Great news for the tragically hip in Nashville: Morrissey has rescheduled his Ryman appearance for March 29th! According to the Ryman’s website, all original tickets for the canceled Jan. 29th date will be honored. Lauren and I were devastated when the Jan. 29th show was canceled due to Moz’s bleeding ulcer. Thank goodness he’s back in good health, though! We’d heard rumors that the tour would be rescheduled for the summer with Patti Smith opening… but I guess one could only dream of being so lucky as to witness such an amazing bill…

caitlinrose200x200In case you’ve been under a rock recently, Caitlin Rose has a brand new album ready to drop March 5th. I’ve heard nothing but good, good, and more good about it. And this new song “No One To Call” makes me even more excited about this album than the last teaser track “I Was Cruel.” Stream it below and pre-order the vinyl here and receive a free digital copy of the album on March 1st. DO IT.

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It’s almost spring again, and in East Nashville in recent years, that has come to mean BEER FEST. I’ve been to the East Nashville Beer Festival every year of its existence and it’s gotten better every time. Most of you probably know I’m a homebrewer and avid beer lover, so trust me when I say these folks really know how to put on a great beer festival. The list of breweries this year includes Deschutes, Good People, French Broad, Lagunitas, Highland Brewing, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Rivertown, Schmaltz, Brooklyn, Southern Tier, Starr Hill, Terrapin, Straight To Ale, Green Flash, and many more including all your favorite locals such as Yazoo, Calfkiller, Fat Bottom, Turtle Anarchy, Jackalope, etc… It’s well worth the $50 price because there’s simply no other way to experience so many great beers at once, and many of the breweries have very special, limited-edition (often cask-aged) brews that you’d never find in a store or at a bar. There will also be plenty of food trucks onsite to help fill your belly with yummy snacks in addition to the beer. The list includes Biscuit Love, Wrapper’s Delight, Riff’s, Hoss’s Loaded Burgers, and the Grilled Cheeserie to name a few.

This year also boasts a very special food/beer pairing tent sponsored by Whole Foods! It does require a separate ticket for an extra $45 but I’ve no doubt it will be worth it! The ENBF is also a part of Nashville Craft Beer Week, which boasts even more awesome in-store free tastings and other specialty events, so be sure to check out the full calendar, because the madness starts on March 18th.

The festival did not increase the size of the event this year, but they’ve “…doubled our bathrooms, doubled our hand wash sinks, increased drinking water supply, upgraded glassware (6oz glass snifter), and overall will be creating the best venue possible.” If you had issues with any of those things last year, fear not- it’ll be way better this year.

SO, BELIEVE ME- HAVE YOUR FINGER ON THE BUTTON AT 9AM SHARP THIS THURSDAY. This event will sellout in less than an hour, and probably even less than 30 minutes. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out in 10 minutes. Trust me, I had an absolute blast last year with my lady Old Red Boots, and we’ll be back in full force this year. You do NOT want to miss this!

The ENBF and Craft Beer Week are all products of Rhizome Productions. Keep your eyes on these folks, because they’re doing some amazing stuff for the beer scene in Nashville, Tennessee, and the southeast in general!

*Also, don’t forget about Fix The Beer Tax! If you’re a Tennesseean and haven’t heard about that movement yet, check out my blog post about it from a couple of weeks ago (which the FTBT folks were kind enough to repost on their blog!). And then email your state legislators and help us get this archaic and ridiculous TN law changed.*

Ben and one of his best friends Bekah Cope at SXSW 2010.

It is a tragic, horrible day for the Nashville rock scene. Ben Todd, founder of Nashville’s Dead, bassist of D. Watusi, and main force behind the Freakin’ Weekend has died at age 24. Read more about it at the Nashville Cream, as they are far more talented writers than I.

I’ll just say a few words from my own experience with Ben. He was one of hundreds of acquaintances I know primarily through shows. I would always see him and briefly say “hey man how’s it going?” and unfortunately that was pretty much the extent of our interactions. But just through those interactions I could tell how passionate he was about the Nashville rock scene. That passion was very evident in his creation and the content of Nashville’s Dead. He was also the driving force behind the Freakin’ Weekend. Since we’re only about a month out from the 4th installment of the annual festival, I wonder how it will proceed. I’ve no doubt that it will, though, in his honor.

I just can’t help but think it ironic that his whole mantra seemed to be centered around eternal positivity, kindness, and keeping a youthful outlook on life. His blogging moniker was Forever Young, and Forever Young he shall remain. My condolences and deepest sympathy go out to his friends and family. Actually, I’ll just say family. Because Ben was the kind of person to whom friends ARE family. Rest in peace.

fix the beer taxIt’s long overdue, but finally a serious campaign has been created to curb Tennessee’s utterly insane beer taxes. I’m not tax expert, but I do understand that if we have the highest beer taxes in the nation, we are going to be way WAY behind the rest of the nation in the craft brewing industry. The fact that Nashville is just now starting to get a decent crop of local breweries is simply depressing. It’s depressing for beer lovers, entrepreneurs who want start a brewery, and the beer industry in general. For example, I have no doubt that our tax rates are a big reason, if not THE reason, that Bell’s Beer distributes all over the southeast but skips TN. Bell’s is one of the finest craft breweries in the nation and it’s a travesty that you can’t get it here.

