About 6 months ago I heard about Hangout Festival on Lightning 100, a local Nashville radio station and instantly wanted to go. The line up was incredible, and I was especially excited to surprise my husband with the chance to see one of his favorite bands (that he’d never seen before!), Modest Mouse.

Unfortunately, Hangout Fest was the same weekend my cousin & my best friend were both getting married… so my schedule was quite full. Needless to say, there was NO way we were making it to Gulf Shores that weekend.

Slightly bummed, I decided to get creative and see if Modest Mouse was showing up anywhere else this summer. Turns out they’d be four short hours away in Atlanta at a festival called Shaky Knees. The festival ran May 9th through May 11th and was being held at Atlantic Station (near the Atlanta Ikea). The line up was pretty stacked, so we bought tickets and at $169 for a 3-day pass, I’d say it was an excellent deal.

Here’s the breakdown of my experience at Shaky Knees 2014…

Let’s talk music: The National, Modest Mouse & Alabama Shakes were the closing act (each night, respectively). Other power players include: The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Portugal. the Man, Conor Oberst, Spoon, Cage the Elephant, Dawes, Wild Belle, Gregory Alan Isakov, Band of Skulls, Cold War Kids, Gaslight Anthem, Iron & Wine, Airborne Toxic Event & a whole lot more. My favorites: Lone Bellow (if you’ve seen them before, you know why!), Dawes & Spoon (talk about a FUN SET!).

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The Lone Bellow on day 2 at the Ponce De Leon Stage.

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Spoon on day 2 at the Peachtree Stage.

Let’s talk setup: When I hear the festival was in Atlantic Station, I had no idea where it would actually be. If you haven’t been, Atlantic Station is a nice, outdoor shopping area with vendors like West Elm, H&M, Gap & California Pizza Kitchen…. not exactly screaming “music festival,” however, I really liked the set up. There are four stages, two East and two West, and only one per side playing at the same time with never more than two bands playing simultaneously. And even when two bands you wanted to see were both playing, it only took 2 minutes to walk back and forth to the stages…. but sonically, you couldn’t hear the other.

The acoustics were AMAZING. There was no sound floating into space (as my experience has been in open fields or the desert…), it was contained and preserved for your listening pleasure. My husband (a former tour manager) was convinced they were using the highest quality sound equipment available, and it definitely showed!

Let’s talk perks: This particular weekend it happened to rain a LOT. I’ll say I was glad I wasn’t at Bonaroo, because pavement is a lot easier to deal with in the rain. When it started pouring around dinnertime, everyone escaped to restaurants in Atlantic Station to dry off and get their energy back up for the closing act. All of the vendors were offering discounts & were welcoming to the soaked, tired festival patrons. Another perk for those of you who are weary about camping & festivals, there is no camping option here. There are, however, several hotels within 1 mile. We stayed at one about 1.3 miles away and walked to and from the festival. The entire festival was really organized and user friendly.

Overall, we really enjoyed Shaky Knees. It will be on my radar for next year as a must-go. I would especially recommend this to someone who is hesitant to try a festival for whatever reason; this would be a great way to get your feet wet.

- Renee Cutaia

 

tylerlyle

Have you been waiting for Cause A Scene’s next secret house show? Well, the wait is almost over because this Friday, May 30th, at 8:00 PM you can catch Tyler Lyle, Alex Wong, Emily Elbert, and Joshua Fletcher for only $10. It’s a night of music to match the warming evenings of the oncoming change in seasons.

Tyler Lyle has come a long way since vowing at an early age to never pursue music as a career. His lack of interested stemmed from the multiple vacations and Saturdays spent traveling to Nashville to watch his father play at the Blue Bird Café and other local venues. However it was at age 15 that he picked up a guitar and learned a few chords and it wasn’t long before he was following in his father’s footsteps.

For a guy who didn’t want to do the music-business-thing Lyle has accomplished a great deal in a short period of time, releasing four EP’s and one full-length. In addition to his own albums he found an open door co-writing for the Dixie Chicks’ project, Court Yard Hounds.

Upon listening to Tyler’s most recent EP, Ditchdigger, one may hear influences of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Townes Van Zandt. The album shows great range from the subtle guitar and piano on the track “Young Men” to the catchy chorus of “A Song To Sing,” played with a full band. The Georgia native has been heard on network TV shows like ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Private Practice’ and has made appearances at music festivals such as SWSX, Noise Pop, and Musicfest NW.

