Eratosthenes Fackenthall //Seattle, WA

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So, I first had the pleasure of meeting Eratosthenes, or Tos as we call him, in October of last year. I went up to Seattle for the CD release show for my friends Lower Lights Burning at Columbia City Theatre (love that space) and spent the weekend tagging along for all of their festivities. On Sunday of that weekend, Graydon and Amanda took me to Ballard, where theres a cool open mic at Conor Byrne Pub. Tos met us there and we walked down to the water and filmed my first “Ballard Session”.

The first thing you’ll notice about Tos is his wonderful hair. Never have i known a man with such a voluminous mane of hair, and I’m willing to bet you haven’t either. Its amazing. BUT. Thats not why we’re here. What you’ll soon learn after any interaction with him, is that he is such a sweet, open spirit. He creates these beautiful videos that capture artists in their element, and he does them so so well. I recently had the pleasure of hosting Tos here in Nashville during one of the hottest and most humid weeks in Tennessee history, which he was SUCH a trooper about. I filled our days trying to fit in as much Nashville stuff as possible, Historic Franklin, Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, Puckett’s Grocery, The Full Moon Pickin’ Party, as well as all the trespassing we did to film “Ballard Sessions” with as many people as we could fit in. He went along for it all, and I am so grateful for the conversations we had and the adventures we went on.

Tos, your art is a beautiful gift, and I’m so grateful for you, and to get to share what you do with everyone I know. Thank you for the gift of you! Love you!

Here are a couple of examples of The Ballard Sessions. Enjoy=]

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Nathan Conrad// Nashville, TN

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I heard of Nathan before I knew who he was. He’s had a shoe-gazey hip-hop project for a number of years called Spoken Nerd based out of Nashville, TN. Nathan has had a great influence and impact in the hip-hop and indie music community here in Nashville and is an all around great guy. I first met him a couple years ago when he became roommates with Ian Lincoln, who I was starting to play music with and befriend at the time. I was intimidated by Nathan for so long, because he’s HILARIOUS, and I wanted him to think I was funny, too, but that made me think too much so I hardly talked the first few times I was around him.

This past winter, I caught wind of Nathan and Ian planning a month-long tour for May of this year, and since I sing with Ian in the project Beards, I asked Nathan if I could tag along. He said I could if I learned his songs and performed with Spoken Nerd as well, so I did just that! Not only is Nathan one of the greatest entertainers/ performers/ comedians I’ve had the pleasure to know, but he is SO generous with the knowledge he’s acquired in his years of making great music. I was able to learn so much about touring as an independent artist, and meet a ton of wonderful people, and see more of the country than i’d ever seen. I was able to ride along with out the stress of planning the whole thing, and just watch and learn from him and other musicians we met, and learn a lot about myself and how I want to proceed with my own music career. It was definitely a shifting point for me in perspective and of course an eye-opening experience. Every time I get to travel somewhere new there’s the opportunity to learn and grow- and for this most recent experience I am SO grateful to Nathan for having me along.

Check out Nathan’s work here.  

Here’s a little take-away show Ian shot for us while we were in Pittsburg, PA! 

 

Christie Bates //Nashville, TN– Mother’s Day Edition

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By now, you’re hopefully aware that this coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I thought it would be appropriate to feature my lovely mother, Christie Bates. She is an incredible woman, and has taught me so much, and been so incredibly supportive of all of my creative endeavors- from learning to draw pointy elbows in art class, to a bookmark business in 2nd grade, to fiddle lessons, to allowing me to live with her while I work part-time and record an album. I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for the gift of such supportive parents.

My mom is an incredibly intuitive, compassionate, brilliant, hilarious, loving human being. She has always known how I’m doing before I’m even aware of it, and has validated my experiences throughout life. I grew up hearing her sing- her low, warm, beautiful voice- and reading her poetry, and her writing, and so much more. I actually am feeling really overwhelmed by trying to write this, because there is so much ground I want to cover. SO. I will wrap up my mushy rambling, and direct you to the link to buy her first published book- Accepting Your Resurection and also to her blog.

I hope to record a project with both her and my sister. I just want everyone I know to have the pleasure of hearing her sing, and reading her poetry, and be in her presence!

