Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kings Of Leon, The Pink Spiders Hit The Road!

It was announced late last week that Bob Dylan has tapped Nashville rockers Kings Of Leon as the opening act for the first leg of the rock legend's fall tour. According to Billboard, the band will open for Bobby D. on his October 11th Vancouver date and will play several high profile shows, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago (but NO Nashville). Another band with Nashville connections, the Raconteurs will open for Dylan during the final third of the tour (Jack White lives HERE now, don't you know?). The Foo Fighters will take up the middle of the two-month tour, performing their acoustic set.

Before hitting the road with "Blind Boy Grunt," Kings Of Leon will do sixteen shows on their own during the month of September, including Louisville KY, Austin TX and St Louis MO. After a dozen dates with Dylan, the boys will be headed to the land down under to tour with Pearl Jam as its opening act across Australia. Dylan's new album, Modern Times, will be out on Tuesday, August 29th while a new Kings Of Leon disc (titled Because Of The Times) won't be available until February or March 2007.

The Pink Spiders have been drafted by teen faves Good Charlotte as the opening act for their fall mini-tour. Billboard reports that the tour will open September 27th in San Francisco and will close on October 22nd in Baltimore, with stops along the way in LA, Denver, Chicago, Boston and New York (again, NO Nashville shows). The pink ones are currently on tour with the AKAs in support of their major label debut, Teenage Graffiti.

Together, these two bands are making waves and are helping put Nashville on the rock & roll map (maybe for good this time). Whether you like 'em or not...and the Reverend thinks that both bands are pretty good...they're getting more press and calling more attention to the Music City than even Jason & the Scorchers managed back in the day. Hopefully, the modest success currently being enjoyed by Kings Of Leon and the Pink Spiders will translate into bigger audiences and better opportunities for other cool current Nashville bands like Forget Cassettes, Glossary, the Privates, the Golden Sounds and How I Became The Bomb (among others).

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dulcimer Master David Schnaufer Remembered

My old friend Aashid Himons called this morning to let me know that local Nashville musician David Schnaufer had died on Wednesday, August 23rd after a brief battle with lung cancer. Schnaufer was only 53 years old. It was disturbing news in that both of us knew and respected David’s talents as well as his immense scholarship on the instrument that became his trademark, the mountain dulcimer. Aashid expressed regrets – he had planned on recording with David when he fell ill; by the time that Aashid had recovered from his illness, David had begun to succumb to his own. The two artists, like-minded in many ways and drawing, more often than not, from a common musical wellspring, never got together to collaborate on what would have been a great recording by two enormous talents.

I didn’t really know David Schnaufer well but I had met him a few times, thanks to John Lomax III and the Cactus Brothers. I first met David sometime in the late-80s, when John was working with him, producing Schnaufer’s first two recordings, the Dulcimer Deluxe (1988) and Dulcimer Player (1989) cassettes, for his SFL Records label. The two recordings showcased Schnaufer’s talents alongside such Nashville instrumental heavyweights as Chet Atkins, Mark O’Connor and Dave Pomeroy. Lomax later combined the two cassette releases on CD as Dulcimer Player Deluxe. I later had the opportunity to meet and talk with him a couple more times during his association with the Cactus Brothers.

When popular Nashville rockers Walk The West decided to take their country-leaning alter-ego the Cactus Brothers full-time, they asked Schnaufer and steel guitarist Sam Poland to join the band to bolster their already impressive instrumental abilities. The Cactus Brothers released their self-titled debut album on Jimmy Bowen’s Liberty Records imprint in 1993, touring heavily in support of the album, including Canada and Europe. Schnaufer’s contributions to the Cactus Brothers’ early sound are immeasurable, the album including a raucous rendition of the traditional "Fisher’s Hornpipe" that Schnaufer had earlier performed with the band on his Dulcimer Player album.

As I wrote in the band’s bio for the All Music Guide: "the Cactus Brothers were one of the earliest country bands to embrace video and cable television as a way to reach an audience. Videos for "Fisher's Hornpipe" and "Crazy Heart," from the band's debut album, would go on to win Bronze Awards in the Worldfest Competition in Houston in 1994. A video for the band's scorching cover of the country classic "Sixteen Tons" earned significant airtime on cable networks VH1 and CMT."

