Ben Hardesty doesn’t look the part of a rock star as he navigates a rickety tractor through the sprawling ranch where he grew up and fell in love with music. On the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, Hardesty developed his spirit of adventure, and passion for doing things a bit differently. His father, Dan gave him a guitar when he was two, and later told him, “It doesn’t matter if you play it right, just make it sound good!” Not the typical teaching method, but then again, The Last Bison is anything but typical.
The seven-member ensemble led by Ben has seemingly risen from the marshes of southeastern Virginia to captivate the national music scene with a rare blend of folk that is poetically steeped in classical influences. Band members describe the sound as “mountain-top chamber.”
Already the band has drawn flattering though imperfect comparisons to indie rock superstars the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists and Fleet Foxes. Flattering because each of those bands has carried folk rock into the main- stream; imperfect because none of them have a front man that shares the stage with his father and sister, nor uses a 75-year-old chaplain’s pump organ and Bolivian goat toenails on stage. The Last Bison is a tight knit community of family and friends that boasts a sound all its own.
A blogger for the popular music sharing site, Noise trade, remarked: “Bison has already crafted a sound that is thread- ed with their own singular strands of creativity. Songs like ‘In Your Room,’ ‘Switzerland,’ ‘The Woodcutter’s Son’ and ‘River Rhine’ all unfurl in textured, poetic waves that are based far more in inspiration than imitation.” Another critic, for Folk hive, writes: “Bison is a welcome respite from all that is manufactured.”
Local Artist of the week Gavin Shea – The Brains – Alive & Well Ep
Music City Mayhem Battle The Paranormals – Feel So Tired – Playin’ 8 off 8th tonight Lulu Mae – Coralina
Hammel – Repeat Repeat – 12345678
Wells – The Wild Feathers – The Ceiling – The Wild Feathers
This Just In The Wooly Mamas – Do I Really – Parlor Deluxe Andrew Leahey & The Homestead – Wating On A Plane – Summer Sleeves The Stephen Sebastian Band – Commotion Potion – Directionless
Bands Around Town Michael Ford Jr. & the Apache Relay – Sun Child -1988 (Playin’Tin Pan South: Heidi Feek, Michael Ford Jr., Jacob Jones, Shane Piasecki) Camp County Pride – Dance TN – Playin’ The End 4/2/13
Rilo Kiley – All The Drugs (Rkives, Little Record Company) Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside – They Told Me (Untamed Beast, Partisan) The Men – Without A Face (New Moon, Sacred Bones) Bleached – Dead In The Head (Ride Your Heart, Dead Oceans) Low – So Blue (The Invisible Way, Sub Pop) The Lonely Wild – Keep Us Whole (The Sun As It Comes, Thirty Tigers) David Bowie – I’d Rather Be High (The Next Day, ISO/Columbia) Luxury Liners – Valley High (They’re Flowers, Western Vinyl) Brooke Waggoner – Ink Slinger (Originator, Swoon Moon/Ingrooves) Psychic Friend – Water Sign (My Rocks Are Dreams, Dangerbird) Marnie Stern – East Side Glory (The Chronicles Of Marnia, Kill Rock Stars) The Grenadines – Down (The Grenadines, Communicating Vessels) Milk Carton Kids – Snake Eyes (The Ash & Clay, Anti-) Dawes – From A Window Seat (Stories Don’t End, HUB Records)
Dawes stopped by to give us a preview of the new album, “Stories Don’t End.” It’s drops in stores on April 9th. The No So Secret Session includes “Someone Will”, “Something In Common”, and “From a Window Seat”. Lightning 100 Presents Dawes to the Ryman Auditorium on June 9th 2013.
