Bonnaroo is lovely, but it isn’t everything. Don’t get me wrong: I love how the entire city (and state, presumably) gets excited about this thing like CNN over a political convention – I even adore how local news anchors are covering every detail in between traffic and weather stories (I can tell you that never happened in NYC – unless someone was hurt at one of the festivals).
But Bonnaroo isn’t for everyone – some of you cannot go, but more of you probably just choose not to. So instead, we present a very lovely long weekend right here in Nashville, Tennessee, where at least we will have air conditioning, flushing toilets and the ability to sleep in a bed not made of air or foam. These are not underrated items.
Manchester might have Macca, but lo and behold, it’s actually an amazing three nights of music and culture here in town, too. Three night’s I’d be sad to miss, even on the farm….
* Bombino w/Nikki Lane, Fly Golden Eagle, DJ Dan Auerbach & more at Oak Valley Lanes ::: Tuareg musician Bombino found a unique partner in Dan Auerbach, who produced his LP, Nomad, and infused a raw, bluesy sound into Bombino’s intoxicating North African roots. While you’re there, grab some food from Otaku South, drinks from Barista Parlor and bowl a game or two. $20 bucks, but worth every penny.
* Country Fest at Mad Donna’s MD Music Loft ::: we’ve waxed poetic before about our love for what MD Loft brings to the neighborhood, and how it’s curator extraordinaire, Terry, has worked to provide a new gathering for music that’s more than just a space – it’s a community. At Country Fest, you get eight artists: Cale Tyson, Kelsey Waldon, Amanda Contreras, W.B. Givens, Jordan Hull, Erin Rae, Heidi Feek, Vickie Vaughn Band and Andrew Hunt. No wristband required.
* Communion Nashville with Tristen, Kansas Bible Company and more at the Basement ::: Tristen, who was dubbed “Artist to Watch” by both Spin and American Songwriter at her previous Bonnaroo debut, graces us tonight at The Basement. In a previous conversation discussing who I’d want to most see at the festival, Tristen was at the top of my list; her performances are tangible and her music intimate, with an honest and raw perspective on the tides of love. Joined by Tristen is Kansas Bible Company, Nashville’s favorite eleven-piece band. The five-member horn section adds a big-band element to the soulful rock and roll that KBC has carefully constructed; their sound is grand and emblematic of surrealistic time jumps through the heartland. – E.K.
* She and Him at the Ryman :: Catch the talented Zooey D. and M. Ward at the mother church. (I enjoyed getting to know M. Ward here).
* The return of Nashville Dancin‘ at the Riverfront ::: with Donna the Buffalo, Tommy Malone, 18 South, The Lonely Biscuits
* Sturgill Simpson at Grimey’s
* Heath Haynes at the Family Wash
* Joint2 at 516 Hagan Street ::: Presented by Susan Sherrick and Libby Callaway, Joint Project 2 is the second of a pop-up series with “three days of art, music, food and style celebrating American car and motorcycle culture of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.” If you needed any more proof that so much of this town is bubbling with the bohemian spirit of a 60’s-era Greenwich Village, here you go, except this one is also mixed with the style and pathos of Santa Fe and Soho (Manhattan and London) with an only-in-Nashville vibe. Susan and Libby, two former New Yorkers with serious taste who now reside in East Nashville, have gathered an amazing mix of my favorite things: a pop-up shop featuring vintage T-shirts from LA’s Filth Mart (which, for the record, used to be my favorite vintage store when it was originally located in the East Village), yakitori by Otaku South and live music from Kings of the F**king Sea (aka Poni Silver of The Ettes and Chet Weise of the Ultras S/C). There will also be a motorcycle rally hosted by Andy Mumma of Barista Parlor. The centerpiece of the event, the gallery show, happens to have two of my favorite photos of all time by Barry Feinsein of Mr. Bob Dylan (this one and this one) and a piece by my other personal god, Allen Ginsberg. You will find me drooling hopelessly in front of both – since everything is for sale (anyone got an extra few grand to spare? I’ll owe ya). Plus work by ubertalented local Joshua Black Wilkins, Caroline Allison, Yves Assad, William Claxton, Bruce Davidson, Mikael Kennedy, Leon Levinstein, Danny Lyon, Jim McGuire, Joel Meyerowitz, Heidi Ross, Phil Stern, Dennis Stock and Scott G. Toepfer. Don’t miss it. Running through the 16th. (featured photo: Joel Meyerowitz, Truro, 1976).
* Foreign Fields at the High Watt ::: Foreign Fields‘ LP Anywhere But Where I Am is a masterfully painted landscape of electronic-folk compositions that could make the least artistically inclined of us experience the joys of synesthesia. I recently described them to a friend as the musical interpretation of a Matisse painting, superimposed over Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men.” Go to this show if you want to fall in love with this band as deeply as I have, and if you’re curious as to whether my analogies make any logical sense. – E.K.
* Tom McBride Album Release show at The Basement ::: w. Don Gallardo Trio feat. Allie Farris & Maria Kowalski)
* Dent May w/Tim Chad and Sherry & Meth Dad at the Stone Fox
* Webb Wilder at 3rd and Lindsley
* Jack Johnson at Third Man Records ::: Have breakfast (banana pancakes?) with singer, surfer and toker Jack Johnson at this special 10:30 am show. Tickets here (each purchase includes 2 tickets to the performance/taping and a pre-order of the Black & Blue Split-color vinyl record, which will be recorded direct-to-acetate that morning).
* East Side Hootenanny at East Park ::: Catch Space Capone, The Future, Kat Smo, Frances & the Foundation and VITEK along with food trucks, vendors and plenty of outdoor time, all followed by your own bed.
* Musicians Corner with Ben Sollee, Humming House, Matt Giraud, and Amy Stroup at Centennial Park
* Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival
Keep checking back throughout the next few days for more updates, and follow us on Twitter. And let us know if we are missing anything good.