Lawrence Rothman's Good Morning, America is out today (July 16) via KRO Records. Look for our cover feature on Rothman, which hits the streets Wednesday. Photo by Travis Commeau

East Side Buzz, July 16

Our Latest Edition Hits The Streets On Wednesday!

We were originally scheduled for today, but there’s a nationwide paper shortage. Crazy, yes, but what do you do? The good news is you’ll have plenty of time to check out the Tomato Art Fest 2021 Official Guide and plan ahead. With four stages, lots of vendors, the Tomato Art Show, and fun-filled activities for kids of all ages, our Guide will give a jump on knowing where to be and when to be there.

Our cover feature has a track-by-track Q&A with Lawrence Rothman by Amanda Shires. Good Morning, America, Rothman’s sophomore solo effort, drops today and features guest performances by Shires, Katie Pruitt, Caroline Rose, and (fairly recent) East Sider, Lucinda Williams. Here’s a taste:

and …

Report From the Imagine East Bank Planning Workshop

This week I went to one of the Imagine East Bank workshops mentioned in the July 9 installment of East Side Buzz. There, I joined about fifty or so others who wanted to get an idea of what the Metro Nashville Planning Department and architecture firm Perkins Eastman have in mind for the 330-acre property that stretches down more than a mile of the Cumberland River’s coastline and it became very clear that for right now at least, organizers are considering literally everything.

At the workshop, members of the Planning Department were looking for feedback from the public on six different aspects of the East Bank’s future: 

  1. Programming of Public Spaces
  2. Authenticity
  3. Circulation and Mobility
  4. Resilient River 
  5. Planning and Design Principles
  6. Land Use Mix

The workshop featured six different stations, one for each topic, and guests were asked to give their input on what they’d most like to be considered in each category. For Programming of Public Spaces, for example, boxes were set up on a table, each one representing a different public space feature — a marina, dog parks, a public swimming area, nature trails, etc. — and we used fake dollar bills to “vote” for which features are most valuable to us while also considering the overall cost and size of the project, as well as the public revenue it could generate. (A marina would cost a lot, but it could also bring in big buck$, while a dog park is cheap but generally results in little to no income.)

When considering the resiliency of the Cumberland, we were asked to share our thoughts on its pros and cons — from pollution and underutilization to whether or not it’s a recreational asset or flood hazard. For the “authenticity” of the project, organizers asked us to place stickers on some of the aspects of the city we love (The Ryman, Shelby Bottoms) and the areas we see as most in need of improvement (Lower Broadway and it wasn’t even close).

The most surprising proposals were in the Circulation and Mobility section. Organizers made it clear they want to use the East Bank development to give visitors access to the river — for everything from swimming to commercial and recreational boating, as well as transportation. They noted that this area of land has a lot of potential when it comes to connecting different parts of Nashville. There can be greenways and bike lanes, bus lines, or maybe a small ferry system. One photo showed the possibility of an aerial tram that crosses the river to connect Downtown to East Nashville. I would very much like to ride in that aerial tram! 

Did I leave with any sense of what the East Bank will be? Not at all. It was an enlightening meeting but it also became very clear that there is a lot (a lot lot lot) of work to do. And while it’s exciting to daydream about all the possibilities — aerial tram! — speakers at the event also explained some of the challenges with the area, including flooding. It’s possible they’ll have to raise the land or build streets, paths, and walkways that can accommodate the inevitable rising water; all of which are considerations when choosing which public features to include in the development.

A great way to ensure the East Bank is developed to best serve Nashvillians’ interest is to participate in these discussions. There will be more workshops in August, and if you have feedback to give in the meantime — AERIAL TRAM!!!! — you can take an online survey here and/or email the Metro Nashville Planning Department here.

Record Store Day Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

This Saturday, July 17, is the second installment of Record Store Day 2021. The annual event was split into two installments this year due to pandemic weirdness, extra-long shipping times, and lengthier-than-usual vinyl pressing wait times. Just like last month, some of East Nashville’s best music stores are throwing all-day parties to celebrate

The Groove is hosting the Devil’s Tower Records and Groove Family Records album release show for Kiss My Ass Goodbye, a John Prine tribute album. Several of the artists who contributed tracks to the double-vinyl release will be performing throughout the day, including Justin and The Cosmics, Jack Evan Johnson, Chandelle, Hamilton Boyce, The Smoking Flowers, and Paul Nelson.

The shop opens at 9 a.m. for record sales with the outdoor concert beginning at noon. Only 1,000 copies of Kiss My Ass Goodbye were pressed so The Groove recommends arriving early if you hope to snag one.

There will also be free beer from Jackalope Brewing Company, food trucks, and more, and the free party goes until 8 p.m.

