Jake Davis and I share a telepathic connection. At the tail end of a winter ripe with every relational upset one might expect to find in a bad episode of a cancelled CW television show, I vowed myself to a spring of solitude, avoiding all human connection in exchange for the purgatory of arrested development-type introspection. This lasted for about three days, until the Velveeta shortage depleted Kroger’s Aisle 12, and I had run through every “cute kitten” video on YouTube’s first 15 pages. Suddenly it became necessary to communicate to those around me, to share laughs and small-talk and smiles with strangers that cry with a desperate need for human interaction.
Local band Honey Locust made it into my repertoire of encouraging music to break free of self-imposed shackles of despair, with music both relating to and condemning the many sides of loneliness. Their album, The Great Southern Brood, was released on February 25th, and is just that: an ode to buoyant brooding and southern solitude. Honey Locust arranges baroque pop with baritone vocals made to unnerve, composing appropriate crescendos within the scope of their orchestrally driven pieces. The Great Southern Brood is a concise and listenable work; it is the perfect kind of album to soundtrack a headspace that craves replacing thoughts with the sounds of a gut-wrenching, cinematically vivid landscape. “Stubborn as the snow that remains in springs,” Davis sings in “Hatchet,” reminding us that the path to the blossoming season is sometimes one that includes a slow and meandering withdrawal from the hibernation of being alone. Honey Locust carves out their own special spot in Nashville’s folk scene, presenting lyrical wisdom beyond their years, and ability to create an album that is a cohesive soundtrack to a consistent sentiment through the transience of the seasons.
In striving for balance, I’ve surrendered my oath of silence but have adopted the traditions presented in Davis’ Nashville Five.
Five things to do alone in Nashville:
By Jake Davis of Honey Locust
Nashville is a social town. Its heavily networked and connected, constantly moving and shaking, and always eager for a “stop and chat” or coffee date. This is all well and good but In such a world its important to take time to escape the social frenzy and to just be content in hanging out with yourself. There’s a unique perspective that comes from observing the world this way. Here’s a list of things to do when you need some good quality alone time.
For a mind nourishing and wallet pleasing day, head down to the building attached to the parking garage you use when you go to the Ryman and start exploring. Go check out that book you’ve been meaning to read or just start wandering until you find the thing you didnt know you were looking for. Its easy to lose track of time within the vast expanses of books, CDs, movies and relics of Nashville’s past. And if you’ve been avoiding the library because you have too many fees? Go make it right! You will feel better.
There’s something really nice and for some reason less lonely about catching a midday movie as opposed to at night. If you’ve got a few hours to kill and no one’s around it can be great to go sit at the Belcourt (or any theater) and catch a film. Its a perfect diversion from the day and (for better or worse) can cast an interesting light on whatever you do after.
Record store deep search:
There’s a difference between swinging by a record store to check the new arrivals vs. going in for a full on excavation. There are gems to found amongst the dollar bins and single racks for those who are willing to dive in deep enough. For this kind of search places like the Great Escape and Phonolux are killer but there are also plenty of bins to scour through at Grimey’s and The Groove. Find yourself a stack of dusty vinyl treasure to take home and get lost in. The dingier antique stores work for this kind of thing as well.
Take a Hike:
There is no shortage of beautiful spots to hike around this city. Getting out into nature is essential to being a balanced human and a good solo walk can be profound and head clearing. Go at your own pace and get acquainted with the native plants and animals that inhabit our city. Radnor Lake is a classic as well as the Warner parks and Percy Priest. There are tons, just google it. Sometimes a good scenic drive will do the trick (see Natchez Trace) but there’s nothing that compares to really being in it on your own. Oh and put your damn phone away!
Ceremonial hot chicken:
Those who like to indulge in the masochistic ritual of hot chicken know the power that a good spice can inspire. There is a profound eye watering high that can be induced by the intensity of extremely spicy food and as we all know, Nashville has the hot chicken thing down. This enlightening act is intensified as a solo mission. Without the support of a friend, it requires one to reach deep within to find the strength need to push the boundaries of the pallet and endure the fiery delight. The reward is rich and spiritual. Bolton’s is recommended here but everyone has their favorite.