“It all begins with a song.”
The NSAI got it right when they went with this Music City centric quote as their mantra. You’ve seen it on bumper stickers, you’ve heard it over the intercom at the Nashville airport (probably right after you heard the aggressively friendly greeting: “Hey y’all! This is Trace Adkins”) – they’re the words our music culture is built upon. 2013 was a great year in Nashville (not that it’s over yet). From food (hey, Rolf & Daughters!) to awesome hangout spots (what up Pinewood Social!), Nashville owned. Music was no exception. The ville’ is a town of discovery, and we fell in love with some new songs this year. Get ready, music lovers, because we are givin’ you a Wannado guide to our favorite 2013 Nashville jams to:missing or outdated ad config
Dance Around With Reckless Abandon:
Little Bit Of Love – Katie Herzig
Dance like no one is watching. Or like everyone’s watching, you show-off.
This song is the audio equivalent of an indie-pop sleigh ride (or slay ride – GET IT? Because this song SLAYS us #badpunthursdays). Perfect for the holidays, Nashville-based lady Katie Herzig serves up a fantastic song that will make you want to dance like you’re in Risky Business (underwear and button-down shirt, for those of you who live under a pop-culture rock). There’s clapping, group vocals, and serious vocal swag. Check out the bridge where she layers harmonies – the vibrato she puts at the end of the phrase would almost sound ghoulish – in a fantastic way – if the cheerful backbeat wasn’t there. Fun fact: this song is getting a lot of attention. If you feel like you’ve heard it, you have – it’s the featured song from the most recent Fab.com commercial. It’s also featured on the Nashville Indie Spotlight compilation, which was just released and made our whole week. More on that later!
Spread the love out / It feels so good / We’re giving out love / We’re living like we should
WHERE SHE LAST PLAYED IN NASHVILLE:
It was a Nashville Sunday Night at 3rd and Lindsley with Kris Allen at the end of last year (she’s been in the studio recently). We heard it was magic.
Lull Yourself To Sleep With An Ocean Of Emotion:
Even If We Try – Night Beds
Light some candles and put on a dramatic robe – you’re about to have all the feelings.
We’ve all heard an indie dude with a semi-high pitched voice sing a sleepy, albeit semi-meaningful song. This is not that. This is better. Night Beds has similar elements of a lot of their fellow indie artists, but there’s something unique about the combination. This song sounds like a traditional lullaby, complete with classic strings that could have been played in 1915 (and we mean that as a huge compliment) combined with a “Fix You”-esque vocal. It’s ethereal and lofty; it’s dark and honest. Something about this song cuts through the noise in the genre and makes it stand out. The video is going to take a while for us to process (really beautifully shot): basically a guy is out of his mind on something, goes to a party, and then walks home in a stupor. Paired with the lyrics, it shows the sad awareness that comes even with escapism. Anyway, if you needed any other recommendation, John Mayer is super into them (PS his show at Bridgestone last night was BOSS) and they played Jimmy Fallon recently. So. Yeah.
Holding to the past / Clouding in my glass / Lever on my youth / Remember what is true
WHERE THEY LAST PLAYED IN NASHVILLE:
They haven’t played here in a bit (they’ve been busy getting mad props from John Mayer), but we are in LUCK. Night Beds has a show at one of our favorite venues, The Stone Fox, on Dec. 11 and are playing The Cannery Ballroom with Lord Huron (whoop!) in February. So exciting!
Remind Yourself That You Kinda LOVE Country:
Like A Rose – Ashley Monroe
There’s only one Dolly. But there’s also only one Ashley Monroe.
