The Royal Hounds are one of the bands who still embody that original Lower Broadway revivalist attitude. Playing standing residencies at Layla’s every Sunday night, and Robert’s Western World on Tuesdays, they’re rockabilly, they’re country, they’re wild and funny.
The last decade or so has been a slow and strange awakening to the very unexpected, but also super cool relationship that actor and former professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has enjoyed with country music, from shouting out artists, being cast to play Charley Pride.
Nashville’s historic Lower Broadway district—which many consider the Holy Land of country music with numerous historic buildings and entertainment institutions—has suffered numerous incidents of vandalism and looting at the hands of protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd.
Tom Buller opens his mouth, and you’re immediately transported back to the Golden Era of country music, whichever era you choose the ‘Golden’ one to be. Where has true country music gone, you ask? It’s gone right down the gullet of Tom Buller, and comes back out in the form of one of the purest country voices you’ll hear.
Germany’s Bear Family Records is releasing ‘One Long Saturday Night’—a 23-song CD and companion DVD capturing the original lineup of the band at the height of their powers as they perform classic country hits and a handful of originals live for the German TV show Ohne Filter. The CD also includes four tracks from a concert in Japan the band played the week after.
Haunting stages at The Bluegrass Inn or Robert’s Western World on any given night is the ravenesque Sarah Gayle Meech. This isn’t the overnight sensation approach to making it in the music business. This isn’t about moving to town and pitching your songs to superstars in buildings out on Music Row. Sarah Gayle Meech’s approach is one that’s cousin to the blue collars she sings for every night.
One of the last remaining bands that still holds onto that spirit that revitalized Lower Broadway and still plays there on a regular basis is Hillbilly Casino. Nearing their 10-year anniversary, the band that can regularly be seen playing Layla’s Bluegrass Inn has released a live album recorded at the Exit Inn called “Live in the USA.” I spoke to the Hillbilly Casino bass player Geoff Firebaugh about the album and Lower Broadway.
BR549, Brent Mason, Dan Huff, Don Kelley, Greg Garing, Harry Fontana, Hillbilly Casino, Jay McDowell, JD Wilkes, Johnny Hiland, Layla's, lower broadway, Nic Roulette, NIck Curran, Paul Birch, Redd Volkaert, Robert's Western World, Sarah Gayle Meech, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Bluegrass Inn, The Don Kelley Band, The Eskimo Brothers, Yelawolf
Lower Broadway in Nashville has a new songstress haunting the streets, and she’s a good one. If you want to know how to put out one badass independent/underground country album in Nashville, you could use One Good Thing as a template. With impeccable country taste and instincts, Sarah assembles 12 original and authentic honky-tonk hard country songs for your listening enjoyment.
Like JD Wiles of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers said in part 2 of this series, the revitalization of lower Broadway started in the mid 90’s, but it was in the late 90’s when it really became “special.” Part of the reason for that was undoubtedly the presence of hillbilly royalty, from the bloodline of the man who helped build those buildings.
As lower Broadway became a hoping place in the mid 90’s drawing talent from all around the country, competition for choice time slots at the best bars became fierce, and if you didn’t keep the patrons entertained, there was no money in the tip jar. With so much talent and so few bars and dollars to go around, competition became hyper. In this environment, talent and originality were pushed to their limits and it created some of the most dynamic frontmen in any genre of music at any time.
Exit In, Hatch Show Print, Hillbilly Casino, Jason and the Scorchers, JD Wilkes, Jello Biafra, Joe Buck, lower broadway, Nashville, Robert Plant, Robert's Western World, The Bluegrass Inn, The Grand Ole Opry, The Legendary Shack Shakers, The Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman is what lower Broadway revolves around, and it is easy to think that however it goes, so goes lower Broadway. When The Ryman was virtually shuttered in 1974 and The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Opry House, that is when the seeds of the lower Broadway decline were sowed.
“You can see the hood ornament on the car when you go to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But if you want to look at the engine, and see what’s making it go, go to the Musician’s Hall of Fame.” –Neil Young. The Musicians Hall of Fame has been “eminent domained” by the […]