Writers Night At Drifters BBQ

I talk all the time about how there’s so much in Nashville that I have yet to discover and how I need to explore more. Well last week I was able to check one more thing off of my must see/must do list. A Nashville Writers Night! A new friend invited me out to see him play, and of course I said yes. I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to find once I got there. The only thing I knew for sure is what my friend’s voice sounded like. What I experienced was a nice surprise.

 

Drifters BBQ

Drifters BBQ

Tucked away right off of Woodland Street is Drifters BBQ. Apparently this place has great food and is pretty popular. I’d never heard of it. (the perks of being a recovering hermit) I was greeted by multicolored Christmas lights adorning a spacious patio with tables strewn about. In the corner was a small stage. I walked in at the end of what I’m sure was a pretty cool performance by two brothers. Kind of sad I missed it. Here is how it worked:

Two artists at a time with their respective instruments (read: guitars). Four songs each. Back and forth. Just that simple.

This place was pretty much organic greatness. No frills. No lights. No big production. Just people who love their music and others who love to listen. So Cool!! My ears heard so many voices. So many stories. So many emotions. There were some gems and some duds. I wish I would have taken pictures, but that would have been beyond creepy.

There was a kazoo playing reserved rocker who sang about missing his lady while in a bar in Brooklyn. He voice reminded me of Kings Of Leon, but I could understand what he was saying. There was also a butch lesbian with the highest soprano voice ever. She sang about sunshine and rainbows, and not being accepted. Appropriate. I’m pretty sure someone should hire her to sing lullabies to their children. Everyone wasn’t amazing though. There was a guy who, to my understanding, is a regular. I’ve never seen someone so passionate about the simplest of pointless songs. Ever. This particular week he decided to bring his homeboy from the sticks of Tennessee. This man had a song about a speckled hen. A hen. Needless to say, he was the source of more than a few laughs.

Overall, I loved the writers night experience. My friend and his stage buddy did an amazing job. Good conversation. Interesting people. Will definitely be venturing out again. Any cool writers nights around the city that I should check out?

Me, Jesus and Music: The Experiment

King Remembered In Time

King Remembered In Time

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a thought spree/twitter rant about Jesus and secular music. The dilema of determining what I shouldn’t listen to because of my faith is nothing new. I’ve written about it before, and came to the conclusion that it comes down to being a matter of my heart. Since then, I’ve cut many an artist from my rotation. I thought that I’d miss the old music, but it was a surprisingly easy process. The good thing about cutting out old music is that there was more room for new music! Ok, let me get to the point.

I did an experiment a few weeks ago. Warm weather means concert season in Nashville, and I’m a sucker for a live show. However, the environment at most hip-hop concerts aren’t cut from the pages of a storybook. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t enjoy myself last spring/summer. So much so that once the cold months came I decided to become a hermit indefinitely. Now that the sun is heating things up, I’ve realized that I’m not meant to be in the house. AT ALL. I want the sun. I want the crowds and people watching. I want the bands and amazing voices. I want it all. But can I have it all and not go left? Or will being in the live show environment make me want to repeat previous years of wilding out? Perfect test was the Big KRIT show.

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I love me some KRIT. LOVE. He’s a great mix of ratchet and intelligence. He raps about what he knows and it’s genuine. No, his songs aren’t about God. Yes, there is plenty of profanity. Do I feel some kind of way when I listen to him? No. Like I said before, it’s all about the heart. I’ve been to a few KRIT shows in my day. I think that this one was my fourth. And let me tell you…. I had a BALL! Did I drink? No. Did I identify with what everyone was talking about in every song? Not at all, but I never have. Did I get sleepy and leave early? Yes. I have to work every morning at 7am. No way that I can hang when the headliner doesn’t even hit the stage until after midnight.

This is pretty much the dopest picture of Open Mic ever. Don't debate me.

This is pretty much the dopest picture of Open Mic ever. Don’t debate me.

