Music City Roots
"Live From City Winery"
Saturday, January 27th, 2018
John Oates | Derek Hoke |
Greg Garing | Ms. Adventure
At this show, there will also be a "PRE-SHOW" screening of Music City Roots new season on PBS beginning at 6:30PM, and the live show will begin at 7PM.
Derek Hoke - Bring The Flood
Dark times call for dark songs. At least that’s how East Nashville based singer/songwriter Derek Hoke sees it. On his new album, the portentously titledBring the Flood(Little Hollywood), Hoke dives into a sound far more ominous, threatening, and anxiously introspective than the music on his previous three full length releases would suggest.
“So much pain and sorrow/more than I’ve ever seen,” sings Hoke on the opening “Love Don’t Live Around Here,” an exploration of life passing by for people stuck in their small town existence. And for most of the next 40 minutes, he explores various shades of unease, if not quite gloom, of the characters that populate this world with the confidence and musical prowess gleaned through years of working in Nashville, one of the toughest, most competitive songwriting scenes in the nation, if not the world.
Assisted by contributions from friends and neighbors such as Elizabeth Cook, Langhorne Slim, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Luther Dickinson, then molded into a cohesive whole by longtime producer and friend from childhood Dex Green, Bring the Flood finds Hoke more visceral, honest and intuitive than at any other point in his career.
Never one to release the same record twice, this album nevertheless marks a substantial shift in Hoke’s approach away from the rootsy, singer/songwriter vein and towards a more edgy, low boil, subtle country infused rock oriented style. It was inspired by Hoke watching the news, often with the audio turned off, in the heated political atmosphere of late 2016.
“It seemed like a dark cloud coming over America, watching a lot of people hurting, going through hard times, harder than ever.” He lodged those visual images into musical protagonists, flowing melodies and, with Green’s assistance, an overall conceptual world where each track feels connected to the last. That creates an austere, rugged but not stripped down landscape, both hypnotic and earthy in its atmosphere.
Hoke looks to artists like Tom T. Hall and Roger Miller, known for their directness and simplicity, for inspiration. “I’m a big fan of getting to the point and saying what you mean” he explains, and that informs tracks like the blues based ballad “I’m Just a Man” with its swampy, humid texture and “She Never Loved Me” featuring wiry, sinewy funk pushing nervy, dreamy/nightmarish strings.
You wouldn’t suspect it from his smooth vocals and unruffled demeanor, but Hoke’s current persona emerged from a self-professed “skateboard-punk rock kid” upbringing in Florence, South Carolina. His grandfather was a Grand Old Opry/Hee-Haw enthusiast and his father a Stones loving classic rock devotee. Hoke’s own “weird” CD collection extrapolated from those influences and added his own. So Radiohead and the Pixies sat alongside Clint Black and Garth Brooks. “It wasn’t to be cool. All of this is good music, it all has a place and it all speaks to me.”
That diverse sense of musical inclusion began when he was a child, mimicking songs and riffs from TV and radio. It was kick-started after Hoke moved to Nashville in the late nineties, taking a job selling merchandise for Ricky Skaggs. For the next three years, Hoke visited every state, learning the finer points of performing from an established veteran. His role as founder/curator/weekly host of $2 Tuesdays at Nashville’s The 5 Spot club keeps him plugged into fresh talent, absorbing different methods of songwriting and execution.
The themes of isolation on Bring the Flood were in part stirred by Hoke driving alone late at night, singing thoughts into his phone recorder and analyzing the results in the daylight with producer Green. “It’s a lonely feeling, especially on the back roads and two lanes around middle Tennessee. I wanted to evoke that mood running through these tunes.”
He also sees these tracks connecting with a more visual, almost cinematic coherence. “We tried to make these tunes wider-sounding. This is something I’ve never done before. I’ve always kept it short and sweet…this is fuller,” he says. Hoke also stretched his comfort zone, urged by Green who encouraged him to push the creative envelope and, should he revert to his more traditional impulses, drove him to “get back in the fire.”
The result on insightful, dreamy, psychedelically tinged tracks like “When the Darkness Comes” reflects that heat and the simmering frustration developed by the uncertainly of current times.
