…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
Category - JOYMM
The aggregation of work under under the umbrella of “The Joy of Making Music” – www.thejoyofmakingmusic.com
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…)
Nothing is more
beautiful than a guitar,
except, possibly, two.
— Frédéric Chopin
Last Wednesday night offered a stark contrast to the night before.
Where Tuesday night’s performance by the New Dylans at the Belcourt Theater was nearly an hour of screeching instrumentation and unintelligible lyrics, the following night at the Station in was a perfect example of how beautifully crafted songs played with exquisite instruments can produce a totally satisfying experience.
Thomm Jutz and Craig Market actually wrote together for the first time while Thomm was producing The 1861 Project. They co-wrote two songs for Volume 2, including “The Old Songs:”
Thomm and Craig kept writing after that, and over the past couple of years assembled a collection of co-writes that they’ve now released in a collection called “Nowhere To Hide.”
I was called in to shoot some promo stills late last year. The slide show above features a few of those shots and some from the CD Release Party at the Station Inn.
On stage, Thomm played a 1948 Martin D-18, and Craig played a 1937 D-18. It’s hard to describe how beautiful those two guitars sounded together. That quote from Chopin will have to suffice.
Or just listen to the CD and hear for yourself:
Jeff Thorneycroft at The Family Wash, Nashville – Jan 14, 2014
It’s been a while since I’ve had an assignment to photograph a live performance, so it was nice to start the New Year out with a chance to shoot my friend Jeff Thorneycroft as he played bass with Tom Mason and The Blue Buccaneers at the Family Wash in East Nashville last week.
The Family Wash is not my favorite place in town to shoot a live performance. No, I take that back, it is my least favorite place (along with several others…) to shoot a live performance. There’s really no stage lighting whatsoever – just a few bare bulbs hanging over the center of the stage, in such a way that the featured performer on the front of the stage is actually back lit. And those that are back on the stage are lit mostly from above, which can cast some pretty nasty shadows.
But, hey, my calling card says “capturing the joy of making music – regardless of the lighting conditions. Yep, that’s my job!
So I brought my very fastest lenses with me – my 17mm, 45mm, and 75mm, all f/1.8 (these are Olympus Micro 4/3s lenses, their 35mm equivalent focal lengths are 35mm, 90mm, and 150mm). And since I don’t like to push my cameras past 1600 ISO, I didn’t even feel like I could afford the the loss of a stop to f/2.8 in order to use my 12-40 (24-80 equiv) or my fancy new and hardly-used-yet 40-150 (80-300 equiv) zoom lenses.
But there was one moment when I situated myself in the hallway toward the back of the stage. Jeff turned around to make eye contact with the drummer and fiddle player… and I got the shot! Several of them, in fact. And there are some good shots of pirate Tom Mason and the rest of his scurvy crew, I’ll post some of those starting next week.
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Are you a performer? Need some quality shots of your live show? Visit
Way back in February of this year, I got a call from my friend (and partner in The 1861 Project) Thomm Jutz inviting me out to his studio in Mt. Juliet to photograph a recording session with somebody named Sid Griffin.
I was not familiar with Sid at the time, but have since learned that he’s quite a fixture in the world of Americana and bluegrass music. He’s the front man for the critically acclaimed group “The Coal Porters” and, according to Billy Bragg, “Sid Griffin was playing ‘Americana’ music before that term was invented…”
I didn’t hear much from Sid after the session and shoot. So imagine my surprise when I discovered yesterday that not only has Sid’s new CD “The Trick Is To Breathe” (Spotify / iTunes) been released, but he’s used one of my photos for the album cover!
Needless to say (though of course I’m saying it anyway) I’m thrilled to see my work being put to good use. I’m particularly pleased with the shot that Sid selected. It’s one of only three that I shot with him standing in the doorway entrance to Thomm’s studio control room. Window light.. God’s own lighting (maybe next time a reflector? or… maybe not…)
I can hardly wait to get a copy of the CD for myself to see what else he might have used inside. In the meantime, here’s a slide show of the photos form the session, featuring Thomm at the controls along Justin Moses on banjo and fiddle and Sierra Hull on mandolin.
Watch the slides and listen* to Sid’s take on The Youngblood’s “Get Together,” and anthem from the days when we was all young and idealistic…
* that’s assuming that by the time this slide show goes public, Zenfolio will have fixed an issue on their servers that’s keeping the music from playing as I create this post. If not, well, enjoy the silence…
Too bad he’s not Irish, then he could be “Krash O’Bang”
Back in April, I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon at Azalea Studios in Brentwood photographing singer/songwriter Joy Zimmerman and a terrific group of session players as they laid down the tracks for Joy’s new CD.
Among the players was drummer Ron Krasinski. I got a good chuckle when Ron and I exchanged emails and I discovered that his email address starts with “KrashOBang@….”
I”m pretty sure “Krasinski” is not an Irish name..
More at TheJoyofMakingMusic.com
It’s been a while since I posted one of these…
…but I was just sending somebody a link to some of this work when I saw this one for the first time in a long time and thought… not bad…. I should show it to somebody…
This was from one of the very first recording sessions Thomm Jutz produced for The 1861 Project. Renowned country music recording artist John Anderson (Seminole Wind, Straight Tequila Night) came in and laid down the vocals for “The Turning Of A Field,” and I was there, peering through the glass window in the door of Thomm’s studio with my Nikon to capture the scene.
Need a concert or studio session photographed? Visit http://thejoyofmakingmusic.com for details.
Listen to “The Turning of A Field” on Spotify:
Sierra Hull first showed up on my radar about three years ago, when a friend who worked for her management company invited me to a CD release concert at the Belcourt Theater.
Since then, I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Sierra on more than several occasions. She was a featured performer on The 1861 Project – Volume 2: From the Famine to The Front (Spotify), lending her charming vocals and dazzling mandolin lines to The Song of The Mystic (Spotify), a song about Father Joseph Ryan, “the poet laureate of the Confederacy” and the namesake of one of Nashville’s most prominent parochial schools.
More recently, I had an opportunity to photograph Sierra as she warmed up to perform with Irene Kelley at Irene’s CD release party at the Station Inn.
I’ve actually shot quite a few lovely photos of Sierra since she came on board with The 1861 Project, but this one has to be my favorite. I could probably say more about it, but I think this is one of those instances when I’ll just let the picture speak its thousand words and leave it at that….
If that’s still not enough, have a listen to Sierra’s 2011 Rounder Records release, Daybreak: