A brewing debate
I'm not sure I understand the "Best Brewhouse" award ("Best of Nashville 2012 Readers' Poll," Oct. 11). What is a brewhouse in this instance? Is it a business with the word "Brewhouse" in its name? Is it a business that actually brews its beers? Is it a bar that sells mostly beer?
You have Broadway Brewhouse, which has zero beer production, making it just a bar that sells anything from Coors to Green Flash. Then you have Yazoo and Blackstone, both of which produce their own products locally. Two totally different concepts. All the local craft breweries should have their own category and not be lumped in with a bar that sells multiple brands. Just a suggestion for next year.
While it's encouraging to see the Bombino gig named best of the year ("Best of Nashville 2012 Writers' Choice," Oct. 11), as I fully imagine it was, it's less an indication of "how awesome Nashville has become" than how Nashville continues to disrespect the people who go to the trouble to try to make it awesome despite itself. Nashville is a music industry town through and through. The lack of institutional support for adventurous music is and has been a glaring fact of life as long as I can remember.
What you should be asking yourself is "Why was the best show of the year at a VFW?" The answer is that it was set up single-handedly by my dear friend and former bandmate Chris Davis, who has been amazingly actively bringing avant-garde and otherwise exciting music to Nashville for over 15 years. Nashville really needs to stop patting itself on the back long enough to give at least a few pats to the people who actually deserve it. Bravo, Chris.
Not psyched for Nashville
The cover of the Scene says all that needs to be said about ABC's Nashville and the real country music industry behind it: two nearly indistinguishable, bleached, large-busted women in short skirts ("Nashville Confidential," Oct. 4). I have nothing against bleached, large-busted women in short skirts, but how reductionist can you get? Unfortunately, the country music industry itself is about that reductionist. A soap opera about a slightly older blond bombshell fighting off the rise of a slightly younger blond bombshell is about what country deserves right now. Having chosen this stultifyingly bland premise, the only way the show can follow up with any artistic integrity is to milk Nashville for all the satire it's worth.
On second thought ...
Actually, I got over myself a bit and now am sort of interested in watching Nashville. I have vague visions of it becoming a Nashville version of Treme, though, and that probably isn't going to happen. I think I want to play a Nashville version of the goofy Steve Zahn character, but older, fatter and balder. I don't see how I could miss.
For whom the Isbell tolls
According to reporter Jewly Hight, Jason Isbell is the brightest of the stars of Americana, and if his songs are too heavy for us to understand, we can pretend he's singing about ice cream ("Alabama Shaker," Sept. 13). Besides, his songs are puzzles too complicated for average people to solve. Apparently, he's the best example of what it means to be successful, because nothing says success like a Sprinter van parked in a driveway in front of a townhouse east of the airport.
There are plenty of fat-pockets of false superiority in this article. Isbell doesn't hesitate to admit he's a prodigy. He hates to say it, but he says it anyway; he can't help himself. He brags how he avoided hanging out with average kids, suggesting he's better than that. He respects the military but doesn't think very highly of volunteering; it's for people who don't have other options. But Isbell had plenty of other options "dedicated to his artistic development." Good for him.
Jason's worst gaffe was when he compared himself to Vince Gill. Not content to merely sound like Vince, he wanted to sound like Ray Charles instead! So, he did what any University of Memphis creative writing student would do and started smoking cigarettes. Maybe I should apologize to Jason for jeopardizing his health just so I could hear him sing while I'm getting drunk at the Mercy Lounge. Too bad, because if it was that easy, Ray Charles could've avoided heroin addiction and died from lung cancer instead of liver failure.
The point is this: There wasn't one shred of objectivity in the entire piece, nor any critical thinking or criticism whatsoever. We all know too many artists, singers and songwriters in Nashville who deserve to get the kind of exposure the Scene provides to waste it on stories like this.
The following corrections pertain to last week's Best of Nashville 2012 issue:
• We misidentified the venue for the Roger Waters concert, cited by readers as the third-best concert of the year. The show was at Bridgestone Arena.
• We misidentified Belmont University's McAfee Concert Hall, which we chose as Best New Concert Hall.
• The photo accompanying the Critics' Pick on the film Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things was not from the movie.