Tag - nashville

A “Band On The Brink” – An ‘Industry’ On The Edge

Last night, a rogues gallery of characters from Nashville’s business and creative communities assembled at the Belcourt Theater to deliver what could be considered a start-of-the-New-Year self-assessment: 

bannerThere were three parts to the evening that did a surprisingly good job of hitting any number of moving targets.

The first part was a short documentary film describing the origins, history, demise and resurrection of a band called “The New Dylans.”  The film was the final, compiled installment in a year long effort to document the reconstitution of a group that broke up in the mid 1990s – and uses their tale as an object lesson on the State of The Music Industry in Nashville in the Digital Age. Read More

This Guitar Kills Fashion

Hopefully readers recognize the irony.  If not, look here.

I went down to Lower Broadway in Nashville last Saturday afternoon to rub shoulders with the tour-eye.  I was actually on a particular mission (which was aborted after about an hour of futility) and wasn’t really planning to do any “street photography” but as soon as I saw this guy on a corner, I tossed some dollars in his guitar case (not enough, sorry), and started this shooting.  And then this couple came by. Make sure you read her t-shirt for another dose of irony.
@folkslinger @WoodyGuthrie @EllisPaulSongs @FolkAllianceWoody would be proud

@NashvilleTN @InstaNashville @NashvilleABC

#nashville #nashvilleguru #music #broadway #lowerbroad #honkytonk #photooftheday #thebest_capture #ig_masterpiece #nuriss_tag #awe_inspiringshots #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #editoftheday #capture_today #waycoolshots #featuremeinstagood #igcapturesclub #ig_masterpiece #ig_great_pics #tweegram #picoftheday #instadaily #bestoftheday
©2014 paul@cohesionarts.com aka @driver49

More “Joy of Making Music” – Ron “KrashOBang” Krasinski

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


Deep Thoughts on #SaveStudioA / #SaveMusicRow

In which I ponder the endangered Nashville species called ‘Music Row’

(originally posted on July 1; reposted July 8)

“The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
                                                   –Marshall McLuhan – The Medium Is The Massage

Here’s a little-known fact about me:

nashville-trolleyThe first summer I spent in Nashville (1994), I had a ‘job’ as a tour-guide and entertainer on the Nashville Trolley.

For several hours on weekend afternoons, I’d sit with my guitar in an alcove-like space next to the engine housing in the front of one of those tottering, wheeled behemoths as it lumbered along a serpentine course from Riverfront Park, up Broadway to Music Row and back.

My job was to recount the history of the landmarks along the route, and between the landmarks and history lessons I’d play my guitar, sing songs from the Nashville canon – and try to be heard over the roar of the diesel engine beside me.

I don’t remember much about my repertoire now but I’m pretty sure that somewhere along Music Row I’d sing Alan Jackson’s Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow (Spotify):

I made it up to music row
Lordy, don’t the wheels turn slow..

It must have been quite a sight: a by-then middle-aged Jewish kid from New York singing country songs from a perch alongside a whining diesel.

I’d had to pass an audition and some vetting to earn this lofty position, but the job only payed whatever tips I could wheedle out of the tourists as they got off the trolley.  So on the floor in front of me I placed a large jar with a label that read, “Garth Brooks and them play for millions – the rest of us play for tips.”

Little did I know at the time what a prediction that was for the future of the music business.

Needless to say the jar was never very full after a shift… and I didn’t last very long at that particular ‘job.’  I guess my ambitions lay elsewhere… Read More

Blow Up Your Desktop…

…with free wall paper from Nashville’s 2014 4th of July Fireworks

Quick link: just go here.

Get these three Nashville Fireworks images for your computer desktop(s)

Get these three Nashville Fireworks images for your computer desktop(s)

I’ve gotten so much favorable feedback from the photos I’ve posted from last night’s fireworks in Nashville that I’m going to return the favor..

I’ve formatted my three favorite shots into a size and resolution suitable for display on your computer desktop, and you are welcome to have the files for free.

Aaaaaaand…. here’s the catch: In order to give you these “free” files, I am now going to trick you into subscribing to my the CohesionArts Weekly Digest e-newsletter.

