Meiko w/Keyshona Armstrong and Mary Bragg

Mon Dec 19 2016

8:00 PM (Doors 12:00 AM)

The Basement

1604 Eighth Ave South Nashville, TN 37203

$12 ADV / $15 DOORS

Ages 21+

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$12 ADV / $15 DOORS

Meiko w/Keyshona Armstrong and Mary Bragg

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  • Meiko



    It’s been a busy two years for acclaimed singer-songwriter Meiko – after months on the road touring in support of 2014’s Dear You LP, she got married in the summer of 2015, and recorded and independently released her Live Songs From The Hotel Café EP which served as the timestamp for a personal Los Angeles sendoff. Meiko moved from the City of Angels to Music City this past fall, and in-between the tour dates, nuptials, a honeymoon, and packing for the one-way trek to Nashville, she wrote a new, career-defining album, appropriately titled Moving Day.


    “Every song on the album is about moving in some way, shape, or form”, Meiko says. “Whether it’s moving to a new place, moving into different relationships, or just growing up and moving on emotionally, I love the idea of constant growth and change. This album represents some key moments of personal ‘moving days’ I’ve had in my life over the past 10 years.”


    Moving Day is closer sonically to Meiko’s 2007 self-titled debut than to her two follow-up albums. “I wanted to get back to my roots”, Meiko states. “(2012’s) The Bright Side was a little more poppy, and Dear You was darker and more electronic. I wanted to keep it simpler and more intimate this time around, without depending on so many bells and whistles. Just like my first album, Moving Day is written entirely by me, with no A&R guy involved.”


    Meiko enlisted Nashville-based producer/musician Joshua Grange (Sheryl Crow, k.d. lang) to handle production responsibilities. “I met Josh at a breakfast place in Nashville about a month after I moved there from Los Angeles. We instantly got along, and he invited me to check out his studio. The next day we met up, totally nerded out over guitars and music, and wound up recording a song about an hour after I’d arrived. I decided right then and there to make a full album with him.”


    Recording in Nashville proved to be the right choice for Meiko. “I found it easier and more fluid. Mostly because Nashville is smaller and you get to where you’re going stress-free. I really love Nashville. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time in L.A. too, but I’m gaining so many years of my life back by not being on the 101 Freeway trying to get from point A to point B!”


    Meiko's artistic ambitions date back to 2007, when she began landing shows at venerable Los Angeles venue The Hotel Café, an unofficial headquarters for young, up-and-coming songwriters on the West Coast. Things moved quickly from there. She signed with MySpace Records, reissued her self-titled debut record in 2008, and scored a hit on Triple A radio with "Boys with Girlfriends”. Pop, folk, and rock fans loved her; so did music supervisors, who placed Meiko's songs in episodes of “Grey's Anatomy”, “One Tree Hill”, and over a dozen other prime-time TV shows. After signing with Concord Records in 2011, she released The Bright Side, which climbed to No. 1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Albums chart. Meiko hit the road again, selling out concerts from Los Angeles to Tokyo, even landing a #1 single on Japanese radio with “Stuck On You”.


    After the release of her 2014 Dear You album featuring the VH1 favorite “Be Mine”, Meiko and Concord Records amicably parted ways. On recording Moving Day without a record label’s involvement, Meiko says, “Music should be easy. It’s about art, not egos. When a committee comes around to tell me I’m not creating correctly, or that it could be better another way, self-doubt comes into play and poisons the well. Moving Day, thankfully, has none of that. I made this album with no weirdness around to make me feel inadequate. Josh Grange listened to all my ideas and helped me make them a reality. I couldn’t be happier and more proud of how it came out!”


    Moving on from the confines of the major label machine, Meiko has returned to form with Moving Day, her most honest release to date.

  • Keyshona Armstrong

    Keyshona Armstrong


    For a singer-songwriter, there's no more basic function than getting onstage and getting something personal off your chest. The therapeutic qualities of the experience have seduced countless confessional composers, some of whom make known that they hold unfiltered expression as their highest artistic aim.

