After living in Nashville for 20 years, Brian ventured off to college to attend MTSU. Brian graduated from college in 2008 with a degree in Entrepreneurship. In his spare time he enjoyed writing, booking shows, attending shows, traveling to festivals, and listening to the radio. Before even looking at jobs, Brian got an internship at Lightning 100 in 2008. He work on projects such as Music Business Radio, Local Lightning Spotlight, and festival coverage for the stations website.
Local musician, Andrew Leahey, brings a story of strength and celebratory music to the table following his year long hiatus, to recover from having brain surgery in 2013.
“Coming back from tour in the summer of 2013, I was having hearing problems, and what I expected to be ear wax or something was diagnosed as an acoustic neuroma, which is a slow growing tumor on your hearing nerve,” said Leahey. “The operation was 12 hours long, and I had a 50% shot of losing my hearing, but I didn’t. Two and a half months later, I went back on tour. To come that close to losing my hearing, I wanted to do something to celebrate.”
Leahey grew up in a musical household, his mother a classical vocalist, and he began his life as a musician at the tender age of six, simply because it gave him something to do.
“My older brother started taking guitar lessons,” said Leahey. “We had to wait outside for him at his guitar lessons, but it was boring, so I asked my mom to take lessons too. She made me agree up front that I’d stick with it.”
Lightning 100 was pretty excited to have Good Old War on Nashville Sunday Night! You’ve been hearing “Tell Me What You Want From Me” on 100.1 FM. Now here that song live and a full set from 3rd and Lindsley! Nashville Sunday Night is a special presentation of Nashville’s Independent Radio, Lightning 100. Each Sunday night Lightning 100 broadcasts a concert from 3rd and Lindsley, one of Nashville’s finest live music venues. August 9, 2015 featured Nashville’s own Smooth Hound Smith opening up for Philadelphia trio, Good Old War. Read more
The Midnight Stroll stop by the LC studio before their show at The High Watt. You might recognize Aaron Berhrens from the band Ghostland Observatory! Check out the stripped down version of “Just Hang On” and “Loosing My Mind” live with a reel to reel analog as the backing band for the performance!
Nashville Sunday Night is a special presentation of Nashville’s Independent Radio, Lightning 100. Each Sunday night Lightning 100 broadcasts a concert from 3rd and Lindsley, one of Nashville’s finest live music venues. August 9, 2015, featured Nashville’s own Smooth Hound Smith opening up for Philadelphia trio, Good Old War. See Smooth Hound Smith for FREE at Live On The Green Music Festival on September 10th with Turbo Fruits, Zella Day, The Vespers, Big Data, Colony House, and Passion Pit!
Elliot Root, Shakey Graves, and Lord Huron graced the stage on the night of Thursday, August 20th, the first night of Live On the Green 2015.
As can only be expected in Music City, a crowd of thousands showed out at the first of six shows in Lightning 100’s annual free concert series held in Public Square Park.
Up first was local band, Elliot Root. Contrary to first assumptions, Elliot Root a band comprised of five people.
“We would like for people to know that music is this other worldly thing, but it’s also really just people doing the best they can!” laughed Elliot Root front-man, Scott Krueger. “We want to be as honest as possible in our music, and for our fans to be just as honest with us and themselves when they listen.”
Inspired by punk, R&B, and the inspirational writings of the Persian poet, Rumi, Krueger aims to write romantically and with the same sense of mysticism.
Thanks for making the first week Live On The Green Music Festival 2015 a great one. We had a blast with Lord Huron, Shakey Graves, and Elliot Root. Join us this Thursday(8/28) for Cold War Kids, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and Houndmouth! LOTG has a few backstage VIP tickets still available. Upgrade to VIP for all of the LOTG shows before they sell out! Thanks for support #LOTG2015!
Check out the first episode of Tailgate Talks with Jayson from Lightning 100 and Wes from Tailgate Brewery! Wonder how Tailgate Brewery moved to Nashville? Let Wes explain their brewing process and seasonal runs. Tune into Lightning 100 every Friday at 8am for a new episodes.