Music City Mayhem Battle Shannon Labrie- Slow Dance Josh Farrow- Devil Don’t You Fool Me
Hammel – Turbo Fruits – Sweet Thang – Butter
Wells – The Future – Don’t You Dare – Playin’ Live 3/29 at Soulshine Pizza – 7:30
Road To Bonnaroo Ranch Ghost – Ragged Mile (20.8%)- Winner! Ravello – The Fire – Nostalgia (19.2%)
This Just In The Get Togethers – July – Home As In Houston
Bands Around Town The Black Lillies – Two Hearts Down – 100 Miles of Wreckage – Playin’ Live 3/30 at 3rd & Lindsley w/ Scott Miller The Dynamites Feat. Charles Walker – Still Can’t Get You OUt Of My Head – Love Is Only Everything – Playin Live 3/29 at Mercy Lounge CD release Show
Social Network Requests Anderson East- Flowers Of The Broken Hearted Goodbye June- Breathe Easy
Vampire Weekend consist of Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio, and Chris Tomson who formed in 2006 while attending Columbia University. In 2007 the band signed to XL Recordings. Their self-titled debut album was released on January 29th, 2008. “Contra”, the bands second album, will be released January 12th, 2010.
Lightning 100 debuts their new single “Diane Young” from their upcoming album Modern Vampires of the City being released on May 14, 2013.
Warning: If you own a Sabb, this video might make you cry.
Everyone is curious to what the Future will bring. Is it honest? Is it urgent? Is it enduring? The Future brings all this and more with their contagious, tightly layered tracks that will force even the most inept soul to cut a rug.
If you fused the dynamic vocal style of Prince with Spoon’s tight minimalist pop hooks and a bit of Arcade Fire’s heights of grandeur, you’d kindle a spark that is the Future.
The indie-pop quartet is made up of brothers, Adam and Jordan Culver, and childhood friend Eric Sadowsky, who left their native North Dakota to pursue their music careers. Picking up Bryan Feece in Bloomington, Indiana, the foursome then settled into the intimate, yet competitive Nashville music scene.
“Being in a band with my brother and two life-long friends is great because we don’t have any problems with ego or arguing. Everyone just wants what’s best for the song,” says bassist Jordan Culver.
Frontman, Adam Culver’s compelling vocal caliber and volatile stage presence is tempered by Jordan Culver’s smooth bass melodies and slow builds. Guitarist, Eric Sadowsky’s artistry provides a sturdy yet delicate touch, reflective of his classic rock and funk influences, while drummer Bryan Feece’s expertise stems from a passion for precision and improvisation of art rock. Together, the Future produces a powerful and engaging listening experience, be it live or from the studio.
“The live shows are like an eruption to me,” says singer Adam Culver. “I don’t know what it feels like for the crowd, but for us it’s all spasm and catharsis. We don’t have any choice in the matter, we have to play these songs like our lives depend on it. Which I guess they do.” The Future plans to release a single each month, which will be available in a limited physical run of 25 artistic handmade covers each. ”If one person will sing the song back at me, all is right in the world for those three minutes,” Adam says.
Bahamas perform “Caught Me Thinking” and “Already Yours” live in the Lightning 100 studio. Afie Jurvanen mentions a secret pizza party before playing “Caught Me Thinking”. Don’t worry, Afie is not slowly going crazy, he is referencing the Calaxico sound check/pizza party. Add Lightning 100 on facebook to win tickets to the next secret pizza party! We’ve also included the full interview and performance via soundcloud!
Before “We Are Young,” SOME NIGHTS and a Best New Artist GRAMMY, there was AIM & IGNITE, an ambitious ten track album from three friends called fun. Produced by Steven McDonald (Redd Kross, OFF!), Aim & Ignite was heralded as the “the most essential pop album of 2009″ by Absolutepunk.net.
This four song collection features a studio track from AIM & IGNITE, a live rendition of “Take Your Time (Coming Home), an b-side and a remix of “Walking The Dog” from the RAC collective.
AIM & IGNITE is available via Nettwerk Records on iTunes, Spotify or wherever music is sold.
