A few things you may or may not know about Florida-bred melodic rock band Anberlin:
They earned their first Gold record this year (for single “Feel Good Drag,” re-recorded and released on 2008’s New Surrender), which makes for a nice cherry on top of a 12-year, seven-album career that’s wrapping up as we speak, with a final tour celebrating a new, final album, lowborn, issued last month.
And, since our publication has a bit of a specific focus: For the past four years, singer Stephen Christian (left) has called East Nashville home.
The chapter-closing that comes with lowborn will give Christian a chance to shift from perma-touring into spending a little more time here at home, a place he tells us he likes pretty good. So we figured we’d check in and talk about how he ended up in East Nashville, what he likes here and what’s on the horizon once the tour’s complete.
The East Nashvillian: What drew you to Nashville, and East Nashville specifically?
Stephen Christian: “My wife Julia and I are originally from the south — right after we eloped in New Orleans we made our way west to Los Angeles. For those curious, California is not like the South... at all. We missed making friends, and building community; Nashville seemed like a creative community where it was easy to get to know people. In the one year of living in California I made one friend (my coffee barista). In Nashville rarely can you go out without running into a handful of familiar faces and finding strangers whom you call friends before the night is over.
“We were drawn to East Nashville in particular because of the strong music community. There are so many people whose significant others are gone six, seven, eight months a year. The tight-knit friendships accrued have made it easier to leave knowing that there are so many people that can not only relate but could come to the rescue if need be.”
You've been here for four years -- arguably some of the East Side's most change-filled years. What's your perception of how the neighborhood's changed since you've been here?
“It has absolutely changed since we moved in four years ago, and to me it is absolutely for the better. We have helped create a culture where people are not afraid to open up a restaurant, start a print shop, or cultivate a passion and find a local market for it. I love innovation, and it seems every time I get home from tour something new has opened up; the entrepreneurship and creativity that pours out of our side of town is just two of the many reasons I am proud to call East Nashville home.”
Since you've just released Anberlin's final album, what's in store for you personally -- and does sticking around home play into that more?
“After the band I still want to hover around the music business — I don't think I could ever disconnect my desire to create music. I am not sure if that is simply songwriting for others or creating an entirely new project at this point, but I do know I will never wander far from the industry.
“I absolutely plan on staying in East Nashville for the long run. I have not had a chance to plant as deep of roots as I would like because of the rigorous touring schedule, but leaving the band this fall will allow me to do so.”
NASHVILLE FAVORITES FROM STEPHEN CHRISTIAN
We asked Christian to give us a handful of his favorite places to go when he’s at home — but, put down the pitchforks: They’re not all on our side of the river.
1402 McGavock Pike Suite A (until they move in the fall)
“Iced Americano, trust me.”
935 W. Eastland Ave.
“The new patio is incredible.”
732 McFerrin Ave.
“Best tacos in the country?”
37 Rutledge St.
“I know, I know, it’s off the Island. But from the drinks to the hot chicken it is my favorite restaurant in Nashville (sorry Marche — you’re second).
33 Peabody St.
“See above. I claim that place in the name of East Nashville — it’s too rad to be called downtown.”
CATCH ANBERLIN LIVE
Anberlin’s Final World Tour brings the band back to Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Cannery Ballroom. Tickets are $22.50 in advance, $25 day of sale, and are available through the Mercy Lounge/Cannery website.