    Kyshona Armstrong started out enabling others to enjoy the healing properties of songwriting, and keeping her thoughts to herself. When you're a music therapist to incarcerated and institutionalized adults and school children with emotional behavior disorders, artistic considerations aren't even on the table.

    "I definitely had to accept the fact that when I'm writing with a patient, whatever they want to do is what they want to do," Armstrong tells the Scene as she nurses a latte in East Nashville. "It's their song: 'Even if it might not fit in a form, if that's what you want to say, say it. We're not writing a big hit. This is for you.' "

    When Armstrong worked first in the state mental hospital, then the public school system in Georgia, she found that her co-writers often clung to chant-like, circular song ideas. "They would find this melody they liked and they would stick to it," she explains. "It was theirs to keep. It wasn't hard to hold onto."

    Armstrong had focused on oboe at the University of Georgia — that and steel drums, which she played in the college's Hawaiian-shirt-sporting ensemble, Tropical Breeze. But since neither instrument was all that well suited to coaxing patients into musical self-expression, she got into singing, playing acoustic guitar and songwriting.

    When describing the positions she held during her decade or so in the mental health field, she punctuates each chapter with the same phrase: "That got kinda heavy." The weight of it was what eventually moved her to begin penning her own tunes.

    "A lot of my first songs were dealing with what I saw my patients struggling with," she recalls. "A lot of my songs were about the stories that I would hear from them. Because I can only take on so much of people dumping. So I had to get rid of it and shed it somehow. I think telling their stories was one way for me to go out in the world and be like, 'There's so much more happening out there.' For me, that was therapeutic. I don't like to talk about myself, but I'll talk about everybody else if you want me to share a story."

    At a certain point, her emotional investment in her patients' pain became too much to purge at coffeehouse open mics. "You've gotta know when to tap out," she says. "I was like, 'I'm not of any use to these kids if I can't give myself as fully as I used to.' "

    So Armstrong got on the college singer-songwriter circuit, blending skills of empathizing and entertaining. Her set lists might put a strummy version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" next to "Confined," a song she'd written with a couple of 20-somethings in the mental hospital. They were the hip-hop heads in the patients' band — otherwise made up of Elvis-obsessed middle-aged men — and they'd wanted a song in the group repertoire that spoke to their own experience.

    Besides teaching institutionalized adults and emotionally troubled school kids how to have healthy interactions with instruments in hand, Armstrong served a similar mission on the board of the Southern Girls Rock Camp in Athens, Ga. And that made her a shoo-in to volunteer at last summer's Tennessee Teens Rock Camp, where she met a bunch of the women with whom she'll perform at the girl group tribute She's a Rebel a few days after playing her own show at 12th & Porter.

    Armstrong moved to Nashville in January 2014, spending the first couple months commuting back to Athens to record her album Go, but easily made friends and landed bookings in local folk singer-songwriter, pop and soul scenes once she was around more. Smack-dab in the middle ofGo is a song that distills the insights of her therapeutic work and the artistic aspirations she's developed since. Called "Cornelius Dupree," it's the turbulent channeling of a black man's real-life experience serving 30 years in Texas for rape and robbery before being exonerated. Rather than narrate the external details of Dupree's story, Armstrong gives voice to the searing physical and emotional strain he must've felt having to defend his innocence for so long.

    "That one took me a long time," she says of the song, "because I wanted to do it right. I tried it from the outside looking in. But in the end I was like, 'I have to put myself in those shoes.' "

    She adds, "The injustice that Cornelius suffered, on a much smaller level I have experienced that myself, just being a black woman living in the South. I've been held by the police before for nothing, and it's frustrating. I've never been imprisoned, but I've been held aside. I remember the injustice I felt and the anger I felt. But I've always been taught I have to be extra kind, extra polite to compensate. ...With his story, I think I just got fed up."

    At college shows, Armstrong urges students to look up Dupree's story on their phones — and hopefully expand their awareness of human suffering — even as she's singing her song. "Cornelius Dupree" had a similarly awakening effect when she performed it at a house concert 20 minutes outside of Ferguson, Mo. She'd driven up strictly to join the protests after Michael Brown's shooting, but accepted a friend's invitation to a combination concert and cookout in the suburbs one evening. Folks there seemed downright oblivious to the neighboring turmoil. At the end of the night, the host thanked her for getting their attention.