I came out of this experiment knowing a few things for sure. OpenMic is amazing and I’m impatiently waiting on FTR2. Petty has this thing about him that’s infectious. I can’t really describe it, but I promise you can’t sit through his set and not vibe with him. He’s had me since I thought he was a random white boy at the AyeVee show. I was so wrong (he’s black). Big KRIT has never disappointed and I don’t believe he ever will. Most importantly, I know that my doubts and agonizing were for no reason. Honestly, I can go into any show on this planet and be just fine as long as my foundation is strong. I know I’m still going to hear the “Watch what you feed your spirit. Be careful of the places that you go, you’re a Christian” speeches. I’ve never believed that my God is one to take away things that we love when we choose to live for Him. He doesn’t want us to lead boring monotonous lives. So catch me at your favorite venue. In the middle of the crowd. Falling totally in love with someone’s performance. Matter of fact, join me!

The Higher Learning Tour: Nunu’s First HipHop Concert

Since I’m documenting my live show experiences, I figured why not share what happened when we took my nephew to his first hiphop concert. I wrote this a few days after the show, but of course it hung out in my drafts until now. My pictures from this show kind of suck. We were far away.  Enjoy!

A couple of  months ago, Lecrae and Dee-1 came through Nashville on The Higher Learning Tour. If you haven’t heard of them, but enjoy rap and love God, I suggest that you give them a listen. I, being the hiphop head that I am, knew that there was no way that I’d be missing this show. My sister and I also decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to introduce my nephew to the world of the hiphop concert. Reginald, affectionately called Nunu, is forever singing in the car and we’ve had to be mindful of what we play when he’s around. It’s great to have rap artists who can be played at obscenely high volume in the car without worrying about what my eight year old nephew is hearing. Needless to say, he loves Lecrae and I’m pretty cool for playing his music.

The day of the show, Nunu runs into my room after school and jumps on my bed. “Are you going to the concert?!” I, in a nap induced haze, have no idea why he’s asking me such an obvious question. I forgot that my sister never tells him when she’s planned something just in case he acts up and plans have to change. Mothers are slick like that. He was on pins and needles until it was time to get in the car. We get to TSU’s Gentry Center and there are no signs of life, let alone a concert. Apparently, the venue that was advertised was not where the concert was being held. Mind you, the advertising was close to non-existent. Nashville has to do better. But that’s another issue for another post. Back to this story, we found the building and were ready for a few hours of fun.

Nunu chooses a spot on top of the closed bleachers where he could take in the entire room. The opener was Propaganda, a former teacher from LA. We, and most of the people in attendance, had never heard of this guy but he was super hype. I love to see an artist on their first tour because their performance is so organic. They love what their doing so much that they will rock on that stage alone and enjoy every second. That love is what makes the crowd eventually rock with them. It’s contagious. I loved the way that Propaganda mixed spoken word into his set. It wasn’t gimmicky. Nunu, on the other hand didn’t seem to be impressed. Uh oh.

Next up was the comedian/host. (I forgot his name) Now, this guy was a hit with the kid. Brandi and I weren’t as impressed, but Nunu was cracking up at every joke. Every time I looked up he was doing the knee slapping belly laugh. While the comedian was on, I noticed the next act, Dee-1 on the side of the stage. It’s normal for artists to be off to the side before their set, but I thought that it was kind of cool that he had his notebook out and looked to be drawing. Now, I’ve quit paying attention to the stage and am watching Dee-1’s process. The pacing was never-ending, probably due to the fact that the comedian obviously ran over his time and then kept going. Oh, and how much can one person have in their pockets? I’m almost positive that Dee-1 had them beat. And after spending what seemed like forever handing his pocket contents to his homeboy, he still had to stop at the dj booth to unload one last item. Do all artists go on stage with empty pockets? I’ve met and seen him perform before, so I kind of knew what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much his stage presence has improved in a year. He was comfortable on stage.

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Check back in with Nunu, he’s bobbing his head, but Brandi and I are obviously enjoying the show more. By this time I’m a little worried. This kid, who dances all the time and makes up a rap version to every song, is sitting still. He’s not jumping. He’s not even standing up. Was this a mistake? Were the lights and sound too much? Does he really not like hiphop as much as we thought? But there was no turning back because Lecrae was up next.

Lecrae hits the stage and I see a whole new side of Nunu. He’s jumping and rapping along and having a ball. He’s even come down from his perch to enjoy the show beside Brandi and I. His hands are up, he’s smiling. Lecrae is performing all of his favorites. It looked like all was perfect in his little world. I’m so happy that I could be a part of that moment.