But enough rambling about it. Now it’s time to do something about it. Yazoo Brewing held a kickoff event at the Yazoo Taproom last night that began a statewide campaign of events in Memphis, Clarksville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, Cookeville, Knoxville, and of course Nashville to raise awareness of the problem and build support for The Tennessee Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013. The hub of the movement is their website- www.fixthebeertax.com. There you can find all pertinent information, and most importantly, a web form through with you can contact your local legislator urging them to support this bill. If you love good beer and you live in Tennessee, it behooves you to support this effort and do everything you can to help get it passed. They’re also on Facebook.

As I’ve followed Yazoo Brewing the past few years I’ve noticed Linus Hall mention TN’s crazy beer taxes on their blog several times and wondered if he was going to try to lobby our state legislature to fix the problem. I’m happy to say it’s finally happening!

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I’ve been slowly digging through the piles of posts in my RSS feed that accrued over the holiday break. While I’ve simply had to skip over the vast majority of it, I’ve found a few tidbits here and there about exciting and interesting things we can look forward to in Nashville’s awesome indie/local music scene in 2013. Check it:

  • Ben Todd and his Nashville’s Dead crew have announced the dates for the FREAKIN’ WEEKEND IV. So mark your calendars for March 7-9. The past three have gotten progressively more awesome as they’ve incorporated more of their favorite out-of-towners in the lineup. More at Nashville’s Dead.
  • Mercy Lounge will be celebrating their 10th year of putting on great shows this coming weekend. They have two nights, Friday and Saturday, of great local bands playing in all 3 of their venues- Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom, and The High Watt. Some of the bands include JEFF the Brotherhood, The Weeks, Cherub, Wild Cub, and many more. Each night the first 250 people get in free, after that cover becomes $10. Check out their calendar for more info.
  • Infinity Cat Records plans to open a small storefront sometime this coming summer. Not many details are known yet, but Steve Haruch at the Scene caught wind of it buried in a blog post on their website and wrote about it on the Cream. Kudos Jake, Jamin, and Bob!
  • Not only does Nashville now have Craft Brewed, a combination taproom, beer store, and homebrew supply store, we also have yet another brewery opening downtown- Tennessee Brew Works. For more them, check out the Scene’s Bites Blog, or their official website. And for more on Craft Brewed, check out their facebook. I’ve been there twice already, and their official grand opening party is this coming Saturday the 12th. I highly recommend it for beer lovers!
  • This is waaaaay off in the future, but Yazoo, Nashville’s first commercial craft brewery, will be celebrating their 10-year anniversary on October 13th, 2013. Congrats guys!

It’s not every day you see a Grammy-nominated musician play a sweaty set of throaty, in-your-face rock ‘n roll jams at a tiny hot wing joint, but that’s just what happened Saturday night here in Nashville. Singer Brittany Howard of the Grammy-nominated Alabama Shakes fronted a Nashville supergroup called Thunderbitch, featuring members of Fly Golden Eagle and Clear Plastic Masks, last Saturday night at East Nashville hot chicken joint Ghot Wingz. I was there snapping photos of this bizarre show, all of which can be seen over at the Cream, along with The Spin’s more thorough review of the happenings. In short, I had to mention it because it’s one of those shows that will go down in history, and I’m proud that it happened in the music town I call home!

In other news, though NASA’s Johnson Space Center Students create fun promotional videos for NASA every year, this year’s is quite impressive. Behold “NASA Johnson Style,” their parody of “Gangnam Style.” :

From the department of OH SHIT: Soundland is postponed until 2013. Straight from the horse’s mouth:

We’ve been so excited to bring you an all-new outdoor SoundLand experience in 2012 and have been working for months on creating a one-day extravaganza Oct. 6th at The Lawn at Riverfront Park. Unfortunately, issues out of everyone’s control have caused us to put this vision on hold until 2013.

Ticket buyers: check your email for details.

Well that sucks. I think the idea behind Next Big Nashville and Soundland is a great one, and I think their mission is not over. So don’t fear- I have no doubt they’ll be back next year with a bigger and better festival. Also, there are still plenty of good events happening on that weekend:

PS – we will still have some great shows happening over the original SoundLand weekend with JD McPherson, Jonny Corndawg, Generationals, The Tontons, HUSTLE: The Biggest Dance Party of the Year, and others. Stay tuned here in the coming days for details.

Personally, I’m a fan of Generationals and will make an effort to see them wherever they end up playing. And that HUSTLE dance party will be off the chain- it’s all of this town’s finest dance party producers all in one night/event. That’s an OH SHIT in the good way.