You knew there was gonna be a catch, right? Not that it’s all that onerous.  I mean, you can easily unsubscribe form the list anytime, and keep the files on your computer.

But why would you want to do that when you can so easily add one more amusing distraction to your random daily “news” feed….??

To subscribe, use the form in the sidebar, or follow this link to the subscription form. Fill out the form and then come back to this page to follow these simple (ha!) steps:

Read More

Let’s Blow Some Shit Up!

And to think… we almost didn’t go downtown for the Fireworks last night…

Tech info: Olympus OM-D E-M1, Lumix 45-175 f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 100mm; ISO 200, 3secs @ f/11 (two stops under meter reading).

… just as we’ve never gone to see the downtown fireworks – and that’s in the now 20 years since I’ve been living here (and 16 years for Ann, if my math is working).That’s mostly because ever year since 1995, my 4th of July celebrations have revolved around taking a gang of people to Greer Stadium for whatever the Nashville Sounds have going for the holiday.The 4th of July has always been my favorite holiday: First, because it celebrates one of the most remarkable periods in human history – that time in the summer of 1776 when a gang of radical dissidents came up with the best idea for country the world has seen before or since.

I used to be Jimmy Buffett.

ca. 1982: I used to be Jimmy Buffett.

When I had my boat business in Hawaii in the 1980s, we had three days every year when we shut the operation down and gave everybody in the company the day off: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the 4th of July. Of those three, the 4th was my favorite because it’s the only one that is strictly secular, no religious overtones.

In fact, I’m such a devotee of 4th of July fireworks that I had to stage my own show one time.

One year while I was living on Maui – I’m guessing it was 1983 – there were NO 4th of July fireworks anywhere on the island.  I remember driving around the dark island, trying to find a fireworks display, thinking I was living in some kind of heathen Communist state.

I resolved that was never gonna happen again, and the following year I joined forces with a Hollywood pyrotechnical who lived part-time on the island. He offered up a cache of aerial explosives if I could raise $5K.  So I went around the island, raised $5,000 (and encountered only one objection to spending that kind of money to just blow shit up) and Maui has not been without a fireworks show ever since.

OK, maybe I have made a useful contribution to civilization…

Fast forward to Nashville, summer of 1995… that was the year Tom Kimmel, Michael Camp and I started songs.com.  So, now that I lived in a town with a decent (if dated) triple-A, minor league ball park, I thought it would be fun to get some of that gang together for “the perfect 4th of July: baseball, hotdogs and fireworks all in one location.  It doesn’t hurt that the parking is pretty convenient, too.

That was the start a tradition that’s been going on for 19 years now (with the exception of 2005 when Ann and I went on a scuba trip to Belize the week of the 4th and organized a night at the ballpark later in the month).

We did it again Thursday night, July 3 – since the Sounds were going to be the road time somewhere on the actual 4th, the Independence Day festivities and fireworks were staged the night before.

That left us with not much to do on the actual 4th, so we got tickets for the Belcourt Theater premier of the re-release of The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night” which was followed by a performance of Beatles songs by Nashville’s own Beatle, Bill Lloyd and his Long Players, renamed for the night “A Clue to An Entirely New Direction” – a name satirically lifted from a line of dialog in the movie.

So that was all we had planned for the 4th of July.  But we got out of the theater at about 8:30, and I’d heard that the fireworks downtown were not going off until 9:45 so… hey, we’ve got enough time to find a vantage point and see some more fireworks!

I’d found a couple of potentially viable locations with a good view of downtown while researching my entry in the Mayor’s Skyline Photo contest last fall.  One location I found is atop a parking lot in midtown.  The post is about 2 miles from the fireworks ground zero in Riverfront Park, but I figured a) that would give us a perspective that included the skyline, and b) we’d be far enough away to have easy ingress and egress.

And when we got there at about 9:15, it turned out we were right on all counts. There were a few dozenl other people in the same place, enough that there was even a security team in place to keep the crowd in line.  But parking was easy and the vantage point was terrific. We set up the tripod, mounted the camera, and waited.

