Friday, November 19, 2010

Moogest leaves Asheville in awe

The celebration and recognition of Robert Moog, inventor and musical revolutionist, took place Halloween weekend in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. The festival, properly named Moogfest, and formerly held in New York City, was a spectacle of creativity and inspiration as musicians and fans flowed in from all corners of the world, packing Asheville to the brim to witness this moving event organized by his daughter, Michelle Moog and AC Entertainment, which is based out of Knoxville, TN.

The festival had everything. Aside from the nationally recognized artists that performed there, such as Big Boi, Pretty Lights, Spongle, Dark Party and Thievery Corporation, interactive workshops also existed in the Moogaplex in order get the eager participants' creative juices flowing. Hundreds of people came through to actively use a theremin, see actual recovered photographs of Bob Moog which were donated from family and friends, and sit in on informative question and answer panels and demonstrations to conclude a well rounded learning experience. Seeing all this was impressive, but knowing that Michelle Moog was the only paid employee goes farther than words alone can go. Volunteers came from all over to help bring this festival to life. To Michelle though, this is her job, which she is very dedicated to.

"My daily work is Bob Moog," Michelle said with a pleased grin on her face. "I have a focused vision for the future generation to keep what my father did alive and continue to reiterate the importance of creativity and music in schools."

She has done just that. Donating one dollar per ticket to the Bob Moog Foundation, as well as all profits from merchandise and the custom designed posters, in part organized and designed by AC Entertainment's Justin Helton, the impact she and all those who worked it has had on all those who witnessed the festival was massive.

"People have been touched and have contributed greatly to the cause," she continued, "Even at our Mini Moogseum we have seen a facelift. Mountain Gateway Museums has been so kind to donate their services to us and has enabled us to have our first professionally curated exhibit of the MiniMoog there, which we have been more than pleased with."

Manya Whitney-Miller of AC Entertainment who was the event coordinator for the Moogaplex, which was the venue that held the seminars, poster exhibit, demonstrations and late-night shows, had plenty to say about the turnout even before the first night was over.

"I have never had the pleasure of working in North Carolina before," Manya said as we sat in the back circuit room of the Moogaplex. "The city of Asheville is great and its inhabitants are extremely cooperative. I could not ask for more." She continued to say that AC Entertainment's major goal was to throw the best Halloween party the Southeast has ever seen while honoring the legacy of Bob Moog. Goal attained.

"It is already a success, and for that I'm thankful," she concluded. "You can sleep when you are dead. The harder a project is on the front end, the greater the sense of reward that follows once it is completed."

Even Murfreesboro's own Saul Zonana, who has been in the industry for 20 years now, made an appearance at the festival as the 'Moog Professional' demonstrator of the Moog E1. He gave an extremely thorough demonstration of the endless possibilities and functions of the Moog guitar while also expressing gratitude towards Bob Moog.

"I am a huge fan of the Moog legacy," Zonana started off. "I started getting in to it very early. The first gift I can remember that offered huge impact was when I got a Moog synthesizer when I was twelve years old. But pertaining to the guitar itself, it offers something no other guitar can offer. It has all these functions, but ultimately it is all analog, which gives you a more personal bond between you and the instrument."

Personal bond, inspiration, creativity and hard work seemed to be the going theme from all those who had a part in the success of Moogfest. It paid off in the biggest way possible, blowing Asheville up with pride, and for a second, reminding everyone why they loved music so much in the beginning.

"It has taken almost four months for this whole thing to come in to fruition," Michelle Moog said, winding down our conversation. "Its been tough, but this past week there are moments where I...." She trailed off and was speechless. Sheer pride showed through her eyes and she started a new sentence, "There is just a massive amount of energy here. All components of the festival have really created a stunning tribute."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kingston Springs announce release of their first EP, "Vacation Time"

Who says a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds can't produce their first album in their own basement and it be a smash hit? Hopefully no one, because the quickly growing Kingston Springs will shut up all the skeptics with the recent release of their first EP, Vacation Time.

Released to the public on Aug. 9, the album was well received at a release party pieced together and supported by Happy Salmon Productions. The band, hailing from Kingston Springs, Tenn., said it was very happy overall with the finished product, as it should be, because it was two-year project that finally came to a close.

"Two years is a while, for sure, but we just didn't want to rush it and put out something we weren't one hundred percent happy with," said Ian Ferguson, vocalist and lead guitarist for the band.

