The Roots Barn in Madison is inspired in-part by The Ryman, and set to open spring 2022. Photo by Jack Evan Johnson

East Side Buzz, Aug. 13

As you probably know, the “East Side Buzz” is a weekly newsletter provided to you, loyal East Nashvillian readers, to inform you of everything happening in East Nashville (and sometimes beyond) this week. And this week, like other weeks in East Nashville, there is a lot going on — that’s what’s so great about living here. 

But c’mon. There is only one thing on everyone’s mind right now: the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

And while we’re all calm, cool, educated — and hopefully vaccinated — readers here, all I really want to do is open my front door and scream, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? THIS SHIT AGAIN???!!!” 

But I’m not going to do that, because I have a newsletter to write, and I learned recently that I too may have been exposed to COVID-19 from an asymptomatic, vaccinated family member who recently tested positive, and I don’t want my potentially virulent spit particles to be carried — incubated if you will — by this hot-ass summer air into my neighbors’ yard. They’re really nice people with kids (and children have died from COVID-19 in Tennessee). 

(Update: I tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday after Walgreens ran out of supplies and canceled my scheduled test. I learned at-home rapid tests were largely sold out across the city, and I eventually had to pay $125 for rapid test somewhere in midtown — something many people do not have the luxury of doing.) 

I’m no doctor, but a lot of (vaccinated) people I know have been testing positive for COVID-19 — or having very suspicious COVID-like symptoms and not testing positive — and I know that’s not good. I’m no statistician, but the Tennessee Department of Health reported Tuesday that the average number of new COVID cases reported each day in Davidson County over the past two weeks (256.4) has more than doubled from the average number of new cases reported each day the two weeks prior (102.8), and I know that’s not good. 

And I ain’t no historian, but yesterday, the Metro Public Health Department released a new weekly report stating that COVID-19 cases in Nashville began increasing in early July 2021, “from the lowest point since reliable testing became accessible in 2020,” and are now “on pace to meet or exceed the July 2020 peak.” And — you guessed it! — I know that’s not good. 

It’s only been a week since I began sensing collective anxiety telling me to wear a mask in the grocery store again, and Rolling Stone has already published an article about the “doom effect” of the Delta variant, and how it’s leading to the poor mental health — anger, depression, suicidal thoughts — of many who thought they had escaped the pandemic. 

I’m not angry or depressed (yet), but I feel a creeping, uncomfortable something, and I don’t think I’m the only one. The East Nashvillian broke the story last week that The 5 Spot would be the first Nashville music venue to require a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test in order to enter. And this week, we reported on more than a dozen independent Nashville venues that, in solidarity, adopted similar protocols. 

Bonnaroo also announced this week that it will be requiring vaccines or a negative test. 

Jazz Fest in New Orleans was cancelled

Jason Isbell — who plays eight dates at the Ryman in October — announced that he will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend all of his upcoming shows — even the outdoor ones. 

And yesterday, John Prine’s family announced that the “You Got Gold” October events, a Nashville celebration of the legendary songwriter’s life, will also require a vaccination (Prine, of course, died of COVID-19 complications last year).

And it isn’t just the music industry. Even Metro Nashville and Metro Nashville Public Schools announced new mask mandates last week. Williamson County’s school board also voted in favor of a mask mandate this week, and the anti-maskers lost their minds, making national news. 

So, here we go. I don’t know if we’ll need to run out for toilet paper anytime soon, but it’s definitely this. shit. again. 

(And for the last time, friends, don’t forget to vote in our Best of East online readers’ poll. Voting ends Aug. 17.)

A friendly reminder:

The deadline for advertising in the Sept/Oct “Best of East“ issue is next Friday, Aug. 20. Don’t miss this opportunity to put your business in front of our loyal audience.

Cedric Burnside’s Typical Day

“I wake up in the morning/sun shining on my face/and I drink a cup of coffee/I might roll me a ‘j’/I might go outside/sometimes I go for a ride/and that’s a typical day for me.” 

