As 2013 lurches toward the finish line, we at the Cream have taken a look back at the biggest local news items of the year. We pored over the analytics and determined our 10 most-read posts of 2013, and they cover quite a breadth of subject matter — from Bob Dylan's AmericanaramA to Iron Maiden at Bridgestone, from Vince Gill saying "dipshit" to the loss of a local scene booster at far too tender an age. Have a look after the jump to see the 10 posts that got folks clickin' and sharin' the most, and let us know your favorite story of the year.
In July, local musician Matthew Paige (of The Blackfoot Gypsies) and a couple of his pals — Jeffrey Marcom and Gaelen Mitchell — were arrested following a parking-related late-night confrontation with cops on Lower Broad. Police alleged that Paige struck the hood of a squad car with his amp, while Paige & Co. maintained that they had done nothing wrong. After my initial blog post, I followed up on the story with a print feature — I spoke with Dave Pomeroy, president of the Nashville Musicians Union, who insists that taxi drivers are at the root of the Lower Broad parking problem. "Taxis have demonstrated pretty consistently that they have no respect whatsoever, or even an understanding of the musicians' loading zones," Pomeroy told me. Dramarama.
See a video from the initial incident below.
Members of JEFF, Mumford & Sons, Old Crow and More to Form Salvador Dali Parton, Play Six Shows This Saturday
In October, a handful of dudes from all over the musical map (JEFF the Brotherhood's Jake Orrall, Apache Relay's Mike Harris, Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall, The Vaccines' Justin Hayward-Young and Old Crow Medicine Show's Gill Landry) formed a spur-of-the-moment, punnily named super-group and played six shows in one day. The star power of each member's respective band gave this one some legs, leading to coverage from Rolling Stone, The Guardian and beyond. The Spin happened to catch one of Salvador Dali Parton's six performances, which we described as "a goofball barrage of riff-laden metal copped from the first six Sabbath records." Sounds about right, no?
This one was posted in May 2012, but it took off this year, gaining several thousand views over the course of 2013. The Cream's first-ever prison interview, the post features contributor Sean L. Maloney speaking with incarcerated rapper and Waylon Jennings' grandson, Will "Struggle" Harness (aka "Struggle Jennings"). All of the late-to-the-party views are likely a result of the controversy that arose earlier this year when Harness filmed a music video at the Davidson County Jail. See that video below. "Hip-hop has been in a crazy place, and they brag about the glitz and the glamor about 'this life,' but they don't talk about the other side of it," Harness told Maloney in our initial interview. "That's what my whole story is about: about the struggle, about the journey, about overcoming the struggle."
Oh brother. When word came along that The Bobby Bones Show would be relocating to Nashville, our own Adam Gold noted that he had a "hard time seeing how a thirtysomething-year-old Top 40 DJ with no noted background in country music schilling for Clear Channel with a sidekick named 'Lunchbox' is anything to get excited about." Definitely a fair statement, but some Bones fans ended up raging over it, and Bones himself took issue with Gold's point. In the end, Gold made an appearance on The Bobby Bones Show. Our boy is brave!
So the story behind "Wagon Wheel" is pretty damn interesting, and we're apparently not the only ones who think so. In his November post, Gold ran down the history of the song, which was initially sketched out by Bob Dylan in 1972, fleshed out by Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor and released by his band in 2004, and then covered by former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker earlier this year. Rucker's version of "Wagon Wheel" was of course a hit, leading to attention (and some well-deserved royalties) for Secor. "It’s so validating to me to see Bob Dylan be a part of today’s country music scene,” Secor told the Cream on the CMA Awards red carpet. “Bob Dylan taught us, each and every one of us in this room, how to write songs,” Secor went on to say, “yet he’s not a part of mainstream country music. He really isn’t, but he was this year, and Darius Rucker made that happen.”
Our most-viewed concert announcement of the year wasn't One Direction or Miley or Kanye — it was our post about Bob Dylan bringing his AmericanaramA fest to town. The Spin ended up checking out the festival at The Lawn, noting The Bard's "vaguely Colonel Sanders-esque look" as he "played the part of the fantastically elusive entertainer, wizened, wolfish, witty and wily, chewing up his lyrics and melodies and spitting out anything-but-straight, vaudevillian, sing-scatting vamps." As Gold puts it, Dylan in Nashville is a bit like the pope coming to town.
Far and away our most-read live review of the year, The Spin's recap of Iron Maiden and Megadeth at Bridgestone Arena was shared via Iron Maiden's official Facebook page, garnering 22,000 shares. "Without a doubt, this was the best major metal show to roll through town in recent memory," noted The Spin, "and might be for a long time." With 400 comments on Maiden's FB post, it seems fans agreed.
Music Row insider Casey Black knows a thing or two about how the country-music sausage is made, and in his first freelance piece for us, he broke down the lyrical content of Billboard's Top 20 Hot Country Songs from the week of Sept. 10, 2013. Hilarity ensued as Black discovered what we all kind of suspected in the first place — that in order to be a hit, it needs dirt roads, trucks, articles of women's clothing and a body of water. Black returned to the Cream to tell us all about the "pitch lists" that are shopped around Music Row, which happen to be even more reductive and silly than you'd think. All of Black's findings were verified when Entertainment Weekly's Grady Smith put together his mash-up of the year's most by-the-numbers country hits.
Well, this video needed very little help in order to take off — it came with a built-in set of LOL-erskates. Vince Gill confronted members of the notoriously outspoken and homophobic Fred Phelps-led Westboro Baptist Church outside of his show in Kansas City, calling one member "a big dipshit" before asking, "Are any of you guys Phelpses, or are you like the C Team?" As I noted in my post, all WBC wants is more press, and that's precisely what we gave them, I'm sorry to say. That said, Gill asking the Westboroans, "Don't you know that you fuckers are lucky that you don't have a sign that says something about my wife?" is Grade-A solid-husband behavior. The video, which you can watch again below, indeed went viral (over 800,000 views as of press time) and inspired a pretty amazing fan-fiction blog post from our own Ashley Spurgeon.
And the most-viewed Cream post of 2013 is indeed a somber one, but its extraordinarily high page views are a testament to just how beloved Ben Todd was. Todd — the founder of local blog/record label Nashville's Dead, scene booster and bassist for local rock 'n' roll outfit D. Watusi — took his life on Feb. 12 at the age of 24. It was a loss that rocked Nashville's DIY rock scene to its core. Though I followed up with a full, proper obituary, this initial announcement garnered tens of thousands of views in the days and weeks following Todd's death and served as a memorial wall for friends and fans of Todd. In this week's Scene — our annual In Memoriam issue — we ran the touching eulogy given by Todd's close friend and onetime bandmate Whit Smith. "Ben was a rare bird in this freaky world," reads Smith's eulogy. "I am forever grateful that I have known Ben Todd, been a part of the special world of Ben, and to have made so many friends through Ben. I'm saddened that he's gone, and I'm more saddened that he chose to leave."