Schnaufer and Poland left the Cactus Brothers by the time of the band’s 1995 sophomore release, Schnaufer picking up his career as a one-of-a-kind session player. After all, then as now, there just aren’t that many dulcimer players, especially those that specialize in the Appalachian style that David had mastered. Through the years, he played alongside such diverse talents and Johnny Cash and June Carter, Emmylou Harris, Mark Knopfler, Linda Ronstadt and Cyndi Lauper. It is a testimony to his skills that he was one of only four musicians invited to perform at the Cash’s 25th wedding anniversary party (along with Charley Pride, Norman Blake and Bill Monroe).

Up until his illness, Schnaufer continued to study his instrument and discover new ways to play, winning several competitions at various folk and mountain music festivals. He also created an instructional video, collaborated with luthier Moses Scrivner in designing a concert dulcimer, and wrote scholarly articles on the history of his chosen instrument. In 1995, David became Vanderbilt University’s first Adjunct Associate Professor of Dulcimer, teaching students at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music.

David Schnaufer’s talent was such that he could pick out a bluegrass classic like "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" and collaborate on the composition of a classical concerto like "Blackberry Winter." Schnaufer was a unique talent, an artist of some considerable vision that had one foot planted firmly in the past and the other striding towards the future. Through his music, David helped increase the popularity of the humble dulcimer; through his work with his students, he taught the simple joys of making music. Schnaufer is the perfect example of one of the many underrated and overlooked musical talents that Nashville can boast of, an artist who never became a star but made the city’s artistic community a better place by being part of it.

Here is an excellent article on David Schnaufer's life and career [click] by the son of his former manager, John Nova Lomax, and here is a fine overview of Schnaufer's importance to the mountain music community [click].

Some of David's friends and students, like Jan Pulsford, have set up a memorial page for the artist [click] on Myspace and, finally, for those of you who would like to hear some of David's music, here are some MP3 files for your enjoyment:

(click the links to hear, right click and 'save as' to download)

The Cactus Brothers "Fisher's Hornpipe"

David Schnaufer "Here Comes The Sun"

David Schnaufer "Greensleeves"

David Schnaufer "Rock Th' Shay"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ray Crabtree Calling

The Reverend heard from Ray Crabtree of the White Animals this afternoon, calling in response to my comments in the recent "Never In Nashville" post. Ray wanted to correct some of the mistakes that I had made in the blog entry and clarify some of the things that he is quoted as saying in the Nashville Scene's "Never In Nashville" article.

First of all, I incorrectly characterized Ray as a "publicist" when, in fact, he closed his publicity business three or four years ago. Ray is currently a stay-at-home-dad for three kids, a full-time job if ever there was one. Ray still plays music as part of "Nashville's Premiere 3-Car Garage Band," the 1969 Band, along with his former White Animals' bandmate Rich Parks.

Ray isn't too happy with the "Never In Nashville" article, stating that he was misquoted by Scene music editor Tracy Moore. Some of the things Ray is quoted as saying were supposed to be off-the-record, or else they were taken out of context by Moore. He expressed to me that his comments in the story might seem like he was saying bad things about the Scorchers or that he didn't like the band, when nothing could be further from the truth. What Ray was really trying to express was how the Scorchers shook up the Music Row country music establishment at the time and that the national attention the band brought to Nashville's rock music scene was good for everybody, the White Animals included.

As for the White Animals, it has long been my contention that the band was always good enough to get signed to a major label. They had an exciting live show, an undeniable musical chemistry, solid songwriting and their music translated well to record. The White Animals didn't sound like anybody else that I remember from the era and that probably held them back as much as it helped them. Listening to the fine 3,000 Nights In Babylon CD compilation, the band's music has held up incredibly well through the years and still sounds vibrant, fresh and exciting.

Considering the horror stories that I've heard from some of the local Nashville bands (and other bands that I've known) that did get major label deals back in the day, the White Animals are probably lucky that they didn't get signed to a label. Hell, I remember Michael Dean of Bomb telling me how Warner Music dropped the band mid-tour, when they were broke, hungry and cold and stuck in the middle of Iowa or somewhere. Considering what the White Animals accomplished -- half a dozen solid, rockin' self-released albums -- I'd say that the band did pretty good by not setting themselves up to get screwed by a label.

Thanks to Ray for setting the record straight. I look forward to speaking with him again in the future to document some of his rock & roll memories for "The Other Side Of Nashville" project.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Never In Nashville?

"Please tell me that they at least called you," my friend Willie J. said over the phone the day that the Nashville Scene's "Never In Nashville" article hit the street. "If they didn't call you, they didn't get the whole story," said Willie. Other calls and emails also came in, from people who knew about The Other Side Of Nashville project.