The album, as described by Ian, has many influences and sources of inspiration including The Strokes, The Beatles and RHCP, but the songs are original in their own right.

"Each song is inspired by a certain time period of our lives," Ian said. "Because all of our songs reflect so many different points in our lives, it has made our music much more diverse."

As mentioned, the album was recorded completely in the creative privacy of Ian's basement with minimal guidance from his father, who too is involved in Nashville's music realm.

"We experimented a lot with the whole process at first, and eventually honed down the process to get a great end result," Ian confirmed. "One song was done in the studio, but the sound wasn't what we had in mind. We wanted a more natural sound, so using drum mics, and a 16 track, we recorded it ourselves."

He went on to say they all agreed on having the same raw sound on the EP that they have during shows and on how important it was for the album to reflect exactly that.

"We ultimately just want people to see our shows and really want our album. And when they hear that album, we want them to think about how great the show was," Ian concluded. He said for now, they are going to keep pushing and growing to develop their music.

Kingston Springs

Bass: Alexander Geddes
Drums: Matthew DeMaio
Vocals/Guitar: Ian Ferguson
Vocals/Guitar/everything else: James Guidry

Saturday, March 27, 2010

John Flanagan's performance wins with Foxwoods

Foxwoods is one of the biggest casinos in the U.S., and the new face and voice for it has been chosen. If you don't know him, you will soon. Nashville's very own singer and songwriter John Flanagan, who moved here from Boston, won the contest at the casino with next to no preparation, relying on his 'natural talent of creating melodies', as he put it, as his guide. 

His music and stage performance fits the bill perfectly for such a contest. As he named his influences, the resemblances between his unique mixture of pop and broadway-style glitz and glamour, and a few of his favorite artists, were pretty apparent. 

"My melodies are that of Ben Folds, but my gimmick is more David Bowie and Freddie Mercury," Flanagan illustrated. "I also have a touch of Lady Gaga, even though I'm not as electronic. I find that in order to make an impression, a gimmick is necessary, and with every song, a hook is needed to entice the audience. I try to write music that's not so 'One, two, three; peter, paul, and mary." 

Speaking to him at Fido's in Hillsboro Village, he acted like anyone would, once they were given their first taste of fame; he was elated. 

"My family and friends are beside themselves with ecstasy," Flanagan said. "Not too many people have heard of Foxwoods here in Tennessee, but my hometown practically considers me a celebrity."  

This recent bout of new-found stardom took him by surprise, as he stated that he hasn't even had experience at casinos in the past.  

"What's fascinating to me about this process is the fact that I've never even gambled before," Flanagan said. "Suddenly ive become the face and voice that is involved with just that. I'm just a part of their image, as they are a part of mine now. All it took was one small step, but I was thrust in to a completely new light." 

The contest has given him high hopes for the future. The winning package included $25,000 worth of studio time and marketing benefits; $10,000 worth of that sum was dedicated to the promotions alone. With that amount of elbow room, he let his imagination roam and told me exactly what he was going to do with that money, once his EP was complete.  

"I want to blast the northeast with news of it," Flanagan said. "Beyond the winnings, there's been talk of not only being the voice of Foxwoods, but the face of it as well. I'd love to be on television. They have mentioned commercials, and me even having a concert of my own."

For the time being, his upcoming show will be in my hometown, Clarksville, Tennessee, at their annual festival 'Rivers and Spires'. He mentioned that he was apprehensive about the small-town crowd being receptive to his extravagant style of performing, but that he planned on toning it down a little, while still showcasing his talent.  

"I'll even wear a pair of jeans!" Flanagan said with a smile.

Thunderbear experiments with a fresh new sound

Describing the Thunderbear crew as musical maniacs would be an understatement, especially if you attended any of their shows. Andrew and Primo, the two main wheels of this crazy, dirty electro-tribal collaboration live in the hills of Nashville at a location that has become quite the chill spot for local fans and friends known as the ThunderCove, and is also where most of the magical music creation goes down. They have a unique sound, and offer a respectable difference from the majority of djs/dub musicians who populate the scene today.