Lord Huron performs a secret show for Lightning 100 at City Winery. Check out this performance of “The World Ender” and “End of the Earth” off Strange Trails live on 100.1 FM. Lord Huron will be at Live On The Green on August 20th at Public Square Park!
“I don’t know how to brag about this record because I’m not really accustomed to that,” says Ben Folds. “Maybe I should just say ‘this is one of the best records I’ve made’ and leave it at that.”
Quite the declaration considering Folds’ wide-ranging, genre-defying canon, but the multi-platinum-selling singer/songwriter/producer is simply that enthused about SO THERE, his debut collaboration with celebrated New York City-based chamber ensemble, yMusic. Produced by Folds with yMusic’s Rob Moose and CJ Camerieri, the album flourishes in the overlap between the pop and classical worlds, showcasing new pop songs written, arranged, and recorded by Folds & yMusic, alongside the debut recording of Folds’ critically acclaimed “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra,” which was produced and recorded by legendary rock engineer Elliot Scheiner. Songs like “Long Way To Go” and the ebullient title track are marked by forward-thinking studio craft and creative spontaneity, combining Folds’ vaunted knack for hook and harmony with yMusic’s talent for exciting interpretation.
“Every so often it occurs to me how much freedom I have,” Folds says. “In this case, it was, ‘Oh. I can write pop songs for what’s in essence a small orchestra.'”
Having spent much of 2013 composing his “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra,” Folds premiered the three-movement concerto in March 2014 to great acclaim, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony (which co-commissioned the piece with the Nashville Ballet and the Minnesota Orchestra).
Though unprecedented in a brilliant career that includes multiple studio albums, a pair documenting his renowned live performances, a remix collection, music for film and TV, an all a capella record, as well as collaborations with artists spanning Sara Bareilles and Amanda Palmer to Nick Hornby and William Shatner, Folds suggests the concerto is not all that dissimilar from his previous work, noting a direct path from Ben Folds Five’s 1999 milestone, THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF REINHOLD MESSNER.
“If you knocked the vocals off that record and string together all the instrumental parts, you’ll hear something that sounds a lot like the concerto,” he says. “It’s something I’ve been doing since the start of my career, it’s part of my voice. The best compliments I receive on the concerto are when someone says, ‘Man, I knew it was you after eight bars…’ That to me, in the context of what I’m trying to do, is success.”
Folds spent much of 2014 touring the world, performing “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra” and orchestrations of his classic pop hits with some of the planet’s greatest symphony orchestras. He reunited with the Nashville Symphony to record “Concerto For Piano and Orchestra” but having done so, was then unsure how exactly to present the piece.
“It felt alive,” he says. “I thought, man, this could be a record. But 21 minutes of music doesn’t cover a whole album.”
Folds began working on new instrumentals with an idea to enlist different collaborators, “percussion ensembles, small chamber groups, two cellos, that sort of vibe.” Among his potential partners were the NYC-based yMusic.
Hailed by NPR as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” yMusic – Rob Moose, CJ Camerieri, Gabriel Cabezas, Alex Sopp, Hideaki Aomori, and Nadia Sirota – had earned attention as both inventive interpreters and an extraordinary collaborative unit, evinced by partnerships with such bands and songwriters as Dirty Projectors, Blake Mills, Beck and José González. Named by Time Out NY as “The Best Classical Album of 2011,” yMusic’s breakthrough debut, BEAUTIFUL MECHANICAL was followed by 2014’s remarkable BALANCE PROBLEMS, which saw the group performing original works by some of today’s foremost composers, including Nico Mulhy, Sufjan Stevens, and Jeremy Turner.
Folds was immediately enthralled by the group’s unique configuration – string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet – and virtuosic execution.
“When I was introduced to yMusic, it was like, ‘Oh, these are my brothers and sisters. We’re done,'” Folds says. “I didn’t look back. I had a new rock band, basically. I didn’t expect to end up in a new band, but that’s what happened.”
