We all are guilty of tried and true traditions, habitual actions and weekly routines – and there is nothing wrong with habits. In fact, it’s easy to argue that you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. But sometimes the argument against that statement is less rebellious and more creative. And that’s who Chance McCoy is. He’s the creative coloring outside the lines and the traveler more comfortable on back roads rather than highways; the inventor making blue notes melodic. Whatever stringed instrument is in his hands, whatever kind of song is escaping his lips, he’s guaranteed to elaborate on the known to make it something worth knowing. Hailing from West Virginia and informed by Appalachian and folk music, Chance carries his influences in his essence, for he seems to exist in constant motion, a kind of quality that describes his playing. One season he’ll be on the road with Old Crow Medicine Show and the next season he’s traveling in the band for Rhiannon Giddens on her tour abroad, and no matter where he is or what he’s playing, be it fiddle, guitar or banjo, he’s always pushing the past canon forward. His style is not about tradition, but rather the expansion of it, like taking the 19th century hymnal extractions and turning them into calculated chaos of frayed horsehairs and wild improvisations. And as off the cuff and spontaneous as he sounds, it is his intention behind each movement that makes him stand out that much more.
Having just landed at BNA following his tour stint with Rhiannon, he’s musically shape-shifting yet again, but this time as the singer in the round. Chance McCoy, with his partner in country J.P. Harris and the ever-soulful Andrew Combs, will be forgoing his supporting role for a spotlight at Acme tonight at 6pm for Acme Unplugged, so be sure to make your way out for this set. And if you’re looking for a way to ditch your habits and that same bar stool, take heed from Chance as he tells us his where he likes to spend his week.
Nashville Five: Your Week in Nashville, according to Old Crow’s Chance McCoy
1. Monday: Acme Unplugged
On the last Monday of every month, Acme Feed & Seed downtown hosts a round of songwriters to come and play in their killer event space The Hatchery. What I love about is how you never get the same thing twice, so when Acme and Wrangler approached me about curating my own round, it was a no-brainer that I had to bring my buds Andrew Combs and JP Harris along. We’ll be performing for the March edition of Unplugged on the 28th, and hopefully some of y’all can make it out.
2. Tuesday: Grand Ole Opry
This list wouldn’t be complete if the Opry wasn’t mentioned. Every Tuesday, the Opry brings in some serious talent to take the stage. It’s a stage where legends are made, and the best is you can see a new and upcoming artist, and then immediately after, someone who’s been playing since the 1940’s will show up. For as much of a staple it is within the Nashville, it still manages to be unpredictable, which is kind of the best thing about it.
3. Wednesday: The Five Spot
On Wednesdays I’m usually up for anything because, you know, Hump Day, but my night usually rolls around to Five Spot no matter where the wind takes me. They host a Country Western Wednesday, and it’s just such a good time, that I can’t help but go back. If you’re looking for something a little of the beaten path, but with some seriously good music, this is the place to be.
4. Thursday: The Station Inn
Another “hole in the wall,” so to speak, but if your night somehow makes its way to The Station Inn, you’re in for a good one. It’s the place to go if you want to hear some of Nashville’s most talented bluegrass musicians, and you can go on any night, and someone who’s amazing is sure to be playing. You can even take a bluegrass jam CLASS. It just doesn’t get better than that.
5. Friday: Robert’s Western World + Acme
Broadway is known for being the land of the tourists, but if you’re a local (or want the “local” experience,) Robert’s is the bar you want to go to. Their stage is known for hosting some of Nashville’s best standing musicians, and it’s one of the last places on Broadway where you can hear true country/bluegrass music. Usually after a few drinks, and maybe a fried bologna sandwich, I will make my way over to Acme, where they not only have a killer band on the first floor, but some serious DJs on the rooftop, if I feel like the night needs to end in a dance party. Ending your week on a high note is really the only way to go.