No, they didn't call me, not really. I had swapped emails with Scene music editor Tracy Moore, author of the rag's "Never In Nashville" story, but in the end she never called me back for my input. 'Tis a shame, too, because in talking primarily with Tom Wood, Kath Hansen and Ray Crabtree, she limited the perspective on an otherwise passable article -- not great, but it could have been worse, especially since the writer was probably in grade school when we were having all that fun some twenty years ago.

On the plus side, Moore did track down Rick Champion for the article, something I've yet been able to do, and she did include Andy McLenon and Kay Clary of Praxis (two great people who were there); Dave Willie, an upstanding fellow by any measure; and Jason Ringenberg, who did more, perhaps, to put Nashville rock on the map than anybody. Moore relied too much, perhaps, on Crabtree -- a publicist whose number one client is himself and the White Animals -- obviously without realizing the long-standing enmity between the band and much of the rest of the local scene. Now I love the White Animals, always have, and have written glowing things about them through the years, but let's be honest...the band has always felt that it never got the acclaim that it deserved and has always been jealous about the modicum of success enjoyed by Jason & the Nashville Scorchers.

As for Tom Wood and Kath Hansen, well, I mentioned both earlier, in the second part of my history of Nashville music zines. In my mind, they both overestimate their involvement in the local music scene, but maybe I'm overestimating my involvement in the scene. Moore's article says that the two "left The Metro in 1988 to form a snarky, contentious literary zine called the Fireplace Whiskey Journal..." after which she gives them credit for helping launch the Nashville Scene. Well, FWJ might have indeed been "snarky" but it was anything but literary. It seemed to me to be more of an attempt to keep getting into shows for free than to publish anything of substance. I give a lot more credit for the early success of the Scene to former Metro writer Brian Mansfield, who was the rag's music editor, and to editor Bruce Honick, who pursued the idea of an "alternative newsweekly" in Nashville and worked to make it happen...and yes, I also wrote for the Scene in those days.

In Moore's article, Wally Bangs made a comment that I liked about as much as being attacked by a pack of wild gerbils. Now I gave proper credit to Bangs in this blog for writing "Rick Champion Opened A Hot Dog Stand," a great look back at Nashville rock circa the '80s, but his memory of The Metro is somewhat flawed, in my obviously biased opinion. Pointing out, somewhat scornfully, that Jon Bon Jovi was on the cover of the first issue, Bangs tells the Scene that "some issues would totally suck...but then for a while, it was awesome. People like Kath Hansen and Tom Wood were writing for it, and suddenly it was pretty good."

Now I won't disagree with Wally that The Metro often sucked. Some of the Reverend's work sucked the hardest...I remember an article on Tears For Fears written from a bio when the notoriously whiny band refused to talk to us on the phone...whew, wotta smellbag! And how Jon Rich ever got any of his drivel on heavy metal published in the rag is beyond me...he must have lent Gus Palas some money or something. But let's be as honest as churchmice here, shall we people? In August 1985 when The Metro put Bon Jovi on the cover, few people outside of New Jersey had any idea who Jon or his Aquanet crew were. To claim that we "sold out" with that very first issue is a nifty little bit of historical revisionism. We were still a year away from Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet album dominating the charts so The Metro was...shall we say...actually on the cutting edge of musical coverage.

Besides, Palas never meant for The Metro to be an exclusively local music rag, even though we covered local artists that nobody, not even the Fireplace Whiskey Journal, would write about. We put LA's Screamin' Sirens on the cover of issue number two and other early issues featured cover stories on Afrikan Dreamland and R.E.M. and articles on local bands like Dessau, In Pursuit and, ahem, the White Animals. Although the Reverend often took issue with Palas back in the day, it was his rag after all, and I'm proud of the work that we did in The Metro through the years. To his credit, Gus pretty much gave this writer carte blanche to cover whatever wild-assed shit that I wanted to, and articles on Living Colour, Chagall Guevara, Widespread Panic, Suicidal Tendencies, Hispanic rapper Kid Frost and others brought the zine national attention and earned yours truly a solid (worldwide) reputation as a music journalist. I'm proud of what we did at The Metro and could once again point out that no other publication focused as much national attention on our local music scene, before or since....

