Nashville’s Rock of Ages

In case you haven’t heard of the Music City Curse, it’s this notion that developed over the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s that no matter how awe-inspiring a Nashville rock band was, it would never get a fair shake when it reached the New York and LA power-brokers who decide who gets big-time video and radio play or major label record deals. Recently, breakouts by Kings of Leon, Paramore and others have given hope to many that the curse is over, but before those guys, Nashville had a few sure-thing rockers who earned critical acclaim and fans worldwide, and we’ve got two of the greatest of them on Music City Roots.

Jason Ringenberg was the original cowpunk, a firebrand who mingles the twang of Hank with the rock and roll swagger of Iggy Pop or Mick Jagger. When he formed the Nashville Scorchers with guitarist Warner Hodges in the very early 1980s, audiences in Music City starved for real rock but endeared to country couldn’t believe their ears. Folks still talk about Scorchers shows from that era as pure, cathartic, wild and free. When they got a national record deal, the suits made them removed ‘Nashville’ from their name, but the Scorchers flew the flag for Music City and got farther than any area rock band had done to that point. Jason has made several terrific solo albums, and in recent years, the man who grew up on an Illinois hog farm has been enriching the lives of little kids as Farmer Jason, multi-media star. Whether this week’s show will be the uncorked rock and roller or the singer-songwriter remains to be seen, but it will be great either way.

If Jason is Nashville’s Jagger, then Will Hoge is its Springsteen. Muscular, straight-ahead rock with lyrical subtlety and melodies you can take with you, Hoge’s music has endeared itself to many of the city’s tastemakers, from baby-boomers to the hipster kids. His recording career basically began in 2000, when he became one of a long list of smashingly talented artists that the geniuses at Atlantic Records couldn’t figure out what to do with. He fell into the arms of classy indie Ryko and spent the decade building a national following. His 2007 release Draw The Curtains was very well received and Hoge was making waves when a violent scooter accident set him back at least a year. Following a bunch of physical rehab, he returned to stage and studio. His new album is cheekily entitled The Wreckage.

Our show also includes stunning newcomer Angel Snow, a serene songwriter who’s grown into fresh territory working and writing with bass genius Viktor Krauss. He’ll be on hand this evening as well. And we’re excited to hear The Dirt Daubers, because its leader Col. JD Wilkes is the manic visionary behind the Legendary Shack Shakers. This is more of an old time configuration and it should be cool.

As if that weren’t enough, we’ve added a late-breaking appearance by the great Chip Taylor. Yes, he wrote “Wild Thing,” but his career has been wide ranging and deeply rooted in authentic folk music and crafty singer-songwriter projects.

Too much of a good thing? No way. That’s why folks come to the Barn on Wednesday nights. See you there.

Craig H

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