J.P. Harris, Brandy Zdan, Kirby Brown

Fri Oct 6 2017

9:00 PM (Doors 8:30 PM)

The Basement

1604 Eighth Ave South Nashville, TN 37203

$8 ADV/ $10 DOORS

Ages 21+

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J.P. Harris
Brandy Zdan, Kirby Brown

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  • J.P. Harris

    J.P. Harris

    Alternative Country

    In short, J.P. Harris plays Country Music. Not “Americana,” not “Roots,” “Folk,” or any other number of monikers used to describe a slew of spin-off genres; he plays from the foundation of these styles, the music that has influenced four generations of songwriters. In a world where prefixes have been added to the term “Country,” JP simply sticks to the old-fashioned sounds that have called to him. Referencing influences would be like describing each stitch in a quilt; every scrap of fabric tells a story of how the weathered and comfortable blanket came to be…

    Born six minutes before Valentine’s Day in Montgomery AL in 1983, JP’s life was to be full of color, travel, hardship, and grace from the day he first saw the world. After more than six generations in Alabama, his family would leave seeking work, first to California and then on to Nevada. He left home on foot at the age of 14, traveling via thumb and freight train, living the next 4 years mostly from a backpack, tarp, a bedroll. Eventually landing in the northeast, he worked as a farm laborer, equipment operator, lumberjack, luthier, and carpenter.

    In the summer of 2011, after two years of touring without much in the way of recorded music, Harris made a trip to the sweltering heat of south Louisiana. In an old Cajun cook shack he and a few pals pounded out an album in three days, and shortly after it’s completion, he made the move to Nashville. JP released his all-original debut “I’ll Keep Calling” in May of 2012 on Cow Island Music. Shortly after it’s release, without the aide of publicists or a large label’s bankroll, it won “Best Country Album of 2012″ from The Nashville Scene, the same honor at the Independent Music Awards, a cameo on NPR’s American Routes, and as JP says “a whole mess of other stuff in the papers and on the internet.” (Two songs were also licensed to the soundtrack of 2012’s “At Any Price,” starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron.)

    His latest album “Home Is Where The Hurt Is” (produced by Harris, guitarist Adam Meisterhans, and engineer Justin Francis) was recorded and mixed at Ronnie’s Place (formerly the personal studio of Ronnie Milsap) at home in Nashville. It features not your typical Music Row studio musicians, but young local players, many of whom have spent thousands of miles on the road in JP’s backing band The Tough Choices. Lending a hand on the album vocally is friend and local Indie-Country star Nikki Lane, as well as long-time friend Chance McCoy, singer and guitarist of Old Crow Medicine Show (McCoy also took rhythm guitar and fiddle duties throughout the album.)

    Rolling Stone named JP Harris one of fall 2014’s “Country Tours Not To Miss,” as well as one of “21 Must-See Country Acts at SXSW 2015.” 

    When he isn’t touring, JP can usually be found repairing an old house, splitting wood in his backyard, or digging through the trash for useable refuse.

  • Brandy Zdan

    Brandy Zdan

    Alternative

    If you wanna be a stickler about such things, go ahead and take Brandy Zdan to task for having the cheek to call her self-titled new album a “debut.” As a general rule, if not always by strict definition, that handle is usually reserved for the first entry in an artist’s catalog, and Brandy Zdan just happens to be its namesake’s eighth release in a recording career that just passed its 10-year anniversary. Granted, four of those previous albums were officially duo projects, and the three she released under her own name — 2007’s Your Words & the Weather, 2013’s Lone Hunter, and 2014’s Instrumentals 1: Heart Theft — were really only EPs, so one can allow Zdan a little leeway in calling her latest release her “full-length solo debut.” But there’s no mistaking this seasoned singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for any kind of rookie.