I love you, Momma (Christie=) )
Thank God for the gift of you.

Graham Bechler// Nashville, TN

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I met Graham first at Cafe Coco (see- I told you, I meet everyone there!!) show, shortly after he had moved to town. He offered to play drums for me if I ever needed it, and we traded info but neither one of us followed up, as it usually goes. Fast forward about 8 months, and we re-meet through my friend Cori LeCain, and we all started hanging out all the time. A few months later, Graham started playing with our band The Means, which consisted of Cori LeCain, Ben Ewen, and myself. Graham started to really encourage me about playing my own music, and over time decided to make a record with me! So what I’m getting at here is that Graham is the reason I’m about to have an EP to release.

Graham is not only one of the greatest friends a person could ask for- so giving and encouraging and hilarious- but he is a brilliant musician. One of the best drummers I’ve ever seen, a great songwriter, and a great producer. He has the gift of really being able to see a song in a full, fleshed out way, a gift that i hope to see used more and more with many other people… like Ben Ewen??!! eh? Anyway. He’s toured with a handful of artists- Andrew Belle, and currently Canon Blue to name a couple. I feel so fortunate to have this guy as a friend and on my team musically. I’ve learned so much from him already, and I can’t wait to learn more and continue working with him.

Here is a link to some of his own music- which is AMAZING.
http://www.myspace.com/123latenights

And also, a video of Graham, Cori, and I (The Meanwhiles) covering Feist’s “Gatekeeper” last summer.

Daniel Kirkwood// Washington, D.C.

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If you were to read each and every post here, and continued to follow this blog, you would soon notice that many of my connections have stemmed from the open mic night at Cafe Coco in Nashville. I spent/spend a LOT of time there, especially in the first year or so. It is a watering hole of creative beings and eclectic personalities, which has really fed me in so many ways. Last summer, I happened into the open mic after not having been for a while, and caught Daniel Kirkwood’s set. I had arrived pretty late in the evening, so i signed up last, and I planned to talk to Daniel after the show about playing together sometime. BUT, he started to walk out right before I played, and with out thinking I jumped up and said, “DON’T LEAVE!”, and then proceeded to say very awkwardly that if he liked my voice I would love to sing harmony for him sometime. Honestly, until five minute ago, I had forgotten that’s how we met and now I’m embarrassed to tell you. Anyway, he and his girlfriend did stay, and he did like my voice, and he happened to be in town from ALASKA for a couple of weeks to begin recording his album! So, we talked turkey and other poultry and I came to the studio a few days later. He recently just returned to Nashville for a few weeks to record some more, and add some finishing touches to what we had down last year, and I took these photos this time. Daniel’s music is really cool, and I’m really proud and honored to be part of this project! Jamison Sevits recorded and produced the project, and a handful of other talented musicians as well! We plan on having an official cd release show in Nashville at some point this summer, but until then, check out Dan’s band camp to hear the sounds! And below is a live take of a song a few weeks back.

Thank you, Daniel, for the gift of you!

http://trawler.bandcamp.com

Amanda Sue Winterhalter// Seattle, WA

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Oh you guys. So previously I introduced you to Graydon Holden, a great friend/musician from Shelton, WA. This lovely lady, Amanda Sue Winterhalter, is the other member of Lower Lights Burning that I’ve come to know and call my friend. I don’t know what is in the water out there in the Pacific Northwest, but I have met some of the sweetest, giving-est, talented-est people i’ve ever known in the great state of Washington. Por Ejemplo, I had only spent less than 24 hours with Amanda and a group of friends, and she opened up her home to me a few months later, and then again just last week! I could go on and on about the loyalty Amanda has for her friends, but that list would go on forever, and that’s only part of what I want y’all to see. I met her because she was singing harmony and playing keys and accordion  and THEN. I had the pleasure of hearing one of her own songs the next day, and she’s so talented. Her lyrics and voice and melodies are so pure and sweet, and speak of the human experience, especially in this song. I just want everyone to hear it. I am so lucky to have this lady as my good friend, and cannot wait to see what develops in her solo career.

Love you, Amanda Sue!

Thank you for the gift of you!

