The Basement Nashville – August 1, 2018
Category - music
Psssst… wanna hear some music?
… most excellent show at Douglas Corner last Friday evening. This was a “full band” preview of tracks from her soon-to-be-released new album “The Fallow Year” – ‘A New Album of Songs addressing Mental Health Issues’ – www.melissagreener.com
April 7, 2018
This fellow’s name is Chuck Thompson; Chuck is an accomplished photographer in his own right who’s mission is “making musicians and business look good.” See his work at www.pickchuck.com
Like so many of us here in Music City, Chuck is also a musician. If you’re not familiar with that odd-looking instrument he’s playing, it’s called a “harp guitar” – an instrument from the turn of the 20th century that has found renewed popularity here in the 21st century. It combiners a conventional fretted guitar neck with several unfretted bass strings strung across an extension of the guitar body that play like the strings of a harp. .
But what is remarkable about this photo is that Chuck is not on the stage: he’s in the audience! He was right there in the front row, playing along with luminaries like Jerry Douglas, Keb Mo and John Oates at the Guitar Mash, an event that invites the audience to actively participate in the performance instead of just sitting there and flapping their hands together at the end of each song. For more on the event, read my commentary here.
Remember when I was writing about “Music 3.0“?
Of course you don’t, that was almost 10 years ago, before I folded “celestialjukebox.org” into one of the archived elements of this CohesionArts website.
My idea of “Music 3.0” (there are others, but they’re not nearly as prescient or comprehensive… 😜) was the culmination of what I still occasional refer to as my “Grand Nebulous Theory of The Future of Music” – a concept both “grand” and “nebulous” because, while I think the historical trajectory offers some useful clues, I don’t really have a solid grasp of the ultimate destination.
Whatever the ultimate destination, I think I walked into a fresh landmark along the route this past Saturday when I spent the afternoon at the City Winery in Nashville for something called the “Guitar Mash.”
The concept is hard to describe, but is summed up in the project’s stated mission to “change the way you experience music.” Follow this link to get a better idea of the concept (simplified version here).
As I wrote in a Facebook post the following day:
I got to be present for – and photograph – a rather extraordinary event yesterday at City Winery.
It’s called the “Guitar Mash.”
It starts with a “house band” of A-List musicians – like Jerry Douglas on dobro, Mark Stewart (musical director for Paul Simon, among other things), Victor Krauss on bass, Larry Atamanuik on drums and John Deaderick on keys.
As the afternoon unfolded, the band was joined on stage by featured players including the likes of Brent Mason, Keb Mo, and John Oates.
But the really unique feature is: the audience is encouraged to bring their own instruments and… ohmigod… play along with the stars! Chord-and-lyric charts are displayed on the video screens and “Chord Coaches” (from the W.O. Smith School) wander the audience helping the guests suss out what they’re trying to play.
There will be more to come after I’ve sorted through all the files, but this morning I want to share this one shot of MV Gauthier, as she performs Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and looks out at a venue full of people playing and singing along with her. Her reaction here captures the entire essence of the event. Long story short, it was a blast for every one.
While technology continues to disrupt the “virtual” music business, I felt like this was an indication of what’s possible in the “real” world of music: empowering more people to make music themselves. I kinda think Mary is catching that spirit in this moment and realizing what a wonderful thing that could be.
It oddly frustrates me sometimes when I go to a concert or a club, and there is so little for the audience to do. The performers put their best effort into a song, and the rest of us sit there and repetitiously flap our hands together in appreciation. Rinse and repeat. I don’t know that there is any viable alternative to that, but here’s a venue full of people doing something other than waiting for their chance to applaud:
Digital Caveats re: the above slideshow: I’m having some issues with ZenFolio – my web gallery/service provider – over their continued reliance on Adobe Flash for these slide shows. 10 years after Steve Jobs wrote the epitaph on Flash, ZenFolio only lets me create an “embeddable” slideshow if I use Adobe Flash. HTML5 has been the de-facto standard for nearly a decade, but when I try to embed the HTML5 version of this slideshow in my WordPress post, only half of the images appear in an otherwise half-black screen. I love ZenFolio, but this one rates a big WTFF? I don’t have Flash on my new MacBook Pro, so I have no idea if the embed above works or not. If not, follow this link to see the entire gallery; there is a button to display the HTML5 slideshow in the upper right corner of the gallery page.
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™.”
From a return visit in 2010, while driving “UpCountry” – the verdant slopes of the great (dormant, at least for now…) volcano called Haleakala. As the Brothers Cazimero said, “Where I live, there are rainbows….”
Rainbows all around
Can you find the silver and gold?
It’ll make you old
The river can be hot or cold
And you should dive right into it
Else you’ll find
It’s passed you by
––from Page 43, by David Crosby
The Brothers Cazimero
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 email@example.com
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. ©firstname.lastname@example.org
“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.