Let's call this for what it was, and then let it rest like the stinking corpse that it is: there existed in Nashville during the '80s a small local group of elitist assholes that hung around The Metro and loitered in the local clubs and supported the bands that they alone could lay claim to. Their identity was based entirely on showing up at Cantrell's every night and hanging out with other members of the clique. Once the Scorchers got signed to EMI, their "scene" had become too commercial. The Metro had "sold out" because we didn't feature local bands exclusively and some people would bitch and moan whenever we wrote about somebody that this cultural troika disapproved of. Sometimes they were right -- the Whyte Lace article never should have seen the light of day, much less the cover. But far more often they were wrong. Tom Wood and Kath Hansen were a small part of The Metro's inglorious history, and when I think of the rag, I think of good writers like Andy Anderson, Bill Spicer, Brian Mansfield and Rebecca Luxford that earned The Metro respect everywhere but in its own back yard.

I have a few other minor complaints about Moore's Scene article. Cantrell's was never a "Big Boy" restaurant...I worked for Shoney's through high school and well into the '80s and, as a manager, was intimately familiar with the location of their restaurants. Cantrell's, if memory serves, was instead a "Burger Boy" knock-off of Shoney's. A minor cavil to be sure, but let's get it right. Also, how Moore could invest several thousand words on Nashville's rock scene in the '80s without mentioning Aashid Himons is beyond me. Aashid's Afrikan Dreamland was the biggest draw on the local music scene for much of the decade, bigger than the White Animals, bigger than the Scorchers. Aashid being the free-spirited kind of guy that he is, often befriended local rockers and would have them open up for Afrikan Dreamland in front of large audiences. Aashid did a lot to support the local rock scene and deserved to be mentioned.

Other local bands from the era that got short shrift in the Scene article, in my mind: Civic Duty, 69 Tribe, the Bunnies, Afterdark, Radio One, In Color, the Paper Dolls and, well, the list could go on and on. All had significant local followings and contributed to the music scene at a time when it was fresh, young and exciting. Musicians like Donna Frost, her brother Tony Frost, Randy Ford, Ed Fitzgerald, Richie Owens, John Sheridan, Lee Carr, Joey Blanton, Chuck Allen and many others built the framework that made bands like the Pink Spiders, Kings Of Leon and the Features possible.

No, I was not consulted for Tracy Moore's "Never In Nashville" article, and she never mentions my name once, even though she does mention some things published by The Metro that I wrote. It all depends on your perspective, I guess, and Moore's article is just one version of the story. The Other Side Of Nashville book will present the history of Nashville's rock underground from the Reverend's perspective and, hopefully, will be much more inclusive.

(BTW, Collin Wade Monk's '80s podcast featuring Nashville bands rocks with Biblical proportions, and yes the Reverend contributed music from the dusters, the Young Caucasians, Walk The West and more for Collin to use. Download and listen at your own risk, but DO IT!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Song For Max

It’s been a year since our friend and talented musician Max Vague killed himself. Although efforts continue to find a label to release his final recorded album, Drive, and Max’s music remains available (for the time being) on CD Baby, his web site has been taken down and all that remains of his music is the memory. We thought that we’d share this tribute that was published last year on our Alt. Culture.Guide site as well as make available some MP3 files of this visionary artist so that other folks can hear what we heard.


It is with great sadness that we report the death by suicide of an old friend and one of our favorite musicians, Max Vague. A multi-talented musician and producer as well as an enormously skilled graphic artist, Max was a leading figure in the Nashville rock music scene for over a decade. Although relatively unknown to the music world outside of the southeastern U.S., Max nevertheless recorded and released six albums without any label resources and, with various bands, toured the region relentlessly.

Max's musical career began back in the early-80s in Monterey, California. He taught himself to play keyboards and, known by his birth name – William Hearn – played with a number of popular local bands, including Bill Hearn and the Freeze. In 1984 he packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles where he supported himself as a freelance graphic artist and musician, writing the scores for several documentary films, including a special on the GM Sunraycer. While in LA he changed his name to "Max Vague" and began an incredibly prolific period of songwriting and recording. In 1992 Max recorded his first album, Love In A Thousand Faces, moving later that year to Nashville with his debut disc tucked beneath his arm.

Max made an immediate splash in the Music City. This critic, writing about Love In A Thousand Faces in Nashville's Metro music magazine, said "the songs presented here – hard-edged pop/rock replete with melodic experimentation – evoke a variety of influences: the Beatles, Peter Gabriel, many electric British folkies, but are freshly original and completely uncategorizable." Shortly after arriving in Nashville, Vague recorded his sophomore effort, S.O.S. The Party's Over. Produced in his home studio, Max contributed nearly all of the instrumentation for this solid collection of songs. "Imaginative, colorful and intriguing, the songs on S.O.S. are like a puzzle box whose solution awaits discovery," I wrote in December '93 in R.A.D! Review And Discussion of Rock & Roll. Support for Max came from unlikely places, such as from NASA Space Shuttle Captain Michael Baker, who carried Max's CDs with him on two trips into space, subsequently mentioning Vague when interviewed by MTV's Tabitha Soren for the cable network's Week In Rock show.