Ashley Monroe is obviously pretty well-known, but if you haven’t heard her stuff yet, there’s no shame in being late for the party (as long as you show up). Every time she opens her mouth to sing, she single-handedly reminds us that we love the country roots that ground Nashville songs in storytelling. This song shows off the power of a simple, magically-delivered vocal, reminiscent of a young Dolly Parton. The song has a similar vibe as the Miranda Lambert smash “The House That Built Me”. Monroe’s voice is twangy, bright, but somehow still soulful. Her vocal agility on this track is unreal – it is the audio equivalent of that scene from the Pearl Harbor movie with all the white sheets (light, airy – you get what we mean). This is true Nashville country – not a canned vocal about only wearing cut-offs and flip flops and drinkin’ beer on a tailgate in the summertime (though that has it’s time and place). This is great. Our favorite version was recorded through Nashville Time Machine – check it out here.
I was only 13 when daddy died / Mama started drinking and my brother quit trying / I’m still bouncing back / Heaven only knows / How I came out like a rose
WHERE SHE LAST PLAYED IN NASHVILLE:
Well, she played on Tuesday at The Grand Ole Opry with Striking Matches. But no worries, Monroe fans – she plays here a lot. And we have her shows on Wannado!
Get A Nashville Reality Check:
Making Money – Ben Rector
Big coffee cups and simple, cutting introspection for the WIN.
Nashville loves Ben Rector. That whole crowd (Barnes, Wertz, Davis, Moakler, Ripp, Dixon) kind of own the dude singer-songwriter thing in the ville’ right now, and there is a reason why. We chose this song for a lot of reasons. One – Ben’s piano playing and vocal are interestingly awesome – very push and pull, but somehow perfectly in sync. You can’t tell which one is following which on this track – lots of soulful little piano riffs. Which we LOVE. Two – it’s refreshingly honest about a topic that doesn’t get covered a lot. Making money is essential to life, but in a town filled with struggling musicians (we seriously don’t know how everyone affords all these amps and five dollar lattes, but do your thing, y’all), it’s an important message to those with undercover anxiety and misplaced importance on financial security. Three – it is lyrically simple, and therefore much more stirring. Yeah, he could have had a song laced in irony and symbolism (i.e. “Paper Ben Franklin wears a mask of hate / Your leather-bound wallet makes you irate” – or something else some weird garage band would come up with to talk about finances), but it’s more powerful this way. Props, man.
And I know that life ain’t cheap / And not all good things are free / But there is no enough and no too much / And it seems so strange to me
WHERE HE LAST PLAYED IN NASHVILLE:
He recently played a sold-out show at The Ryman, and it was seriously excellent. Dude brought the house down. We have his shows on Wannado, so keep an eye out for more!
Jam Out Before A Night On The Town:
Forbidden Fruit – Korby Lenker
He’s bringin’ sexy back. (YEAH) Them other artists don’t know how to act. (YEAH)
Oh, we are SO into this we can’t even tell you. This song is also on the Nashville Indie Spotlight compilation, and it’s got some SICK BEATS. By the way, you simply must buy the NIS album on iTunes – it’s local and impressive and devastatingly cool. Anyway, back to Korby: this dude has the sexy falsetto of Timberlake and Robin Thicke, but without some of the rapping nonsense and the dancing-with-Miley-Cyrus-and-a-foam-finger stuff. He’s still got the cool indie vibe going on as well. Listen to this one when you’re getting gussied up for a night on the town (so ladies, when you’re using the whole can of hairspray to get that big Southern hair; guys when you’re maybe changing your shirt). It will get you in the mood to part-ay. Our favorite part? He brings it down to a tongue-in-cheek talking bridge section, complete with a laugh and Lana Del Rey-esque ambient sounds. It made us want to grow our hair really long and stomp around and just engage in general mayhem. Give it a listen.
Why do I want what I haven’t got / Why am I never satisfied / That cheetah print means you’re a fast, fast pussycat
WHERE HE LAST PLAYED IN NASHVILLE:
At the moment, he’s doing some dates at The Basement. You should definitely be there. Catch him on Dec. 10 at The Basement (check Wannado for shows at that awesome venue).
So turn it up, Nashville (even if it’s getting too cold to jam with your windows down). These hot grooves are bound to keep your warm. Have a different genre that strikes your fancy or want to hear more of these local acts live? We’ve got you covered. Download the app and check out our live music feature – you can browse shows by genre!
– Your local guide.