    Armstrong has reached the point where she embraces repetitive internal rhythms that emerge in some of her songwriting — likening them to both gospel spirituals and the viscerally simplistic utterances of her former patients — and she's delivering her roots-soul originals with articulate warmth and newly claimed authority.

    "I feel like I'm only just now stepping into this activist role," she says, "or not activist, but someone who speaks out or brings up a subject that's uncomfortable. In the past, I haven't been the one to [say], 'I'm gonna throw some mess on the table, and we're gonna talk about it.' But I want to be."

  • Mary Bragg

    Mary Bragg


    Those stinging words from a Nashville music executive to wet-behind-the-ears singer-songwriter Mary Bragg years ago couldn’t have stung more. But she took that blow-off advice into a journey that transformed the south Georgia native from pop-country wannabe into the striking, vulnerable voice she wears on her new album, Edge of This Town, drawing comparisons to Americana luminaries Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin.

    But her story, and her songs are her own.

    “I didn’t know it at the time, but a little rejection was just what I needed,” Bragg said.

    Barely out of high school, Bragg spent six months in Nashville as a sprite, eager singer, chasing the dream. Like so many do.

    Sent on her way to the University of Georgia where she was classically trained in voice, she put Nashville behind her and focused on developing her craft on her own terms. After college, New York became her muse, her trouble, her chaperone. Several years into growing acclaim in Brooklyn’s Americana scene, she attracted overflow crowds for a yearlong residency at New York City’s famed venue The Living Room. She has been honored in such prestigious songwriting contests as Kerrville New Folk, Telluride Troubadour, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Wildflower! Festival, and the International Songwriting Competition.

    Now having recently been accepted into the world-renowned circle of songwriters at The Bluebird Cafe after a 60-second audition, Bragg finally has been embraced in Nashville. The 2011 release of her Lee Alexander-produced album Tattoos & Bruises, met with critical acclaim by USA Today, No Depression magazine and others, didn’t hurt.

    With themes of longing, trying relationships, and wistfulness, the ethereal, alt-country Edge of This Town was released April 7. Bragg takes her listeners to nostalgic, emotional places through her pointed lyrics and powerful melodies. On the opening track, Bragg describes a woman unwilling to give up on her crumbling marriage. “Hollywood’ll say go on and walk away, that it ain’t worth all these tears, but Hollywood ain’t here,” Bragg sings, a lilting slide guitar bending its way across the evocative timbre of Bragg’s voice. She produced the EP together with guitarist Rich Hinman and her bassist/husband Jimmy Sullivan.

    Bragg recorded the album after winning the inaugural BandPage/Zoo Labs Music Residency Contest, which enabled her to create the album at Zoo Labs Studios in Oakland, California in November 2014. This is Bragg’s fourth studio recording and her first since moving to Nashville in December 2013. The Zoo Labs Music Residency is an immersive program that supports entrepreneurial music-making teams in bringing their creative power to their business plans. Bragg brought her long-time band along to the Bay area for the experience – Jimmy Sullivan (co-producer, bass), Rich Hinman (co-producer, guitars), Mike Cassedy (piano, organ), Johnny Duke (mandolin, guitar), and Andrew Laubacher (drums).

    Her sophomore release, Sugar (2007), was produced by Darius Jones and recorded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her debut album, Certain Simple Things (2004), was co-written, engineered and produced in Athens, Georgia, by Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum).

    With more dates being added, her U.S. tour continues through 2015 with stops in Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Greenville, Charleston, Cincinnati, New York City, Long Island, and Philadelphia.

Meiko w/Keyshona Armstrong and Mary Bragg

Mon Dec 19 2016 8:00 PM

(Doors 12:00 AM)

The Basement Nashville TN
 Meiko w/Keyshona Armstrong and Mary Bragg
  • Sorry, you missed this event.
  • Check out other similar events on TicketWeb.

$12 ADV / $15 DOORS Ages 21+

$12 ADV / $15 DOORS