Tennessee

Finally Friday Kindles Memories Of Classic East Nashville Nights

I’ve had East Nashville’s legendary indie music scene on my mind lately because I was here to chat with Derek Hoke, the architect of the late great Two Dollar Tuesdays at 5 Spot, the coolest place to listen in the 2010s or to be heard. This week’s “Finally Friday” could easily have been a TDT lineup back then, a sublime selection of women who made roots music livelier, wiser and more expansive.

Start with, Caitlin Rose is back, honey. “After a seven-year absence following the release of their second LP, The deputyshe was finally ready to shake off any preconceived notions of what a ‘Caitlin Rose album’ should be,” reads the artist’s new promo for her upcoming album CAZIMI. “The resulting 12-song collection reflects the multi-faceted complexity of a fully realized person, even if things had to be taken apart and put back together a few times to get there.” All we can say is that we’re ready for it . Caitlin, daughter of Nashville hit writer Liz Rose, burst onto the scene like fireworks in 2008 with rocking noir-country jazzing up Pitchfork and the New York Times et cetera. What is she up to? That’ll have to wait for a good interview but the songs released by CAZIMI so far are spectacular, including the motory “Nobody’s Sweetheart,” a soaring steel-guitar-effects anthem called “Black Obsidian,” and a sweet power-folk duo with Courtney Marie Andrews called “Getting It Right.” It’s more than enticing, from one of our city’s most interesting artists, although part of that allure comes from scarcity.

Next comes the miraculous Amelie White, which is so cool both in the scene and on stage, doing earthy, heartbreaking alt-country. I got to write the biography for her very well received 2019 album rhythm of the rainand I led this way: “If there was an East Nashville Music Hall of Fame, Amelia White would already be in it. The now famous scene was in its formative days when White arrived from Boston in the early 2000s and became a fixture at the Family Wash. . .She is a poet who has been compared to more famous songwriters for years; now it would be more appropriate to use them as a benchmark.” Now that Amelia has released her sixth LP I feel even more like that rocket rear view, an album seeking sanctuary from pandemic-ridden American fire and wrath. Produced by sonic maestro Dave Coleman, here’s an East Nashville classic, but one that will reach Amelia’s fans across the country and overseas just when we need the support most.

Violinists and songwriters round out the all-star lunchtime lineup Molly Thomas, someone I look forward to seeing again as she was an asset to the East Nashville community before moving to the Alabama Gulf Coast a few years ago. Her stature as a musician working with the likes of Matthew Ryan and Todd Snider offered clues to the broad talent and vision she revealed with her debut solo album in 2005. After her move, I wasn’t sure how far she leaned forward with her music, but I’m belatedly discovering her impressive work leading a band called The Rare Birds, which includes the likes of Wet Willie co-founder Rick Hirsch. The praise for their 2020 album Honey’s Fury was overwhelming. “Thomas seamlessly weaved 12 songs about love, betrayal, destruction, forgiveness, reflection and healing into a powerfully inspirational album,” he wrote Glide Magazine. Her old friend Matthew Ryan says, “She’s vulnerable and stubborn while honoring themes of loneliness, literature, and the ethereal wetness that accompanies the southern perspective.” I love Honey’s Fury so far with its hints of the amazing country rock of the Continental Drifters. Down in her Deep South home, Molly also makes jewelry and dazzling music, and we’re more than ready for a visit.

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