Stars of the East

Last week Supe Granda promised us in a song that it’s going to be a “cool, cool Yule,” and we aim to make sure of it this week with a season-closing extravaganza that features fourteen artists or bands and songs featured on the new and very wonderful CD collection An East Nashville Christmas. The brainchild of producer and recording engineer Phil Harris, the CD corrals an incredible number of participants (75 musicians by their count) into a coherent, joy-filled, sonically luxurious Christmas album. Unpretentious and real, with many standout performances, An East Nashville Christmas is bound to be a perennial favorite through the years, even as it presents a smart musical snapshot of 37206 in 2012. The motivation behind all this? Funds raised by the album go to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. So it’s no wonder the disc is flying off the shelves at shops and events around town.

Our Music City Roots East Nashville Christmas night this Wednesday will be the last of four live shows promoting the album, including a Bluegrass Underground event last week. And we’ll be having too many great guest artists to describe them all, but there are some firsts and standouts worth noting. Folks are buzzing about The Danberrys, a husband and wife duo that updates traditional Americana with tasty grooves and a sexy sort of feel. They covered the great “Shady Grove” and released it as a single, and their “Company Store” can take its place among the finer songs of labor and toil.

Also making an overdue Loveless Barn debut will be Off The Wagon, a favorite bluegrass band down at the Station Inn for their ability to kick it old school and new school in the same set. A more consistently vintage feel comes from honky tonk specialists and returning Roots friends Todd Grebe and Cold Country. We’re also going to hear from Julie Lee, and while she’s been on our stage singing harmony before, we are excited about the full Julie Lee experience. This evening she’ll be singing “Go Tell It On The Mountain” with our friend Mike Farris and Nashville’s coolest jazz trumpet player Rod McGaha. We’re working on booking Julie for a featured set in 2013 with her Baby Daddies band. She’s a wonder.

Chris Scruggs, a favorite of ours, is debuting a song with this album. His original “Will You Sleep Inside This Christmas” was written specifically for the project, and it became the opening track. We’ll be welcoming Rachel Hester for the first time, and if you follow Nashville’s trad country scene, you knew her first as the daughter of Opry fiddle veteran Hoot Hester and then as an artist/songwriter. Christian Sedelmeyer and Rachel Baiman have also played Roots as part of other bands, but of late they’ve teamed up to make intimate string and vocal music. Another duo coming out this week is grassy, folky Jeff and Vida, and it’s been too long since we caught up with them.

So it will be part concert and part family reunion on Wednesday night. The lights will twinkle and bells will jingle. I’m behind as usual on my Christmas shopping. But I’m more than ready for this week’s show.

Craig H.

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