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.


Amanda said...

Wow. Looks like an amazing time. I am jealous.

Bonnie said...
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Bonnie said...

You make it look so beautiful, Jero! Here's to Shelby! Come back soon!

James Yates said...

Praise Be!

Deziginer said...

I've got your blog on my reader and your photos always brighten up the horrible economic news, show cancellations I usually read. Your cover photo looked so great, I didn't even realize it was you. When do we get to hear the recording? :)

Leslie Willard said...

I didn't notice you in the shot at first either! I did a double-take..."Oh, that's Jeronimo!" Too funny! And I loved the softbox! I'm going to have to try that! :)

Jeronimo Nisa said...

Woah, Deziginer, it took me quite a search to figure out who you were, T_Weaver!

Jeronimo Nisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Very cool.

Toi said...

El mito de la falta de tiempo es todo menos mito.
Desde que hace unos días me dijiste que habías publicao este post no he tenido calma ni paz para verlo.
Y eso es lo que hecho, ver las fotos, magníficas. La traducción la dejo para saborearla hummm... creo que el miércoles no tengo que ir a los toros y podré disponer de la tarde...

Me sirvió mucho tu consejo sobre esperar a que la gente se relaje, la gente no es mi campo (fotográficamente hablando...)

Un abrazo, master.

Sheila Johnson said...

no way! i'm jealous too!!! i swear, when i miss "America" (which I surprisingly often do) it's for all the wacky original people that are unlike anyone else on this vast planet. I love all of the album covers that jim and bonnie have on their site... i'm just cracking up!

I'm in the UPNA library so I can't listen to everything... but when I can, I will.

and.... i hope you're well... coming to spain anytime soon?

cohnhead said...

Why do they look like old time country singers and you look like an old-time mafiosi with just a few inches separating you?

katie said...

you said y'all!

ata said...

Hola Jero!

Al fin te veo en tu blog con guitarra en mano!!! ya era hora tío!!!! y encima grabando! seguro que suena de p. m., I've no doubts!
Un abrazote!

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