    “I guess I do almost have an unfair advantage, going in to make my first solo record with all that experience,” Zdan admits with a laugh — and more than a hint of understatement, given that she’s been performing for nearly half her life, going back to her first solo acoustic coffee house gig in her native Winnipeg at 15. She went on to spend the better part of the last decade touring and recording with fellow Canadian songwriter and guitarist Dave Quanbury as Twilight Hotel — a gothic-folk duo whose last two albums, 2008’s Highway Prayer and 2011’s When the Wolves Go Blind, were both nominated for Juno (Canadian Grammy) Awards for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. (“We didn’t win, but that didn’t matter,” she says with pride. “It was still a really big deal to me because we didn’t have a manager or agent or anybody working for us, which means the records got nominated solely on their artistic merit.”) When the duo split shortly after moving to Austin, Zdan hooked up with the all-girl, Texas-based Americana combo the Trishas as the band’s lead guitarist and utility player (lap steel, accordion). She didn’t sing a note herself with the group, but embraced the opportunity to keep her chops in practice while playing and touring with friends — all the while quietly “plotting” for the next stage of her own musical journey.

    “All of that stuff led me to know exactly what I want,” explains Zdan. She calls the results, as captured on the aptly titled Brandy Zdan, the most focused expression of her musical identity to date. “It’s just completely me. I’ve been shaping this vision of my own personal musical statement now for years, and I think what makes this my real debut is just the fact that I was able to completely fulfill that vision. For me, that’s the greatest success that you can hope for when you make a record.” 

    The vision Zdan speaks of was first glimpsed on Lone Hunter, the six-song teaser she recorded shortly after the Trishas went on indefinite hiatus. Hailed by LoneStarMusic Magazine as a “one-woman tour-de-force,” the EP showcased not only Zdan’s prodigious instrumental skills (guitar, steel, Wurlitzer, synth, drums and percussion), but her equally strong vocals and affinity for writing and arranging mature pop songs with hauntingly gorgeous melodies and edgy arrangements. On Brandy Zdan, that sound and vision is writ large on a widescreen canvas, ribboned with wide swaths of warm guitar tones and shades of chilly blue atmosphere and buzzing with static overdrive from the assertive opening charge of "Back on You” through to the electronic pulse of the closing “More of a Man.”

    “This is very much an indie-rock and pop record,” says Zdan, readily admitting that it’s a far ways from her more traditional Americana roots. “I don’t know really how I got to this point, but over time I just started slowly drifting away from that. I think just my love of guitar led me to appreciate a really wide range of music. I mean, you don’t want to make the same record over and over, right? You always want to try to figure out what the next thing is.”

    Indeed, it was that searching spirit that sparked her move from Austin to Nashville a year ago. “I like to get out of my comfort zone every couple of years, and it’s been great,” Zdan explains. “The majority of the songs on this record were written after I moved here, which is interesting, because I think it was being around such a conservative musical world that made me want to get even more fucked up musically! The contradictory situation was really a very positive thing.”

    So was her good fortune in meeting a kindred musical spirit in producer Teddy Morgan, a seasoned guitarist and recording artist in his own right who helped Zdan bring her vision into clear focus at Nashville’s Creative Workshop. In addition to Morgan and Zdan (who played guitars, lap steel, piano, keys, omnichord, and percussion), the sessions also featured Carl Broemal (pedal steel) and Tom Plankenship (bass) of My Morning Jacket, drummer Richard Medek (Alternate Roots, John Doe), and Little Brave (aka singer-songwriter Stephanie Macias, whose eclectic drumming, keyboards, and background vocals have made her Zdan’s go-to musical companion on the road for the last two years).

    “It really feels like a band record, which is what I wanted,” enthuses Zdan. “We set up all these different stations in the studio, like ‘keyboard world’ and ‘guitar land’ and ‘drum world,’ and we all kind of went around to each one throughout the 15 days that we were recording. It was so much fun!”

