In the Scene: Talkin’ bout musical pairings with a lotta history

Here’s our latest conversation on what the alt-weekly The Nashville Scene is covering with its music editor Stephen Trageser. 

Jewly Hight: I noticed that in this new issue of the Scene, you highlight a lot of different musical pairings with varying amounts of musical history together. So I think that’s a great thing for us to focus on today. The first one I have in mind is the one that probably has the longest history together, Rodney Crowell and Marshall Chapman, who I believe worked at a restaurant together way back in the day before either of them really had much going on as songwriters. What sort of show are they going to be playing together?

Stephen Trageser: They’ve got a double bill at Exit/In on Monday night. The venue is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and at the beginning was very important in establishing the singer-songwriter scene in Nashville. You know, a few years after it opens, both Crowell and Chapman were playing there a lot, so it was important in their development, too. And they’re coming back.

JH: No Limit Records, a pivotal label in southern rap, is bringing a reunion tour to Nashville. You wrote about it. What can you tell us?

ST: You know, the label helped put southern hip-hop on the map, and they’ve got this package road show going with the founder Master P and some other signees from early on in the label’s history, like Mystikal, Silkk the Shocker, Mia X and some folks who really helped, along with lots of others, define that southern hip-hop sound in the 90s. They will be at Municipal Auditorium Saturday night.

JH: What is notable about this Nashville show that JEFF the Brotherhood, those longtime hometown, garage rock heroes and real-life brothers, have coming up soon?

ST: It’s the first time they played in town for a long time. It’s also the first time since the very influential label that they founded with their dad [Infinity Cat] has ceased operation. It’s kind of a homecoming show for them.

JH: Another Nashville rock band that hasn’t been around nearly as long as JEFF the Brotherhood, Country Westerns, have a show on the books too. What’s the deal there?

ST: So over the past five years, Joey Plunkett and Brian Kotzur have really kind of honed in the sound that they’d kind of initially started developing just to have something to do to play for drink tickets, as they put it in an interview. Once they teamed up with Sabrina Rush, their bass player, they kind of really polished up that sound. They’ve got a full album and an EP that they’re getting to tour behind and bringing it on home the Nashville.

JH: Another Scene contributor singled out an upcoming performance by two standout instrumentalists, William Tyler and Mary Latimore. Can you give us the lowdown on that pairing?

ST: Both are very deep into a scene that’s sometimes called cosmic pastoral or ambient Americana, where they’re really sort of pushing at the boundaries of some real, deep-rooted traditions. They’ve got a longform piece that they’re getting ready to premiere at Big Ears [Festival] in the spring. But they’re just taking some time on the road together. They’ll be at Third Man Records on Tuesday.

JH: I am going to take a left turn here, Stephen, and ask you about a feature on a solo artist who does not have a Nashville show coming up in the next week, Savvy. He’s a local artist whose emo-influenced approach to melodic rap and R&B has made me want to learn more about him for many, many months now. What is your takeaway from the feature that D’Llisha Davis wrote about Savvy for the Scene?

ST: He’s been working really hard to establish himself with a unique voice and perspective. He’s learned a lot about how the local hip-hop scene works and it helps that he’s found himself some mentors there. Mike Floss, who you interviewed recently, is one of those folks who’s kind of helped him find his way. Sky’s the limit for him.