A week after the fact, but I wanted to add Day Four of the Nashville trip in tribute to the non-country side of the city’s music scene. Apparently, it comes in after LA and New York in terms of the number of bands looking to make themselves a name, and there are more rock and pop than C&W acts here. Tip to up-and-coming groups: relocate to Murdo, South Dakota to ensure yourself a larger share of the local market before you try and move on up.
Because in the ‘local bands’ section at Grimey’s record shop on 8th Avenue South there’s a three-tiered rack full of CDs (and tapes) made by city artistes, which is not necessarily a good thing if you’re in one of the bands (I’d not heard of a single one). “In the end,” said Layne Ihde, the lead singer of Nashville-based three-piece The Ides, “you end up performing to the same 30-50 people every time you play live. And every one of them is in a band too.”
Layne moved to Nashville 12 years ago, “for the music”, and you can judge for yourself how good his band is from its MySpace page. They’ve released an LP and an EP, and have had respectable sales in Japan, which once lead to a Japanese girl inviting them to play at her birthday party…in Italy. They couldn’t make that, and neither have they been able to make it beyond the stage where they play to the same 30-50 people. Not that this means they’re unhappy, or would even consider giving it all up for ‘proper’ careers.
We met at Grimey’s on Layne’s recommendation. It’s not just the best record shop in Nashville (the three-mile walk from the town centre down a long and faceless street making it feel like you’ve earned the right to shop there), it’s possibly the best record shop in the world, run on love and independence. The almost faultless selection of both new and “preloved” CDs are generously priced in the listener’s favour, while bands play live in the second hand section, and the staff hand out free beer.
Last Saturday it was The Dirtbombs, featuring a punk-soul singer, two guitars, two drummers and a fuzzbox bass to shake the shop and the eardrums of all the patrons, most of whom were too young to take advantage of the beer giveaway, or to have heard this kind of music in most of its early incarnations. It was an anthemic, string-grinding six o’ clock warm-up for the evening ahead - perfect grime-time music.