Catch fun. on tour this summer with very special guests Tegan and Sara: www.ournameisfun.com
Stevie Nicks w/ Dave Grohl – You Can’t Fix This (Sound City Real To Reel, Roswell/RCA) David Bowie – The Stars (Are Out Tonight) (The Next Day, ISO Records/Columbia) Devendra Banhart – Never Seen Such Good Things (Mala, Nonesuch) Robyn Hitchcock – Stupefied (Love From London, YepRoc) Adrian Younge & William Hart – Just Love (Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics, Wax Poetics) Lady – Get Ready (Lady, Truth & Soul) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We No Who U R (Push The Sky Away, Bad Seeds Ltd) The Black Angels – Don’t Play With Guns (Indigo Meadow, Blue Horizon) Phosphorescent – Song For Zula (Muchacho, Dead Oceans) The Cave Singers – Shine (Naomi, Jagjaguwar) Caitlin Rose – When I’m Gone (The Stand-In, ATO) Hey Marseilles – Looking Back (Lines We Trace, Thirty Tigers)
Music City Mayhem Battle The Paranormals- Feel So Tired Jesse Lafser- Anywhere I go
Hammel – MilkTooth – Wild Before Our Eyes – Wild Before Our Eyes
Wells – Craig Davis- Best Of It- Free As Me
Bands Around Town Shane Piaseki- Jackie’O Bashly- Fountains
(-Playin’ On Tap at Tin Roof Nashville 3/21 at 8pm. FREE- Gavin Shea, Shane Piasecki & Bashly)
AJ & the Jiggawatts- Throw A Fit- The Drop E.P. SWAYZE- No Sweeter Place
(-Playin Red Bull Sound Select Nashville Presents: AJ & the Jiggawatts, Chris West & the Junkyard Horns, Frances & the Foundation & SWAYZE- Friday 3/22 at 3/22 at EXIT/In)
Heavy Sole – Tear It Off Photo Ops – It Makes Me Cry – How To Say Goodbye
(-Playin’ Miller Made Music Showcase- 3/23 at Mercy Lounge w/ Alanna, MilkTooth, Heavy Sole & Photo Ops)
Alt-J stops by the studio for a live performance for some lucky guests in the Lightning 100 lounge. Gus and Joe performed “Tessellate,” “Fitzpleasure,” “Matilda,” and their hot new single “Breezeblocks.” They play at the Cannery Ballroom on March 18th 2013. Click here for the photos from the show!
Escondido is Nashville, TN based artists Jessica Maros and Tyler James. Recorded live in a single day, their 10-song debut album is due out Feb. 2013. Their sound is a washed out desert landscape steeped in American roots music. “We wanted it to be like Clint Eastwood playing pop songs at one of the honky-tonks downtown,” James mused. “But we’ve been told it sounds like desert sex.” The pair met while James was recording their mutual friend at his home studio. “Jess was quietly strumming this song Rodeo Queen on the couch while everyone else was making drinks in the kitchen. I pushed record and added a little groove before folks got back in the room. Later that night we listened to it and both said ‘You wanna make a record?’” They spent the next two months crafting the songs and bonding over a shared love of spaghetti westerns and 70’s music. “We’d put on Ennio Morricone every morning,” says Maros. “It’s an easy process when you both love the same stuff.”
The two gathered some musician friends and cut the record on October 18, 2011 at The Casino Studio in Nashville. “We wanted to capture that initial instinct,” says James. “The talent in this town allows you to set up in one room and let ‘em do their thing.” Musicians Evan Hutchings (drums) and Adam Keafer (bass) give the backbeat to Scotty Murray’s washed out western-style electric guitar. Maros’ seductive vocals bring to mind Mazzy Star as they float atop James’ sparse guitar, trumpet, and keyboard work. Escondido’s songs range from the Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac influenced pop numbers Cold October and Bad Without You, to the lovelorn country ballads Special Enough and Willow Tree. “The record was an outlet for me,” says Maros. “Each song brings back where I was, what I drank when I was writing them. It was a dark time and this album got me through it.” The band’s heavy sentiment is balanced out by the playful twang of songs like Don’t Love Me Too Much and the Keep Walkin’. “Music helps us forget the very conflict it grows out of,” says James. “But my favorite songs embrace that dissonance.”