That’s how Cedric Burnside — grandson of late Mississippi blues legend R.L. Burnside — starts out the track “Typical Day,” from his 2018 Grammy-nominated album Benton County Relic

Sounds nice, right? We all need more days like that. And we definitely need more blues in Nashville. 

Burnside, who plays the Tomato Art Fest Saturday at 11 a.m., is a real deal Mississippi hill country blues badass. You think The Black Keys are good? You just wait. (The same goes for fellow hill country bluesmen R.L. Boyce and Lightnin’ Malcolm, who follow Burnside.) 

The eighteenth annual Tomato Art Fest starts today at 5 p.m. 

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Madison To Get New Ryman-inspired Venue

The East Nashvillian reported online this week that the minds behind the Music City Roots television and radio show are building a massive state-of-the-art venue in Madison, inspired in part by the Ryman. 

The Roots Barn, as it is being called, is a 60-foot-tall structure — it is made of 100-year-old barn wood and looks like a barn! — that will hold up to 600 people, and be “the forever home of Music City Roots,” the show’s Executive Producer John Walker said. 

The venue, set to open spring 2022, will be part of a new Madison campus that includes the historic Amqui Station. Built in 1910, the once-functional train depot was purchased by Johnny Cash in 1979 and relocated to his property in Hendersonville, Tenn., where it remained until his death.

Music City Roots, which aired on PBS and WMOT Roots Radio, has been on hiatus since leaving The Factory at Franklin in 2017. 

Three ongoing concert series are planned for The Roots Barn: Music City Roots (Wednesdays), Sunday Soul Brunch (hosted by The McCrary Sisters), and Music City Roots Presents on Mondays, featuring new talent and surprise guests. It will also be booked as a traditional music venue. 

“This is a place where some amazing things will happen, new talent will be discovered and classic veterans will have a place to play,” said Nancy VanReece, Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development for Roots Productions. 

A “barn raising” event, with music and accolades, was held Aug. 6. 

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Party Like It’s 1979 (or 2020)

 Welcome to 1979, one of Nashville’s largest recording studios — located in West Nashville, but still cool (Jason Isbell recorded a live album there) — is holding its 13th-anniversary party tonight. 

The party will begin with a 1.979 run/walk, as well as a longer motorcycle ride, starting and ending at the studio, 1110 48th Ave. N. 

“This year we’re doing it outside to be more COVID-safe and are doing some fun daytime activities too,” studio owner Chris Mara said via email. 

The studio will be donating $5 per runner, walker, and rider to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

“That means that each runner/walker/rider will account for 20 meals to feed the hungry,” Mara said. 

He also mentioned that it’s ok to BYOB, and motorcyclists can leave their motorcycles overnight in the studio’s secure side parking lot, to be retrieved the next day.

“We’ll have some live music, records spinning, food and drink, and most of all — people gathering to party.” Mara said. 

View the walk/run route here

View the riding route here

Schedule:

6 p.m.: Motorcycle registration begins

6:30 p.m.: Motorcycle rides begin

6:30 p.m.: Run/walk registration begins

7 p.m.: Run/walk begins

8 p.m.-10 p.m.: Street fair with DJ Jiggawatt

10 p.m.-?: Party continues!

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Quick Bits

Love Buzz

It’s Tomato Art Fest weekend, y’all! The next two days will be filled with art, music, neighborhood camaraderie, and unabashed adoration for the fruit that’s often mislabeled as a vegetable. The current issue of The East Nashvillian has everything you need to know about the festival, from the official map to the weekend’s line-up of entertainment, but there’s one artist performing on Friday that shouldn’t get overlooked in the hustle and bustle. 

Sophia Boro is playing the 37206 stage (in the Beyond the Edge parking lot) on Friday at 6:30 p.m., and she is a must-see for anyone who’s been as obsessed with the new Japanese Breakfast record as I have been lately. Boro’s song “And He Said to Me” takes on similar spacey, ethereal qualities as some of Michelle Zauner’s work. At one point, I’m pretty sure Borro is trying to take you to another plane of existence by way of hypnotic saxophone. Don’t resist it — just close your eyes and let her lead the way.

“Love Buzz” is curated by contributor Megan Seling.