Category - JOYMM

The aggregation of work under under the umbrella of “The Joy of Making Music” – www.thejoyofmakingmusic.com

More ‘Joy of Making Music’ Sierra Hull

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.

Sierra Hull on state at the Station Inn

Sierra Hull on stage 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:

More ‘Joy of Making Music’ Irene Kelley at The Station Inn

irenex3

Sisters Sara Jean and Justyna Kelley, harmonizing with their mother Irene.

Another “Only In Nashville” moment…

I’ve gotten to know Irene Kelley a little bit through my association with The 1861 Project.  She has contributed several co-writes and vocals to Volumes 1 and 2 of that series, and will be appearing on Volume 3 when it is released this spring as well.

I don’t really know Irene’s whole career story.  I gather that she had a major label deal for a while, but was perhaps one of those talents for whom being shoehorned into mainstream commercial country was not exactly an ideal fit.   What I do know is that she remains a highly respected songwriter and is a delightful singer,  gifted with one of those voices that is so clear and refreshing you could listen to it all day.

It has been over a decade since Irene has released an album of new recordings, but it’s been worth the wait.  Last week she released Pennsylvania Coal (iTunes), a loving, bluegrass-flavored reminiscence of growing up in the coal mining country of her parents and grandparents.

The production on Pennsylvania Coal  was guided by Mark Fain (another stalwart from The 1861 Project) who created just the right sound for Irene – to my ears a much more suitable sonic environment than what I’ve heard of her earlier country recordings.

I was hired to photograph Irene’s CD release party at the Station Inn last Friday night.  In preparation for the event, I listened to a preview of the new CD, and one track that I was most looking forward to hearing was You Are Mine (iTunes), which features vocal harmonies by Irene singing with her two equally talented daughters, Sara Jean and Justyna.

As soon as I heard You Are Mine I gave myself a personal assignment – in addition to covering the entire show – of getting a definitive shot of the three Kelley women singing together.

I couldn’t get that shot during the show.  When they sang “You Are Mine” together, each of the girls (yes, yes, I know… women…) had to take their own microphone, and so were spread out across the stage.  The resulting photo is rather flat, with the usual microphone in front of their faces.

kelleys

See what I mean?

After the show, I persuaded them to return to the stage and gather around a single microphone in order to recreate the moment for the sake of the photo at the top of this post.

However, rather than singing You Are Mine, these three angels started harmonizing on a rendition of Crosby Stills and Nash’s Helplessly Hoping.  Hearing this his was an unexpected delight, the close three-part harmonies so brilliant that I could easily imagine, “this is how Irene raised these girls, riding around in the car, singing songs like this together… ”

All I could do was watch them through the viewfinder and fire away… it was not until I got home and looked at the files that I could exhale and think to myself, once again… “only in Nashville…”

I would dearly love to offer a player with some tracks from Irene’s new CD, but it is not available for streaming yet.  The best I can do is offer a track from The  1861 Project.  So please enjoy one of my favorite tracks from Volume 1, Horse Without A Rider:

For more information on having your next performance professionally photographed, please visit

thejoyofmakingmusic.com

More Joy of Making Music: Suzy Bogguss

…This time with a Spotify player for the new CD (scroll down)

Suzy Boggus and Company

Suzy Boggus and Company

Full Photo Set Here

We had another one of those “Only In Nashville” kind of nights last night when Suzy Bogguss hosted an outstanding lineup the 3rd and Lindsley Bar & Grill.

Suzy is one of the few artists (and in this case, I use that overused term consciously and deliberately) who achieved some stardom during the “Country Music Integrity Scare” of the 1990s.  A lot of the performers who achieved some profile during that period have since disappeared down the backside of the arc of stardom, but Suzy Bogguss keeps turning out great new recordings and remains an absolutely engaging and entertianing performer.  I’ve been a fan all along and I’m pleased to see she’s still turning out great music.

Last night at 3rd & Lindsley she opened her own show, joined on stage by Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters for the ensemble they call “Wine, Women and Song” – offering some of the sweetest three part harmonies since “The Trio” with Emmy, Linda, and Dolly.

That was followed by the real reason for the night, the official release of Lucky, Suzi’s new collection of Merle Haggard songs.  For this set she was joined by some of the finest players on the planet: Charlie Chadwick on bass, Chris Scruggs on all sorts of things, Guthrie Trapp on electric guitar, Pat Bergeson on guitars and harmonica, and a drummer, whose name I will insert into this space when somebody reminds me who that was …

Update (Feb 12 ’04): Good News!

Lucky was released yesterday and is already available on Spotify. So have yourself a listen:

P.S. If you see an entry where I have mispelled Suzy’s last name… I know now that there are two “S”s at the end of “Bogguss.”  I won’t be making that mistake again…

From ‘The Joy of Making Music’ Bonnie Bishop

Bonnie Bishop

Bonnie Bishop

I had the pleasure and privilege of photographing Bonnie Bishop when she performed a showcase at The Rutledge in Nashville back in the winter of 2009.

I’d only learned of Bonnie a few months earlier at the Americana Music Fest. Well, no, not actually at the Americana event, but a week or so later.

I’d sat down to go through some of the printed material from the conference, and then went online to LaLa.com – the site I had been using as my “celestial jukebox” before it was acquired by Apple and shut down in the spring of 2010 – to listen to the recordings of performers whose actual Americana showcases I’d missed. Read More

Introducing: The Joy of Making Music

Live Performance Photography for Nashville

Pru Clearwater

Pru Clearwater

Today I’m hanging a “virtual shingle” for one facet of my photography business. Find it on the web at

TheJoyOfMakingMusic.com.

Ever since the Internet started tearing up the the music business in the waning days of the 20th century, we’ve been hearing that music is now about the live performance more than the recording.  Musicians used to tour to sell records;  Now they give away downloads to attract an audience for their tours, then sell CDs and merch at the shows.

With live performance becoming the focus of the business, it is essential for touring musicians to have high quality photographs that convey the essence of their shows and the experience they offer their current and future fans.

I’ve been an a avid photographer all my life, and in the past few years I’ve shot a lot of shows around Nashville. I’ve nailed down some techniques for “getting the shot” even in the most crowded and poorly lit of conditions.

Capturing the essence of live music is something I enjoy doing, I seem to be pretty good at it, and I want to do more of it.

So I’ve come up with the ‘Caught In The Act Pack’ — a  very affordable package of my services as a club and concert photographer.

To learn more, kindly follow this link to TheJoyOfMakingMusic.com. to see a slide show of my best work over the past few years. Follow the links there for details on the deal.

Keep it in mind next time you go to a show.

Maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the guy with the cameras…