If you’ve gotten to know me at all through this blog, you know that I appreciate three things: 1) good whiskey, 2) a “Cheers” like ambiance in music venues and bars, and 3) quality music. Luckily, this trinity is easily found within Nashville; most nights, I can track down a place where most everyone knows my name, where bartenders serve up stiff bourbon, and where a new band seamlessly occupies a spot within my mental registry.
Originally from Athens, Georgia, Futurebirds is one of those bands that immediately recorded its tracks into my mind, offering a sound that straddles the sphere between country-rock roots and atmospheric melodies. It’s easy to get lost within Baba Yaga, an album whose sonic and sensual tension ease gently into approachable bass lines and floating harmonies. The band succeeds in combining an ethereal headspace with physical impulses; their ability to ground a more psychedelic sound makes them qualified residents of any locally-drawn springtime playlist I’ve created this season.
When I read Carter King’s Nashville Five below, I realized that not only does the band’s music fit snugly into the puzzle of Nashville indie music; the band’s character does as well. King, (besides sharing my last name), also shares my love for whiskey and places that are cozy enough to subsist on publicity of Gary Portnoy’s overplayed theme song. Sometimes it only takes a few songs and five favorites to know that a band was destined to carve out spot within Nashville’s music matrix. Listen to “Wild Heart” while reading King’s Nashville Five below, and you too will etch a few slots for Futurebirds on a spring-day playlist.
By Carter King of Futurebirds
I moved to Nashville from Athens, Ga in December. It’s been an incredible experience but being as I’ve spent a good chunk of those 4 months on tour, I’ve not gotten nearly as deep into the cracks of this town as I would like. So apologies in advance if my Nashville top 5 is through the eyes of a n00b.
BELLE MEADE BOURBON ::: When I first moved to town, I lived for a couple months with the ‘Brothers Bourbon’, Charlie and Andy Nelson, who are resurrecting their great-great-great grandfather’s Green Brier Distillery, one of the oldest and, at one point, largest whiskey distilleries in Tennessee (older than Jack Daniels himself in fact). It went under during prohibition, only to find rebirth by these guys 100 years later. It was really impressive to get to see inside the day-to-day labor these guys put into the young operation. Much like running a burgeoning band, they essentially go on tour, sleep on floors, hang out in strange bars, and keep very very long hours juggling one too many things. And the whiskey is delicious! Hopefully, this shout-out will score me a free bottle. Looking at you, Charlie…
CRAIGSLIST ::: Nashville has an incredible Craigslist selection for music gear. All those hung-up and forgotten dreams provide for a lot of great deals on some sweet stuff. But bring backup/witnesses along with you. I drove out to the boonies to buy a road case from this guy. We literally met in the woods and the first thing he said was, “Oh, so you came alone?” Shit! I’m going to die out here!
LAS MARACAS ::: Cheap, delicious mexican food and beverage. The frozen margaritas are no joke. It’s like a never-ending birthday party in there, and can actually be one if you so desire. They are not stingy with the birthday sombrero and free sopapillas. Tip well and you’ll be treated well. I was so happy when I found this place, I ate there 3 times in 2 days.
LOCKELAND TABLE ::: This place is great. A real Cheers theme-song vibe. Everyone is really sweet there, never a smug ‘tude, no matter how high-end and delectable the cuisine is. If you’re on top, you can go baller-to-the-wall, ordering up rounds of the bone marrow and drinking the finest wines, but you can also get out of there on the cheaper end, splitting a wood fire pizza and drinking a few beers at the bar. Always a great hang.
NASHVILLE FLEA MARKET ::: I haven’t actually been to this one yet. Open only on the 4th weekend of every month at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. My girlfriend went to explore it while I was gone and the extensive slideshow of bizarre things I received on my phone, along with the assortment of decorative animal skulls that now litter our house, has put it at the top of my 5-places-I-need-to-check-out-immediately list.