Monday, June 28, 2010

Michael Jay Cresswell and Friends, Fillin' Station, Kingston Springs, 6/27/10

Our fellow Radio Free Nashville DJ and friend Steve Haggard asked T.J. Kirby and me if we could have on our show for a brief guest segment an artist who just released a CD on his label Wild Oats Records. Michael Jay Cresswell was in the U.S. from his home in France visiting Nashville for a month. The interview went well and Michael was one charming guy with an excellent CD and a great British accent.

Two CD release shows were set up in town at the tail end of Michael’s visit, and we were happy to have a chance to attend one of those at the Fillin’ Station. The band put together for the shows was an “all star” lineup from the Wild Oats circle and did a fine opening set before Michael came on. It’s always good to hear these folks play together: Steve Haggard on guitar, harmonica and vocals, Kimberly King on vocals, Joel Alan Lehman on guitar and vocals, Walter Egan on bass and vocals and Kathy Burkly on drums. Michael’s set consisted of most of the songs from his "It’s Time" CD and it was an impressive one, with Michael showing a strong, powerful voice, great stage presence and personality (he was having quite a bit of fun with many of the audience members).

Michael’s got a great product with this CD and I think he’ll do well. I must say I’ll miss him and his precious sweetie Tracey, as we all bonded in such a short time. Knock ‘em dead, mate, but c’mon back Stateside again soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hirum Hickum Project, Red Tree Coffee, 6/25/10

On a hot night like this, it’s tempting to stay home chillin’ in your air-conditioned home instead of going out. But my instincts were urging me to go out as I planned. I’ve had enough near misses to start paying better attention to my instincts, so I did venture out. This time, I am mighty glad I did.

When I walked into Red Tree Coffee, I found a new group made up of several familiar faces: Louise Mosrie (vocals/guitar), Greg Foresman(guitar/mandolin/dobro/vocals), Julie Grower (percussion/guitar/vocals), Bruce-Jon Brigham (guitar/vocals), and Steve Peffer (keyboards/accordion/strings/vocals). This was the “dress rehearsal” debut for the Hirum Hickum Project. This group of friends have been playing together informally for some time (and in fact, this night was not the first time I’ve seen four of the five play together...Louise, Greg, Julie and Bruce-Jon played a memorable Bluebird CafĂ© round in March of 2009). They decided to form a group, and already have a four song EP available. A few songs into their set, I knew I was indeed hearing a “supergroup”. Hirum Hickum shined on the three newer songs from the EP, and the Greg Foresman favorite “Strike Up the Band”. Louise also did a popular song from her “Home” CD, “God Lives In Arkansas”, and the group closed their set with a fine cover of “Bellbottom Blues”.

I’ve said this’s a great feeling to discover new acts and really get excited about them, and to anticipate what’s to come. The Hirum Hickum Project is off to a great start. They’ve got a memorable name and a memorable sound. Can’t wait to hear more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Back On The Beat...

If anyone had been wondering, no, I haven't quit writing this blog or haven't stopped caring about the local songwriter scene. I just haven't had as much time as in the past to devote to it. Other things have been taking up my time. Since March I've had an extended stretch of temp work which puts me back on the day shift...which also means I can't stay out too late at shows (well, maybe once in a while) because I have to get up early. My sidekick gig on T.J. and Company also demands a chunk of time, because I am also the show blogger and the tech person. A lot of work goes into planning our fun two-hour show. If you haven't yet listened, I hope you will. Finally, I had this three week virus bug which took up residence in my throat (instead of my nose, where these things usually hit),causing violent coughing spasms which fired up big time as soon at nighttime hit. Not an ideal scenario for listening to live music. The remnants are still with me at this point, but thankfully it's much more under control.

OK, enough excuses. Not that I've exactly been a hermit. Admittedly I spend most of my weekends in my "adopted home area" of Pegram/Kingston Springs supporting acts playing at Red Tree Coffee and The Fillin' Station, like Good Gravy, Mohawk Slim Band, Culley and Elliott and a host of others. But I've not abandoned my other regular haunts like the Commodore, where I've been at least a couple of times these past weeks, or Doak Turner's 3rd Sunday gathering. Also, my radio partner T.J. Kirby and I hosted a stage at the Nashville Songwriters Festival, where we were gifted with several songwriters' CDs you'll be hearing a track or two from over the coming weeks. And I do plan to check out many other writers nights and places, but there's always the happy Nashville problem to contend with: too many hot things happening in the same night. What to do, what to do? Can someone please split me in two?

Many events I've been to over the past two weeks have been flood relief benefits. Red Tree and the Fillin' Station each had one which raised a good chunk of money, with music by many first-class special musical guests. Debi Champion also hosted a great one full of hit writers at the Commodore raised over $1,000 by the early hours of the evening. Then there was "Rebuilding Our Community" at the Mud Puddle Pottery/Harpeth Art Center, benefiting South Cheatham County flood victims and featuring good eats and fine music by hit songwriters Wood Newton and Ron Hellard, guitarist Verlon Thompson and Culley and Elliott backed by Braided Chord. The local communities continue to pull together and support one another, and the music more than lifts the spirits.

There's one thing I've been very grateful for. Despite my absences and my slacking off from this blog, I am still thankful to be able to walk into places I've mentioned above and still get a round of hugs from writers and artists. Thanks for hanging in with me and not forgetting me. I have not forgotten you and intend to stick with you. Because you know, I do love this town.