Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Only in America, only in America...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


                  From left, me, Jim Yates and Bonnie Montgomery (photograph by Jim Yates)

Usually I don't post pictures of me, but a couple of weekends ago, I had such a blast visiting my friends Bonnie and Jim in Nashville, TN, that I've absolutely got to leave some kind of visual record here.

When Jim and Bonnie moved to Nashville over a year ago, Jim thought he had to have a band because everybody in Nashville does (including Bonnie). One fine day, Jim was riding his bicycle down Shelby Avenue and noticed the Shelby Avenue Baptist Church. "That's it," he thought, "I've got the name for the band!" And that's how "The Shelby Avenue Baptist Singers" (TSABS) were born.
Bonnie has several serious musical ventures, including her opera ( and her folk music ( "Shelby is my little creature," says Jim, "and I don't want to give the impression that Shelby is Bonnie's main Nashville musical outlet. She endures The Singers for me and has a fine band of her own."
In reality, TSABS has many, many members, as many as people are wise enough to drag their asses to that wonderful city to visit Bonnie and Jim. Tradition dictates that, each time they have a visitor, they'll 1) take a square picture reminiscent of those old gospel albums, and 2) Hosts and guests will record a church hymn. Usually, the guest has to add a special contribution.
I was no exception, and they asked me to add that little something to "Where you there." I didn't know what to do. Had never played that song before; but, after listening to Bonnie play it on the piano, I asked them to give me some minutes to go outside with a guitar and see what I could come up with...

                     (photograph by Jim Yates)

...and what I came up with was a little monster in which I mixed folk style chords with some more Latin/Jazzy ones. It's really an awful way to cook up music, but we sort of liked it (must have been the Jack Daniels...)

                          (photograph by Jim Yates)

                               (Photograph by Bonnie)

Thank God, Bonnie came to the rescue and fixed everything with her wonderful voice.

Jim is the most handy guy I've ever met (well, with the exception of my father). For the album cover picture, he made a soft box with just a card box and two white trash bags (borrowed from his neighbor, in the purest Yates tradition). All in 5 minutes. Here it is, the invention and its satisfied inventor:

And you folks can hear "Where You There?" and all "The Shelby Avenue Baptist Singers" previous recordings and see Jim's wonderfully crafted photographs by clicking HERE

Then, we went to downtown Nashville to just dive and drown ourselves in live music...

If y'all really like music, Nashville is the place to live. No kidding.