East Nashvillian editor Chuck Allen recently asked me an interesting question, after I balked at covering a show by a musician I am not a fan of. “Does this mean you only cover things you’re a fan of?” he asked. The short answer is no, but it’s complicated. It’s not good journalism to only cover things one knows they’re going to like. Doing so presents all kinds of opportunities for bias, blunts your critic’s edge, and in general, isn’t doing anyone any favors because sometimes the best thing you can do for an artist is rip them apart in the press — call it tough love. However, I do think it’s important to only cover things you are interested in or curious about. In terms of music coverage, I’d love nothing more than a date with a pen, a reporter’s notepad, and a new, hyped-up band I’m skeptical about. “What’s with the hype?” you ask yourself. “Are they good, or do they just have a good publicist?” “Are they doing something I don’t get, or is their fanbase just young enough to not get that they’re doing something that’s already been done?” “If it’s good, does it matter if it’s already been done?” “What is good anyways — lyrics or music?” “Do I even like music anymore?”
But sometimes some of the best live music coverage comes from just throwing the dice at something you know nothing about. That happened Wednesday, when I attended an AMERICANAFEST showcase at a nearly 100-year-old East Nashville church, now being used as a venue. I wasn’t familiar with the artists or the host of the event, but the show sounded interesting, and it was. (Read more below.)
There are two more days of official AMERICANAFEST shows happening in Nashville, and plenty more non-AMERICANAFEST shows happening throughout one of Nashville’s biggest weekends in (good) music. Go to a show you know nothing about. You might like it. And if the band sucks, please don’t tell them — leave that to the professionals.
Matters of Development
- Yet another new Dickerson Pike development has been announced and will include retail, restaurants, and amenity spaces. Developers Tyler Cauble of Hamilton Development and Keith J. Leman announced the purchase of the 2.28-acre site, located at 2801-2809 Dickerson Pike, on Tuesday. The project is to be called US-41, paying homage to Dickerson Pike’s “long history of music and Americana,” a press release said. “The growth of East Nashville certainly hasn’t been lost on Dickerson Pike, which has seen a large amount of development in its residential neighborhoods in the last few years,” Cauble says in the release. “US-41 will bring local restaurant concepts and bars along with a great green space for people to relax. There’s nothing like this in the neighborhood, and I hope that it will be the new neighborhood hub for social gathering.” US-41 will include the second iteration of Cauble’s soon-to-open restaurant concept The Wash (located off Gallatin Avenue at 1101 McKennie Ave.), offering micro-kitchens for restaurant startups. Construction on US-41 is expected to begin in December, and be completed by the end of 2022. The complex is near the historic Congress Inn — once used as a Civil War hospital — which a Cauble-led investor group also purchased recently with plans for a boutique hotel, Salt Ranch.
- The East End United Methodist Church, 1212 Holly St., is set to be demolished after post-tornado efforts to save the 115-year-old structure were unsuccessful. The church plans to save the large stained glass window depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd and will use it at a new church to be constructed at the same location, according to WZTV. The decision to demo was recently approved by the Historic Planning Commission.
- A Dickerson Pike property home to a coin laundry business has sold for $1.65 million, according to the Nashville Post.
Historic Eastland Venue Steals the Show at AMERICANAFEST
With so many talented artists in Nashville, it’s unusual for a venue to steal the show — but that’s what happened at the AMERICANAFEST showcase, “Olivia Management Presents: Live From Historic Eastland.”
The late-night Wednesday showcase, featuring seven artists from the local artist management company’s roster, was held at Historic Eastland, 1108 McKennie Ave., an event space and venue recently opened at what has historically been known as the Eastland Baptist Church.
It was only the second show held at the new venue, according to Olivia Management’s Erin Anderson. “It’s like a mini Ryman in the middle of East Nashville,” she said.
From heavenly singer-songwriter Jill Andrews’ on-stage comments about the “amazing” space being “just meant for music,” to blues-inspired duo Smooth Hound Smith performing a song called “Truck Stop Shower” — and claiming it was likely the first song about such a thing ever performed in a church — the room was on everyone’s mind, and tongue.
But the venue spoke for itself, like when singer-songwriter Peter Groenwald took to the piano in his four-song, Ryan Adams-inspired set, sending sustained tones swirling around the room, muting all but the person breathing behind you. Or when songwriter Derek Webb — who claimed to have played both Christian music and “the opposite of Christian music” over the course of his 25-year songwriting career — ended a song belting the word “alcohol” over and over again, the room amplifying his cries of redemption.
The building was built in 1926 by Eastland Baptist Church, and is still owned by the church, says Brennon Mobley, founder of Historic Eastland and the Three One Three coworking space, which also operates from the location. Under the leadership of Pastor Jason Rumbough, the church changed its name to Hope Church in 2019, and shortly after, joined forces with the venue and workspace, says Mobley.
