The East Nashvillian Christmas Playlist - New holiday releases and a few staples
Christmas is right around the bend and whether you're hosting in-laws, throwing a party, or sitting alone by a fire with the Christmas beverage of your choice, these East Side artists have got all your "Christmas feels" covered.
New Release: The Mavericks - Hey! Merry Christmas!
It's no surprise The Mavericks — what with all the immense talent, charm, and knack for rhythm they exude — are able to fill your heart to the brim with Christmas spirit of all kinds. As frontman Raul Malo says, "Because Christmas has a well-worn history, writing songs [for Hey! Merry Christmas!] was a challenge like no other." We'd say they mastered the challenge.
New Release: JD McPherson - SOCKS
We dare you to try and not dance when you put this record on! When asked what prompted him to record a Christmas record, JD McPherson simply says, "I love Christmas, I love rock 'n' roll." That statement is the perfect way to summarize SOCKS. (Check out the cover story we did on JD earlier this year.)
Of the 10 songs on the record, "My favorite track is most likely 'Holly, Carol, Candy, & Joy,'" says McPherson. "It was fun to write four separate verses and four separate choruses, based on the names of the characters. Fun and challenging. I also really like the way the track sounds. Ray's Hammond/Celeste intro warms the kidneys!"
New Release: Rodney Crowell - Christmas Everywhere
Featuring 12 original tracks by the seasoned tunesmith Rodney Crowell (read our cover story on Rodney Crowell), Christmas Everywhere features guest appearances from Lera Lynn, Vince Gill, Brennen Leigh, and poet Mary Karr. The album also includes songs cowritten with his daughters and granddaughters. This extremely creative Christmas-themed record radiates a wide array of emotions and is definitely one to add to the holiday collection.
New Release: Kirby Brown - "Shepherd's Lament" (Single)
Kirby Brown, an East Nashville singer-songwriter by way of New York City and Texas, has released the Christmas single "Shepherd's Lament," which is a deeper take on the emotions many people have this time of year.
When asked what prompted him to write the single, Brown says, "Every year around the holidays, it always crosses my mind that it’s not always good news for everyone. This time of the year can be isolating, it can bring into focus how alone you feel. In a season that has been co-opted by the tides of consumerism and an almost-required false sense of cheerfulness, it’s important to contemplate what’s going on beneath the surface for those among us who are struggling. The idea for this song came to me as a reimagination of the nativity story itself, one in which we can be honest about the fact that the promise of the season sometimes doesn’t show up when we expect it to — but we keep watching and waiting, nonetheless."
New Release: Joe Pisapia - "Cosmic Christmas"
As a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Joe Pisapia (check out our feature story on Joe Pisapia as well as a review of his album, Nightvision) has worked with an impressive roster of artists including k.d. lang, Ben Folds, Drew Holcomb, and many more. This winter, Pisapia graces us with a very pensive and meaningful Christmas album.
"A few years ago I was listening to the John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together album, which was a childhood favorite growing up, and I broke into tears at how heavy and meaningful it was and is." says Pisapia. "What struck me was that these messages of love, brotherhood, peace, even death and transcendence, etc., were planted in my young impressionable mind vis-à-vis Muppets. It's sneaky and almost subversive! It made me feel lucky to have songs in my life that hit me at one level as a child, and now hit me at a deeper level as I listen through the filter of my age and experience.
"I specifically wanted to share some of those songs as they truly feel cosmic, spiritually speaking. Others I chose simply because I love them, musically speaking. Plus, I knew it would be fun to make, which it was. I was hoping that joy that we had making it would translate and spread good vibes. Part of what I feel, and hope music can do, is create a fulcrum of light in the darkness."
So, what is his favorite track on the record? "I'm really happy to have written, 'More Than Make Believe.' It might be my favorite, as it was the newest and last one I recorded, but I feel like it really addresses what my emotions are regarding the struggle to hold on to idealism as one gets older. I wrote it for the people, like myself, who are disillusioned by Christmas and Christianity in general, but still haven't lost faith in the reality of goodness. Not to get all 'therapy-speak' on you, but if the tears that I cried while listening to John Denver And The Muppets could speak — well this song is what they would say."