The resulting partnership was fueled by mutual admiration and musical respect, a union in which yMusic’s textures and approach were seamlessly woven into Folds’ inimitable songs and compositions to create something both true and unprecedented. The group’s goal from the jump was to avoid the “compulsory and gratuitous.” Even more important was the commitment never to use yMusic as mere ornamentation, an approach they referred to as “…and strings.”
Initially their plan was to stick with an inventive instrumentation of piano, cello, viola, violin, flute/piccolo/alto flute, trumpet/French horn, and clarinet/bass clarinet, with the bass clarinet, cello, and Folds’ left hand handling bass duties and more often than not, no drums. But when songs like “So There” demanded otherwise, Folds simply got behind the kit and recorded them himself.
“It seemed we could do it without drums but at the end of the day, it just sounded better with drums,” Folds says. “We weren’t policy driven.”
Folds & yMusic spent six months arranging, orchestrating, and generally woodshedding material, allowing them to record the album over the course of a few months, working in studios in New York, Los Angeles, and Folds’ own Grand Victor Sound Studio (aka historic RCA Studio A) in Nashville. Folds, Moose, and Camerieri comprised the arrangement/production team on the new songs, meeting a few hours prior to call time to arrange, print, and place charts on stands before the other players showed up to record. Collaborative revisions were then made based on group comments and suggestions, scores reprinted, and tracks quickly recorded in just one or two takes. The concerto was produced and recorded with Scheiner at the engineering helm during a single three-hour session in Folds’ studio with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.
“I’ve never worked with anyone I can work with as telepathically as these guys,” Folds says. “I know I can get an arrangement to a certain point, leave those guys with it, walk out of the room and it’ll be ready to record when I get back. And vice versa. Everyone knows the other is going to do the right thing.”
Much of SO THERE was written with the arrangement ideas serving as genesis moment, often forcing Folds to pen lyrics in one corner of the studio as yMusic worked out sheets in the other. The music’s forward-facing nature notwithstanding, songs like “Capable of Anything” “follow the same impulses I always do: Here I am, this is what I’m thinking about, and these are the images that are resonating with me.”
“I think with this group I had the freedom to be more obvious in a pop songwriter kind of way,” he says, “to just write a pop song. We’ve got our experimental quotient taken care of, now I can be even more obvious.”
Folds also found adaptive material among his other recently written songs. Originally written for Al Pacino to sing in the 2015 film, Danny Collins, the self-deprecating “I’m Not The Man” was co-written at the suggestion of actress Alicia Witt, who had previously worked with the legendary star.
“We submitted it,” Folds says, “and got an instant rejection. But it was good because since it wasn’t me I was writing for, it gave me a lot of freedom.”
“Phone In A Pool,” the album’s lead single, was a surprise addition to SO THERE, having not even been born of the initial sessions. As if Folds weren’t busy enough, he somehow found time in early 2015 to cut a “drunken pub record” in Dublin with members of his old touring band, banging out two or three songs a day, amongst them the original version of “Phone In A Pool.” Folds got the idea to try out the boisterous tune with yMusic and “it just felt like our song.” The band rearranged and re-recorded the original track, retaining drums, guitar and most importantly, Folds’ somewhat frayed vocals.
“Quite frankly, I was three sheets to the wind,” he says, “so there’s a sound about it that I didn’t think I could reproduce.”
A similar spirit of improvisation and immediacy can be found when Folds & yMusic take to the stage. The band heralded SO THERE with a short run of live dates (including a stellar performance at the 2015 Bonaroo Music & Arts Festival) and plan to spend much of 2016 on the road. Folds – who has spent the past two decades traveling the planet – calls the trek “some of my favorite touring ever. It’s a very fresh and happy thing we’re doing.”
Among Folds’ innumerable other future plans are a return to the aforementioned Dublin sessions as well as starting work on a large composition for university orchestras and wind ensembles, “something written for them that is naughty as hell. I want them to feel like they’re breaking the law.” What’s more, Folds & yMusic have already begun plotting out their next collaborative outing, this time with an ear towards delving further into the group’s myriad rhythmic and percussive possibilities.