Their secret: Primo keeps it fresh and energetic on the drums and various electronic devices. Andrew Bazinet slaps and taps on the bass, while also adding some synthesizer to the mix. They have guest appearances throughout their performance, including percussive drums and local DJs, who add some pretty killer grooves for the ultimate tribal grind. Live show production is a huge goal they strive to achieve at every show, which generally consist of live video visuals by Lee Stewart Designs, lighting design, and various local live art talents. Music can speak in so many different ways, and having full production at their shows is a way to express the music from every angle.

The most interesting part of all this, is when they are not working on Thunderbear, they are highly involved with the production side of music. Andrew is a studio recording engineer, who has worked for WB Studios for 4 years, but also said he has worked solo with various local bands including Moon Taxi, The Janissary, Oakleave, and Small Axe. Steve has been a live sound engineer/production manager around Nashville and has been creating a buzz about his work for sometime now. “When’s he’s not hard at work with the band, he’s booking shows and running sound for touring acts and excels to the fullest and doing this,” Andrew said. “Any local promoter will tell you the same thing. He’s the man when it comes to anything and everything in the Live Production field.”

They said they are having a great time making music, but their musical direction hasn’t always been a clear paved path. “We had never played in a jam or electronic band before we met,” said Primo. “After playing in a few rock and jambands, we had trouble assembling a definite band, so we decided to start something like our current project.” Since then they have met all kinds of promoters and friends who would help them develop into what they are known as today.

“We just like to rock ‘da party,” Andrew said. Primo concurred.

The band said they will continue to evolve and experiment with their music, and said they wanted to start handing out their music to the public very soon. However, an EP is still in the mix, so for the time being a few tracks will be available for take home use.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rayland Baxter proudly announces the release of his first EP

The endearing Rayland Baxter, more commonly identified by his friends and fans as the ‘Steve Zissou’ of folk, will be releasing his very first EP this Saturday at The Basement. Called ‘The Miscalculation of Song’, his EP will feature seven old country and folk inspired tracks, and is something he has been working on for the past year.

“Its basically a sample of what I have in my catalogue of songs I have written,” Baxter said. “They are an expression of me. Its what I enjoy, or don’t, they’re my opinions, they’re songs about God, or maybe even just getting out of town for a while. Basically, my life is cultivated in these songs.” He wrote four of the six tracks, that will be on the EP, a year ago while he was in Israel visiting family and friends.

“I stayed up all night and wrote those four songs, ” Baxter said. “I just had one of those whims and basically had them finished in the matter of one full day.”

Rayland has been writing music for about three years now, and has been playing guitar for about five or six. He likes to read and has delved in to all different kinds of books ranging from ‘The Great Gatsby’ to a book he mentioned called, ‘The Invisible Man’ which was a novel that he described as a weird take on the prejudices of the 1940’s.

“If you want to be a good writer, it makes sense to read other great authors’ works,” Baxter said. “Its important to note their styles, as well as how they arrange words to create their complete thoughts.”

He said his music and writing has continued to grow, as well as his experiences playing at venues. He did a radio show on December 27th for Lightening 100.1 at 3rd and Linsley, but playing live he said, for the most part, was all new to him.

“I’ve sort of been ramping on the freeway,” Baxter added. “Hopefully the freeway gets bigger and bigger. I hope this will last for a long time.”

Baxter mentioned that he is content with his music as it stands now, but admitted that he would like to see even further development in the future.

“My music speaks to me just a little bit,” he said. “I still feel that I haven’t hatched completely in to my best writing yet.” After his EP release, he plans to continue his journey and wants to further his experience with playing shows and tweaking his music.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

-The Nashville Listener-

I quit writing for Sidelines Newspaper, Middle Tennessee State University's paper, and took up a job being the local correspondent with the Nashville Listener. Most of these articles can now be found here:, instead of the Sidelines website. 

The Nashville Listener is a new company, with concentration on local musicians, started by my friend and editor Jamie Sutton. My friend Carl Gatti, affiliated with Happy Salmon Productions in Nashville, recommended me to him, so he read some of my stuff from the campus paper and offered me a position as a writer. Just a bit of personal updating. I was very excited to be offered this position. So far, I've learned so much, and we keep growing as a company every day. The people I've met along the way have taught me so much and have enabled me to have very lasting relationships! Anyways...

Be sure to check us out! If you sign up for our newsletter, you get a free album sent to you via e-mail each month, as well as being automatically entered for drawings for free tickets to many noteworthy shows we will be featuring. 