Tour mate, Alex Wong, who is also on the bill this Friday, will soon be calling Nashville home base. He’s packed up and moving from the Bay Area of California to the landlocked state of Tennessee. Wong arrives in Music City with a debut solo album, A City On A Lake.

Songwriting isn’t all he’s up to. Wong is also a producer. He produced tour mate Tyler Lyle’s song “Young Men,” which was nominated Best Pop Song at the 2014 Independent Music Awards. He’s also arranged his songs into violin, cello, and cimbalom orchestrations to raise money for one of his favorite charities, City Harvest.

Does anyone remember the lounge band “Sausalito” in the movie Lost in Translation? When I heard Emily Elbert’s song, “End of the World”, for the first time that is what came to mind. Elbert’s voice has that smooth-jazz crispness that you’d find in a smokey lounge. The rest of her most-recently released EP, Evolve, keeps that smoothness throughout the album. The Dallas, Texan has played over 700 shows in the United States and worldwide and has opened for artists such as G. Love & Special Sauce.

Opening up the evening will be Joshua Fletcher, whose voice contains a vibe reminiscent of bands like Counting Crows or The Verve Pipe. But the instrumentals in the Macon, Georgia, native’s music stays closer to the alt country and Americana genres. He’ll be releasing a new album, Read, Aim, on In Music We Trust Records some time this summer.

All these accomplished artists are here for your listening pleasure this Friday starting a 8:00 PM. Get your tickets here ahead of time because space is limited! Secret location will be announced to ticket holders DOS.

- Josh Baker

Tyler Lyle- ‘Werewolf’

Emily Elbert- ‘In With The New’

Alex Wong- ‘Are You Listening’ (Live at Sofar Sounds Dallas)

Joshua Fletcher- ‘Oh, Midnight’

josephlemay

Joseph LeMay is an Americana singer songwriter who delicately tows the line between the old and the new with his music. His spirited lyricism harkens the sacred and time-tested roots of the folk and Americana genres, while the delicate nature of his vocals and musicianship display the youthful soul of the generation to which he was born. These qualities prove to be the beating heart of LeMay’s debut full-length record Seventeen Acres that released earlier this week.

It was in a single-wide trailer on a seventeen acre farm on the outskirts of his hometown of Dyersburg, TN where Joseph moved with his new wife from Nashville, where he had spent the last several years of his life that he found the inspiration for his ambitious new record. “I was constantly alone and in a period of self-doubt. I was worrying how I would measure up as new husband, more or less thrown out in the wilderness,” said LeMay when describing both his geographically and emotionally isolated state that led to the conception of Seventeen Acres. Having both written and produced the album on the rural Tennessee farm located in the northwest corner of the state, each song exudes the spirit of the location that monumentally shaped this chapter in LeMay’s life. It is the extreme level of care, intensity and personal reflection that went into Seventeen Acres that makes LeMay’s music stand out among a muddled landscape of aspiring folk musicians.

Below you can see the new video for the album’s single “You Still Do It,” which also released this week. The song has a gentleness to it that unfolds like an old love letter, ripe with subtle yet penetrating harmonies. “This song came together in pieces, very organically over time,” says LeMay when describing the tune. “It was one of those that you don’t need a guitar to write.” The video, one of a series titled “Trailer Trash” (also released as a live EP via Noisetrade), was made in the same single-wide trailer in which it was written, thus bringing the spirit of the album on which the song appears to life visually.

LeMay will be celebrating Seventeen Acres with an album release show in Nashville on Thursday, May 29th at The Basement, located at 1604 8th Avenue South. Joseph will be backed by a band of musicians whom with he collaborates with regularly, many of whom also appear on the video for “You Still Do It.” Lily Hiatt, Matt Reed and Charlie Whitten will open the evening. The show starts at 9:00PM and is only $5. Trust me, as someone who has seen LeMay live multiple times, there is no better way could spend $5 on a summer evening in May. Joseph’s raw sincerity when he plays the songs he wrote in rural West Tennessee live is twice as prevalent and authentic as it is on Seventeen Acres, if that’s even possible.