Over the course of the next twelve years, Vague recorded and released four more critically acclaimed albums, each more musically complex and rewarding than the previous. With The Field CD, released in 1995, Max began recording with a full band that included guitarist Steve Green, bassist Ross Smith and drummer Robert Kamm. Two years later Vague recorded the Timing LP with Smith and drummer Buddy Gibbons. It was with the addition of Music City rock veteran Kenny Wright to his band, however, that Max would hit his creative peak, the trio of Vague, Smith and Wright recording the powerful Kill The Giant album in 1998. Together, these three toured the southeast and drove home Vague's immense talents to appreciative audiences. Max's work received airplay on local and regional radio stations and accolades poured in from publications like the industry trade paper Cash Box, Bone Music Magazine and the Nashville Scene alternative newsweekly.

In 2002, Vague returned to the studio to record the self-titled maxvague CD, his darkest and most personal effort yet. A solitary figure in the studio, Max carefully crafted the songs, playing nearly all the instruments while engineering and producing the album himself. Of maxvague the album, this critic wrote, "there's no denying the power of his music, Vague's gift of artistic expression and his instrumental prowess making him the most consistently interesting and intriguing artist working in the American underground today." A masterful collection of songs, the album nevertheless went largely unnoticed by the mainstream and alternative press alike.

After the release of this self-titled album, Max retreated from music somewhat, supporting himself as a graphic artist. He never stopped writing songs, however, and before his death had nearly completed work on what would have been his seventh album, titled Drive. Max and Kenny contributed a track, "Oh Well, Okay" to the memorial CD A Tribute To Elliot Smith, released earlier this year by Double D Records. Max had found new love, was beginning a new company and was seemingly looking towards the future when he came to the decision that he had accomplished everything that he had set out to do. Sometime in the early morning of August 13th, Max took his own life at the too-young age of 44, leaving behind his fiance Danni, his mother Gay Cameron, his sister Lynda Cameron and brother Jim "Spyder" Hearn. At a memorial service held at The Basement club in Nashville on Sunday night, August 28th, a packed room of family, friends and fans heard Max's siblings Lynda and Jim share their memories of their brother. Former bandmates Ross Smith, Kenny Wright and Steve Green also spoke as did Ben Mabry, one of Max's oldest friends and biggest fan and the Rev. Keith A. Gordon, who presided over the memorial service. Mike "Grimey" Grimes, co-owner of Grimey's Music and booker for The Basement graciously provided the club for Max's memorial.

The family has plans to keep Max's web site up and running as a living tribute to this incredible talent and will try to release his last album, Drive, at some point in the future. A year or so ago, Max had made a CD of his work available for free download on his web site. Readers curious about this talented musician can listen to a good representation of Vague's work from his six albums. The Reverend's review of the maxvague CD can be found here. Most of Max's CDs are still in stock and available from CD Baby for those wanting to purchase one. An intelligent, complex, multi-faceted and extremely talented artist and musician, Max Vague's work will live on long after his tragic death. As a friend and champion of his music, I'll miss Max and look forward to meeting again on the other side.

Link t0 the Nashville Scene article on Max's death

Max Vague remembered - MP3 files
(right click and 'save as' to download)

"Lights Out" (from maxvague, 2002)
"Spirits Run The Shoreline" from maxvague, 2002)

"Radio Breaks" (from Kill The Giant, 1998)
"Kill The Giant" (from Kill The Giant, 1998)

"Timing" (from Timing, 1997)
"Cold As This Machine" (from Timing, 1997)

"Rapture" (from The Field, 1995)
"I'm OK" (from The Field, 1995)

"S.O.S." (from S.O.S. The Party's Over, 1993)
"Believe" (from S.O.S. The Party's Over, 1993)

"Love In A Thousand Faces" (from Love In A Thousand Faces, 1992)
"The Wheels Are In Motion" (from Love In A Thousand Faces, 1992)

"Here's why
I dipped my fingers in the light
I climbed up into paradise
Where everything will work out"
...Max Vague, 2002

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Reverend Returns With More Bands!

