Thursday, July 2, 2009

Where Have I Been??

Yow. I didn't realize it's been a month that I've written anything in here. I haven't been lazy, really. In fact, I've been quite busy running around. I've been once again bemoaning the fact that last month, and sure to carry into this one, it seems that there are 2-3 events every night at the same time that I want to be at. I have to make some tough choices. I really wish I can split myself in 2...or 3. (Clone me? Nah. One of me is enough.)

Unfortunately on some of the evenings I've been out, my notebook decided it had enough of my galavanting and decided to sneak out of my purse and stay home. So I didn't capture as many notes on events as I wanted to. But I'll try to make brief notes as best I can of some of the shows I have been to.

- Some people really should play out more often. One of those is a group called The Pitchmen, a group of stellar players with a ton of great credentials led by singer/songwriter Vic White. These guys rocked the house last month at Red Tree Coffee with solid original songwriting, a few inventive cover versions, some awesome playing and first class vocals (an impressive standout being singer/guitarist Brock Goodwin). Vic told me that these guys play gigs only about every couple of months and have very little rehearsal before they play. You'd never know it the way they got down that night. They'll see me again at a gig for sure (keep me posted, guys!).

- Ever been to Kimbro's Pickin' Parlor? It's a cute little place in the downtown Franklin area with a homey, intimate atmosphere that reminds me a bit of Fiddle and Pick in Pegram. It even has its own little jingle which you can hear on the MySpace page. It has a lot of neat memorabilia on the walls and the food's pretty good. It was a perfect space to hear a solo acoustic performance by Alex Harvey. As I've noted in the past, Alex has a way of creating community with his audience. He quickly established that "living room atmosphere" here with his passionate songs and vocals and warm rapport. Alex will be back at Kimbro's at the end of the month.

- There have of course been a lot of good rounds happening at the Commodore Grill as always. Two of my buddies in this town, Sam Cooper and Mary Hartman, did a great one last week, bringing up hit songwriter Chris Gantry (who teamed with Sam for a fun and powerful version of their song "Orange Man") and a fine talent catching notice in town: Michael Rodgers, son of legendary singer Jimmie Rodgers.

- I also was melting from the heat at the Fillin' Station for a couple of nights with the FolklahomaAppalachi Groove Train (Kim McLean, Devon O'Day, Mark Elliott, Chris Herin) and Mark with Cary Stone. But the music as always was awesome and well received.

- Last but not least, I spent a hot (on many levels, you could say!), long, but great day at the Nashville Songwriters Festival on Music Row. After dropping in some superb workshops by Dave Isaacs (guitar technique and education) and Debi Champion (starting writer's nights), I headed to my post at the Sure Fire Web Cast stage where I served as emcee and act roundup person for a four-hour shift. Folks came and went in the crowd but we had some fine players come through on stage. It was fun for me to be able to introduce some people I knew, like Boomer Castleman and Lois Hess, Kris Miller and Ellen Ohlsson. Only problem was there were some performances happening on other stages at the same time I was on duty. Luckily for me, the main stage was nearby so I was able to sneak away and hear a little of one set I really wanted to catch by John Heinrich. It was the only all-instrumental set there and he rocked the festival with his compositions and sax playing. Singer/songwriter Popcorn did an amazing job pulling this all together with volunteer help. Shows ya what can be done with limited resources and determination.

More to come this month for sure--I'll try to do better staying on top of it.

Things to plug:

- I will be doing a talk for Indie Connect on Monday, July 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Corky's in Brentwood. The topic will be on making radio interviews work effectively for artists. Hope to see you there!

- I will now be a monthly contributing writer to the Commodore Grill MySpace blog. The first piece, "Home Away From Home" is posted now. My thanks to Rick Stewart for making this happen!

- Mark your calendar NOW for my "birthday round" at the Commodore Grill on Wednesday, September 9! I will NOT be playing, but some great writers and singers will to help me celebrate. Scheduled to appear are: Beth Browne, Brandon Maddox, Dr. Jay and Miss Diana, Louise Mosrie, Randi Perkins and John Velora. That round starts at 7 p.m. but please come early at 6:30 for the Wild Oats Records monthly round featuring my dear friends (and fellow WRFN radio hosts) Steve Haggard and Kimberly King. Don't miss it!

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