And boy, was it worth the effort.  Nashville puts on what I have since learned is considered one of the top three 4th of July fireworks displays in the country.  There were a lot of ground displays that we could only see the tops of between the buildings, but the aerials were spec-fucking-tacular!

Several times during the almost 30-minutes of pyrotechnics Ann and I said to each other, “OK, that’s it….” and then it would resume and go on for more.  Big bang boom!

And it wasn’t just the visuals.  Even from two miles away, the sound was pretty amazing, too.  The onslaught of explosions was loud and concusive – and a reminder of what fireworks really represent:  At one point Ann said, “this is what a war must sound like.”  Yup, just another day in Baghdad…

We were in a perfect place to ‘get the shot’ that included all the aerial displays over the city, lit up above a silhouette of the city’s most notable architectural landmarks from the Fifth Third Bank building to the Batman building (which one astute observer said looks like the Eye of Sauron in Mordor…)  I’ve culled eight frames from the evening and uploaded ’em here.

So that’s the story.  We almost didn’t go, made a last minute course correction, and I got a set of photos that have generated more social media feedback, likes, comments, and shares than anything I’ve shot/posted. Big thanks to everybody who  “Like”d and shared on Facebook an Instagram.

I guess people like to see stuff blow up in the sky…Happy Birthday, ‘Murica!

@NashvilleTN @InstaNashville Another keeper from last night’s #fireworks at River Front Park in #Nashville, TN#4thOfJuly #FourthOfJuly #America#photooftheday #thebest_capture #ig_masterpiece #nuriss_tag #awe_inspiringshots #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #editoftheday #capture_today #waycoolshots #featuremeinstagood #igcapturesclub #ig_masterpiece #ig_great_pics #tweegram #picoftheday #instadaily #beautiful #bestoftheday #sky #regram ©2014 paul@cohesionarts.com aka @driver49

A Note About This Week’s Digest (June 4, 2014)

To the Vast Legion who read my Weekly Digest:

What you’ll be seeing this week if you follow all the links in the digest (or just scroll down from the main page of the website) is mostly photos from an event that I covered on Sunday – the inaugural iteration of the Farmers Market at the Amqui Station, recently relocated to a park in Madison – the neighborhood locals like  to call “Northeast Nashville” (because, you know, EAST Nashville is now SOooo hip and trendy… ).

My weapon of choice these days, the Olympus E-M1 with battery grip, 12-40 f/2.8 lens (24-70 equivalent) and built in WiFi.

My weapon of choice these days, the Olympus E-M1 with battery grip, 12-40 f/2.8 lens (24-70 equivalent) and built in WiFi.

The camera I’m using now – Olympus OM-D E-M1 – has its own built-in WiFi transceiver, which makes it really easy to send photos from the camera to my iPhone and then up to Instagram, Facebook, or whatever.  During the event I sent about a dozen images to Instagram, and tagged them with “#blog” which also sends them to this website and posts them here.

The result is not ideal – I wind up with an individual blog post for each image that I send to Instagram.  That in turn sends a glut of posts to my Facebook page, to the occasional annoyance of my Legion of Followers there.

Like everything in the digital world, it all works, sorta.

What I would really like is to have a tiled window sort of thing, maybe 6 images total, where the panels rotate to display different shots (kinda like my Instagram account looks when when you view it in a desktop browser)  Then all you’d have to do is look at that one window for a few seconds and you’d see a bunch of the images in that one place without any additional effort.  I haven’t quite found the app, plugin, or embed yet that will do that, so I’m stuck for now with individual posts and one image to each.

There are also a couple of images that I’ve siphoned out of the “Portals of Stone” collection and posted to Instagram… I guess I’m trying to see who else in the vast reaches of that universe might like to see images of medieval stone ruins cast against a modern deep-space sky.  So far the reactions are very favorable but not exactly vast.  I’ll keep plugging away at it…

Thanks for subscribing….

June 4, 2014

What A Fucking Racket (updated)

Yes, the show will be sold out before the tickets go on sale.

Overlay-McCartney-2013I missed Billy Joel when he played at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashvile a few weeks ago.  I saw him a couple of times in Los Angeles in the 1970s, but after hearing from people who went how great the show was I’m sorry I didn’t see it.

