They say the best things in life are free (or at least cheap), and my music degree and I are very happy to be reminded that some of the supreme feelings and thrills in life don’t have to make the monthly budget or come with a price tag that make you debate as to whether you should laugh or cry. Not everything has an expensive shine to it, but this kind of life makes every drink taste that much sweeter and any experience or thing accompanied by the word “free” almost always attended and celebrated. And it all goes down in a city that shares its priceless possessions and talent for little to no cash, so if this is the situation at hand, I’m quite alright with it. It’s people like Shane Tutmarc who make it possible for the good, hard-working folks to have a necessary dose of lasting energy on a regular basis. And to get you and me both through the year, he’s decided to release a song each month in 2015.
At least that’s the goal. Whether it happens each month or not, I commend his musical trial. It seems that the new year endeavor encourages Shane to get in the studio and produce new music, and it also keeps the listeners engaged and returning each month to see just what the Portland native will do next. Not that he’s necessarily a mysterious soul whose music is outrageously unexpected, but he has cycled through the indie bands and taken his musical sabbaticals and inhabited all the roles in between to become a present-day songwriter and performer with a rock n’ roll intent and bits of twang when he wants to use it. “Poison Apple” kicked off the year with a gritty sound soaked in the South and was followed by “Tennessee Girl,” a sweet and steel-guided love song. The most recent track, “When You Found Me,” is a pulsating, retro-hinting record, rounding out his first quarter with a handful of moods and a guarantee that this year is about good times and better, accessible music.
Give Shane‘s 2015 tracks a few spins, and check out his Nashville Five below on the top places to go to hear free music. Now, as beautiful as the word “free” is, because trust me, it’s got a ring to it, remember that what goes around, comes around. Pass the good karma by tipping the musicians that make the nights spent dancing and sipping possible. “It’s the Nashville way,” or something like that.
Nashville Five, by Shane Tutmarc
5 Best Places for Free Music*
- Josh Hedley & The Honky Tonk Heroes – Monday’s, 10pm-2am at Robert’s Western World
My first job in Nashville was working at Robert’s. It was a great job for a newbie, because it gave me the chance to get to know a lot of great musicians and learn about Nashville’s history, and country music in general. I remember, very early on, making a mental list of my favorite singers who frequented the stage at Robert’s, and Josh Hedley was and remains at the top of that list. Locals have known this for years, but with the upcoming release of Heartworn Highways Revisited, the rest of the world is about to catch up. See him now while you can, with no cover charge!
- Heath Haynes & the Hi-Dollars – Sunday’s, 10pm-2am at the 5 Spot
I’d been seeing Heath Haynes around town for a couple years before I had the chance to open a string of shows for the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. And guess who her backing band was? Heath Haynes and the Hi-Dollars! Since then I’ve been a regular at his weekly Sunday night show at the 5 Spot. A little slice of lower Broadway in 5 Points, but without the bachelorette parties or bros.
- New Faces – Tuesday’s, 8pm-12am at the Basement
If you wanted to blame someone for me moving to town, Mike Grimes would be high on the list. A year and a half before moving here, my first time in Nashville, Mike Grimes booked me for a 2-week residency at New Faces. Once I moved to town, I made sure to go almost every week. It was another great opportunity for a new Nashvillian. I haven’t been as much the last couple years, but I’m glad to see they continue the night every week. I’m looking forward to the new Basement in East Nashville, giving me even less reason to ever leave the neighborhood.
- Shady Nasty (DJ Spice-J) – Saturday’s, 10-close at Foobar
I’ve always had a soft spot for 90s hip hop that I grew up with, but my girlfriend LOVES hip hop. All eras of hip hop. If it’s got a good flow and a good beat, she’s singing along by the second hook of the song. It makes her crazy. It makes her wanna party. So now I LOVE hip hop, too. I’ve seen Spice-J in a number of different DJ scenarios, and he is my favorite DJ in town. I’ve dabbled in the DJ world here and there over the years, so I understand the task at hand. Spice-J knows how to get a party started.
- Date Night – Tuesday’s, 10pm-2am at Foobar
I wouldn’t be a true local musician if I didn’t end up plugging something of mine. In late October 2014, Zach Ryan and I (along with a few other friends) started Date Nite at the Foobar. It’s sort of the live equivalent to Keep On Movin’ (the Monday night dance party at 5 Spot)…we focus primarily on 50s and 60s rock n roll, soul and pop. But we also venture into classic country and the occasional Bruce Springsteen or Tom Waits song. Anything to get folks dancing. The night has also been a magnet for great local musicians, and we’ve been treated with special guest appearances by Cory Younts (Old Crow Medicine Show, Jack White), Rob Crowell (Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs), Matthew Paige (Blackfoot Gypsies), Little Joe (Sturgill Simpson), Jason Eskridge, Allen Thompson, and Josh Hedley.
*While there is no cover, be sure to tip the bands, DJs, bartenders- because that’s what keeps the night continuing.