“It Ain’t Americana, Mama”
On Friday night of Next BIG Nashville, American Songwriter and the Basement will host a night of stellar music. The lineup – although we won’t call it Americana – certainly represents some of the finest American country-tinged music. With ambassadors from all across the far reaches of the South – Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Tennessee – this showcase is all about great songs and songwriting. Use the American Songwriter code to get a wristband – which will get you into 12 venues over four nights to see 150+ bands – for just $36. Click here to buy now.
Buxton hails from La Porte, Texas, outside Houston, and began as a three-piece in high school. In 2008 the band added a drummer during the recording of their debut album A Family Light and then last year dropped a self-released 7″ with two new songs – “Feathers” and “Flint.” The band is currently in the studio as a five-piece working on a new album. If the song “Feathers” is any indication, Buxton shares the same rhythmic, electrified Americana of Delta Spirit, but mellows into something more akin to the folkie lyricism of AA Bondy during the verses. Indeed, frontman Chris Wise says, “We’ve drifted into a sound thats a little bit harder than most Americana bands.” Get to the Basement early to see this up-and-coming Texas band get the Friday night party going.
When we first discovered Jonny Fritz two years ago, he was headed out on his motorcycle to tour hole-in-the-wall bars in North Dakota. Since then, he’s truly emerged as one of the most unique voices in Nashville, where he lived for a year before moving to Brooklyn last spring. Like Tom T. Hall, his songs inhabit funny little places in people’s minds, and they’re often born out of lines you might say to yourself or hear on the street. One of the best records of 2010 is sitting on a hard drive somewhere, waiting for someone to see the beauty in a bikini-line shave, silver panty liners and the Gospel of Chevy. Luckily, Corndawg has dropped a free download of his rambling “Life Of A Bear” (from the forthcoming Down On The Bikini Line album) on Bandcamp, and will release “Chevy Beretta” and “Night Rider” on a split 7″ backed with Deer Tick’s version of the ZZ Top classic “Cheap Sunglasses” on Partisan Records this fall. After Next BIG Nashville, Corndawg and Saturday night headliners Futurebirds will head out on the road for the Double-Down tour, which traipses across the Southeast and Midwest this November.
Andrew Combs comes out of the Texas tradition of the broken heart, although there’s a bit of a Jerry Jeff Walker wink when Combs confesses that he’s actually just “too stoned to cry.” Other songs on his self-released EP, Tennessee Time, which we recently reviewed, such as “Hummingbird” and “Wanderin’ Heart” sound like they would have fit perfectly on T Bone Walker’s soundtrack for Crazy Heart, or on stage alongside Texas guys like Ryan Bingham and Hayes Carll. Combs recently played a SESAC writer’s round with Jim Lauderdale at the Americana Music festival in Nashville, and Lauderdale’s savvy mix of songwriting, performing and networking is a good model for anyone in this town. Combs will bring a tight but sparse ensemble for this showcase, complementing his rugged croon with the harmonies of Heidi Feek.
Dylan LeBlanc shares more than just a name with his more-famous namesake: on his new album, Pauper’s Field, he sings with Emmylou Harris, who likewise graced Bob Dylan’s 1975 album, Desire. The presence of Harris ties LeBlanc perhaps even more aptly to the cosmic, soul-dipped country of Gram Parsons. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, but brought up under his songwriter father’s wing at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, LeBlanc is the type of precocious artist that the industry fawns over. In fact, he was snapped up by the influential Beggars Group and recently flown to New York and London, his first times on a plane. Look out for a portrait of LeBlanc in the November/December issue of American Songwriter, and don’t miss this full-band set by an incredible rising talent.
Two Cow Garage
Coming off their fourth full length release, Speaking In Cursive, Two Cow Garage have taken their hometown Columbus, Ohio, by storm, building a loyal following and boasting 200 shows a year. With the addition of keyboardist Andy Schell, the classic-rock-meets-punk outfit hopes to add a velvet side to their harder edged performances. Since forming in 2001, Two Cow Garage have explored the darkness of substance abuse in their songs, showing how the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle can cloud the line between dreams and reality.
If you haven’t turned your ears to the middle of our fair state in the last few years, then you’ve probably missed some of the best rock music you’re likely to find anywhere. Nashville may be finally getting props as a rock town thanks to Jack White and the Kings of Leon, but the truth is that if you left Chattanooga and drove to Nashville looking for great music, without stopping first in Murfreesboro, you’d be cheating yourself. The energy spilling over from MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry has fast helped to make Murfreesboro one of America’s most exciting music towns, giving rise to many of the regions most innovative groups. At the heart of that buzz is Glossary, who for the past 15 years have dedicated themselves to making music in Murfreesboro and making it right. We spoke to the band back in February when they released their latest album, Feral Fire. With gritty lyrics and the occasional ripping guitar solo, it’s sure to make for one rockin’ southern Friday night.
Davis Inman and Jamie Younger contributed to this report. Concert poster designed by Rachel Briggs.