…lays down some sonic textures for Maya De Vitry at The Basement in Nashville – March 26, 2018.
Category - JOYMM
The aggregation of work under under the umbrella of “The Joy of Making Music” – www.thejoyofmakingmusic.com
In 2009, Pru Clearwater created a musical show unlike anything #Nashville has seen before or since. Inspired by an encounter with a sea turtle while diving in the Virgin Islands, the “Pru Clearwater and The Infinite Field” combined music, chanting, dance and recitation in an experience I called “Rock & Roll #Kirtan.” .
The “Infinite Field” derives from a concept in physics: within every atom, in the space between the nucleus and the electron orbits, as well as the vacuum between the stars, there is a field of energy, “the quantum sea.” But in all of the Universe, there is just ONE such field, not only infinite but effectively uniting every thing – animate or inanimate – in its continuity. .
With “The Infinite Field,” Pru expressed her belief in “the one-ness of everything,” and in the moment captured here, demonstrates the ecstasy I’m lookin for when I go out to shoot “The Joy of Making Music™.”
I recently started sorting through some of the photos I’ve shot over the years in concert and club settings, and over the next few weeks I’m going to share some or those archives here on Instagram. So I thought I’d start at the very beginning… .
After years of dormancy my life-long interest in photography was re-awakened when I got my first DSLR (a Nikon D100) 2003. But it wasn’t until 2005 that I shot somebody in performance.
II lived in #Hawaii from 1980 to 1994, on the #Lahaina side of #Maui. About a year after I moved there, another New Jersey native named Barry Flanagan showed up and started playing at the bar in the Pioneer Inn – an historic old hotel adjacent to the harbor where I owned a yacht charter service (“Where do we go? Sailing is the destination…”) Once arrived, Barry immersed himself in the music of the Islands, eventually becoming the lynch pin of an award winning duo called ‘Hapa’ (that’s Hawaiian for “half,” as in “half haole, half Hawaiian”– Google it if you have to).
I left Hawaii for good when I moved to Nashville in 1994, but went back to visit for the first time in the winter of 2005. While I was there, Barry and his group played a show at one of the hotels, and I got my new-ish DSLR out and started shooting. It’s funny to think now how little I knew then: at one point somebody asked me to turn off the flash. The flash? I’m not using flash… That’s when I discovered the little light on the front of the camera that sends a beam out to improve the auto-focus in dark situations; that’s also when I discovered you can turn that little light off….
So here’s a shot of Barry Flanagan from 2005. Look him up on Spotify:
photo ©2005 firstname.lastname@example.org
My friend #musicproducer@saulisdope (secret identity: Michael Lovett) is working with the wondrous @ellemears; they invited to shoot a showcase she performed recently for the Country Radio Seminar at The Tin Roof near Music Row in Nashville. My gawd the conditions were awful… there were only a few dim LED lights on the stage and the sound was so loud/awful that it physically hurt to remove my earplugs! But sometimes you make do with what you’ve got, and in this case pulling all the distorted color out of the images produced some quite effective B&W stills. ©email@example.com
“Straight Up” – the #songofthesummer is already here! !
One more post and I gotta call it a night: Jimmy Charles settles into his groove – with Marie McGlone at Pucketts.
An angle from “backstage” – Jimmy Charles with Marie McGlone at Pucketts
…crushing on the fiddle player. Her youthful exuberance is great fun to shoot – but this was a moment in-between. I was starting to upload the color original when I experimented an iGram B&W filter… went back to Lightroom and Topaz and cooked up one of my own instead. Marie McGlone (with Jimmy Charles at Pucketts downtown – Feb 1, 2018
Back in the early 1970s I saw a student film called “Hot Dogs for Gauguin,” written and directed by Martin Brest, who went on to have a notable film career. He directed such memorable hits as Midnight Run, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Scent of a Woman before becoming a Hollywood persona-non-grata for directing a fiasco called Gigli in 2003; Marty’s IMDB bio ends there.
“Hot Dogs for Gauguin” is about a photographer – played by a then-unknown actor named Danny DeVito – who wants to replicate the kind of acclaim that he thinks befell the photographer who shot the Hindenberg disaster (Oh, the humanity!). DeVito’s character figures to achieve similar acclaim by blowing up the Statue of Liberty – and being on-hand to capture the moment with his camera. Suffice it to say it doesn’t end well…
This is a story about my own “Hot Dogs for Gauguin” moment.”
Or maybe it was more of a “Gigli” moment, if not quite on the same scale.
