Month: February 2011

Nashville Skyline Rag

The third installment of my “Music Fit to a T” series of songs honoring Tennessee doesn’t technically have the state’s name in its title. But it is my series, so who’s quibbling. Since my daughter Claire and I are heading to Nashville this week, I thought I’d include Nashville Skyline Rag as the third song in my tribute. The original came from Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, but I primarily remember the song as the opening tune to every Earl Scruggs Revue show I saw in the 1970s (and I saw several).  I liked it so much that my high school and college bluegrass band also played a version of Nashville Skyline Rag. Given that this has become known as a banjo tune, it is fitting that I’m featuring a video with banjo pioneer Tony Trischka and the Czech bluegrass band (yes, you read that right) Druhá Tráva. So here’s a little Nashville Skyline Rag to celebrate Tennessee.  Enjoy. More to come… DJB

The Brand New Tennessee Waltz

I’ve never been a big fan of the “official” song for my home state – The Tennessee Waltz – although you’ll hear an occasional version that works. (See, for instance, the YouTube video of Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones, where Bonnie plays a mean slide guitar solo.)  But for the second in my “Music Fit to a T” series, highlighting songs with “Tennessee” in the title, I’ve chosen a play off the state song. Jesse Winchester wrote The Brand New Tennessee Waltz for his first album, released in 1970 while still living in exile in Canada where he had moved to avoid the draft.  He wasn’t able to tour in the US until much later in the decade and isn’t as well-known as some other singer-songwriters. The Brand New Tennessee Waltz is a sad yet lovely song. Oh my, but you have a pretty face You favor I girl that I knew I imagine that she’s back in Tennessee And by God, I should be there too I’ve a sadness too sad to be true …

Tennessee Plates – Music Fit to a T

I’ve been thinking about Tennessee recently, as both Claire and I head there next week.  Claire’s high school choir is in Nashville for a series of concerts, and I’m heading to town later in the week for work and then to connect with Claire.  We’ll end the week with a short visit with family. With all that on my mind, it was appropriate that John Hiatt’s Tennessee Plates came on the iPod as I was heading over to school to pick up Andrew tonight.  I get a big kick out of John Hiatt, and I love this song. The video below is a terrific acoustic version.  To keep the good feelings going, I’ll make this the first in a series of “Tennessee” songs over the next few days.  I have a Facebook friend who is posting a series of videos entitled “Music in the Key of Joe” (as all the artists are named Joe).  So call this series, “Music fit to a T.” Enjoy Tennessee Plates. More to come… DJB

We’re Not Dead Yet!

Cynics (or my children) looking at last evening’s twin bill at the beautiful Strathmore Music Hall would be tempted to title the show, “We’re Not Dead Yet!”  In response, the current edition of the Seldom Scene (one original member) and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (with a whopping three of the five original members) could respond with the same motto:  We may be older than dirt, but we can still fill a concert hall! The Scene (photo at the top of the post) played first, with mandolinist extraordinaire Jimmy Goodreau sitting in on a half-day’s notice for the ailing Lou Reed.  This isn’t your father’s Seldom Scene…the vocals don’t match those of Starling and Duffey, and no one can play those Dobro licks like Mike Auldridge…but this is still a good bluegrass band.  Dudley Connell is an expressive lead singer, Ronnie Simpkins – who along with Goodreau was a long-time member of the Tony Rice Unit – can play bass with the best of them, and 70-year-old Ben Eldridge provides the link to the original …

Theatre Rebirth

I knew that I had become my father when I found myself telling a friend a few years ago that “I paid more for my last car than I did for my first house.”  It was one of those lines that my father used when I was young – and here I was repeating it!  (Just to set the record straight, our now 10-year-old car wasn’t that expensive; it just happened that as newlyweds, we got a great deal on a 1910 townhouse that needed a lot of work.) Another story that I heard from my father when I was young was how he spent nights and weekends taking up tickets and serving as the back-up projectionist at the Franklin Theatre in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee.  Daddy knew all about the movies and stars from that era, because he had a free seat. So it was no surprise to me that Tom Brown would be in Franklin last Saturday evening when the lights in the marquee of the historic Franklin Theatre were turned on …