Archives For Meagan Lawson


Prior to last year, Nate Eisland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing were 3/5 of acclaimed indie act, Scattered Trees. When the band broke up in 2012, with studio time already scheduled, the trio decided to forge ahead and began recording for their own project, On An On. Those recordings went on to become the band’s debut, “Give In,” a hazy, synthy, pop dream of an album.

Following the release of the art house single from the album, “Ghosts,” the band began to see a growing buzz; they were featured as iTunes’ “Best New Artist” of the month, received glowing reviews in Paste and rocketed to the very top of Time Magazine’s top artists to check out this year.

On the deservingly hyped album, the three members combine their talents to create something unique. Ricci’s said that she contributes her enthusiasm for sound art and design, while Estwing brings in his bass technique and Eisland his sense for great pop music. Ricci sites Bjork and Radiohead as some of her influences and says that their music grows from sounds they experience combined with their intuition for how it should feel. She says the band’s greatest inspiration is simply their desire to be creative.

Recently, the Chicago-based band toured Europe for the first time and is on the current Communion tour along with Tennis and Nathaniel Rateliffe and the Night Sweats. On An On’s live show is one not to be missed; they generate the same hazy feel of the album but manage to make the songs fresh and unique each night.

You can catch them this week at Nashville’s Communion show at the Mercy Lounge on November 14th.

Meagan Lawson

On An On- ‘Boy From School’


Just in time for the coolest nights of the year so far, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, a seven-piece soul band, will bring their warm, soulful sound to this month’s Communion show.

Rateliff has been best known for his former band, Born in the Flood, as well as his solo work and recently released his second solo album, Falling Faster Than You Can Run. The album garnered positive reviews from Vanity Fair, New York Times and Brooklyn Vegan. Rateliff has toured relentlessly, for years, in support of his solo projects, trekking all over the world and sharing the stage with artists like Jessica Lea Mayfield, Laura Marling, and Bon Iver. He’s also opened for both the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons.

But The Night Sweats are a relatively new project for Rateliff, having just debuted them in his current home base of Denver, earlier this year. The band is a complete departure from Rateliff’s previous work; the band is upbeat; the music is danceable. He rehearsed with the band just a handful of times before their first show and wasn’t sure if his fans would be accepting of the new sound. But the audience loved them and soon Rateliff’s new project was opening for Dawes.

Though Rateliff hasn’t played soul music in the past, it seems like a natural step for someone who grew up listening to Otis Redding and James Brown. Rateliff has said you have to be accepting of whatever music comes to you and with the Night Sweats, he’s not just accepted the music, but given himself to it. The performances are intense, with Rateliff losing himself to the beat, dancing, sweating, slinging his hair. Though he’s said that he doesn’t want the Night Sweats work to define him, it’s obvious that Rateliff is a real soul man, who commits himself wholeheartedly to each project he works on. You can hear Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats headline this month’s Communion Nashville show at the Mercy Lounge on November 14th alongside Tennis, ON AN ON, Savoir Adore, The 4onthefloor, VITEK, and Shelly Colvin.

Meagan Lawson

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats- ‘What I Need’


When you site your influences as Tina Turner, Otis Redding and Janis Joplin, you know that when you step up to bat, you’ve got to hit a home run for the team and Cooper & The Jam’s live show does just that. Cooper, a fiery, free spirit leads her 11-piece band, which includes a horn section, as well as backup singers and dancers, through a rowdy, tenacious set that’s sure to have audiences singing and dancing along.

Cooper’s album has already drawn comparisons to Grace Potter and Amy Winehouse, but she’s really a force of her own. Cooper’s live shows are always firecrackers; each song is powerful but as the show builds you can’t help but anticipate the moment the whole thing bursts into a brilliant, shimmering performance. And Cooper’s deep, rousing voice, with the help of her raucous band, always brings about a moment (or several) of brilliance.