“They’re a pretty special group,” Folds says, “and I wouldn’t have learned all their various superpowers without playing with them.
“This record is just the tip of the iceberg,” he adds. “We haven’t come close.”
Folds hopes the partnership with yMusic will encourage some of his fellow pop artists to attempt involving more classical elements in their music, “to engage in orchestral, symphonic, chamber music in their own way. Not just scoring their hits for strings. Why not try composing an aria?
“Innovations in pop music come slower and slower each year,” Folds says. “I think one awesome door to walk through is this, the world of classical music from whence all our ideas of composition grew. That world is hurting right now and it could use pop musicians. And pop musicians could use the classical world because it’s so full of possibility and sounds. It’s endless.”
Born in Hong Kong, and raised just outside of Boston by an Australian mother and Irish father, Kiernan McMullen has never been boxed into one setting. This is readily apparent in multiple facets of his life, including his music.
“I guess music started for me when I was six with piano lessons,” said McMullan. “After a while, my piano teacher pulled out a book that was 500 songs with handwritten chord progressions and the melody behind it, so he taught me how take those and play around with them.”
McMullan began playing the guitar at 15 after moving to Ireland and into boarding school.
“I realized that all the improvisational stuff [my teacher] had taught me meant that I could write my own music. After that, I played a lot of bar gigs, trying to get my chaps up as far as not being terrified to play in front of people,” said McMullan.
McMullan tends to write albums that are meant to be listened to as a whole, while his individual songs are meant to be heard nonlinearly. An individual song will have a central theme, but the lines within it can be inspired by many people and scenarios, both real and hypothetical.
“Sometimes I’ll be sitting on a piece of music for a couple of years before I decide what I want to write about,” said McMullan. “Recently, I’ve tried to write songs, as a whole, for a new experience, but usually, I write the pieces separately then zoom out to fit the music and lyrics together.”
McMullan self-produces all of his music with the help of Irish music producer and former classmate, Owen Lewis.
Influenced by Hip Hop, Motown, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and Rage Against the Machine, McMullan is a singer-songwriter with a simple production and a message in every song he sings.
“It’s a cultural movement, and people forget that’s what music is supposed to be,” McMullan said listing The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Elvis as examples. “Relevancy doesn’t matter. I like listening to people who float to the top for the right reasons.”
After signing with 111 Records in 2007, McMullan embarked on a three month long string of shows in which he took buses and hitchhiked his way from place to place with nothing but his hiking pack and a guitar.
“I remember every single second of those three months. Literally, ask me what I had for breakfast on so-and-so date and I’ll be able to tell you what bagel,” he laughed. “For people that work a 9-to-5 [time] passes by, but hour by hour everything was constantly moving, and I remember it so vividly.”
McMullan will tour the states this November, and plans to tour Europe next year. A new album is in the works for the spring. For more information go to http://www.kiernanmcmullan.com/ .
“Basically, I write music because I can’t afford a therapist, and so I don’t become an axe murderer or meth head or something,” said McMullan. “I love that music is good for coping, and I can use it to get any frustration out, and help other people in the process.”
The Arcs stop by the LC studio to talk about their upcoming album Yours, Dreamily. The album is now set for a Sept. 4 release via Nonesuch Records. The Arcs are Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, latest project including Leon Michels, Richard Swift, Homer Steinweiss, and Nick Movshon. Check out the live version of “Out of My Mind” and “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” on 100.1 FM. The Arcs will be touring in November and December. No dates set in Nashville yet, where do you want to see them play in Nashville? Do you remember when The Black Keys filmed “Little Black Submarine” at Springwater?
David Gray stopped by the LC studio before his co-headlining show Amos Lee at Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater. Check out his performance of “Gutters Full of Rain” from his 1996 album Sell, Sell, Sell.
Lightning 100’s Lt. Dan Buckley chats with Jeremy, the chef at Firefly Grille in Green Hills. Listen to this episode to hear how Jeremy got his start, his training in Scotland, Firefly’s take on hot chicken and his favorite summer dish! You have reservations is flavored by Springer Mountain Farms Chicken.