The album marks a new chapter for both members. Maros, a Vancouver, British Columbia native, found success as a clothing designer after initially moving to Nashville with a record deal. Her jewelry has been worn by the likes of Prince and Lady Antebellum, her handmade dresses gracing the red carpet at the Oscars and Country Music Awards. James, a small-town Iowa native, has spent the last decade on the road as a solo artist and member of Los Angeles based Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. “We both wanted a change of pace,” says Maros. “I wanted to focus on music again and Tyler wanted to spend more time in town making records.” The result is the formation of Escondido, a band whose songs are a tale of love lost across the western sky.
Matt Pond has already accomplished what few rarely do. A career musician with a die-hard following that continues to grow with each album, and a resume that includes the title song for a motion picture soundtrack, a long running Starbucks holiday commercial with a hook that’s always stuck in our heads, selling over 100,000 albums to date; his success is matched only by his prolific outpouring of talent. But Matt takes those things with a grain of salt, in ‘Lives’ he shows us what’s really important.
With the new album, The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, Matt Pond is stepping forward with striking honesty and humbling optimism and delivers his strongest work to date. And with this transformative record comes some distinct changes- removing the ‘PA’ that has accompanied his name for nearly a decade, his first official ‘solo’ release, and partnering with new label and longtime publishing partner, BMG Rights Management.
Matt Pond is able to slough off the dead skin, radiantly revealing himself in his purest form- a feat many artists strive for, but rarely accomplish. The change symbolizes more than just coming out as an official solo act, it is also perhaps a symbol of letting go. Letting go of the places he’s called home; he no longer belongs to Pennsylvania, or Brooklyn, or even the cabin in Bearsville, he is distinctly free from any earthly chains and what remains is just Matt Pond. His final frontier is to “run wild within our clear blue minds” (‘Human Beings’). The graceful departure gives Matt Pond both the freedom from, and acceptance of the limitations of being alive. The result is ‘The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand’.
‘Lives’ is an upbeat antidote to the pessimistic shift in the collective consciousness. It’s an ode to the bittersweet reality that we are human, we are finite, and we are flawed. But in each song on this album, Matt Pond sources the beauty in all of it, even when it’s not pretty, and delivers an indie rock album that’s brimming with authenticity; Pond captures the sentiment perfectly in “Starlet”: ‘I know I know there’s so much I don’t know’. The album’s first single “Love to Get Used”, is a notably playful departure from what we’ve seen before. “Let’s hang on to abandon and hope we lose control” Pond insists in the uptempo indie-pop track, “to be out in the open baby and let go of the ropes”.
…And let go, he does. In a free-fall of spirit, Matt gets to the core of his own humanity, and we can’t help but listen intently to see what he finds, because after all, it can sometimes be a frightening journey, a risk many of us aren’t willing to take. “Hole in My Heart” strips down the frivolities and formalities that water down most songs about heartbreak, leaving us with a chillingly accurate, almost childlike description of the pain it causes, and a glimpse into the places he’s stumbled in his own journey, when, as he puts it, “with eyes closed we dove into unknown”. In the end, “The Lives Inside the Lines in your Hand” is a triumph against the paltry conditions we’ve all been forced to reckon with as a society. When times are tough though, art flourishes, and ‘Lives’ is a demonstration in how Pond is transcended by his art. “Someday I’ll stop breathing,” he says, “but I’ll never stop singing.”
With his last two albums, 2006’s Grammy-nominated People Gonna Talk and 2008’s The Hard Way, James Hunter delivered a classic yet perpetually modern brand of rhythm and blues that captivated listeners across generations and earned him two Billboard Blues #1′s, tours with Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Etta James, and Willie Nelson, performances on Leno, Letterman, and Conan, and critical raves everywhere from the NY Times to USA Today.
Minute By Minute, due out February 26, 2013 on GO Records/Fantasy, marks a pivotal movement in this unique artist’s career—not only because it arguably contains his best writing, singing, and playing to date, but because it signals James’ return to the studio following the loss of his wife Jacqueline, who died of cancer in October 2011.