Hey, gang! Yeah, the Reverend has been gone from this page a lot longer than anticipated. I planned on taking a couple of weeks off to celebrate my birthday (49, thank you) and it ended up stretching into a month of time spent diddling around with other stuff.

That hasn't stopped you great readers from unwilling the Reverend and throwing your favorite local bands into consideration for the ever-growing list. Hell, I had no idea that there had been THIS MANY bands in the Music City during the past three decades, but the proof is on the list. A reader named Jamie wrote me and recommended folks like Buzzkill (with Brooks from F.U.C.T.), Bedwetter, Love Bucket & Slaphappy Superfly (who I kinda remember), Psomni, Fleming & John (who I should have remembered), Blue O' Clock and Depth Core Blue. Like usual, if you have info on any of these bands, lay it on me stringbean!

Laura Matter Fukushima also wrote with an extensive band list and earns extra points for having, possibly, the coolest name of anybody that has written the Reverend so far! Laura brought to mind folks like CYOD (Marky Nevers), Girls In Action, the Frothy Shakes, the Hissy Fits, Well Away, Scout, P.M.S. and Pelt City. She also mentioned the Wayouts (w/Jeff Cease), Colin Wade Monk (who I really should have put on the list before now), Wishcraft (which several other people also mentioned) and former Lucy's Records mainstay Leslie Q. Thanx to both Jamie and Laura for their suggestions!

Laura also asked me about the qualifications for making the list, bringing up Murfreesboro bands like Jack and Holtzclaw and questioning my inclusion of the Black Crowes. I consider Murfreesboro part of the Nashville rock constellation, and besides, for people from out of town, they don't know the difference between Nashville and Murfreesboro anyway. I know that the "Boro" has long had a music scene separate from and, in many ways, equal in talent to Nashville's (examples: Self, Glossary), and I admit that I don't know a whole lot about many of those bands. So for those of you living southeast of Nashville, send me your list of Murfreesboro bands. I also include Bowling Green as part of the Nashville rock scene, if only to include folks like Govt. Cheese. Besides, a lot of Nashville bands drove an hour north to play at Western Kentucky, so there was a lot of Nashville influence on Bowling Green bands (and vice versa)back in the day.

As for the Black Crowes, I may or may not include them on the final list depending on my mood at the time. Yes, they are seemingly an Atlanta band, but in their early days they had one Nashville member (Jeff Cease) and practiced in a room above The Metro magazine offices off 8th Avenue. They also played around town a lot in those days, with Gus Palas promoting many of their earliest shows, and they were managed by Grace Reinbold, who was also based in Nashville. So there are a lot of local ties there, perhaps enough to include the band's first album in the book's discography. After that Jeff left the band and many of us ceased to care. What do you all think?

As for my guidelines to be included in the project as a "Nashville" band, here are my basic rules: 1) the band or artist had to have been based in the Nashville area during the period stated, 1976-2006 and 2) the band had to have been part of the "local scene," playing local clubs and/or recording in Nashville. Thus, in my mind, Anastasia Screamed makes the list because they moved here from Boston, they played around town and they supported the local music scene, even if they recorded for a British label. Ryan Adams doesn't make the list because even though he lived here, he didn't make any effort to become a part of the local scene, but Josh Rouse does make the list because he moved here, played here, recorded here and then moved on. I know, this is all kind of sketchy and the entire process may receive more clarity by the time the book is written.

During the last month, the Reverend hasn't just been slacking off, nosirree, I've been digging through my extensive (literally hundreds) archive of cassette tapes. Cassettes were as ubiquitous in the mid-to-late-80s as homebrew CD-R discs are today as a medium of choice for indie musicians. I found a number of Nashville bands that had released their material exclusively on cassette. Many of the below-listed folks are hereby also attached to the "official" band list, either because I dug up a tape from the bottom of a mildewed box in the closet, or else somebody mentioned them to me recently in an email conversation like Jamie and Laura:


Sometimes it is really difficult to figure out whether or not a certain cassette tape originated with a local Nashville rocker. Since The Metro had such wide distribution (bands coming through town often picked up a handful of copies to take home), the Reverend ended up receiving poorly-documented tapes from bands in such far-flung environs as Illinois, Michigan and even Hawaii. Here' s my homework question for readers this week, however -- was the Bob Camp Project a Nashville band? Chip Staley contributed drums to the cassette release I have, but it's not clear if the band was local or regional since the tape doesn't really tell me (and my senile old brain just doesn't remember). HELP! Email your comments, additions or gripes to the Reverend at rev.gordon (at)