Michael Ian Black (very famous) is a popular comedian who began his career with The State, a sketch comedy troupe he co-founded at New York University in 1988, which went on to have a successful run on MTV. He then co-created the Comedy Central television series “Viva Variety,” a fake European variety show. From there, he appeared on several television show before landing the role of Phil Stubbs, the quirky bowling alley manager on NBC’s “Ed,” which ran for almost four seasons. His next project was “Stella,” a television show he co-created with Michael Showalter and David Wain, which ran on Comedy Central.
It’s a short drive from Nashville, TN, to Muscle Shoals, AL: 125 miles, or about two hours if your foot’s on the leaden side, and you’ve left one musical Mecca for another. Thanks to Nashville instrumental duo Steelism, though, that gap is bridged in the time it takes to listen to a track. Comprised of guitarist Jeremy Fetzer, pedal steel player Spencer Cullum and backed by some of Nashville’s finest young musicians, Steelism blends an eclectic array of vintage and modern influences to create instrumental music that truly sounds like nothing else.
Though Steelism is new to the music scene, Cullum and Fetzer are not, having backed artists like Wanda Jackson, Johnny Fritz, Rayland Baxter and Andrew Combs. The two met while touring the U.K. with Nashville songstress Caitlin Rose, quickly bonding over their shared love for classic movie soundtrack composers like Ennio Morricone and ‘60s instrumental acts like Booker T. and the M.G.s, The Ventures and Pete Drake. Writing together between sound checks, the duo realized it was time for the sidemen to become frontmen, and Steelism was born.
“Steelism allows us to musically explore in our writing and take performance chances we couldn’t get away with in any other project,” Fetzer says.
Though the two grew up on different continents (Cullum hails from Essex, England; Fetzer from Canton, OH), Cullum and Fetzer were cut from the same musical cloth, as becomes immediately evident whenever they take the stage. Their debut EP The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel and Guitar was met with critical acclaim, with American Songwriter’s Sean Maloney calling Steelism “instantly recognizable – surf, country, blues, all steeped in soul and heavy on the grooves – but astoundingly outside the contemporary vernacular.”
“We’ve always been into the idea of playing a strong melody—something you can hum—rather than soloing,” Cullum explains.
The duo’s full-length debut 615 to FAME releases via Single Lock Records (founded by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes, John Paul White of The Civil Wars and Will Trapp), with marketing and distribution from Thirty Tigers, on September 16, 2014. Half recorded at Muscle Shoals’ historic FAME Studios, where Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding all tracked hits, 615 to FAME was produced by Fetzer and Cullum with co-production from Ben Tanner, and contributions from longtime Nashville-based collaborators Jon Radford (drums) and Michael Rinne (bass). Featuring 10 original instrumentals and one cover, 615 to FAME announces Steelism as one of Nashville’s most exciting new acts.
Steelism’s compositions don’t need lyrics to tell stories. “Marfa Lights” is a krautrock-inspired instrumental influenced by German bands like Neu! and Can, with its title taken from the paranormal lights of the Marfa, TX sky. “Cat’s Eye Ring” is fit for a Spaghetti Western, named for a ring belonging to a mother protecting her children during the Battle of the Alamo. The album’s only cover track is the swirling, psychedelic Pete Drake number “The Spook,” which showcases Cullum’s faithful but updated homage to the late Nashville pedal steel legend and Fetzer’s heavier take on the track’s opening refrain.
As Ben Tanner explains, “Great instrumental rock and roll, sadly, has become a lost art, but Steelism is resurrecting that tradition and adding new chapters of its own, and while they may not have a singer, they certainly have great things to say.”
After battling it out at Music City Mayhem, Lightning 100 talks to our 2015 champs before their big show at Live On The Green Music Festival on September 11th. Zack Smith answered a few questions to better acquaint us with his and Caitlin Doyle’s winning folk-soul/instrument-heavy act: Smooth Hound Smith.
