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nashville

Okie Outside of Muskogee

 Zeke Duhon’s self titled debut EP on Big Deal Records (My Morning Jacket, Ray Lamontagne) is a brief portrait of a young man working to figure out his own truths and, by proxy, illuminating artistic mile markers a large number of people in this town can relate to. The preface (his and possibly yours): a young Okie heads east to Music City seeking the larger stage that Tulsa couldn’t offer.

                It’s a good time in music to be a singer-songwriter straddling the fence between indie and pop. The lines have blurred again between which is which, and the stalwarts of both are becoming cozy bed fellows (see Ryan Adams’ 1989). On this EP, Duhon is swinging for the fences. He is going for Vance Joy/Taylor Swift homerun hooks and choruses. And while he never quite gets there, you have to respect the effort of a 20-year-old swinging that size of a bat. What keeps the EP tethered to East Nashville and Duhon’s indie upbringing is the depth and closeness of his lyrics. He had some help from seasoned song crafting vets: Brett Dennen, Kevin Griffin and Matthew Perryman Jones all have writing credits on this EP.

                The strongest track on the record is a song written solely by Duhon. “Faith and Hope” has the stomp/clap catchiness to draw you in and the lyrical content to keep you intrigued. The song is a metaphorical invitation to grab a gun and pick a side. It is an invigorating political call to arms, but is veiled enough to cover whether Duhon is leaning left or right.

                Duhon is a singer-songwriter first. The acoustic guitar is not ever present, but is still the apparatus upon what each song is built. He is more David Gray then James Taylor, telling generational truths using modern tools. The EP has the Nashville polish on it, which might turn some indie purists away, those people might be read as bitter hipsters, but there are times during the album that you can’t but help catch yourself tapping along. The record works best when it is Duhon’s lone artist voice guiding the ship. Here’s to hoping he gets the chance to develop that voice even further.  -Alex Vucelich

 

 

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October Tooth releases newest installment, "Three."

New endeavors get lost as time blurs all lines, but some artists maintain their ground. Nashville minimalist musician, October Tooth, has remained forbearing in releasing each new iteration of the concept once a year, in October.

In 2015, we get the third installment of the October Tooth project, aptly named “Three.” With the help of local engineers, Cowboy Sam and Trevor Richardson, the sonically reticent sounds of “Three” act as a seemingly bleak backdrop for a deceptively lush range of motifs – uncertainties of reality, change and the “hope that the ones I love are proud of me.” October Tooth acts as a catalog of each year for the artist; it just so happens this most recent year held a lot of things. -Sean McHugh

 

 

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Same Depression, Different Era

  Zach Schmidt looks like he sounds; jaw set tight even at rest and eyes that seem to have seen too much. He resembles a young Depression era prairie pastor.

Landing in Nashville two years ago, Schmidt came to town from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his EP Horse, Truck or Train as a calling card. With the EP's sparse production and lyrics which paint a picture that better days are coming, but sure as hell aren't here, the Townes Van Zandt influences are noticeable. Train and Schmidt's live performances have won over players in Nashville's Americana scene as evidenced by the help provided to his upcoming full length: The Day We Lost The War (set to be released at the beginning of next year). Engineered, mixed and mastered by Justin Francis, with bass and steel provided by Santa's Pub defacto house band rhythm section, Adam Kurtz and Carter Brallier. Aaron Lee Tasjan provided guitar for the album. 

Schmidt will be playing songs from both records when he opens for Tasjan's record release show on October 25 at The Basement. You can also catch him tonight at the 5 Spot for "Cover Your Friends Night," also featuring Cale Tyson, Caroline Spence and others. -Alex Vucelich

 

 

 

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Caleb Groh Debuts Single "Let It Groh"

Photo: Juan Solorzano and Brothers Design Co 

Dylan be damned; the soft cooing folk crooner, Caleb Groh, has abandoned the folksy roots sound he cut his teeth with for synth grooves. The singer-songwriter debuted his single, “Let It Groh,” off his forthcoming Hot Pop EP (October 30), and to say Groh’s foray into bedroom R&B is infectious would be a startling understatement. Groh layers irresistible synth melodies over purring Wurlitzer sounds, and carries the track with his dream state falsetto. A track with whispers of Phil Collins, Toto, and Phoenix, “Let It Groh” offers the perfect preview of his intrepid departure from indie-folk. -Sean McHugh

 

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Waterfall Wash Release "Foreign Chords" Video

 East side indie folkers Waterfall Wash are helping us cling to the last bit of summer with a DIY lyric video for staff favorite "Foreign Chords," dropped earlier this year. Basically, two fruits enter; one frickin' adorable video leaves.

The fun, quirky video, directed by Dylan White, has all the makings of a perfect afternoon. There's Nerf gun double-crossing, hand-painted signs, cameos by friends (and some local talent) and a refreshing-beverage-off, all to a track you can't help but smile to. Boasting xylophone AND lap steel, "Foreign Chords" is full of personality, positivity and solid musicianship. 

Check out the video below and hear Waterfall Wash's recent episode of local tastemaker podcast Notable Nashville here! -Caroline Bowman

 

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