I remember the first time I heard legendary Nashville-via-Texas songwriter Guy Clark. It was on some writers‘ round on T.V. — probably Austin City Limits or the like — and he was singing his song, “Dublin Blues,” with the opening line, “I wish I was in Austin/In the Chili Parlour Bar/drinking mad dog margaritas/and not caring where you are.” The line — the whole damn song — froze me as I sat next to my mom on the couch. I fell in love with that song. Every word. It’s a masterpiece, and probably helped a great deal in shooting me into orbit around songs and songwriters, an orbit which ultimately crash-landed me in Nashville, far from my Nevada hometown and journalism career, looking for the kind of truth and beauty that could cut you in half while your mom watched.
And while there may be a woman or two that I wish I wasn’t still thinking about, I do not wish I were in Austin, because the last time I was, it felt like a chrome tech hallway with a queso sheen — not the place my dad lived in the ’90s. And definitely not the place of Roky Erickson and Willie Nelson and Blaze Foley and Townes Van Zandt that is mythologized by music lovers. It’s a very different city, but, admittedly, it’s a very different time.
And with Amazon, Oracle, and who knows what else coming to Nashville — development driving property values up and artists and other poor people out — the fear that Nashville’s soul is being squeezed out too is a very real one.
Just look at the news. We report in this East Side Buzz on a Porter Road housing complex that is asking all of the families living there to move, to make way for a mixed-use development. And other outlets have reported that close to fifty families living in a Dickerson Pike trailer park have been given short notice that they need to move, to make way for a mixed-use development near tech giant Oracle’s future campus — which, by the way, nobody in Nashville seems to have noticed is, according to The Intercept, a company that allegedly marketed its software to China for citizen surveillance use, raising human rights concerns.
And get a look at this Amazon propaganda video. Has anyone in Nashville ever even met anyone from Seattle? I attended a community meeting at East Nashville Magnet High School a couple years ago with Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who explicitly came to Nashville to warn us about what Amazon will do to this city.
But maybe this says it all: There was a television show in development (pre-COVID, at least) about musicians living East Nashville, titled “East Nasty,” set to run on a Disney-owned cable channel. Are you kidding me? Disney? Musicians started coming to East Nashville because of the drugs, man. Are they gonna get that in the show? You don’t need Mickey Mouse ears to hear that a change is coming… or already here. Even Fran’s East Side, rough and rowdy old school East Nashville’s last stand, and many musicians’ favorite smokey karaoke dive bar (technically, a beer joint, as there is no liquor), has been told it needs to move.
But what the hell do I know about Nashville — I’m from Las Vegas! I should be excited that we’re getting another boutique hotel, this time in a former Civil War hospital where dead soldiers were cemented into the walls.
(Don’t forget to vote in our Best of East readers’ poll. Voting ends Aug. 17.)
Guy Clark doc “Without Getting Killed or Caught” to open tonight at The Belcourt
Tamara Saviano is a busy woman. But we got a few minutes with the journalist, author, artist manager, Grammy-winning record producer, and now, filmmaker, to speak about “Without Getting Killed or Caught,” her documentary (made with Paul Whitfield) about legendary Nashville music figures Guy Clark, Susanna Clark, and Townes Van Zandt. Narrated by Sissy Spacek, and based on the diaries of Susanna Clark and Saviano’s 2016 book “Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark,” the film depicts the love triangle between three — which began in obscurity in an East Nashville house on Chapel Avenue in the early ’70s — and their rise to reverence for their songs, art, and legend.
The Nashville screening of “Without Getting Killed or Caught” opens tonight and runs through Thursday at The Belcourt, showing each night at 7 p.m. (Tonight and Saturday’s screenings, featuring a post-screening discussion with Saviano and Whitfield, are sold out. A third post-screening discussion was added Monday.)
Did Guy Clark like Nashville?
“Um, well, yes he had a lot of friends here… the music business was here and he had to be here for the publishing business. I wouldn’t say he disliked it… but he always thought he’d move back to Texas and he never did.”
Did Guy Clark like Townes?
“He loved him, they were best friends. They were like brothers, he loved him like brothers.”
Did Susanna like Guy?
“She loved him… she loved Guy and she loved Townes and (Guy and Susanna) were separated for six years, and while they were separated they still saw each other all the time. All three of them really loved each other a lot.”
Why is their story important?
“It’s art-imitating-art-imitating-life-imitating-art; kind of a circle. They were all such creative people in different ways, and they fed off of each other as artists and humans. I just think it’s a really compelling story…”
How does it feel to finally get the film in front of live audiences? Nashville specifically?