Grimey’s is opening early at 10 a.m. to accommodate Record Store Day crowds and, as they did in June, they’ll be selling the exclusive merch “menu style,” meaning early bird RSD shoppers should line up at the back door (across from the entrance to Anaconda Vintage). Later in the day, once the initial crowds have subsided, Grimey’s will move what’s left of the Record Store Day merch to a browsing area inside the store.

WXNA DJs will be spinning records, Living Waters Brewing will be serving coffee and beer, and a food truck will be on hand, too. All RSD releases are limited to one of each title per person and customers are being asked to limit their haul to 12 records total for each trip through the RSD line.

Vinyl Tap will open early at 9 a.m. on Saturday exclusively for Record Store Day shoppers. There will be a table inside the store and only two customers will be allowed in at a time to allow for social distancing. Customers are allowed to line up outside the store as early as they’d like and the rest of the store, as well as Vinyl Tap’s bar, will open at noon as usual.

Gov. Lee Makes National News as Science-Hating Baffoon

Brett Kelman at The Tennessean broke the news on Tuesday: “The Tennessee Department of Heath will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach — not just for coronavirus, but all diseases — amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers …” 

This news came just a day after state officials fired Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health. Fiscus released a statement about her termination, writing, in part, “I am afraid for my state. I am angry for the amazing people of the Tennessee Department of Health who have been mistreated by an uneducated public and leaders who have only their own interests in mind. And I am deeply saddened for the people of Tennessee, who will continue to become sick and die from this vaccine-preventable disease because they choose to listen to the nonsense spread by ignorant people.”

National news outlets picked up the story (oh hello, New York Times), and many high-profile journalists, politicians, and health experts have been criticizing Governor Bill Lee all week — Dan Rather, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, hosts of The View… it’s a very long list.

One must wonder if Oracle’s Larry Ellison is taking this in. He’s a major donor to conservative candidates whose company was recently granted approval to build a large campus on the East Bank. Will he tell Oracle employees relocating their families to Tennessee they should celebrate the FREEDUMB to send their kids to schools where they can rub elbows with kids who aren’t vaccinated against, well, anything?

This all sounds like a super-duper good way to attract new businesses to the state. NOT.

Living here is fun! 

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s COVID-19 infections have tripled in the past three weeks and, according to a CDC report, Tennessee had one of the highest rates of HPV-associated cancers in the country between 2010-14. (Only Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia were higher.)

Ending vaccination outreach and education is dangerous. Tennesseans will get sick, Tennesseans will die.

If the state of Tennessee won’t tell families and children about vital vaccination information, we should do our best to do for them. A good start would be following Metro Public Health on Twitter or other social media platforms and sharing their vaccination updates with families and individuals you know. They are now taking appointments for back-to-school immunizations at the Lentz Public Health Center (615-340-5607), the East Public Health Center (615-862-7916), and the Woodbine Public Health Center (615-862-7940).

Along with the required student vaccinations, Metro also offers HPV and meningococcal vaccinations to seventh graders and COVID-19 vaccines to children 12 and older. Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors! Tell your elected officials!

A Pedal-Thing We Can Actually Get Behind

River Queen Voyages — the company that brought kayaking adventures to the stretch of the Cumberland River between downtown and the Shelby Greenway — officially launched their Pedal Pontoon this past Tuesday.

Just steps away from Broadway, RQV’s Pedal Pontoon brings attention to the underutilized Cumberland River without adding congestion to the downtown core (we especially like this part). Guests can partake in a lively river cruise with a United States Coast Guard (USCG) certified Master Captain to eat, drink, socialize, and admire breathtaking views of the Nashville skyline.

“As Nashville’s River Fun Authority, we’re always looking to create new ways for guests to experience the river and connect with the city they love,” says Annie Klaver, President and Founder of River Queen Voyages via a press release. “Launching the Pedal Pontoon is an important step towards this endeavor, and we’re thrilled for visitors and locals to enjoy this unique experience in the heart of downtown Nashville.”

To find out more about the Pedal Pontoon, as well as the kayaking adventures on offer, or make a reservation, visit the River Queen Voyages website.

Quick Bits

Love Buzz

Nashville singer-songwriter Korby Lenker released his latest album Man in the Maroon back in May and this Saturday Lenker will celebrate with a record release show at The Basement with Bill Miller.

The album’s first single, “All in My Head” is a must-hear for anyone who’s wondered what it would sound like if a young Conor Oberst tried to write Tom Petty songs instead of songs about fictional babies drowning in bathtubs. The rest of the album is peppered with slide guitar, banjo, lyrics about aliens, and piano-laden ballads about winning the lottery and sniffing glue. (OK, that latter song mentioned there, “Tri State Lottery,” is actually much richer and more thoughtful than that description makes it sound, but Lenker himself chuckles a little while mentioning the glue and it’s really delightful.)

Buy Man in the Maroon on Bandcamp here (or at one of the record stores you’re visiting this weekend!) and grab tickets to The Basement show here.