We had a great time at the Art House last night. We filmed the whole night for the documentary, and we took lots of photos for an upcoming blog. Click the link to read the .pdf version of part 1 of the literary companion.
The pages are laid out the way they were folded, so they aren’t in numerical order. Just use the page numbers on the bottom to follow along.
First comes the bad news; our good buddy Chris Hayzlett, the brains behind Delta Avenue, is leaving Nashville for the Pacific Northwest in a few months. He’s been involved with our little operation here since the genesis a few years ago, and there’s no way to quantify his importance to our community on both a personal and creative level. And to prove that:
The good news! An idea has been curating within Chris for a while, to throw a series of traveling art shows, incorporating the music, visual art, and literary prowess in our community. Once each month from now until April, Hot Lullaby will be taking over a different East Nashville home for an evening of celebration, culture, and entertainment.
Chris’ vision for The Art House series is simple: “We all have all have something to share with the world that no one else can share. I hope these shows can create a place where we can all come together and pour our collective creativity into one big pot and see how beautiful it can become.”
The best part of all this is that the show will coincide with the online release of “The Park Rose Sessions“, a solo ep of Delta Avenue songs Chris recorded in Portland this past fall. A big bonus is that we’ll be documenting the whole Art House series on film, and releasing a little documentary when its over. This is our biggest undertaking yet, so we’re especially excited.
This month’s even takes place THIS FRIDAY, January 13, 7:00 pm at the Lim/Hazy/Belcher house on 1007 Stainback Avenue in the 37207. The lineup, as currently slated, consists of David Jolley, Christiana Benton, Jordan Dean and the Dirty Holidays, and the Paranormals. Craig Moan has created a beautiful poster series for the show as well.
I ran into Andrew at a local coffee shop a few months back, I told him I got a new camera and he told me he was playing at the basement the following night. A month and a half later, everybody’s happy. Enjoy.
Alright everybody, I’m excited. After what seems like a very, very long time, we are finally ready to release We Grow Old, the debut album by Beards. Lots of love has gone into it, and we’re very thankful to everyone who played on it, recorded it, and did artwork for it.
The album is being released on Dec 10th, and we’re offering PRE-ORDERS! to help offset the manufacturing costs. Pre-orders are $7. Thanks so much for all your continuing support of what we’re doing here.
I got a chance to talk to Nathan Conrad, lead rap-singer for the indie hip-hop outfit Spoken Nerd, last week.
(Nerd’s responses in bold).
Describe your music.
Thanks Ian. I’m a rap singer from Nashville, Tennessee. I like to think that my rap music is somewhat proggressive. I usually like to let others describe my music . I just try my best to write the best words I can and then make the best music to say them over.
Your website labels you “Prophetic-Poetic Talk Music”, and its hard to pin you to a specific genre. At what point did you realize that you were doing something that looked different from the musicians around you?
The first thing that comes to mind is one of the first shows I did in my home town. We were double booked with a band that consisted of the local Police Force. They were a cover band. I remember their front man saying, “Next we have something really different”. Then they all went outside with all their friends. Ha ha. That followed me.
How did you come up with the moniker Spoken Nerd?
It’s a play off of the term “Spoken Word”. When I started rapping there wasn’t really as much of a branding of the phrase nerdcore. You had guys like Sole, Dose, Slug, Adeem, etc. They were often referred to as “nerd rap” back then. I always related to that side of the genre. So Spoken Nerd was born.
To know you is to love you, and one of my favorite things at your shows is watching the faces of people who have never seen or heard you before. What feels better, having someone in the crowd sing all the words to your songs, or watching someone who’s never heard of you become a fan in front of your eyes?
Honestly, I like it all. I think a diversity of shows makes the performance very unique. I even think a show where no one likes it is fun every once in a while. I will say, though, that is always a refreshing experience to play for a crowd that knows the lyrics.
What’s your songwriting process like? Do you usually write the music first, or come up with a lyrical idea?
I use a lot of different methods in writing songs. I used to just write to a beat the way a traditional rapper would. These days the lyrics usually come first. On the new record I wrote some of the songs on bicycle rides and hikes where I wrote (in my head) and memorized all of the lyrics without writing them down. Sometimes I write songs in my head while I am working. I have found that my creativity strikes unanounced.