It’s also the first album credited to The James Hunter Six. James made this change in recognition of the collective talent and unstinting loyalty shown by his longtime cohorts Lee Badau (baritone saxophone), Damian Hand (tenor saxophone), Kyle Koehler (organ), Jonathan Lee (drums), and Jason Wilson (double bass). The Six have hung together through multiple albums and more than two decades of international touring, from small clubs to the Hollywood Bowl – developing a cohesion and intuitive knack for creating precisely the right arrangement and feel for James’ original songs.
And Minute By Minute is the first James Hunter album to be recorded in the US, and the first to be produced by Gabriel Roth, aka Bosco Mann Productions. Roth is co-founder of Daptone Records, America’s premier soul revival imprint. He earned a Grammy for his expert engineering on Amy Winehouse’s best–selling album Back to Black, and has also produced and/or engineered recordings by Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones & the Dap–Kings, the Budos Band, and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, among others.
“It really does have a leaner and punchier sound than our previous albums,” Hunter says of Roth’s deft, unobtrusive touch on Minute by Minute, punctuating his remarks with characteristic raspy laughter. “I take the credit it for that,because I followed Gabe’s suggestions. I thought that was very intelligent of me!
In just a year or so, soulsters Fitz & the Tantrums went from the living room to the main stage. The recipe for meteoric success? Six killer musicians, five dapper suits, irresistible songs, some serendipity and one vintage organ. Since their first show at Hollywood’s Hotel Café in December 2008, Fitz and co. have toured with Maroon 5, played to thousands at Colorado’s world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, shared the stage New Year’s Eve with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and performed on KCRW’s esteemed show, Morning Becomes Eclectic, all this on the strength of their stellar five-song EP, Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1.For some bands, it takes a lifetime to build this success, but few performers deliver an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers like Fitz and the Tantrums. Now post-release of their debut full length, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, which has since earned them a 3 ½ star album review in ROLLING STONE, the troupe is poised to get down in dancehalls across the universe.
Fitz shared his vision with long-time friend and saxophonist, James King, who immediately connected with the sound. While the electric guitar drives rock, the saxophone takes center stage in soul, and that’s the way Fitz likes it. “We wanted to find a new vocabulary for the genre, I wanted to make a record without any guitars. Could we make a huge sound with out any guitars?”
Those blistering performances are now well-chronicled for adequate ubiquity, Last Call With Carson Daly nailing the money shot for “MoneyGrabber” at the band’s sold out show in November at LA’s El Rey Theatre featuring a sea of a thousand pogoing fans and a handful of F.A.T.T. gems rocked along with blue-eyed soul vet, Daryl Hall on the band’s spot on Live From Daryl’s House. Lest we forget, an omnipresent T-Mobile HTC ad that actually namechecks the band that, for the past several months, is impossible not to see if you’re watching even an hour’s worth of television. Oh, and there are the hot spots on Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives and a great many more, not to mention a ton of success at radio for the aforementioned runaway “MoneyGrabber,” all with the promise of more to come.
Check out the first time we saw Fitz and the Tantrums at Nashville Sunday Night!
In their sound and on the stage, Fitz and the Tantrums are nothing but professionals, and never less than classy. Enter the Tantrums, Fitz’s airtight ensemble keeping it real like it’s 1969. Funky drummer John Wicks is a Motown B-side aficionado and prolific session player, Jeremy Ruzumna manned the keyboards and was musical director for Macy Gray. James King backed De La Soul and bassist Joseph Karnes is a well sought after session player. Then there’s Noelle Scaggs, the powerful voice behind Fitz’s croons. Make no mistake, Scaggs is not just there for “doo-wops” and handclaps. She shimmies and flirts, she stokes the crowd and simmers them down, and she has no qualms about keeping Fitz in check. “She is not just a backup singer,” Fitz says, “We have repartee. Onstage, we’re Ike and Tina.”
Lightning 100 capture this cover of The Raconteurs “Steady As She Goes” at Marathon Recorders!