Mike McKaskle// Nashville, TN

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Well, I thought about putting (aka- Pops) in the title for this entry, but I figured I’d leave a little suspense. For those who don’t know already, Mike McKaskle is my Dad, and probably the greatest reason I play music at all right now. I grew up listening to him finger-picking his 76′ Martin guitar- which he paid $600 for new, btw- and he and my mother would sing together in the kitchen after dinner, and at coffee shops and county fair sort of events in West Tennessee. When I was really small I’d sing with them, but mostly I got to soak up the influences of the greats like Doc Watson, Merle Haggard, Jimmy Rogers, John Prine, and Greg Brown, as played by my father.

I began singing with him again when I was about 17, and for my 18th birthday/ high school graduation, he got me my first guitar! He tried teaching me a few chords, but it wouldn’t be until the end of my first (and only) semester away at college that I’d start to really be interested in learning. One of the greatest joys I have is the gift of getting to share music with him, and it has been a connection that has carried us through difficult periods in our relationship.

He played in bands growing up, and most recently has formed a band with his fancy-fingered friend John Zajdel, under the moniker, “The Grindstone Plowboys”. Have a listen!

I Love you, Daddy! Thank you for the gift of you=]

Andrew @ Cotten Music// Nashville, TN

For Inventory, Service Inquiries, and Hours of Cotten Music- Click Here!!

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So. The summer between my 4th and 5th grade years(1999), my dear ol’ dad decided to finally get a pick-up put in his 1976 Martin, (which, I might add, he bought new for 600 bucks.. lucky) so we made the 3 hour trek to Nashville to have it installed. I remember it was raining, I remember going down a one way street near Hillsboro Village, I remember being bossy with directions to the movie theatre, and I remember the man fixing up my dad’s guitar was named Andrew.

I also remember being pretty intimidated by this gruff luthier, only to find out 12 years later that he’s actually one of the sweetest, most tender-hearted people you may have the pleasure to meet. I have come to find this out since I began taking guitar lessons with John Mock (who you’ll meet soon) at Cotten Music last summer.

Cotten Music has become a second home to me, and thankfully Andrew, Kim, and Darcy have allowed for that. I can come in that place having exactly the kind of day I’m having, and Andrew will pick me out a guitar to play and listen to me talk through some of it, as well as doing some of the talking. His presence, encouragement, and sense of humor have become invaluable pieces of my weekly life for which I could not be more grateful.

Andrew is one of so many people who have loved and encouraged me until I could do it myself, and even still.

Love you, Andrew! Thank you for the gift of you.

Kimberly Gladney// Nashville, TN

in her home
I first had the pleasure of meeting KG towards the end of last summer, on a lovely afternoon at Centennial Park. I’d seen her around, as our circles overlap a bit, but had not actually connected. Once we did, I immediately wanted to befriend her. What you’ll notice first (or what I did, probably because I envied it so) is how grounded, and steady this woman is. After a few minutes of conversation you’ll notice she is very honest, matter-of-fact, and hilarious. She is a beautiful, talented, and empowered spirit and lovingly makes its her job to see that other people know of their own light. Plus, she’s just so much dang fun to be around.

She is an incredible writer, musician, poet, and I am honored to consider her one of my closest friends.

To catch a glimpse of KG’s writings head over to

southernquill.wordpress.com

Love you, KG. Thank you for the gift of you!

Ian Lincoln

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I first met Ian when I worked at Boscos Brewery and Restaurant in Nashville, TN. My friend April introduced us because they were forming a punk band called Edamame and needed someone to sing. When we got together for our first “practice”, Ian and i just ended up trading our folk songs and we instantly became friends. He is a talented writer and musician, among many other talents… like being HILARIOUS. Two and a half years later and we’ve put together a project called Beards, and recorded and released an  album under that name. We also went on a road trip last year- marking the first time either of us had been further west than the Mississippi River. Ian is the brains behind the operation Hot Lullaby, ( http://www.hotlullaby.com ) and is just a real great guy to have around.

I love you, Ian! Thanks for the gift of you!

To listen/ download your own copy of Beards debut release, We Grow Old go ova here:

http://www.hotlullaby.bandcamp.com

hotlullaby.com