Lightning: How did the band form, and explain the name of the band.
Zack: The formation of Smooth Hound Smith was kismet, really. Caitlin and I were aware of each other playing in bands in LA, then the timing worked out and we got together after I had moved to East Nashville and she visited me. She sat in with me one fateful night at Mad Donna’s, singing harmonies and playing her washboard, and we just built on it from there and started touring. The name comes from my father who is a waterman, maritime archaeologist, and 50+ year SCUBA diving veteran. He mentioned that he was seeing “smooth hounds” in the ocean out in California; they’re a genus of shark that hangs in temperate tidal waters. It also sounds like a blues man that never existed, but should have, so I put it with my last name.
Lightning: Who does what in the songwriting process, and any interesting methods or go-to places for writing?
On the 17th of July, Ms. ZZ Ward paid a visit to the Lightning 100 studio with guitarist, Eric Walls, and her adorable sidekick, Muddy Waters by her side. The songstress and guitarist performed two songs for us live on air after having Muddy Waters escorted from the room, as the dog enjoys howling along while Ward sings. Before performing stripped down versions of her hit song “Put the Gun Down” and new single “Love 3x”, Ward told us a bit about her musical upbringing.
“I started out in Glide, Oregon, and played in my dad’s blues band when I was twelve until I started writing my own stuff,” said Ward. “I moved to LA eventually.”
Ward writes crisp lyrics that take the form of narratives, which are heard in the record Til the Casket Drops and her newest album This Means War. In addition to singing with a sweetly heavy alt-soul influence, Ward also plays the guitar, piano, and harmonica.
Ian Fondrk, Logan Coats, Jon Worthy, Austin McFall, and Brian Martin came together in the spirit of finding their own catharsis through music, and with a shared goal of making people smile.
After graduating from Penn State, Fondrk and Worthy picked up their lives and moved into a quote-on-quote “crappy apartment” in Nashville to pursue their music. It was here that the two met McFall, Martin, and a neighbor in an equally crappy apartment across the way, Coats.
Named for their originally easy-listening/acoustic sound, as well as a type of gun in documentary profiling 1920s gangsters, Easy Roscoe tells the stories of their own lives and the people around them through their music.
“Our writing process is different from other bands for sure,” said guitarist and trumpeter Logan Coats. “Everyone in the band writes everything, music and lyrics, and then on ‘New Song Tuesday’ we get together and show each other stuff then start arranging.”
“It is probably worth pointing out that ‘New Song Tuesday’ doesn’t always actually even happen on Tuesdays,” laughed guitarist and ukulele player Jon Worthy. “It just kind of happens all the time. We get together to play everything anyone comes up with, bare bones and acoustic, then start arranging.”
Easy Roscoe is composed of five bandmates with a gradient of differing musical influences; these influences include Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Police, and current pop music.
“The whole journey, so far, has consisted of victories and stagnant points, but I’m sure everyone in the band would agree, that’s what makes us a band,” said singer and guitarist Ian Fondrk.
Easy Roscoe dropped their first album, “Keep the Dancin’ Dancin’”, in January. The band starts touring this August, and will be playing at The 5 Spot on August 14th. For more information, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/easyroscoe .
“Everyone should come out and say hi! I know that’s kind of lame, but we’re all very relaxed people,” said Fondrk. “A lot of music coming out now is sort of down-ish stuff. We want to bring a lighthearted feel, help everybody have a good time, and take a different approach to our music.”
Spring Farm chicken liver patee with a bit of pork added inside, flavored with tygon and challots.
Salad made with a mix of five different types of artisan salads that compliment each other. Add sweet pickle bits, cherry tomatoes, purple basil pesto, smoked salmon, cured with apple woods, hochvoc cheese (incorrect spelling of a type of french cheese that is difficult to pronounce/spell), poached eggs with fresh baguette on the side.
Beef Tartere – similar to beef tenderloin, it’s a tender beef dish often found in Persian restaurants. Served with toasted bri with honey to go with baguette on the side.