There, on the stage, Fitz and the Tantrums are not just a band, they’re an explosion. Scaggs high steps it to the tight-as-hell rhythm section, while Fitz, cooler than cobalt, croons like the aforementioned Mr. Hall for a new generation. It’s obvious that this is no tryst for the band, this is a full-blown, head-over-heels love affair.
For three long and often lonely years of life on the road, plying a brand of honest and passionate folk/punk, Frank Turner continued to rise to prominence with an ever increasing following. But it was in the sweaty climes of the Lock Up Stage at Reading and Leeds 2008 that his solo career really started to take off. Inside the packed out tents, heaving with adoring fans and intrigued passers-by, Frank led the congregation in a mass sing-a-long; a stirring set that not only sparked the interest of the British mainstream but resonated unassumingly across the pond as a wealth of American punk bands watched approvingly from the sidelines.
No stranger to the festival, Frank had not only played the Lock Up Tent with former hardcore band Million Dead back in 2005 but also as a tentative solo artist in 2007 when debut album ‘Sleep Is For The Week’ was just an underground success. Within the following year, Frank’s popularity grew with yet more touring and the release of second album ‘Love Ire & Song’ in March 08. He started to play larger headline shows and develop the live band that he was looking for.
The profits of all his hard work came together that festival weekend; it kicked started a new wave of interest and thanks to the unwavering support from Radio 1 DJs Mike Davies and Steve Lamacq, the rest of Radio 1 began to follow suit. Soon enough when Frank’s single ‘Long Live The Queen’ – taken from ‘Love Ire & Song’ – was released in October, it made the R1 C-list, was Single Of The Week on Sara Cox’s show and helped sell out Frank’s largest UK headline tour culminating in a bursting-over-capacity-finale at London’s Scala. The following single ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot’ released in January of this year eclipsed those successes by graduating to the R1’s B-list, 6Music’s A-list and XFM’s daytime playlist, prompted a Live Lounge session for Sara Cox, a Hub Session for George Lamb as well as making iTunes Single Of The Week all helping to recruit a new army of Frank followers.
It was also during this time that sections of the US punk fraternity began to take notice. Having watched the infamous Lock Up Stage set at Reading and Leeds, Vinnie from Less Than Jake got in contact asking to release ‘The First Three Years’ album (a collection of all early and previously unreleased material, live tracks and b-sides released in the UK in December 08 on his vinyl label Paper and Plastick. Chuck Ragan took him on the Revival Tour with Tim Barry across America, he did a few shows with up and coming stars Fake Problems and New Jersey boys The Gaslight Anthem invited him to support them on their huge UK and European dates in the early part of this year. It was evident that word was spreading throughout the punk scenes both sides of the Atlantic and by the time Frank flew in to Austin, Texas for the annual industry showcase SXSW in March, a whole new chapter in his story was about to begin.
Frank’s brand of folk songwriting, catchy melodies and punk passion had reached the ears of the CEO of US independent label Epitaph Records, Bad Religion’s legendary guitarist: Brett Gurewitz. Excited by what he had heard and seen when Frank headlined LA’s notorious Viper Rooms in March, Gurewitz got in contact and soon enough plans were formulated and a worldwide deal was inked. With loyalty and integrity firmly intact, Frank kept his relationship with his existing label Xtra Mile Recordings for all releases in the UK and Ireland and so the two labels will work closely for what will undoubtedly be an exciting new era in Frank’s ever evolving career.
“Frank Turner’s music is a revelation to me,” says Gurewitz. “I can’t stop listening to it. It’s a real privilege to get out there and help Xtra Mile spread the Frank Turner gospel.”
Epitaph is the perfect home for Frank. With its fiercely independent spirit, rich in punk and hardcore history it is also home to the song-writing talents of Nick Cave and Tom Waits on sister label Anti; mirroring Frank’s cross-over appeal of punk ethics and strong song-writing abilities. Inspired by the likes of Bad Religion as a kid, this really is a dream come true for Frank.