Pisapia also enjoyed the pleasure of recording with his wife, Jennie Okon, who sings on "I'd Like You For Chrismas." He poignantly summarizes the experience by saying, "She not only has the best voice in the household, but I feel her voice is legendary,"
An inglehood Soul Christmas featuring: Tommy McDonnell, Laura Mayo, Alexis Saski, Tommy Keenum
"Cowboy" Keith Thompson has produced and released several albums on his East Side label, Inglehood Records. (Check out the feature story we did on "Cowboy" Keith Thompson.) An inglehood Soul Christmas features four "super-heavy, holiday-soul songs" sung by four smooth-singing vocalists and backed by members of the Inglehood Band. Thompson takes us through the track listing:
1. Tommy McDonnell - "Christmas Is": "We always thought Tommy McDonnell had the deep, dulcet tones of Lou Rawls. Tommy disagreed, although we convinced him to do the Lou Rawls classic “Christmas Is” and, of course, as you hear — he nailed it!"
2. Laura Mayo - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas": "Laura Mayo doing 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' started off as a swing version, but to her credit, this slower version with strings lulls you in with its alluring tones. Her deep vocal punctuates the whole thing; her voice carries the tune."
3. Alexis Saski - "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)": "With Alexis Saski singing 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' — the Darlene Love classic — I very self-indulgently wanted to recreate Phil Spector’s sound at Gold Star Studios in California, commonly known as the 'wall of sound.' I did my best to steal all Phil Spector’s tricks, except the murdering part. I think we came up with a pretty darn good facsimile, and Alexis sang her ass off!"
4. Tommy Keenum - "Christmas Island": "With Tommy's smooth vocals we wanted to take 'Christmas Island' to the islands — the Hawaiian islands, with steel guitar, ukulele, and clarinet."
The Ornaments - A Vince Guaraldi Christmas, Live at Middletree
East Nashville supergroup The Ornaments (Jen Gunderman, Martin Lynds, and our very own Astute Observationist, James "Hags" Haggerty), pay tribute to the music of the greatest holiday special ever produced, Charles Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, with its brilliant soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi. The Ornaments' live reproduction is remarkable, and leaves your soul uplifted with Christmas spirit. Check out last week's 'East Side Buzz' to see where The Ornaments are playing this season.
Riverside and McGavock Development Deal Receives Community Rejection
The discussion of what will happen to East Nashville’s cherished Fond Object Records and the rest of the McGavock building in Riverside Village has been a hot topic for our East Nashville community.
Although there was some support for the developer, Corner Partnership, their plans to redevelop Fond Object Records into Moto Moda (a vintage-esque motorcycle shop and pizza restaurant envisioned by the owners of Barista Parlor) have been nixed due to heavy community opposition.
In addition to redeveloping the record shop and several other stores in the building located on the North-West corner of McGavock Pike and Riverside Drive, the developer had planned to build 33 apartments in six buildings behind what would be the new retail strip.
Corner Partnership withdrew their request for Metro Planning Commission consideration after strong community protest, which included a petition opposing the deal that garnered more than 1,700 signatures (high-profile East Siders Margo Price and Aaron Lee Tasjan were among those who signed on). Although the preservation of Fond Object was a major factor, District 7 Council Member Anthony Davis says there were other citizen concerns, such as, “traffic congestion, having motorcycles around Riverside Village and the noise they might bring, cutting down all the trees, and destroying the ‘village-like feel’ of the community.”
The developer intended to keep the retail buildings in place, make some upgrades, and welcome new tenants; but the petition rejected the development entirely. This firm rejection prompted Corner Partnership to cancel the request for a Specific Plan (SP), and revert to the site's existing zoning rules, which don't require Planning Commission approval (a base-zoning build). “There’s an old saying when it comes to zoning, ‘If you're saying no to something, you're saying yes to something else,'" says Davis.
Davis explained that with an SP, “You can control every aspect of the development, you know exactly what you're going to get. With an SP we would’ve committed to several community benefits, including having control of the parcels, keeping the scale to one story and saving the McGavock building, a sidewalk extension up Riverside to 2324, requiring a certain number of trees be planted to double the required density, and barring any short-term rental units — which would prevent buildings full of Airbnb’s. There was also an outside chance of Fond Object and the owners working something out for leasing the Bailey and Cato building.”
So, what does this mean for the future of the McGavock building and Riverside Village, now that plans for an SP have been scrapped and a base-zoning build is in the works?
The existing zoning rules allow for a four-story, mixed-use building on the corner in place of the one-story retail strip, and for several homes to be built behind the building.