As a whole, Bring the Flood focuses on Hoke’s knack for melody and easy flowing, distinctive vocals, incorporating them into a cohesive, sometimes unsettling yet always imaginative and creative set that positions him firmly in the top tier of contemporary songwriters. It’s a bold, perhaps unexpected stride in a dynamic new direction, further separating him from his Nashville peers, and audacious proof that Derek Hoke has stepped forward with confidence and is not looking back.
Look for Hoke to further expand as he takes Bring the Flood on the road in 2017 and beyond, exposing audiences to its nocturnally inspired nature and spellbinding musical charms.
Derek Hoke is the founder/curator/and weekly host of $2 TUESDAYS at The 5 Spot.
John Oates is one half of the best-selling duo of all time Hall & Oates, as well as an accomplished solo artist. Singing from the time he could talk and playing the guitar since the age of five, John Oates was destined to be a musician. Born in New York City, his family moved to a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA in the early 1950s – a move that would change the course of his life.
Soaking up the sounds of the 60s, John was influenced by the nascent folk scene, bluegrass, delta blues, and ragtime guitar styles, while also immersing himself in R&B legends such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, andSmokey Robinson and the Miracles. One of his biggest mentors was his guitar teacher Jerry Ricks, who had spent time on the road with Mississippi John Hurt and Son House, and introduced John to the music of Doc Watson and Reverend Gary Davis, passing down their signature finger and flatpicking styles.
John Oates met Daryl Hall while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. The two began collaborating and playing music together, marking the beginning of their historic partnership. Since their formation in the early 70s, Daryl Hall & John Oates have gone on to record 21 albums, which have sold over 80 million units, making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 #1 records, over 20 Top-40 hits, and have toured the world for decades. Their involvement in the originalLive Aid concert and the groundbreakingWe Are The World charity recording have further established them as legendary artists, who have personally and through their music, stood the test of time.
In addition to their numerous American Music awards, MTV awards, and multiple Grammy nominations, in 2005 they were inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame. In May of 2008, they were also presented the prestigious BMI Icon Award for their outstanding career achievement in songwriting. In April 2014, Hall & Oates was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Since embarking on a long awaited solo career in 1999, John has recorded five solo albums: Phunk Shui,100 Miles of Life, Mississippi Mile, a live album called The Bluesville Sessions, and Good Road To Follow, (which featured collaborations with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Vince Gill, Nathan Chapman, Jim Lauderdale, and Jerry Douglas).
In January 2015, John releasedAnother Good Road (Warner/Elektra), a DVD docu-concert that premiered on Palladia Music Channel. Recorded live in a Nashville studio in one session, the video featured some of Music City’s finest musicians and singers as well as rare, seldom-seen footage of John’s family ranch in Colorado – a glimpse into his world behind the music.
John is a diverse musician and songwriter active in Nashville community and beyond. Founded in2010, he was the creator and executive producer for the 7908: The Aspen Songwriters Festival at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. In 2013, John teamed up with Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) to curate theBonnaroo Super Jam with special guests Britney Howard, Billy Idol, R. Kelly, Larry Graham and the Preservation Hall Jazz band.
In April 2017, John released his memoirChange of Seasons co-written with Chris Epting and published by St. Martin’s Press. The acclaimed title was an Amazon best seller and has been received with both outstanding critical and fan reviews. After completing an extensive book promotion tour in the spring of 2017, Oates resumed work on an important music project that represents the next exciting phase in his burgeoning solo roots music career. The project is entitledArkansas and is set for release in 2018. Originally inspired by the music and legacy of the legendary Mississippi John Hurt, the project grew to encompass other artists and styles that represent the dawn of American popular music. Stylistically diverse and eclectic, the collection features a full band that was put together specially to bring the full range and flavors of classic American musical styles to life. Oates crafted a number of original songs for theArkansas album; selections actually inspired by the process of digging deep into the sonic soil of authentic roots music. “I really believe this is the most vital and satisfying solo project I’ve ever embarked upon,” Oates says of Arkansas. “Of all the music I have ever made with anyone, for me this album sits right up there.”
John resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Aimee.
Greg Garing has been a Nashville insider legend for a long time. When the city's Lower Broadway area was a no man's land, Garing helped make it a haven for singer-songwriters and lovers of roots music - although he might bristle at the terms. Finding a word to describe Garing, or even what he likes, is not easy.
"The whole retro thing turns me off," says Garing. " I can't deal with all the watered-down alt-country stuff. Bluegrass music today isn't bluegrass music to me. You know how the old guys are about the new stuff? That's me." Garing began his professional career at the age of 10, playing boogie-woogie and ragtime piano at the local VFW hall in Erie, Pa. He was unimpressed with the music loved by his school-aged contemporaries.
"At 15, I didn't even know who Kiss was," he says.
At the age of 18, Garing moved to Nashville to find what he considered the real musicians - bluegrass and old-time greats, classic country artists from the beginnings of the Grand Old Opry
"I played with the Crook Brothers," says Garing. "They were still on the Grand Ole Opry, and nobody knew it. They were there since the original broadcasts. I sat with Curly Fox (another vintage Opry veteran) for three days and learned all I could. I remember playing for hours with Jimmy Martin and Carl Story.
"I look back at it, and it seems like a dream," he says.
Garing mourns the loss of fiddle great Vassar Clements, Martin, John Hartford, Roy Husky and Benny Martin.
He made 36 recordings with Clements and, he says, Hartford was "like a dad" to Garing when he moved to Nashville. And when Garing played with the musicians, he was in awe.
"There I was, standing with my idols," he says. "It was just so powerful."
He played fiddle in Jimmy Martin's band, the Sunny Mountain Boys, for two years.
"I was the only Sunny Mountain Boy that he allowed to drink with him," says Garing.
Well, sort of. Garing says that the legendarily capricious Martin would give Garing one drink of a fresh bottle and finish the rest himself, but Garing was honored nonetheless.
On his own, Garing set up shop on Nashville's Lower Broadway. The area became a scene for fans of old-time country and honky-tonk traditionalists. Garing bemoans that the group BR-549 ended up getting most of the credit for the scene.
In the mid-1990s, Garing moved to New York City, where he attempted to create a similar environment to what he had created in Nashville. While there, he released the album "Alone" (1997), which received great reviews, but sold little.
Garing spent much of his time playing with and learning from the Harlem All-Stars, which included Al Casey (who had played in Fats Waller's band), Eddie Swenson (who had performed in Louis Armstrong's group) and other veterans of the classic jazz era.
With precious few of country's greats still living, Garing says he's "out in the cold, cruel world, trying to figure out what to do" with all the information that has been imparted to him.
The Musical resumes of Avril Smith, Vickie Vaughn and Kimber Ludiker stand with some of the best in the industry. Avril Smith is an award winning multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose mastery of a wide range of musical styles makes her a highly sought after on-stage and studio performer. She has performed with Emmylou Harris, Pete Seeger, The Indigo Girls, Della Mae and Dar Williams to name a few, and at top venues and festivals across the country, including the south lawn of the White House! Vickie Vaughn, a western KY native, marched into Nashville with her original tunes and took it by storm fronting her own band and quickly garnering the attention of Nashville great Ronnie McCoury who produced her debut EP in 2015. The Vickie Vaughn Band was selected by the International Bluegrass Music Museum to lead their Bluegrass in the Schools program and more recently Vickie made her debut appearance on the Grand Ole Opry singing background vocals with Patty Loveless. Originally from Spokane, WA, Kimber Ludiker is a 5th generation fiddle player who started learning on the lap of her grandfather at age 3. With 11 combined family National Fiddle Championships, Kimber holds3 herself. In 2009, Kimber founded the band Della Mae. They were IBMA's Emerging Artists of the Year in 2013. Grammy Nominees in 2014 for their debut album on Rounder Records, named by Rolling Stone as 10 bands to watch for 2015, and have traveled with the US Department of State to 15 countries spreading peace and understanding through Music. Each with a mountain of accomplishments, the blend of these three musicians is not to be missed.