by Adam Gold
In a pair of brief statements, the Followill brothers sung Music City’s culinary praises and explained their intention to help grow Nashville’s reputation as what Mayor Karl Dean, who introduced the duo, called “a food city of distinction,” much in the same way Kings of Leon’s international success has been a flash point for distinguishing Nashville as a hotbed of contemporary American rock ’n’ roll. “I think it’s the fastest growing city, and the food is becoming as big a part of the town as the music,” Caleb said.
Along with Kings of Leon managers Andy Mendelsohn and Ken Levitan and ACL and Lollapalooza producers C3 Presents, for the event the Followills reached out to an impressive international host of super chefs to end up with a Bonnaroo-worthy bill of A-list cuisiniers the likes of Jonathan Waxman, Tim Love, TV personalities John Besh, Giada De Laurentiis and country star Trisha Yearwood. (Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 17, here.) They join local culinary luminaries like The Southern’s Matt Farley, City House’s Tandy Wilson and The Catbird Seat’s Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger.
“We put our shortlist of chefs together we wanted to do this festival, locally and [from] across America, and luckily for us, every one of them said yes, like, right away,” Nathan Followill said.
As a musical component, the gastronomical shindig’s will boast Petty Fest — a star-studded, multi-city Tom Petty tribute concert series founded by Rolling Stone contributor turned Nashvillian Austin Scaggs which already has annual installments in New York, L.A. and now San Francisco. Nathan Followill describes it as “basically just a bunch of drunk friends up there covering Tom Petty songs.” Previous Petty Fests have featured Norah Jones, Johnny Depp, The Strokes and The Black Keys. Sounds like a blast!
Speaking of rock ‘n’ roll and fine dining, Kings of Leon made their second stateside appearance since 2011 last weekend in wine country, headlining the inaugural BottleRock music festival in Napa Valley, Calif. There, the band debuted a new song tentatively titled “It Don’t Matter” — a sneering, up-tempo rocker that, judging by fan-filmed YouTube clips (see below), shows the band rediscovering the nervy urgency of their Youth and Young Manhood days. Perhaps the song is a sign the band’s forthcoming sixth LP (due this fall) will be heavier on headbangers than lighter-cuers.