“It feels good, it was a long road. We were supposed to come out in 2020 (at South by Southwest) and COVID killed that… we chose the markets strategically where (Guy) had a fan base. I feel like we’re taking the film to the people who want to see it.”
Three East Nashville music venues to require COVID-19 vaccine (or negative test) for entry
Three East Nashville music venues have announced they will require a COVID-19 vaccine or proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry.
As we reported on Wednesday, The 5 Spot, 1006 Forrest Ave., led the charge and will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry beginning Saturday.
“We are going to go out a little bit ahead of the curve now,” said co-owner Travis Collinsworth. “We have had enough close calls and scares over the last couple weeks.”
The 5 Spot announcement was followed hours later by The East Room, 2412 Gallatin Ave., which posted on social media that, beginning today, bands, patrons, and staff must require a proof of vaccine or negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours, in order to enter.
The Basement East, 917 Woodland St., as of deadline Friday, had not announced an official policy. However, the venue did announce via social media Thursday that a vaccine or negative test taken within 48 hours would be required for entry to tonight’s Becca Mancari show.
Mayor John Cooper’ announced that face coverings will be required inside Metro buildings, beginning Thursday. There were 2,718 active COVID-19 cases in Davidson County on Wednesday, compared with 444 one month ago, the Mayor’s office said in a press release.
Thursday, the Metro Nashville Public School board announced a mask requirement for the 2021-2022 school year.
Discussions regarding a vaccination requirement are said to be underway among other Nashville venues. City Winery Nashville was the first venue, on Tuesday, to announce that proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test will be required for entry.
“This is a highly personal decision,” The 5 Spot’s Collinsworth said. “I would never put pressure on anyone or call anyone out for not agreeing with what we’re doing… we are just going to be doing what we think we need to do to protect ourselves and our staff.”
Berkshire Place residents’ housing situation unclear till 2022
Residents of East Nashville’s Berkshire Place Apartments, 1500 Porter Road, will not know if they have to move — making way for a new development — until next year, according to District 7 Councilmember Emily Benedict.
The property owner, First Cumberland Properties, must first transfer a Department of Housing and Urban Development contract, providing vouchers for the complex’s Section 8 eligible housing, to a new property in Madison. The outcome of this transfer is expected to be known in January, Benedict says, adding, “If that application is denied, then nothing happens.”
The property owner aims to move residents, which include the elderly and children, to a new complex it plans to build on N. Dupont Avenue in Madison called “Birchstone Village,” scheduled to be completed in 2023. Once completed, residents will receive notice that they have to vacate the East Nashville property.
They will be given the opportunity to relocate to the Madison property, or find housing elsewhere, with the assistance of the property owner and Metro’s Development and Housing Agency, Benedict says.
“I think the big thing that people need to understand is nobody is being evicted,” Benedict says. “When it’s time, they will get at least 90 days’ notice. Their moving expenses are covered, and they will get a $200 voucher for the day.”
In a press release, Alex Trent of First Cumberland Properties and Trent Development Group (the company developing the Porter Road site), stated, “Our first priority is to fully support our residents with a careful, planned move well into the future to limit disruption and make their move as seamless as possible.”
Joe Hall, spokesperson for First Cumberland Properties/Trent Development Group, says that Berkshire Place is a 53-year-old apartment complex that cannot be renovated any more than it already has been over the years.
The Madison complex, Berkshire Village, however, will be “very, very nice, modern, craftsman-style homes,” with a pool, community center, and washers and dryers (something that Berkshire Place does not have), Hall said. Adding, “The residents who have been there for some time, by all of our engagements, are ecstatic about this.”
Berkshire Place currently has 195 apartments, and all are Section 8 eligible. The property owner plans to tear it down and build a mixed-use development, called “Porter Hill,” that may have as many as 750 apartments, plus retail and restaurants. It will not be Section 8 eligible, though the developer has pledged that a portion — Hall could not say how much — of the housing at the new Porter Road development will be affordable, workforce housing.
“You’re trying to help people at lower incomes live in the community where they are trying to live, and not get priced out of it,” Hall said.
There have been two meetings between residents and the property owners, with positive feedback overall, according to Benedict. There will be no more meetings, she said. However, the construction must be approved by the Metro Planning Commission and Council, at which point the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback.
Benedict’s main concerns are transit, and kids having to change schools if they move to Madison. There are currently 119 kids enrolled in school living at Berkshire Place, and 216 of the residents are under the age of 18, she says.
