Or should I say — French music will save me? My local shows, including a debut full band show at the Bluebird here in Nashville, have been postponed. Now the weather is getting colder and there’s less and less fishing. What is a country singer with a fishing career to do?
I’ve been delving deeply into French singer-songwriters, especially Quebec’s Gilles Vigneault. A few years ago, at a music conference in Montreal, I heard the lead singer of the band, Jabbour, sing one of Vignault’s songs, “J’ai Pour Toi, Un Lac” (“I have for you a lake”). It struck me hard, right in the solar plexus. I couldn’t believe it. A song that expressed a love of lakes and the great outdoors and used it to speak about love. And not just any love, the head-over-heels joy of abandoning yourself completely. Most genres (cf Indie Rock) are too cool to express themselves in this manner. French music is not big on detached irony.
It was a pleasure to learn it. And even more fun to play it while in a kayak this summer on an obscure Tennessee lake. I would have done the third verse – my favorite – but I was starting to worry about my guitar falling in the water. You may need to turn up the volume on this one.
I also recently did a version of a deeper Vignault cut, “On Ne Sait Jamais” (“You Never Know”). I recorded it in the car with my dog, Pichenotte, for company. Does it seem odd to play and sing in the car? It shouldn’t. In times of COVID, it’s one of the few places in one’s home where you have privacy. Enjoy and stay safe. Covid lockdowns are a head game and the challenge is to keep yourself smiling and singing.
I can’t thank singer-songwriter, Ronny Criss, enough for inviting me to perform on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at the Listening Room Cafe in Nashville. Showtime is 6 p.m., the venue has been extremely diligent in observing COVID-19 best practices and local ordinances. Joining us will be songwriter, Brian Southerland.
I haven’t performed live since Mardi Gras, this past February. Since then, I’ve cancelled many shows, including my annual Bands & Boil crawfish and live music event at the Groove in Nashville. What a disappointment! The event had grown into a celebration of East Nashville’s music community, something that was sorely needed in the aftermath of the March tornado. The wreckage of that storm persists just blocks from our home. I actually missed crawfish season its entirety. I couldn’t justify boiling 20 pounds of mudbugs for myself, and communal eating and dancing seem unwise at the moment.
In the meantime, I have spent months setting aside funds to record a new album. Life without live music is drained of a key essence. I have attempted to fill the void with family time (which has been wonderful). And fishing, as ever, provides a much needed release. You can always read about those adventures here.
In the meantime, this upcoming show is an opportunity to shake off rust and reconnect with Nashville’s music community. I’m grateful for the chance to get back on the horse. See you there!
Thanks to Fats Kaplin for taking this short video of our Mardi Gras show. I don’t get to play squeezebox in the key of A very often. BONUS: Can you identify this Cajun song in spite of the fact they all sound similar?
Join Runner of the Woods as we dig deep into the Cajun catalog this Fat Tuesday, February 25th at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge from 8 pm – 9:30 pm. We’ll playing plenty of new originals too, but Mardi Gras calls for danceable Cajun music we will deliver with one of the best bands in Nashville (Billy Contreras on fiddle, Adam Meisterhans on guitar, Eric Frey on bass, Zoltan Tobak on drums). And yours truly, making this “accordion face” while focusing on idiosyncratic chord changes.
For that is the Tao of Cajun music. See you there!
Runner of the Woods is showcasing at Folk Alliance International this year in New Orleans! We’ll be playing several showcases, including Blackpot. I’ll also appear on a panel as musician/legal professional to discuss my experience with merch (e.g. making T-shirts, handling money on tour, how booking emails functions as contracts, percentages taken by venues and festivals etc.).
I also plan to prove it’s possible to eat fried gulf seafood for 5 days in a row…and live to tell the tale.
Runner of the Woods is back in the studio this July to record one more single for 2019 and their second full length album for 2020. With the killer band we have, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to record.
And speaking of being excited, I leave tomorrow morning for the wilds of Quebec, where I’ll be fly fishing the stunning Lac des Trente et Un Milles (“31 Mile Long Lake”). It’s full of monstrous, angry small mouth bass and I aim to wrestle with them until the sun sets each day. More soon!
Thanks to all the bands and hungry people who made Bands & Boil 2019 a great success! With the loss of Fond Object in East Nashville, the prospect of putting on an outdoor show seemed dire. I abandoned the idea outright until securing the permission of local record store, The Groove. From there it was a matter of tackling a very long list of logistics and booking performers who could make people dance. We had great music by Jon Latham, Mando Saenz, Bark, Cristina Vane, and Runner of the Woods. And people did dance! And they ate 40 pounds of crawfish and drained the keg supplied by our sponsor, Little Harpeth Brewing. Next year, we’ll need two sacks of crawfish and two kegs!
There’s something really special about a family-friendly event with food and music. You really are creating something out of nothing. I take great pride in bringing the neighborhood together in this way. We’ll do it again next year!
Join us on Sunday, June 2nd at 2 pm for the 2nd Annual Bands & Boil! Free crawfish, beer, and a fantastic music lineup featuring Mando Saenz, Runner of the Woods, Bark, Jon Latham, and Cristina Vane. Fond Object, the location of last year’s show, is no more, unfortunately, but we’re thrilled to have found a new home at the Groove Record Shop.
This is a family friendly event, with popsicles for the kids. Support live music, and come hungry and thirsty!