    As collaborative as the studio sessions were, though, Zdan wrote all 11 songs on the album solo. There are relationship songs (“Back on You,” “Love to a Ghost,” “More of a Man”), songs both cryptically and unabashedly about sex (“Courtship of Wild Horses,” “What It’s All For”), songs about the up-and-down, roller coaster dichotomy of life (“Median Artery”), and songs about songs about all of the above (“Only the Sad Songs,” “Running for a Song”). And true to the album’s name, all of them fit together to form a seamless, unflinchingly honest — and liberating — self portrait. 

    “This is me really finding my voice,” Zdan says. “And not just finding it, but finally being able to present it to the world — which I don’t think I was ever really ready to do up until this point. One of the main themes that I kept coming back to with these songs, and really have been ever since Lone Hunter, is the idea of trying to figure out how to be on my own. That’s actually that’s how I started out, as a teenager — I was out on my own playing my songs for a good four years until Twilight Hotel happened and kind of took over. And I’m glad that it did, because I learned a lot about different sounds and songwriting and playing guitar from that whole experience … but because I was in that duo for so long, it got to where that became my identity.

    “It’s so funny how it works, really,” she continues. “Because now I’ll look back and think, ‘How did that idea ever even come into my head? At what point did I actually think that I wasn’t good enough to do this on my own?’ But after playing with someone for eight years, it’s just something you kind of get used to, and then you have to break that habit in order to start out again on your own. But I’m actually really grateful that I’ve been able to go through that whole process, because it just forces you to work all that much harder to find your own voice. And in the end, that’s really all we have to offer the world: You can’t try to be anything but the greatest version of yourself.”

  • Kirby Brown

    Kirby Brown

    Folk

    Kirby Brown was born in East Texas and moved to rural Damascus, Arkansas at age two. His formative years on the farm kept him occupied bottle-feeding calves, fishing for crappie, and shelling peas. His taste for music was also fostered here, being exposed to gospel, bluegrass, and the classic country his grandfather would strum in the evenings.

    After the divorce of his parents, Kirby and his dad, a closeted poet, would spend visits diving into film, music, and the nuances of American Poetry. He became as much interested in reading Whitman and Frost as he was in grade school or spending time with his friends. This fresh form of expression would become the bedrock on which Kirby’s artistic life would be built.

    When he was nineteen, his first true love and his best friend died in separate incidents. Through the long process of grieving, Kirby found an outlet for his pain in writing songs. Fearing that he too might die before his time in that same small town, Kirby moved to Dallas and bunked with fellow musicians. An offer to tag along on tour put Kirby on an eight-month road trip through what seemed like every town in America. Immediately after coming off the road, Kirby was offered an opening slot at House of Blues in Dallas. Soon after, Kirby released his first independent record, Child Of Calamity.

    He found a new stride and began sharing bills and festivals with artists including Willie Nelson, The Flaming Lips, Leon Russell, and The Avett Brothers.

    “These stories are not just mine, but really are just versions of what I think we all experience. We all struggle after the same things, wrestle with the same questions. These songs are my way of responding to being made human. If ‘the Powerful Play goes on,’ this is the best verse I have to contribute.”

    — Kirby Brown

    Returning back to Dallas after another extensive tour, Kirby decided it was time for a change and moved to New York.

    A songsmith at his core, Kirby is constantly writing. He has a long relationship with the roots tradition and counts John Prine, The Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, and Warren Zevon as influences, as well as writers and poets such as Theodore Roethke, Flannery O'Connor, John Steinbeck, and JD Salinger.

    He recently recorded an album at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The theme of this new record is a continuation of what his writing has always striven for—growing up and adjusting to the tides of change, searching for light in dark places, regret, hope, love, and redemption in the mundane repetition of everyday life.

J.P. Harris
Brandy Zdan, Kirby Brown

Fri Oct 6 2017 9:00 PM

(Doors 8:30 PM)

The Basement Nashville TN
J.P. Harris, Brandy Zdan, Kirby Brown
  • Sorry, you missed this event.
  • Check out other similar events on TicketWeb.

$8 ADV/ $10 DOORS Ages 21+