“I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it,” Benedict says of the proposal.
Porter Hill is scheduled to be completed in 2025 or 2026.
Brothers arrested in connection to recent East Nashville violence
Two brothers have been arrested in an alleged string of violent gun crimes, two of which occurred in East Nashville, according to a press release from Metro’s East Precinct. On July 30, detectives arrested 16-year-old Raphael Gooch, who is believed to be involved in the July 24 shooting of a 58-year-old woman in East Nashville.
Police allege that Gooch followed the victim in a stolen Toyota Camry — which Gooch allegedly carjacked at gunpoint from two women in South Nashville July 23 — from a Gallatin Pike fast food restaurant to the intersection of Bronte Avenue and Litton Avenue, where he then stood in front of the victim’s car, pulled a pistol from his waistband, and fired a shot into her vehicle as she drove past him. She is continuing to recover.
Gooch’s older brother, Deontaye Gooch-Blacksmith, 18, was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery July 26, for allegedly carjacking a realtor on Porter Terrace (just off of Porter Road) July 20.
The East Nashvillian reached out to District 7 Councilmember Emily Benedict for a statement, as both the shooting and the Porter Terrace carjacking occurred in District 7.
“Protecting our community from violent crime is a top priority, and one of our most important responsibilities. All of us want to keep the community safe. The recent events are very concerning to me. I am grateful that the victims were not more seriously injured, and that the East Precinct Detectives apprehended the suspects,” Benedict said in an email. Adding, “If guilty, my hope is that these young men can be rehabilitated so they never do this again. My heart goes out to the victims of these horrendous crimes. I hope for a swift recovery, both physically and psychologically.”
- The Basement East, 917 Woodland St., will be offering free COVID-19 rapid tests tonight, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Becca Mancari and Annie DiRusso will perform, beginning at 9 p.m. The Basement East announced yesterday that all patrons, artists, and staff entering the venue are required to present either proof of a full course of COVID-19 vaccination, with their final dose at least 14 days prior to the show, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours, as well as a mask.
- District 7 Councilwoman Emily Benedict recently sat down with Inglewood Library branch manager Suzanne Robinson to discuss in-person programming, which will resume in September. They also discussed the library’s seed exchange program, and its summer challenge program — ongoing virtually until Aug. 21 — which is designed to keep kids’ learning and reading skills sharp during the summer.
- Residents of a Dickerson Pike trailer park facing eviction — including a tearful child — pleaded with the Metro City Council on Tuesday for more time to find new homes.
- Nashville’s teenage rock ‘n’ roll machine, Queens of Noise, plays its second-to-last show tomorrow — at the band’s own festival, Noisefest III — at The End, before four of the band’s five members leave for college. The final Queens of Noise show is Saturday, Aug. 14 at noon, at the 2021 Tomato Art Fest.
- Youth Empowerment through Arts and Humanities (YEAH!) is looking for a new executive director.
- MusiCares is offering free, online emotional support/addiction recovery groups for those working in the music industry.
- The Turnip Truck, 701 Woodland St., will debut Raw Wildflower Honey, harvested from its nine East Nashville rooftop hives, on Saturday. The beekeepers from Greenwood Urban farm, Steven Abernathy and Claire Papevies, will do a “meet-the-beekeepers” at the store 9 a.m. to noon Saturday morning.
Happy Bandcamp Friday, friends! Yup, it’s another Friday when Bandcamp kindly passes on their cut of sales, so 100% of your purchase goes directly to the musicians and/or record labels.
There are so many local artists you can support today — Yola, Alanna Royale, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Becca Mancari to name a few — but the one I want to gush about for a quick minute is Caitlin Rose. Rose has been quiet-ish since releasing The Stand-In in 2013, but that drought ends now.
In October Rose will release the 10-year anniversary vinyl reissue of her 2011 album Own Side Now — remastered and pressed on cloudy clear vinyl — and she is sweetening the pot by including two new bonus tracks on an accompanying seven-inch.
She recently debuted one of the new songs, “Whatchoo,” which was co-written by pal and fellow genius Tristen. Though somber and soft on the surface, “Whatchoo” is really a biting middle finger to the kind of person we’ve all met at one point or another, the kind of person who uses a manufactured charm to fool a lot of people into believing they’re not just another narcissistic and manipulative asshole. When she sings “I don’t buy it all,” I feel that in my bones. Thank you, Caitlin, for giving those of us who see through bullshit the anthem we deserve.
Own Side Now will be released on Oct. 1. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp here.
“Love Buzz” is curated by contributor Megan Seling