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Thanks to positive artists like Lecrae and Dee-1, I can share my love for hiphop and live music with my nephew at such a young age. They are dope lyrically without cursing and negativity. They are men of God and great role models for young men. The type of “cool kids” that I want the little men in my life to look up to. We had such a great time.

I found out later that Nunu loved all of the artists who performed that night. His reason for not acting like it: he was saving his energy for Lecrae. The logic of an eight year old. I love him.

 

 

Hi, I’m Just Visiting. What’s Cool Around Here?

*dusts off Macbook* *waves*

Hellooo!! Anybody there?!

It has been quite some time since I’ve visited my little space on the world-wide web. It’s been almost as long since I’ve written anything other than my prayers. Much has changed about me and my surroundings. But that’s not what brought me back here. Well… Yes, it is, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about today.

Last weekend I received a random direct message on twitter from a fellow Bison. She was in town and invited me to the 12 South Winter Beerfest, something I had never heard of before. No way was I turning the offer down. After assistance from my trusty GPS and a few wrong turns (I have no sense of direction, even which technology handy) I found myself in a part of Nashville that I had never seen before. Mind you, I was only about 7 minutes away from home. It hit me. I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MY CITY ANYMORE. *hangs head in shame*

I’ve been back here for over a year, and am totally happy, but I still feel like I’m visiting. Pitiful, I know. I could write a laundry list of excuses for why I spend the majority of my time between home and work, but none are worth me wasting the word count. Truth is, I’ve been unmotivated and lazy. And I have the nerve to complain about having nothing to do like it’s not my own fault. Alas, there’s an easy solution to my problem. I’m going to start living like a visitor.

One of the best things about going to visit friends in an unfamiliar city is that you have a tour guide. No need to wander about or only venture to the über famous tourist attractions. Local restaurants and hot spots are at your disposal thanks to your in-the-loop local buddy. This is how I want to start treating my city – it may be unfamiliar to me, but I have the inside scoop necessary for an amazing journey. Where will I get this information? Anywhere. Everywhere.

I don’t know why, but people love to write Yelp reviews a about Nashville and everything here. Not tourists, Nashvillians. I am currently sitting in a coffee shop that received rave reviews from plenty of Vanderbilt University students. Yelp is about to become my best friend. I was also told about a cozy bar in Inglewood that I should visit, and met a few people who perform at a spot right down the street from my house weekly. This happened while standing under a tent surrounded by strangers this weekend. Who would’ve thunk! I also plan on utilizing local blogs that post the happenings around town.

My ultimate goal is to make this place my own. I need to find where I fit  and flourish. So I’ll be venturing out (and probably getting lost), and I won’t stop until I feel at home. I’m open to any recommendations.

*Raise coffee mug* Here’s to the journey!

Music City? Hey, I Gots A Question

I live in Nashville, internationally known as Music City. I have a friend who was able to attend the SouthxSouthwest festival in Austin, TX this past week. I was on the receiving end of texts about how dope this artist’s set was and how swagged that artist was, and yes I was a major hater full of salt.

See, I had previously spent time calculating the cost of making the trip the Texas and concluded that I had to be out of my mind to attempt the trip at this time in my life. My brokeness looked at me and laughed. After spending the week experiencing bouts of extreme jealousy, I started to think.

Why in the good name of all things dealing with a rhythm and instruments does Nashville not have a music festival like SXSW?

I don’t want to hear a thing about the CMA Fest and country music fanfare either. That is restricted to one genre. Although the city may be primarily highlighted for country music, that is not what earned the nickname and is not all that we have to offer.

Now would be the perfect time for a festival in Music City. Our hip-hop scene is growing at a crazy pace, with artists who are travelling to festivals like SXSW and even Sundance to win over new ears and enlarge their fan base. And I’m not even going the mention the amount artists with national fame that the city has produced who most people don’t even know are from Nashville. There are so many artists that have Nashville as a tour stop just because we are Music City.

And think about the amount of revenue that a music festival would bring to the city. It is not like there are a shortage of venues for shows. Off the top of my head, I made a list of 10 and that does not include the large venues such as The Ryman Auditorium, Schermerhorn etc. I don’t think that getting people to attend would be a problem. Just look at the amount that travel in droves every year to The Middle Of Nowhere, TN to camp out at Bonnaroo year after year.

So Nashville, I need answers. Can somebody remedy this for me? I’d be forever grateful.