Beat Repeat enjoys the journey of growth as djs

Clint Chapman and Tim Dugger joined forces early last year, to form one of the fastest growing dub experimental groups from the Nashville and Murfreesboro area. They call themselves Beat Repeat, and even though they haven’t been established for long, their quick success is evident to all those fans and newcomers who check them out. They started by playing mostly house shows, and even their first one offered something that people couldn’t forget.

“I remember the first time we played was at my house on April 10th of last year,” Tim said. “If you remember, that was the day all those tornados hit Murfreesboro. That was definitely a crazy and memorable show.”

July began, and their momentum picked up. Clint mentioned they played house shows for a minimum of once a week; most of the time it was more.

“We just created a buzz at those house shows, and before we knew it, we were playing at venues,” Clint said. “We’ve been doing that for about three months or so, but Thick as Thieves Productions really gave us the first shot at playing out. They really put a lot of faith in us, and for that we are thankful.

They both agreed that the influential people they have met along the way have offered a tremendous amount of experience that they contributed to their quick growth. They mentioned their friends from Jammenstein, as well as BigKid Productions. They’ve also done about three shows with Happy Salmon, their upcoming show at Club 527, in Murfreesboro, on February 19th, being their fourth.

Even though their heart is in playing house shows, they added that they loved playing at venues and being on the road because it offers such a different experience. For them, seeing packed shows from their position on stage gives them great joy because they simply love having a good time, causing the good time, and watching people dance.

“We’re just glad people like it,” Tim said. “People give us crazy compliments. One guy, in specific, approached us after a show and said he was going to quit his job so he could follow us everywhere we went.”

Even though the two have shown incredible progress, the don’t plan on letting up. Just to add a different twist to their presentation, they’ve decided to come up with a collaborative project involving cartoons, movies and even their own clothing line. They both agreed that they would like to see more art available at their shows. Its expected to take a few months to complete.

As far as their music goes, they’ve released a few mixes already that can be found on their myspace and on facebook. Their Meditation Mix was highly successful, as was their Mind Bomb mix, which was recently released. They also added that they want to be more involved with the production side of things as well; setting up their shows and the like. If you want a chance to see them play live, they will be at the ATO fraternity house in Murfreesboro playing a show tonight, at Blue Rooster the next day, and at Mercy Lounge on the 11th with Excision.

They are rather busy, because shortly after they will also be in Memphis with Zoogma on the 13th, and playing the Big Gigantic after party in Murfreesboro at the Boro, then again on the 19th with Karius Vega and Amtrak at Club 527. To see a full listing of their shows in detail, visit their myspace page. They also mentioned that playing at Bonnaroo is a very high possibility, but isn’t confirmed.

“We just have big dreams and high hopes,” Clint said.

Monday, January 25, 2010

3 Minutes to Live inspires locals to take action against human sex trafficking

The charity song mentioned in this article can be downloaded from The Band’s Official Website. All proceeds and donations are going to the charity Not for Sale.

Brian Terry, member of the Nashville metal band called 3 Minutes to Live, has decided to take action against the most heart-wrenching crime that can be committed today: human sex trafficking. Together, 3 Minutes to Live wrote the song, “Stolen” about a true-life survivor, found in Antioch, and donated all the proceeds from the download costs to the charity‘’, which is dedicated to helping survivors, and stopping these heinous crimes that continue to be committed worldwide.

He said the idea crossed his mind back in the summer of 2009. He read a book about it, and once he discovered the staggering statistics, and the graphic accounts of a number of victims, he knew he couldn’t turn his back against the issue. Brian said that last year, human sex trafficking was responsible for over 32 billion dollars; an amount that surpassed both the illegal drug and weapon trade. He wanted to find the girl from Antioch to get more details and seek her help with the project that he believed would change the way America saw the inhumane acts that were happening right under our noses.

“I read about seven year old girls being branded with potato peelers,” Brian said. “A girl was even found in the back of a truck with her intestines outside her body, because she had been raped so many times. It took forty stitches or so to fix her, then after she was placed in a rehabilitation home, two years later, she died of AIDS.”

Helping End Modern Slavery

Helping End Modern Slavery

As for the girl who survived and inspired 3MTL, well, her story was quite moving, too. She was stolen from a church, was held prisoner and was treated like property for years. He said she admitted that she was forced to have sex with at least seven different men a day. When she refused, her captors threatened to kill her mother. She was often beaten, and was barely kept alive. The most sickening part, Brian said, was that when these men were captured, they were sentenced to 8 years in prison. They only served six months.

