Jason Robert Blum





Greetings from Nashville: stories from the road since SXSW

I found myself in Nashville this month.  What a town!   I should have started coming here sooner, I thought that the minute I got here.  I came on the heals of a lovely SXSW (Something I never thought I'd say).  I got to play with the band, JJ and Dave as a trio twice and I played on Fox morning show one day.  The trio was an incredible experience.  I love that band!  I can't wait for the next chance to play with them.  Sunday of SXSW I ran into James Hall at the Kessler Theater party, we sat in the pool and reconnected while Homer Henderson slayed a one man band set.  "lee harvey,"  great tune.  We discussed some recent news out of New Orlean's regarding the health of my cousin.  

I met James in '95 in New Orleans.  I was just a kid.  I had just moved there because my cousin Mike had a music shop and every time I called hime up some hero of mine was in there buying or playing a guitar (Keith Richards, Clarence Gate Mouth Brown, Jeff Tweedy).  The day I arrived we tuned into the radio because James was doing a promo on WWOZ.  I remember he played "illingness" live and came to the shop right after.  We were on the list that night at Tippitina's and there was a line around the block when we arrived.  James and Michael kept a tight friendship for the past 25 years.  Often playing together when James passed through NOLA.  So James was in the know.  he knew that Michael's father had passed from Huntingtons disease, a brain degenerative disease.  His brother suffered the same fate two years ago at the young age of 42. Those who knew Mike well knew he had inherited the gene.  The call came in that SXSW weekend that Mike was no longer going to be able to live on his own.   There was an outpouring of support from a slew of musicians who knew and loved Mike.  I spoke with a lot of them that weekend.  Later that evening James and Eric Mcfadden and I played a late set.  It was beautiful.  The Kessler people are some my favorite folks in this business.  It was a beautiful ending to a rich week.  

My course was set to come to Nashville after SXSW and spend some time with Words and Music Admin, my new publishing co. and take a few meetings on behalf of the album.  I am currently seeking management, an agent and a label...  We are making headway.  More on that next blog.  When I pulled out of Austin I got a call from rock photographer Michael Weintrob and he had a room for me...  and he had another surprise.  Another friend from Austin, Paul Jones was now in Birmingham, Al.  Paul is a fantastic artist and photographer.  They were throwing a party and they wanted to hire me to play it.  Done deal.  It was a blast.  Aaron Lee Tasjin came down to join me and low and behold James Hall was in town and he joined us too.  I got stuck in Birmingham for well over  a week catching up with Paul and his lovely fiancé, Mary Clayton..  We had an amazing photo shoot. One of the best for me.  Paul is an artist when it comes to lighting, a true chiaroscuro specialist.  It was sick.  They took me to his lake house where we celebrated another year around the sun for me...  Birmingham is full of love and great food.  What a great town.  I am connecting with the Southeast again and it feels great.  The food culture there is incredible.  Though I think I put on 10 lbs in !0 days.  I call it the best 10lbs of my life.

So we tore up Birmingham and Kawilaga lake (where Hank Williams went off to write his hits)  And it was time to get back to Nashville...  get back to business.  Day one reentry I went to the Nashville film festival for the film premier of Heartworn Highways Revisited, a film directed by my friend, Wayne Price from the NUBLU in NYC days.  He made a film about modern Nashville singer songwriters a few of which I knew personally and all of which were on my radar.  and it was great fun.  Later that night I shared a few cocktails with Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and reminisced about Dripping springs and Orange Co.  Weird combo but awesome night.  I like that guy.

Yesterday I ate lunch with Jim Stephanson at Jacks Bbq on Broadway and we watched a couple of bands at Roberts.  The music was great...  The Bbq could take a lesson from TX.  Truth.  Jim played on my early records on the first Flexible Sensuals album and a few other deep cuts including "Blooming in the Sun" with Kat Edmonson front the Radio Dial LP.  He's a super hot tele player from DC, relative of the Danny Gatton musical family tree, and an early music mentor of mine.  Jim is in Nashville with his wife until Tuesday. maybe we'll get to do some picking.

The past few days have been a bit emotional for me... been thinking of my cousin, Mike in NOLA a lot.  We talked a bit and I had several long conversations with Nathalie, an angel who has taken Mike into her home and giving him care.  I think I might pack the car and head back to NOLA.  throw a party for him on Saturday and get all the guitars out.  James Hall is in town for a friday night gig at the circle bar.  So life.  You gotta live it... 

I have spent most of these last two days in this hotel room writing, playing, pacing and snoring.  revitalizing, planning a scheming.  I needed it.  

Lastly, I met Kim Logan at SXSW through JW Johnson.  She was lovely.  We played guitars out in front of the broken spoke with western swing songwriting legend, Gil Prather...  turns out she has a spare room this month.  So looks like I'll be hanging my hat in Nashville mostly + a little NOLA + Bham for the souther makers fund raiser for the farmers.

Yeah.  its a rich life.