And I let Bruce Springsteen come and go last week.  Him I saw the last time he was here, and frankly was disappointed in the show.  I do not know entire Springsteen canon by heart, and the sound was pretty awful to my ears.  I guess that’s how it goes for arena shows (although the sound for U2 at the Vanderbilt Stadium one hot July night several years ago was OUT-fucking-STANDING, due largely to “the claw” stage and sound system).

I also missed Paul McCartney the last time he came through Twangtown.  The tickets were pretty well sold out before I could get to them, and when I looked at the after-market prices, I was looking at nearly a grand for nosebleed seats.

McCartney is coming back to Nashville in June, and not to be morbid or anything, but anytime he’s in the vicinity is quite possibly the last opportunity I will have in my lifetime (or his?) to see an actual Beatle sing Beatles songs.  So I have made a note that the tickets go on sale Friday at 10 AM and have arranged to be at my keyboard-and-screen when the time comes.

According to the Bridgestone Arena website,  the tickets for this show will be priced from a low of $29.50 to a high of $254.50.  I’m sure something in between would make sense and even if all I can get is “nosebleed” seats, at least they’re in the arena.

But I don’t think it’s going to happen. I just noticed a friend posted to Facebook that she already has her tickets “in hand.”  She got them through “American Express card holders pre-sale.”

Well, I don’t have an American Express card. I got out of the credit card habit years ago, I now have ONE credit card and ONE debit card an neither of them is American Express.  So no surprise I was not offered a “Pre-Sale” opportunity.

But the whole operation is fucked up from the get go.  I fully expect that there will be not tickets available when I go online on Friday.  Because even though the tickets will be “going on sale” at that time, much of the venue will have been “pre-sold” before the tickets become available to the general public.

Or, I could just jump the gun on the after-market and pre-buy them from an outfit called “Ticketdown” which is also offering “pre-sales” tickets at something between 3 and 4 times the ‘rack rate’ listed on the Bridgestone site.  Tell me, how is an after-market website able to offer tickets BEFORE they ‘go on sale’?

The whole set-up is kinda like saying “the tickets will cost $X.  Unless you actually WANT one.  Then it will be 3- or 4- times $X.  And that’s assuming know the secret password and handshake.

Because it’s a fucking racket.

I dunno, maybe I’m jumping the gun here.  But based on my past experience, and what I’m hearing from private channels and seeing online, I expect pretty much the same.  I’ll get online at 10 AM on Friday and there will be no tickets available.

Stay tuned.  Or, if you’re reading this and you know somebody, just please tell me who to call so I can be part of the fucking racket, too.

– – – – – – –

Update 140423:  My Facebook friend who snagged her tickets via the American Express Pre-Sale offer has informed me that she paid no premium for the tickets, they were sold at the rack rate that the Arena is showing on their website.  OK, fair enough.  She also told me that she’d purchased the $85 seats – arguably the sweet spot in terms of pricing and seating – and then adds, “…there are $55, $201, & $297 seats [still] available….” which sounds to me like the $85 seats are gone. I’ll find out Friday.  I’m pretty well resigned to sitting in the “nosebleed” seats if I can get inside the arena at all.  Good thing we have a pair of great binoculars….




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


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.


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


Celebrating Twenty Years in Nashville

Part 1: How I Got Here

The ground was first tilled in October, 1991.

That’s when my-then-future-ex-wife and I did a vacation exchange – our house on Maui for a home outside of Atlanta, GA.  The occasion was our annual ‘Fall Tour’, something we tried to do almost every year by spending a couple of weeks in a deciduous climate, some place where the leaves changed color – which is not something we ever saw when we lived in Los Angeles or Hawaii,  the two places where I had been living since graduating from college and leaving the east coast in 1973.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 6.10.53 AMThere were a couple of influences already starting to work on me: I’d been listening incessantly to a new Kenny Loggins CD, Leap of Faith (Spotify link), and reading a book by Harry Browne about How I Found Freedom in An Unfree World (Amazon). Those two things already had me thinking a Big Change was coming down the pike.

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