“After I heard her story, I was blown away,” Brian said. “We got her consent for the project, wrote the song, and went to the studio to record it. The producers really did a great job, but soon after, we found ourselves asking each other what we should do next.”

Brian went on to mention that their original intentions weren’t to make a music video to accompany the song. Once the song was done, the band started receiving e-mails and requests from volunteers who wanted to help them make it happen. He said one-hundred percent of the participants, including a videographer by the name of Bill Harding, who also is a professor at Austin Peay State University, were there strictly on a volunteer basis. Derri Smith, the Tennessee chapter director for ‘’, even arranged for the band to shoot their video in a model home located in an apartment complex in Antioch. Brian said it seemed like all their resources just fell out of the sky.

The video was released yesterday, and features real statistics about sex trafficking that goes on in the United States, and can be found on YouTube, MySpace, and their official website.

“Im hoping people see the finished product and that it catches on,” he said. “If it does, it’ll raise awareness, raise a lot of money for ‘’, which will enable them to combat this, and it will put the band in the spotlight, which will enable us to say more about it and hopefully create a bigger impact.”

3MTL is very excited and pleased with the way things turned out with the song, but Brian wants to push the envelope even more and continue to take affirmative action.

“Granted, we just wrote a song and shot a video, but if I had the funds, I’d go save those girls,” he said. “3 Minutes to Live is based on this idea: What would you do if you only had that long to live? Try not to be indifferent. At any moment, your time may be up and you may regret not helping out people when you could. The clock is ticking. Once you pass away, its too late. Money means nothing if you don’t do something good with it.”

With his own funds permitting, he plans to go to Cambodia with a team in April to research the matter further.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Electric Teeth hunger for success

Electric Teeth, who centralize in Murfreesboro, are a younger, more recently formed rock band. Despite their age, these 19 and 20-year-olds have already shown signs of great success and their fan base has grown significantly since their official formation last year. According to frontman Nathan Goodwin, they really gelled as a band and began playing at the end of MTSU’s school year at house shows and various other gigs. Goodwin said Electric Teeth loves playing house shows around the Murfreesboro area because the crowd is so receptive to their sound.

“We have a lot of great fans,” said Taylor Lowrance, who plays guitar for the band. “I’m from Memphis, and while music to them is kind of the thing to do, the ‘boro people really care.”

They have jamband tendencies, which is a style that is growing in popularity locally. They take great pride in their individuality though, because while they do have a seemingly recognizable sound, they successfully add their own twist to the music they create.

“I think something that defines our band is that none of us have tried to make our music anything particular,” said Goodwin. “We’re really good about letting what happens, happen.”

The band has already recorded six songs, but only three have been released to the public. Their goal is to have their very first full-length album released in time for spring break. For the time being, they are working on getting as many shows as they possibly can. They’ve been at such venues like The End, in Nashville and Club 527 in the ‘boro. The only show they have lined up at the moment will be an awesome one. Its set to be held on January 22nd in Murfreesboro with Deep Machine and Magic Veteran at YEAH, located off Maple Street.

“We’ve been playing a lot more shows, so we know a lot more people. This semester is going to be really good for our development as a band,” Goodwin said.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chris Volpe's 'Shipwrecked' is buried treasure to folk fans

Chris Volpe's soothing folk tunes in his new album Shipwrecked! will keep listeners on an even keel. He produced all of the songs himself, and had quite the impressive lineup of guest musicians to boot. This album is chock- full with sounds ranging from the cello and harmonica to the pedal steel guitar and fiddle. The musicians featured compliment his heart-rending voice and happen to be quite reputable, including Jeff Coffin, Donnie Herron, and Kenny Malone who have played with such greats as The Dave Matthews Band, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash, respectively. The album's style definitely reflects his 'Bible Belt', Tennessee roots; although he does cover everything from bluegrass and folk, to jazz; with a little pop thrown in for fun. His song called Dusty Bibles features lyrics like, "Dusty bibles lead to dirty lives," which reiterates his dedication to the the Belt. Oh, and he humorously name drops when he refers to sinners as Saddam Hussein and Keith Moon. Its pretty good. This album should definitely hold high listening priority when you embark on your musical discovery endeavors.