So with this exciting plot in place the year ahead is looking pretty good. His third studio album, ‘Poetry Of The Deed’, released worldwide in September, sees Frank venture in a more rock direction recruiting his outstanding band for the recording process. Performing live has always been at the very heart of the Frank Turner experience and whilst he’s still writing all the songs, they will be recorded live to help bring that experience to the album. Grammy nominated producer Alex Newport – who has previously worked with Death Cab For Cutie, At The Drive-In, Two Gallants – is on production duties after contacting Frank directly asking if they could work together. Coinciding nicely with the release are tours in America and Europe as well as the massive UK headline tour in October, where having previously supported The Gaslight Anthem at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, he will return triumphantly to headline for the last night of the tour.
Before that though, another summer of further touring and festivals lies ahead. He will jet off to the East Coast of America to support The Offspring for 12 dates of their tour in July, performing solo to potentially 30,000 people. He’ll play at Camp Bestival and Jersey Live fest and return full circle to this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival. This time, however, he will play the larger Radio 1/NME tent midway through the afternoon and judging by what happened last year it’ll be another defining moment in this story of one beardy man and his acoustic guitar. The best is yet to come.
Are you a Parrothead? Need tickets to the show? If your saying “What show?”, you’re probably not a real Parrothead. Leave a comment on the photo to enter to win tickets to Jimmy Buffet at Bridgestone Arena on April 27th.
For the past three years, Lightning 100 has conducted a new rite of spring for Nashville, with our Music City Mayhem contest. Nashville area bands and solo musicians of all stripes and styles are invited to stick their necks out and submit their best to be judged by Lightning 100′s listeners and online users.
There’s nothing scientific about Music City Mayhem, other than the math that adds the votes.
When an artist submits their song, it gets listened to by all of Lightning 100′s full-time jocks, our program director Dave Rossi, web-guy Brian Waters (Music city Mayhem was actually Brian’s brain-child), and Tich McWilliams from our marketing staff. Songs are rated 0-10 and the highest total point-getters go on the air for the rest of the world to vote on.
When I sit down to listen and vote, I don’t start out with numbers. I start out with yes; maybe yes; maybe; maybe no; and no. Then I go back and change “yes” to 10, “maybe yes” to 7, “maybe” to 5, etc.. If I feel that a yes maybe truly isn’t a full 10, I may squeak it down to 9.
For me, yes means it’s something I can play on the air without cringing in any way. It means, if I ask myself, “is there anything about this song that’s not very good or, if flawed, doesn’t transcend those flaws?” the answer is, unequivocally, no.
Sometimes you make some good calls, sometimes no. In the voting so far, two artists whose songs were only a maybe for me scored a big honking yes with Lightning 100 listeners and online voters. On the other side of it, there are some songs I gave 10s to, that only barely made it to the top 32, that turned out to be dark horse candidates that unseated far more well-known and loved Nashville artists.
In 2010 when we started, a band called Hightide Blues walked away with the first title. They didn’t last, but singer Paul McDonald went on to become an American Idol finalist. 2011, none of us had ever heard of Eastern Block but we were blown away with their entry – and so were listeners; in 2012, we hardly imagined the little reggae band we were grooving on would make it all the way to the stage at Live on the Green. Reggae, ruling a Nashville music throw-down? Shouldn’t someone film a documentary about that?
For us at the radio station, it’s been a fantastic way of discovering a number of highly talented artists that, for one reason or another, get overlooked among Nashville’s exploding music scene. When the listeners pick a dark horse candidate over an artist that’s considered either very hot or very cool, depending on how you look at such things, by music industry insiders and scene leaders in Nashville, it’s a signal that we need to recheck our compasses and see what we’re overlooking, and why. I’m thankful for that reality check. Always.
I’ve no idea what the next match-ups and rounds will bring, and can’t begin to try to predict which artist will be this year’s champ and score all that gear, studio time, and Live on the Green slot. Can’t wait to find out.
More than anything, I want to express appreciation for all of the artists who took this opportunity to get heard, at the risk of getting shot down. Thank you all, for the music and the inspiration you provide.