Nashville Five /// John Henry & The Engine

As a blog that takes its name partially from the Boss, it seems somewhat essential to listen twice when an EP floats into our pixilated mailbox that so clearly finds Mr. Bruce Springsteen as a key influence. John Henry & The Engine make straight-up American rock – not Americana, let’s be clear – on Spinning Wheel, singing about horses, hope and hopelessness and hitting the road, with John Henry’s deep, Springsteen-esque rasp driving the train.

Though the band is from St. Louis, MO, they have been spending quite a bit of time here in Nashville, writing, recording and putting together a record.

Tomorrow, 5.10,  John Henry & The Engine will open for Lucero at Cannery Ballroom (tickets are still available), and they’ve previously opened for the likes for Langhorne Slim, friend of the band and local Will Hoge and even Chuck Berry. Listen to the songs “Leave this Place” here, and “Spinning Wheel” here.

Having spent enough time here to have discovered them, front man John Henry offered up his five simple pleasures in Nashville. And here they are:

1. The Creative Workshop, Berry Hill: Made a couple of records at this funky little studio. Our Producer Ken Coomer and Engineer Patrick Miller love working out of there. There’s shag carpet on the walls and the vocal booth looks like a fort, it’s killer. It sounds super warm and it’s rumored to be haunted.  Elvis came to check it out in the 70’s but it was too small for him and his entourage.

 2. 812 Russell: My buddy Zach Broocke is a great songwriter, and he has an amazing house with an even better porch. We’ve written a ton of songs on that porch. Inside it has these tall southern ceilings with tons of reverb. We can make some cool sounding demos in there. I think if the place has a good vibe, it’s going to help my writing and it feels great to write there with Zach.

3. The extra Hot Sauce at Beyond the Edge: I am a hot sauce and spicy food junkie. I try them everywhere I go. I find myself at this bar eating a lot since they serve food super late. This hot sauce is delicious. It’s spicy and flavorful and has a good burn. Try it on your fries. I feel like a food critic.

4. Yeungling Draft: I know Nashvillians, this beer is everywhere here and it’s boring to you. But for me being from St. Louis, it’s hard to find it there. It’s impossible to find it on draft. I enjoy it immensely, sometimes too much. I always take a case when I head back out of town.

5. The view of the city on 1-24E 3 miles outside of town: So I am going to preface this by saying that I am a romantic. Whenever I am coming into town, I look forward to this one spot on 24E about 3 miles outside of town where the hills part and you can see downtown. I remember one of the first times I came into town my friend Will Hoge was broadcasting on WSM. I thought, “Damn, this is just like a movie.” Sorry, I am a romantic again.

Photo: 2011 © Brian Cummings

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Marissa is the editor of Lockeland Springsteen.

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