What does success mean to you?
Music is a very important thing to me. A great album can almost change my life emotionally momentarily. I am forever indebted to some of my favorites. I feel like I have something to add to that table. That is success to me. Simply to make great albums and for people to hear them and be moved by them.
Your new album, Our Team is Going to Win, is being produced by rock veteran Joel McAnulty (credited as the Phantom Farmer). How has making an album with someone outside the realm of hip-hop affected the process?
That’s a great question. Let me start by saying that Joel has an immense understanding of hip hop. He produced the MC Griz EP and that was where I kind of hooked up with him. I truly beleive that he is the type of producer that is good at producing all kinds of music. He’s a guy who shares the same love for music that I do and we can talk for hours about it. The cool thing about working with him is that he really gets what I’m doing. He has also challenged me on a lot of levels muscally.
What’s your favorite venue to perform in, anywhere?
I like it all. It’s really hard to throw a favorite out there. I like Eric’s Loft in Lincoln, IL. The Schlafly Taproom is one of my favorite places on Earth and I had the opportunity to play there. The Auricle, The 5 Spot, The Coup and The Starving Artist (Keene, NH) are also real winners.
What’s next for Spoken Nerd?
The release of “Our team is going to win”. I’ll be touring with Beards in the spring. I will continue to follow my heart and write the music I love.
Play tastemaker. What new music don’t I know that I need to hear?
This may be my favorite part. Cantalouper (Columbia, Mo), Children of Spy (Murfreesboro, TN), Seth Moore (Murfreesboro, TN), Hushpad (Lincoln, IL), Sole and the Skyrider Band, Ceschi, Astronautalis, Listener, The Homeless Gospel Choir, That Dog, Petra Haden, Sally Seltmann, Why?, Quiet Entertainer, Beards, Stars and there are so many more.
It’s been a busy summer at the Hot Lullaby HQ. Here’s a little bit of what’s been going on:
1) We put out our compilation album, Awake the Sacred Song. You can listen/purchase it here. Matt James produced it (and then moved to Portland) and Michelle Majewski drew the album cover (and then moved to New York). You could say we’re driving them away, but we prefer to think that we’re sending them out with the mission of bringing their artistry to their new homes.
2) We went on tour. The compilation album featured three groups, Delta Avenue, The Means, & Beards. Chris from Delta Avenue has a Subaru Legacy, so Erin Rae from The Means and yours truly from Beards jumped in and drove 5,000 miles in ten days. We stopped in Kansas City, Denver, Portland, Olympia, and Seattle, playing house concerts with old friends (and new!) along the way.
3) Back in Nashville, we’ve had a couple house shows, but we’ve been mainly focusing our efforts on post-production for the Beards full length, We Grow Old and pre-production for the upcoming Delta Avenue EP. We’ve got a whole bunch of video blogs on the docket too. Stay tuned.
Christiana has been on the scene for a little while now, as we’ve played a few house shows together, and she recently started singing with Delta Avenue, the Chris Hayzlett project I play guitar in. We talked about doing a video for a few weeks, and it worked out for us on an East Nashville front porch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Watch in HD!
I’ve known Andrew for close to four years, and the first time we met a mutual friend warned me that “this guy is a hell of a songwriter”. Well Bo, you were right. Originally from Dallas, Texas, you can find him around Nashville playing solo or with his talented backing band. We met up last Tuesday afternoon to record in a friend’s apartment, and the bare walls in this room made the sound clean and bright. Both of these songs were nailed on the first take, and you can find them on Andrew’s upcoming full-length debut. He lives at Andrew Combs dot net and last year’s excellent ep, Tennessee Time, is available on Bandcamp here.
Erin Rae and Graham Belcher, one half of the erstwhile quartet The Means, sat down on their kitchen counter to record a new song for the Hot Lullaby camera. I asked them what they wanted me to call them, and after taking a few days to think about it they settled on The Meanwhiles. I like it. It alludes to the past of The Means, and the future of whatever The Means may be, but is still firmly based in the present. The Means are featured on the upcoming Hot Lullaby hymns compilation, Awake the Sacred Song.