So last Thursday was the benefit show for my friend, local Nashville musician Chris Tapp, and Cold Stares guitarist and singer Chris Tapp.
It was a magnificent night. We had a full venue, a ridiculously talented lineup of artists, and a house band that meshed with each act like they’d been playing together for years. It was a little surreal at times to watch, then remember back to just a few months ago when we came up with this idea over drinks at the Irish bar down the road.
Jamie Kenney, a producer, songwriter, musician and enormously gifted guy put the band together. Jamie and the great singer/songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones assembled the talent. We also got some great auction donations from the Nashville Opera, Merchants restaurant, Nashville designer Manuel, Dave Johnson photography, and others. We raised a nice little sum of money for Chris, mostly due to the time and talent of people who have never met the guy. That says a lot about this town.
The surprise of the night was 80s pop star Tiffany. First I guess that she showed up. She’s a cancer survivor, and asked to play when she heard about the event. The second surprise—and I mean no disrespect by calling it a surprise—is that Tiffany can wail. She started off with a righteous cover of Etta James, then closed the night with the finale, along with some backing from the night’s other artists. The song was Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” It was grand.
Here’s a rough video of her performance of “Sunday Kind of Love,” starting with my awkward introduction:
There really wasn’t a down moment the entire night. Jeremy Lister and Gabe Dixon kicked the show off off with CCR’s “Down on the Corner” and Freddy King’s “Tore Down,” respectively. (Dixon is an insane keyboardist, by the way.) And only in Nashville will a nurse (in her day job) step on stage and do what Besty Ulmer does here:
That wasn’t even her best song. Her “Bring It on Home to Me” had a few people in the crowd dancing. That’s amazing, because nobody dances in Nashville.
The crowd favorite was probably Emily West. She got a standing ovation after her soaring rendition of Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.”
Personal favorites: The fetching Courtney Jaye unleashed some sultry Dusty Springfield. Perryman Jones had the place entranced with the old spiritual, “Motherless Child.” Jason Eskeridge’s soulful, stripped-down ode to Stevie Wonder was magnificent. Mailie Misajon’s strutting, sexy “Love Me Like a Man.” Thad Cockrell and Jaye singing Cockrell’s beautiful song “Rosalyn.” The raspy, Americana blues of Mark Huff, pictured here. (Photo by Nate Ulmer.)
Here’s a shot of your humble Agitator, playing host. I’m comfortable with public speaking. But I usually say things like, ” . . . and then the cops killed him.” This was a little different.
A few more of my own photos from the show:
I’ll leave you with Lee Broderick, a Brit with amazing pipes you’ll likely be hearing more of soon.
Can’t say enough how gracious a lot of people were in helping put this thing together. A number of people told me after the show it was one of their favorite nights out in Nashville. That’s saying something in a city where there are a couple dozen live music shows every night. Chris is reaching out to the artists himself to thank them, but I don’t think he’d mind my saying that he’s humbled and grateful. He suggested we make this an annual event, though obviously for a different cause next year. I think it’s a great idea. The Cold Stares could open the show.
You can still donate to help Chris out. Details here.
I turned thirteen in 1989. At that age the mind kind of imprints on music — you notice it. Cosmically.
Everyone is at least a little crazy then, and sometimes more. Nothing fits. Nothing makes sense. You stand uncomprehending before the cruel, matter-of-fact changes of puberty. And the music starts talking to you.
What is it saying? You have no idea. No one’s ever said this stuff before.
The idiom varies. For whatever reason I never took to grunge. Rather the stuff that came right before it. When no one else was home I’d tune the family stereo to 97X — yes, that 97X (bang!) the future of rock and roll — and listen. And for once I wouldn’t have any words of my own.
My mom would get mad about 97X, which she hated. But I think you always remember the music from around that age.
I learned only today that 97X isn’t playing anymore. Neither broadcast nor online. There’s a song about that kind of loss, too:
ZZ Top’s hard rockin’ ode to the Chicken Ranch, the famous and long-lived brothel in La Grange, Texas which was also immortalized in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. For the lyrics to this and three more songs from Tina Turner, Cher and Nick Gilder, see my column of September 4th, 2011.
Due to upcoming professional commitments and the imminent (thirteen hours) return of my wife from a long trip overseas, this may be my last guest post at the Agitator. If it is, I’d like to thank Radley Balko for the opportunity to guest blog at this site. Radley is one of the best writers on the web, and as important a journalist as any I can name.
My wife and I went to see George Jones, at the Dorton Arena, a weird semi-geodesic dome in Raleigh, North Carolina, for our first date. I suppose it’s strange for a married couple to consider this “Our song”, but we do.