Davis says he could only pass along what the owners told him, “They would likely soon tear down the McGavock building, design and at some point build, a new three-story building on McGavock, with either retail ground floor and apartments above, or all apartments. The parcels behind on Riverside Drive could be subdivided administratively at the planning department to potentially 7-8 houses, to be determined. I got the sense from my conversation with the owner that the Riverside parcels maybe would be something to look at Phase 2, in other words, start on McGavock.”
New plans and tenants for the development have not been officially announced.
If you’re curious how your neighborhood is zoned, try this user-friendly site provided by Nashville.gov. You can find zoning definitions here.
(Photo credit: www.inventcommunities.com/communities/riverside-village)
Riverside Village Pharmacy's Curated Collection of CBD Oils
Riverside Village Pharmacy is an independently owned, full-service, compounding pharmacy located in East Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood. They’ve been open since 2014, and being local and independent means people aren’t a number; they work with each patient on their health plan, offer special things like classes and free consultations, and educate themselves on all new products, treatments, and medications.
One of Riverside’s current favorite topics is CBD oil. They’ve been carrying it since this April and have a curated collection of only a few brands that they think are the highest quality.
“I met with the florist for my wedding in the Spring, and she was reading a book about CBD oil," says Georgia Bromehead, Riverside’s Retail and Marketing Manager. "I was curious, and she lent me the book. My florist happened to be the co-founder of Yuyo Botanics, Christie Tarleton. If it weren't for her, we wouldn't have found this product that has helped so many of our patients.
“We chose Christie’s brand as our local option," she continues. "Her two oils taste the best and have special added ingredients like ashwagandha and hops. For our anchor brand, we carry Ananda Professional, only available to independent pharmacies. It's a quality, straight-forward, full-spectrum hemp oil grown in Kentucky."
The pharmacy has noticed some people who've tried internet CBD products and saw no change try Ananda and have a very different experience.
On top of their local and anchor brands, Riverside added Hemp Fusion’s Sleep and Stress capsules to the collection as they’re a low dose specialized solution that includes added Gaba and Ashwagandha, respectively. “I take the Stress blend every day and experience a sensation of being able to keep my ears above the water in stressful situations,” says Bromehead.
Riverside’s last addition to the mix is BeHive cBEd oil and butter, another local brand. It's their strongest concentration (1000mg per bottle), a nice, herb-tasting blend, and a favorite of Riverside Village Clinic's health provider, Jennifer Campbell, PA-C, who recommends it frequently for insomnia and anxiety. “Their coconut butter is actually infused with the cannabinoids and is a unique edible product for tea, toast, anything you want to add it to,” says Bromehead.
The pharmacy has turned down several brands to make the choice simpler for patients, so they carry what they know and trust., “Since April, we've seen such remarkable results with patients of all ages and issues," says Bromehead. "Young men say they finally had the best sleep of their lives; older patients with chronic pain say they've reduced their pain medications or can take walks without knee pain now; and others have said they just feel more calm and balanced. It's been wonderful to see results from so many, and to see people bring their neighbors and friends in for a product. We try to stay current in our education on the product and a trusted source for the community. Ananda's slogan is ‘farm to pharmacy,’ and we hope to be the pharmacy people trust for their CBD oil products.”
— Apartment buildings are set to go up on a piece of East Nashville property that was once the home of the iconic meat-and-three restaurant, Charlie Bob's. Bristol Development Group is planning two buildings for the site, with 205 units collectively. The multi-parcel property is located at Dickerson Pike and Elmhurst Pike. Bristol has enlisted Smith Gee Studio to handle the design, but no renderings have been released at this time. Bristol goes before the Metro Planning Commission on Thursday, Jan. 10, to request a rezoning of the property. Read more at The Nashville Post.
— Commercial space within mixed-use building The Edison has sold for $1.3 million. The space is located at Gallatin Pike and East Trinity Lane, about two miles north of Five Points and near Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music. Read more at The Nashville Post.
— Business owners beware! Counterfeit money is making its way through Nashville, and Leslie Allen, the owner of East Nashville's local favorite I Dream of Weenie (Featured in our Food & Drink issue), was recently handed a fake 20 dollar bill when asked for change. Read more here.
— After Christmas is over you need to get rid of your tree, Metro Nashville has announced details for their 2018 Christmas tree recycling program. Click here for drop-off information.
That’s it for this week. Have East Nashville news tips to share? Please email Liz.