Today, we’ve got a few things on the docket for business. We have to get Jared’s guitar fixed. There’s a buzz in it and, for live shows it’s not noticeable. But if we’re gonna be recording, that’s a big no no. I wonder if there are any guitar techs here in Nashville? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

He found one!! Delgado Guitars

Jared has a new bestie… Dylan fixed up J’s Takamine right good!!!

We are going out tonight to see a fellow PNWer sing at the 5 Spot. Her name is Amber Sweeny, and she had some music on that show “One Tree Hill”. Our great friends, Ray Hayden and Jessica Lynne Witty made the connection for us. We are looking so forward to it. Full report to follow. 

Workouts to do. Oil change to get done. Music to play. We even wrote a new song yesterday already. This space breeds inspiration!! Just a little of this and a little of that. Living our best N’ville life!

Walked into 5 Spot, for an Urban songwriter’s night. We were really excited for this, as many people have said that the music vibe in Nashville is shifting, and we wanted to see how that looked. The production group putting on the event was called, “Nashville Is Not Just Country Music” (hell yes!). The first person I met was a beautiful lady named “Music Queen”. She took one look at us and with a huge smile said, “You MUST be creatives!” We proceeded to share a warm conversation about that word and how wonderfully all-encompassing it is. I said, “I can’t possibly be limited to just one colorful way to express myself, so yes, we are INDEED creatives! But, profesionally, we are musicians!” I handed her a card and a sticker and went off to grab a seat and a drink. 

Greeted at the bar by Brandy, who I can affectionately describe as a tattooed, pierced, pseudo rap/hipster fashionista, wood nymph. With her orange ball cap on backwards, and one overall twisted up behind her shoulder, she shook my hand and we immediately engaged in conversation about past states we’ve lived in, what brought us here, and then, most importantly, which bourbon Jared and I should drink! Have I somehow found my Valhalla here in N-ville. RnB on the speakers, every size, color, gender, all together, smiling, visiting, laughing. It was all so warm. But, nothing could prepare me for the evening we were about to have!

From left to right: Angela (she wanted my boots!), Kadence Pat (musical curator of the showcase tonight), Muziqueen (Founder of Nashville: It’s Not Just Country Music” and all around fabulous human), Jared Fredeen (great in bed), Jessi Fredeen (loves to stool dance), and Paris (exceptional pate).

Taken at the “House” next door that was actually a restaurant/disco-esq bar in what appeared to be an old, Victorian house-turned gathering spot called Rosemary and Beauty Queen! (I literally could have lived there…)

Remember these names, because these humans are really changing the game here in the Nashville music scene. The aforementioned group in the above paragraph, I will just refer to as “NINJCM”, because it’s shorter to type! But basically, what they are doing is creating a scene and a space for music genres, outside of the traditional country music found in Nashville, to be featured and enjoyed. Coming from LA and Seattle, we are surrounded by this urban sound, but here there isn’t a lot of it. Also, the way this particular group, “NINJCM” runs their shows, is unique. They follow the standard “in the round” format, where artists all stand together on stage and take turns sharing their tunes. However, there’s a twist: The group of 6 is split into 3 and 3. Each person, or duo, does a song, then the audience votes on who they liked most. This is repeated with the second set of 3, then the winners from the 2 groups compete, a winner is voted on, and they receive $200! It’s wild! Later in the evening, I had a chance to chat with Muziqueen and she said that she wanted to run the sessions this way, not so much to encourage competition, but to show the artists what the real industry was like. She really wants to encourage every artist to bring their A-game every time, and put everything they have into these rounds. Oh man… it worked! 

Originally, we came to the event to see Amber. Well, first off, she is absolute FIRE! Her voice is beyond good. Like, I wouldn’t even say that to her, as I’m sure “good” would feel like an insult coming out of my mouth. It was lush, powerful, seasoned, nuanced, fraught with history and an all around a thrill to listen to. Her personality matched all of it as well. She invited us over for dinner Sunday night, so I’ll save my Amber stories for that blog!

I think we’re gonna be friends!!!

The other acts were literally just as good. Please hear me. Every one of the performers could have been famous. Genres on top of genres were represented from jazz, rap, rnb, rock, pop, sub-genres and made up genres. It didn’t matter. The stories were raw and authentic. The voices were straight from the souls and the toes, and you could feel the exact space of the bedrooms, subways, or allies the songs were written in. Jared and I sang along, clapped, danced, snapped, and cheered, as each act, fueled from the one before, raised the energy level over and over again. Votes were cast, acts eliminated, a winner chosen. His name is Brian Sour. He was unbelievable. Think Chris Stapleton meets Ed Sheeran (with a side helping of Bruno Mars) Wow…

And, for a moment, he was on top. But, he never acted like it. As a matter of fact, not one artist acted in a showboat way to indicate as good as they were. Everyone who got eliminated stayed to cheer on the remaining artists. Everyone was happy for each other because, even though it was set up as a competition, nobody was trying to be competitive or douche-y about it. There was a shared camaraderie as artists. A quiet understanding that THAT winner could have been ANY of them. Talent is only a small part of the equation. Showmanship, relationship, connection, content, and even the most basic…how many friends you have there to vote for you.  

To say Jared and I were humbled, would be a gross understatement, but something else happened that I wasn’t prepared for. We were invigorated. We were charged up and fired up, proud to be who we are and doing what we’re doing. We still feel like we are unique in what we do, and truly believe in ourselves and stand behind what we’ve created and continue to put out. We especially connected with this group because, even though people who love country music often love Champagne Sunday, we know we are NOT what people know as “Country” music. Even our new friends from the Paramount Junction Band said, “You’re not really country, but you’re country-adjacent.” We get that a lot. So, it was really cool to meet and visit with likeminded people and feel like there was space for us in BOTH platforms!! 

The “NINJCM” group began in 2019, doing something unique to try to unite people through music, showcase outrageous talent, and have something to offer to the MANY genres outside of country music in Nashville. They have done a hell of a job and we are excited to watch it grow and, maybe someday even be included in one of the showcases. They have one the first Wednesday of every month at the 5 Spot in East Nashville. Please check it out sometime if you’re looking for something fresh and, quite literally, off the beaten path!

It is, after all, called the “City of Music”, not “The City of Country Music Only”. 

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