- Christian Lerchenfeld

cardboardkids

Cause A Scene is honored to present Cardboard Kids release show for their ambitious debut album, Echo Boomer, this Friday May 23. New Nashvillians by way of Tyler, Texas skate parks, the Kids are self-diagnosed nineties alt-rock lovers with a penchant for thick blues riffs. Don’t miss this historic occasion for the Kids and three other acts on the rise. A cool $5 gets you in the High Watt, or upgrade to an album bundle for $10. Get your tickets here ahead of the crowd. Doors at 8pm. Show starts at 9pm.

Cardboard Kids’ Jake Germany (vocals), Brandon McFarlin (drums), and Austin Cunningham (guitars) pursue a rock prize bigger than Texas, and have hit their marks every time. After a year of dedicated songwriting, the Kids enlisted Tres Sasser as producer and longtime Ben Folds studio engineer Joe Costa to steer organic, muscular production at Sound Shelter Studios in Franklin, TN. Star contributor Ruby Amanfu (Jack White’s Love Interruption) adds a velvet touch to one of the many album highlights, “Dime A Time Lover.”

Tourmates Golden Youth create intricate, cinematic Americana as if Sigur Ros grew up in the Deep South. Be there when vocalist Stephanie Lauren and her army of woodland creatures makes spring burst in bloom. Check out their wonderful debut Quiet Frame: Wild Light.

Twenty-year-old songstress, Lenachka, is one of Nashville’s best-kept secrets. Not for long. The German-born singer pens inventive smart-pop on par with international breakouts Kimbra and Oh Land, and recently has taken strides toward the mainstream with producer-on-fire Charlie Peacock (Civil Wars, Lone Bellow).

Sisters Elle and Shealeen Pucket have a true knack for melody, cranking out effortlessly catchy acoustic pop as Poema. Launching from Albuquerque as a kind of Wreckers gone Warped Tour, the duo had a taste of the major label roller coaster in their teens. Finding a new center in Nashville, Poema will air out their first new material in two years tomorrow night. Cross your fingers for a live collaboration on Cardboard Kids’ “Broke A Promise,” for which they lend tender harmonies.

- Whitaker Elledge

swearshake

If you are looking for a way to ring in the fast approaching summer season with perfect warm weather tunes, then the line up at The Stone Fox this Thursday is one you will not want to miss. Headlining the evening is the vastly talented New York indie folk band Swear and Shake. Formed in 2010 in the college residence of band members Adam McHeffey and Kari Spieler, the two co-eds cut a rough demo of their first song “Johnnie”. The Americana hooks and spirited presence of “Johnny” quickly yielded the enlistment of McHeffey’s childhood pals Shaun Savage (bass) and Thomas Elefante (former drummer) and still remains a driving force in the band’s current sound.

In the months that followed, the newly formed band took on the name Swear and Shake and recorded their first EP, Extended Play. In the years since, Swear and Shake has gone from playing multiple hot spots in New York and Brooklyn to extended tours up and down the east coast. With the addition of new drummer Ben Goldstein, the band released their first full-length record Maple Ridge (also produced by Goldstein) in the summer of 2012. They also released two new songs, “Brother” and “Fire” last year.

Joining Swear and Shake at The Stone Fox is Brave Baby, an indie rock band from Charleston, South Carolina who has played multiple CAS shows. Their debut album Forty Bells that was released last year draws similarities to My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Cold War Kids and Coldplay, but wastes no time in establishing Brave Baby’s signature sound. This band has quickly become on of my absolute favorites as Forty Bells has not left the CD changer of my Honda Civic since I picked it up at their first CAS show last May. After having around 500 artists play Cause A Scene shows in the past couple years, it’s no stretch to say Brave Baby is easily one of the Top 5 we’ve had play.

Opening up the evening is Nashville singer songwriter Ben Cameron. Cameron has written and recorded two full-length albums since 2010, the most recent of which, Pas Tout La, released in 2013. Cameron released his new single “I Believe” this past February and is due to play Governor’s Ball Music Festival in NYC next month.

Doors for the show open at 8:00 PM at The Stone Fox in West Nashville (712 51st Ave. N.). Music will begin at 9:00 PM. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here in advance.

- Christian Lerchenfeld

Swear and Shake- ‘Brother’

Brave Baby- ‘Magic and Fire’

Ben Cameron- ‘I Believe’