee. Another Nashville band making their major label bow is Safety Suit who have recently released "Life Left to Go" on Universal and who are currently crisscrossing the country from Idaho to NYC in a passenger van (hope you guys are getting good gas mileage). 

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