We met working as DJs at WXYC, a freeform radio station in Chapel Hill, the first radio station ever to broadcast on the internet. Radio is fast becoming obsolete, in no small part due to the internet, which is sort of a shame. I love iPod shuffle as much as the next guy, but it can’t teach me anything, as a top notch radio disc jockey can. When I met my wife, she was playing a cover of the classic moonshiners’ tune “Mountain Dew”, by the Country Rockers, a delightful old pair of geezers who sounded a lot like Grandpa Jones, of Hee-Haw fame. You can’t find it on Youtube, but you can find their cover of Ernest Tubb’s “Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin”, which is almost as good.
Finally, it’s been a pleasure writing at a site where readers, some of them anyway, appreciate the work of Billy Joe Shaver. Shaver is mainly known as the muse for Waylon Jennings’ best songs, but to my knowledge Waylon never covered Shaver’s best song, “Ragged Old Truck”.
It’s possible that I’ll be able to post again before The Man returns, but if not, enjoy your summer vacation.
Here’s one most people don’t even realize is about a whore; indeed I myself didn’t until my husband pointed it out when he said it made him think of me. But in the New Musical Express of November 2, 1974, the late Freddie Mercury stated it explicitly: “It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well.” For the lyrics to this and five more songs from Bob Seger, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Blondie and Cole Porter (sung by Ella Fitzgerald), see my column of October 25th, 2010.
The Champs. Forced by the Man’s fascist intellectual property conventions to abandon their name when it was discovered that the guys who recorded “Tequila” had a prior claim. So they became “The Fucking Champs”.
I first heard “Thor Is, Like, Immortal” on a 45 rpm record that cost me three dollars. They were three dollars well spent.
This week’s selection is one that will be familiar to you if you’ve ever lived in New Orleans, but probably not otherwise. Here’s LeRoux performing “New Orleans Ladies” on Midnight Special on October 13th, 1978. If you’d like to see the words (and those of the other songs I picked that time) you can visit my column for September 5th, 2010.
What makes this news isn’t that he did it, but that he’s being prosecuted for it.
I’m very glad to hear that yesterday’s “destroy the pyramids” story turned out to be a hoax; however, I’m sad that similar recent actions by radical Islamists in Timbuktu and Afghanistan actually made it believable. Also, thanks to those who pointed out (in respect to yesterday’s clam video) that what I (and obviously, the person who labeled it) took as a nonhuman creature tasting a substance was actually something entirely different. It just goes to show how we all unconsciously project our own experiences and mental constructs onto phenomena with which we’re unfamiliar; sex workers have to deal with the same thing, as I explained in this early column about how outsiders perceive just about every non-customer male in a hooker’s life as a “pimp” (with all that entails). You might also appreciate this column in which I answer the burning question “How are pimps like chupacabras?”, and this entirely clam-free video of “What a Wonderful World” performed in 16 different Western musical genres:
Yes, it’s 3 a.m. on Saturday in Washington, DC. Too late for an addition to Five Star Fridays? I think not. After all, it’s still Friday night somewhere (Hawaii?), right?
Thanks to a bit too much coffee today I’m awake and reading my fellow Agitator guestbloggers’ posts at this lovely hour. In honor of that fact–and the dual prodding of Maggie McNeil’s invite and the challenge laid out by an anonymous fellow guestblogger below (“I suspect, a couple of Radley’s guest-bloggers don’t roll that way.”)–here’s a great, steaming, screaming (the guitars, at least), messy, ode to coffee and overcaffeination–Caffeine Blues–by the seminal post-hardcore D.C.-based band Gray Matter.
Never heard of them? Fix that sorry problem here and here.
I think it would be FANTASTIC if we really made these “Five Star Fridays” by each posting a video!
I’m not sure that’s going to happen because, I suspect, a couple of Radley’s guest-bloggers don’t roll that way.
But, that’s how I roll. Lester Bangs, or someone like him, wrote something to the effect that if the Devil ever went into a recording studio, he was there while The Stooges were recording their best album, “Funhouse”.
“1970″ is, in your humble narrator’s opinion, the best song on the best album of the 1970s. I fully expect a number of you to hate it. That’s fine. The 1970s were a decade of hate, and The Stooges were one of the most hateful bands ever to go into a recording studio.
In 2005, I was stopped by a Virginia Highway Patrol officer going down the infamous Mount Vernon speed trap with my friend D. on the way to his bachelor party. We were playing this. The first question he asked me was how much I’d had to drink. (Nothing, yet.) The second was, would I turn that racket down? For once in my cowardly life, I said “no”. (Actually, I told him I couldn’t hear him and that he should just write the ticket.)