“The Historic Eastland has scheduled a limited number of shows and weddings for the fall of 2021 while we put the final touches on transforming the space,” Mobley said in an email. “The official opening will take place in January 2022. Our goal is to highlight and preserve the historic nature of the property while finishing it with modern accommodations to host a variety of event types such as weddings, concerts, and more.”
RIP Legendary Nashville Bassist Bob Moore
East Nashvillian Editor Chuck Allen recently posted this tribute to Nashville Cat Bob Moore on Facebook. Moore, who passed away Wednesday, was the bassist for Nashville’s legendary A-Team of session musicians — known as the Nashville Cats — and played on records such as Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” and many more.
In December 2011, Bob invited Lisa and me out to he & his wife Kittra’s Brentwood home for an interview, which culminated in a story on him from the ninth issue of The East Nashvillian.
We arrived that Saturday morning around 10 a.m. and entered their house through the kitchen. After a brief introduction, Bob turned to me and asked, “You want a beer?” “No thank you,” I replied. “Mind if I have one?” he asked with a big grin. They made us feel totally at home and welcome.
He told stories about pickup softball games in Shelby Park where Patsy Cline brought the beer; getting stoned with Julie Andrews on Old Hickory Lake; being an usher at Woodland Theater (now Woodland Studios) when he was a teenager; shining shoes on Lower Broad as a kid (his shoeshine kit is pictured in the story); carrying his double bass over the Woodland Street Bridge to play on Grand Ole Opry live radio broadcasts at WSM; about deciding to pursue country music session work because “the hillbillies had a lot of money.”
And he told more than a few stories that would make Keith Richards blush.
Raised off Shelby Avenue, he was a child of the Depression who scrambled for pennies when he was young. To this, he attributed his work ethic. He said one of his proudest moments was buying a house with a pool in Madison. In those days, the working musicians lived in East Nashville; you knew someone had “made it” when they could buy a ranch house on an acre in Madison. The superstars lived on Old Hickory Lake.
I credit hanging out with him that day — and learning things about the rich musical heritage of East Nashville I was totally unaware of — to lighting a fire under me and making me dig in and give the magazine my best.
Here’s to you, Bob Moore. Godspeed.
- The non-profit Nashville Tree Conservation Corps will deliver trees to your home by the week of Oct. 11, if you order by Sunday, Sept. 26.
- Meigs Middle Magnet School in East Nashville has been named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
- There have been 14 robberies in East Nashville this month, according to WKRN.
- Nashville music venues received a combined $626,000 in pandemic relief grants from Metro, according to Axios Nashville.
- Fanny’s House of Music in Five Points was featured in the September/October 2021 Acoustic Guitar magazine article, “Does Nashville Have the Best Guitar Shops in the Country?”
- One person died after being struck by a train in East Nashville Sunday, according to WSMV.
- Police have issued a warrant for a 21-year-old man accused of stealing country singer Adam Doleac’s trailer and gear, which was stolen from East Nashville on Sept. 7, and later recovered in Franklin, according to WKRN.
Lilly Hiatt, “Been”
Fall is generally my favorite season. After months of melting in the Southern humidity, I feel invigorated by the refreshing crispness in the air. The leaves turn bright yellow, orange, and red, giving us one last burst of beauty before the bare winter. And honestly? I’m a sucker for pumpkin-flavored anything. This year, though, much like last year, fall comes with mixed emotions. It’s hard to enjoy much of anything while our country is still reeling from COVID-19 and numbers in Tennessee are especially disturbing. The air is beginning to cool, sure, but I’m still terrified to breathe it.
Lilly Hiatt gets it. She recently released the song “Been,” the first single from her upcoming album Lately, and it’s a comforting country tune that acknowledges just some of what COVID-19 has taken from us. Hiatt sounds both frustrated and downtrodden as she sings about what she’s done to get through each day — “And I got a blue rug/I got some healthy food/Nothing I could buy/Puts me in a better mood.”
One verse later she tries to escape, at least mentally, by recalling a trip to Amsterdam, but that just leaves her feeling restless.
In a press release for Lately, Hiatt was even more open about how the pandemic has impacted her creativity and mental health, writing, “Last year was tough. That’s an understatement for certain. Tears were shed, lives were lost, and lonely was a way of life. I have always felt lonely, but never gone to the depths of solitude that I had in 2020. The irony of that is, I was not alone at all in that space. Everyone had lost something, and we all were trying to rebuild our lives as we knew them.”
Lately will be released on cassette on Oct. 8 and digitally on Oct. 15 on New West Records. Hiatt will play 3rd & Lindsley with Lydia Loveless Sunday, Nov. 14. Tickets are available here. Proof of full vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry. I’m over this shit, you’re over this shit, and Hiatt’s over this shit, too. Get vaccinated.
“Love Buzz” is curated by contributor Megan Seling