To close out today’s event, Apple CEO Tim Cook and U2 announced that the band’s newest album is launching right now on iTunes. It’s available free, and will be there exclusively until October 13th to all account holders. If you don’t have an account, just create one within the next five weeks and you can download all 11 tracks from Songs of Innocence free of charge. The servers are (predictably) a bit slammed, but it should be available right in the albums section of iTunes on PCs or your Apple device to download it. It will also be available on iTunes Radio and Beats Music for streaming, starting tomorrow. U2 closed out the show by performing the album’s lead single “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone).” Rolling Stone has some details from band members about the collaborations (Danger Mouse, Flood and some of Adele’s producers) and influences for the album, but check back here to get our first impressions of both new iPhone 6 models, and the Apple Watch.0
Being that Nashville is a town built on the monetization of music, it’s remarkably refreshing to watch talented songwriters who are more concerned with community than commerce. A roomful of lucky listeners got to experience that very thing last night at the inaugural kick-off of The Local Show a recurring songwriter showcase series put on by Andrew Peterson and his creative collective known as the Rabbit Room. From the opening reading of a Wendell Berry passage that spoke of broadening the membership of your life, to the partnership with local non-profit Show Hope, to the borrowed capos and guitars on stage, the theme of community ran deep throughout the night.
The first night of The Local Show featured some of Nashville’s best kept singer-songwriter secrets: Sandra McCracken, Don Chaffer (Waterdeep), Randall Goodgame, and Eric Peters. What was immediately noticeable about this foursome and what makes The Local Show such an immediate standout from the typical songwriter rounds that take place all over the city was the spirit of creative camaraderie between all of the artists. Not only are they all professionally intertwined through a variety of album recordings and concert appearances, but they are all friends and fans of each other’s work as well. This was none more evident than on the constant chorale of ghost harmonies that wandered in and out of every song even the new, unreleased ones. The friendly interactions that took place before, after, and during the songs showed evidence of a group of people that were fluent in each other’s lives. During normal songwriter rounds, you can usually spot the feigned interest of the performers as they wait for their spot to come back around. Whether they are thinking about their next song or the errands that they need to run the next day, the vacant gaze and forced banter always give them away. However, this was not the case at The Local Show, where each artist was fully engaged during each other’s songs possibly even more so than during their own offerings.
From a musical perspective, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining and enriching collection of songs packed into a single setting. There were lyrics crafted from the perspective of an abandoned, rusty Schwinn and a pre-suicidal cancer patient, as well as hymns of timeless modernity sung alongside humorously instructional odes on how not to get eaten by bears. The songs were all beautiful, haunting, resonant, accessible, and undeniably life-affirming in equal measure. These were not three-and-a-half minute pop ditties ephemerally meant to lighten a moment, but instead were carefully crafted refrains meant to help soundtrack a lifetime’s journey. With meditations like Will we choose the noise of our desire or the hope that makes no sound and simple reminders that the sky must be enjoyed, The Local Show reminded that there are good musical companions to walk with you along the way.
Being a fan of all four artists, it was really nice to hear familiar songs in such a relaxed, intimate setting. The Well Coffeehouse provided an incredible atmosphere for the songwriters to sing their songs and tell their stories, while the lightening storm flashing through the wall of windows provided an arresting backdrop. At a point where technical glitches threatened to sidetrack the mood, Don Chaffer simply unplugged his guitar, rested a foot on the front row of chairs, and sang a gorgeous break-up ballad to a pin-drop quiet crowd. One of the bonus benefits to relaxed settings like this is that new songs usually see their first light of day. On this night, Randall Goodgame debuted a new song called Cellphone Jones, Eric Peters introduced Nobody, and Sandra McCracken played God’s Highway, We Will Feast, and Gracious Light from her recently-recorded-but-not-yet-released next album. Don Chaffer even read a stunningly wistful prose poem of his called On the Iron Bar and the Price You Pay, James Dean that had everyone simultaneously laughing and introspecting at the same time. All four artists set the precedent that you never know what might be in store for you at The Local Show but you can rest assured it’s going to be good.
The Local Show will be looking to recapture the communal spark every other Tuesday in September, with plans to move to every week in October. The next show will be September 16 and will feature Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn, Andrew Osenga, and Jeremy Casella another foursome whose professional/personal DNA mix together in a way that should provide the same uniquely communal atmosphere as the first show.
You can find out more about The Local Show and purchase advanced tickets for the next show here:
THE LOCAL SHOW
September 16 @ 8pm
Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Jeremy Casella, and Andrew Osenga
The Well Coffeehouse
690 Old Hickory Blvd,
Brentwood, TN 37027
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door0
On his upcoming album, Atlantic, singer/songwriter Ben Glover reaches across continents and decades to bring together the two musical and geographical worlds that he calls home Ireland and Tennessee. Having immersed himself in the historic and artistic cultures of both lands, Glover tells wonderfully thoughtful, intentional tales of his search for and planting of roots.
Ahead of Atlantics release, Glover put together a special NoiseTrade sampler, Precedent & Prophecy, which culls tracks from several previous sets along with a couple of cuts from Atlantic. As a whole, it captures the essence of Glover’s evolving artistry and offers a glimpse of what’s yet to come.
