Jewly Hight: I have been pointing WNXP listeners to the list of venue vaccination protocols that you published on your music blog last week. What information did you want to collect all in one place for your readers? And are you updating it?
Stephen Trageser: I just wanted to gather the general outline of the protocols that all these venues have released. There are about 14 of them now that have outlined where they are going to require proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID tests before they let anybody in, whether that is staff or bands or the audience. And some of those things change venue to venue. We’re doing our best to keep it updated. We know some things are going to change as time goes on, because this is a fairly new program. Only a couple of weeks ago did venues around town start rolling this out. I’ve been talking to some folks at different venues, and they’re making slight adjustments over time. So it’s always going to be best to check with those venues directly.
JH: You wrote critics’ picks for the new issue of the Scene on a couple of different multi-artist shows happening at venues with protocols in place. What can you tell me about the show that the organization Music Neighbors is putting on at the East Room?
ST: Music Neighbors is a Nashville nonprofit that has several initiatives in place all around music discovery, very much in line with WNXP and a lot of what the Scene does. They’ve created this website that’s a platform for discovering local artists. They produce live, in-studio EPs for up-and-coming artists at no cost. And they’ve got three artists that they’ve recently worked with who are playing on Thursday. They’ve got Yours Truly Jai, who’s an outstanding songwriter and a singer. She’s very much steeped in R&B and neo-soul. She released an EP called Bare With Me back in March, so we’re probably going to hear some songs from that. There’s also an indie rock duo called Multi Ultra who’s opening up the show. They recently released a single called “Tonight” that’s sort of ’70s-schooled pop. And then there’s Kristen Ford, who plays in a bunch of different bands. She’s going to be leading her own band called The Assembly.
JH: You also wrote about the Housequake show that’s happening at Mercy Lounge. What is that all about?
TS: That is a recurring event, happens every month at Mercy Lounge, and the idea is to sort of showcase different folks from the contemporary pop scene around town, bands or individual artists who are often taking some inspiration from hip-hop or electronic dance music or R&B, but they often have a lot of other influences worked in as well. There’s usually at least one out of town person every month. This time that is Jet Trouble, who’s from Dallas. He’s worked here before with folks like Nobigdyl, who’s a really outstanding rapper. You’ve also got Catt McCreary, who came to Nashville from Atlanta to study at Belmont. Also on the bill, you’ve got Jules Paymer, who writes some electronic pop tunes that kind of also have a knack for peeling apart different kinds of relationships. And the last group on the bill is a duo, two guys who moved here from Kansas City. The group is called Lost Stars, and they’ve recently released a single called “Pop Song” that really kind of hits the nail on the head.
JH: Are there other indoor or outdoor shows coming up this weekend that are on the radars of your fellow Nashville scene contributors?
TS Most definitely. Contributor Charlie Zaillian did a pick for us on a show at Exit/In on Thursday night. That’s going to be on the heavier end of the spectrum. You’ve got Friendship Commanders headlining that. That’s the duo of Jerry Roe and Buick Audra. They have a real kind of strong social conscience in their music in a lot of circumstances, but also are incredible songwriters. So there’s a lot of cool melody stuff going on and they just play the hell out of their instruments. Joining them are another local group, that phenomenal metal outfit called Yautja, There’s also Futurebirds, who are soul-rockers from Athens, Georgia. They’re playing the new 6th & Peabody show space with local country rockers Teddy and the Rough Riders opening up. And we’ve also got Sierra Ferrell, who is doing a pair of release shows Friday and Saturday night at the Basement. She is a fantastic songwriter who blends a whole lot of different influences from different kinds of acoustic styles into her music.