There was a period a couple of years ago when I was making a concerted attempt to market myself as a photographer, in particular of music-related subjects.
With some coaching, I’d set up a program at thejoyofmakingmusic.com (it’s still there) and created a couple of ‘packages’ for shooting stills during studio recording sessions.
Not long after I set all that up I was invited into a studio by an A-List, first-call musician, a side-player to the stars, who was recording her own album for an indie label, and had called on some of the town’s top A-List players in support. I did not know most of the names, nor of the many-arms-lengths lists of credits they all carried. I was a bit of a fish out of water. They all knew each other, and I only barely knew the woman who’d invited me to the session (I’d met her when we worked together on another project).
I will mention just one actual name, because it was the effort to capture his thousand-watt smile that got me in trouble (I think). Read More
This week I had the pleasure of shooting Karen Waldrup at a showcase she performed at Douglas Corner in Nashville.
I met Karen at a music industry gathering a few weeks ago. I was there with my camera (name tag: “My name is Paul; Ask me about my silent shutters”) and met Karen hanging back at the bar at 3rd and Lindsley while waiting for the proceedings to commence. We traded business cards. Then I saw a flyer on the bulletin board at “my office” promoting her showcase and figured, “may as well…”
These “industry showcases” are not your typical ‘singer/songwriter’ show; they’re kick-out-the-jams and belt-it to-the-rafters (well, depending on the act) affairs intended to get the attention of the industry types who can make a difference in a rising artist’s career (read that: label heads).
From what I can tell, Karen Waldrup has been banging on some of those doors for a while – and now she’s got the chops and her career is primed for a breakthrough. She’s got an A-Team band behind her, and this was as ‘professional’ a showcase as I’ve seen in my twenty-plus years in Nashville.
As befits any truly original musician or performer, Karen Waldrup is not an easy woman to peg: she’s a little country, a little southern rock, a little pop. She’s a southern girl who likes her whiskey and wonders if her ex-lover’s fancy new wife serves it as well as she did. She’s a polished performer with a powerful stage presence who can deliver the goods across the spectrum from hard rocking country to acoustic power ballads.
I caught her here in the rare moment on stage when she seems to be soaking it all in; I say “rare” because most of the time she was full-throated rocking out. (The rest of the photos will have to wait until she and her management team have signed off on them.)
In the meantime, have a listen to Karen’s 2015 EP “Getaway”
I’ve known Melissa Greener since she first arrived in Nashville (from native Detroit) about five years ago. We have traveled in familiar circles all that time, but I think I have actually heard/seen her perform just once, when she sat in for a few songs amid somebody else’s set… somewhere. The details are fuzzy, all I remember is she played a “fan fret” acoustic guitar – an instrumental choice indicative of a woman of some distinction, even if I can’t remember now what exactly she played on that exotic instrument.
Well I sure remember her material now.
Last Friday, Melissa performed a set at the Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville – which she mentioned from the stage was her first full show here in the entire time she’s called Nashville home.
It was worth the wait. Boy, was it worth the wait.
For this show, Melissa assembled a full band (sorry, I don’t know the name of all the players – will update when that info comes across my transom). The stage was filled with keyboard, bass, drums, lead guitar and two harmony vocalists. And despite all that personnel, this was the blessed (i.e. rare) show where the quantity of sound did not drown out the lyric content.
Melissa Greener proved to be an incredibly compelling performer. Start with deft, intricate guitar figures played on both acoustic and electric guitars (no fan frets); add rich, thoughtful lyric imagery (that you could actually hear!) sung with a solid, soaring alto and joined byroof-raising harmonies from Kira Small and Vicki Carrico, and you’ve got the makings of one of the most outstanding shows I’ve seen in Nashville in quite a while.
The house was full, no doubt a testament to the many friends that Melissa has made over the five years she’s been among us.
But what was really impressive was the response when the show was over: these jaded Nashville audiences rarely rise at the end of a club show by a local; but this night, as Melissa Greener wrapped up her final tune, the audience was on its feet.
Or as one observer from the audience commented after the show, “we knew that she was good… but we didn’t know that she was that good!”
Melissa pours her heart and soul into every note and word. Hopefully these photos catch some of that spirit.
Listen to the opening track from Melissa’s 2013 CD “Transistor Corazon” while the slide show plays. When it’s over, click the Spotify link below to listen to the entire album. And when it’s over, don’t be surprised if you feeling like playing it again (as I am doing as I finish this post…)