NoiseTrade: When you were getting started, you would play American folk tunes in pubs back home in Ireland, then play Irish folk tunes in pubs in Boston. How did you find your balance when you had feet in two different worlds?
Ben Glover: My objective was the same in both countries sing great songs and, in doing so, try and make a connection with the audience. I never felt off balance when my musical objective was consistent regardless of continent. Whether I was belting out rowdy Irish folk songs in the bars of Boston or doing some Woody Guthrie in the pubs of Belfast, my intention was to perform songs that had something to say and that would stir up an audience. Conceptually, there really isn’t much difference between American folk/blues tunes and Irish folk tunes the songs from both traditions are filled with great stories, colorful language, and tales of both the joys and struggles of the people who wrote and sang them. I was drawn to both Irish folk and American folk/blues traditions right from the time when music began to mean something to me. So the music was really the thing that kept me balanced. It’s easy to find balance when you feel deeply connected to and love the thing you are doing even if one foot is either side of an ocean.
You went back to County Donegal to make Atlantic. How would this record be different if you’d made it in Nashville?
County Donegal is one of the most rural and isolated parts of Ireland. The house we made the record in is at the foot of a mountain and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean the album cover image is what we looked out on every day while making the record. That rugged, raw environment and spirit of rural Donegal had a massive influence on how this record sounds; its presence was huge on this album. That physical dislocation from anything to do with the music industry was a perfect environment in which to make this record. That’s not meant to be disrespectful to the industry, but it was extremely liberating and inspiring to make a record in a place that was worlds away from the marketplace, away from the distractions that Nashville or any city has.
It meant, too, that everyone who played on the recording was transported out of their comfort zones into an entirely different context. It brought something new and different out of us all. We felt that we were creating our own little universe during the recording process and, literally, we did as we transformed the house into a makeshift studio for 10 days. We created a recording space that will never exist again and, in doing so, created a sound for this album that we can’t replicate again. For those reasons, we could not and would not have been able to have made this record in Nashville. It definitely would not have had the rawness, intimacy, or personality that it has if we recorded it in a more controlled studio environment. In many ways, the record sounds like how Donegal feels to me, and that was one of the things that I wanted to capture.
You’ve made pilgrimages to sites related to some of your musical heroes Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, et al. How does that affect you as both a person and an artist?
To experience the very places that are marked by my musical heroes is something that is very important to me. It’s about deepening the connection with their legacy, but, more importantly, it lets me get closer to the source of the fire that their music lit in me creatively. For me, such places are shrines of sorts and there is definitely a spiritual element, too. Those artists have had great significance in my life and music and so journeying to sites that are connected with them always awakens and stirs up something inside me. To sit at Hank’s grave, to spend the day at Cash’s childhood home in Arkansas, or to go in search of Robert Johnson’s grave in the Delta excites and invigorates me in the same pure way that their music did when I first heard it. These trips fire up my creativity and imagination. Music is a sacred thing, and I need to go to sites that have sacred symbolism for me; it’s the duty of any good pilgrim! In some respects, too, it de-romanticizes my heroes in a good way by visiting their graves, it’s a reminder that these mighty, near mythical figures were indeed mortal after all and just on the same journey as the rest of us.
When you are writing a song with another person, how do you dig into deeply personal things about yourself and hash that out in an honest way? It must take an incredible amount of trust or whiskey.
Atlantic is the most personal album I’ve made and that was because I wrote it with trusted friends who were willing to dig as deep as possible to find these songs with me. There’s no point in going halfway to the truth. It only matters if you go all the way there and we were all committed to mining as deep as possible to get there, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable the writing process was. I wrote these songs with Mary Gauthier, Gretchen Peters, Neilson Hubbard, and Rod Picott; they are all amazing writers who bring a huge amount of integrity and courage to the writing process. They are also some of my closest friends, so it was easy to get deeply personal and dismantle any pretense. It also comes down to what you and your co-writer are writing the song for if it’s for the charts and for commercial sales, then honesty doesn’t necessarily have to drive the process; but if you’re writing because you want to express your truth, then digging deep in an honest way is the only way to go. As for the whiskey, there was definitely some Bushmills involved in the recording, but not in the writing. We couldn’t possibly make a record in Donegal and not have a few sips
Are you a fan of Southern gothic literature or did you just soak up and conjure up all the imagery and culture through your travels?
It’s a bit of both. Since moving to Nashville, I wanted to immerse myself in as much of the southern culture as possible, so my senses have been wide open and soaking it all up ever since I made my first visit to the South seven years ago. However, I had been reading William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, and many other gothic greats long before I set foot on southern soil. This mean’t my imagination was traveling through those hot, dusty, dark backroads of the South prior to me physically being there.0
During his set at Poland’s OFF Festival, Mike Hadreas shared two new Perfume Genius tracks from his upcoming LP Too Bright. Below, watch him perform “I Decline” (at the beginning of the video) and “My Body” (at the 10:00 mark) via Stereogum.
A Spotify intern and Ph.D. student published a blog post laying out his work to improve Spotify’s recommendation algorithms using deep learning to analyze the acoustic properties of songs. He hopes his models can help listeners discover new and relatively unheard music.
How Spotify is working on deep learning to improve playlists originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.0