Now, you can experience that same brilliance at home, on Cooper & the Jam’s new album, Motown Suite, which saw its wide, digital release on September 10th. Cooper’s soft, purring voice could do justice to any number of ‘60s hits and the relatable, simple subject matter of songs like “I Wanna Love You,” recall the Motown tunes she’s found so inspiring. But the album still manages to be entirely modern and could easily serve as an accessible bridge to soul music for a pop fan.

Though the album sounds like it came together effortlessly, it’s been a while in the making. In 2011, Cooper drove her VW van from Portland to Nashville, where she lived in a hotel while flipping burgers for money and putting together two separate bands, which became The Jam. Cooper’s first show in Nashville had her opening for rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson at a party for fashion icon Manuel. After being heard at the party, Cooper began recording her album at The Tracking Room, a studio that’s been featured in the TV show “Nashville.”

In April, Cooper’s 7” Cooper Live at the Historic Star Theater was chosen as an official Record Store Day release and to celebrate, Cooper performed at two record stores, across the country from each other, on the same day. Since then, Cooper has had the chance to open for Mavis Staples and Robert Plant at Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival.

Motown Suite captures the essence of Cooper’s live shows; it includes upbeat dance songs, Motown-style ballads, rock guitars and rich vocal harmonies. The album stands as a testament to Cooper’s ability to incorporate her influences into a sound that is obviously steeped in classic soul but that is, at the same time, a unique, modern sound just her own.

– Meagan Lawson

Cooper & The Jam- ‘I Wanna Love You’


A little over a year ago, Roadkill Ghost Choir released their debut EP, Quiet Light, featuring the song “Beggars’ Guild.” When an excellent live video was posted of the band performing the folksy, romping song, they began to draw some attention. Now, just a little less than a week before playing at Nashville’s first Communion show in several months, the band has released the official music video for the single.

Brothers Andrew, Maxx and Zach Shepherd formed the band along with Kiffy Meyers, Joey Davoli and Stephen Garza back in 2010 when Andrew wanted to put together a band to fill out the sound of some songs he had recently written.

The single “Beggars Guild” might be banjo-heavy and as Americana as apple pie, but on many of their songs you can hear tinges of Nirvana and Radiohead, alongside echoes of the bands biggest influences—Wilco, Gram Parsons and Fleetwood Mac.

Over the past year Roadkill Ghost Choir’s incessant touring has garnered them a lot of new fans. Besides a run of dates with Band of Horses, they’ve also played Mountain Jam Festival, Forecastle Festival, Austin City Limits and have thirteen tour stops in October alone.

For now, fans looking to hear more from the band can order a clear vinyl single of “Beggars’ Guild,” and catch them at Communion Nashville, at the series’ new home, Mercy Lounge and the High Watt on October 10th, where they’ll join T. Hardy Morris, Willy Mason and Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy, among many others.

Meagan Lawson

Roadkill Ghost Choir- ‘Beggars’ Guild’


T. Hardy Morris recorded his first solo album, Audition Tapes, in Nashville over the summer and he’s set to return to the city to play the first Nashville Communion show in several months.  The Communion shows will start again on October 10th, with a new home at the Mercy Lounge and the High Watt.

Morris is known for co-founding Dead Confederate back in 2006 and since then has put together Diamond Rugs, a venerable group consisting of members of bands The Black Lips, Los Lobos, and Deer Tick. Over the past six years, the two projects have kept Morris busy and on the road. He’s toured with Meat Puppets, Manchester Orchestra, Drive By Truckers and more. But within the past year he finally took the time to work on his solo album, “Audition Tapes,” and when the time came, he knew exactly how he wanted to record it.

Morris wanted to record straight to tape, in a small studio, late at night and he was able to find the right place to do it in Nashville. The songs are intimate enough, but when you consider that Morris decided to include the noise of the studio on the recordings, it becomes even warmer. Listening to the album, you can almost imagine you’re in the room while Morris records the songs, listening to count offs and creaks in the floor as he moves around.

The Communion show is sure to be the perfect setting to hear Morris unplug from the psychedelia of his other projects, for a sort of homecoming celebration for the haunting, fragile, alt-country songs he recorded here for Audition Tapes less than a year ago.

– Meagan Lawson

T. Hardy Morris- ‘Share the Needle’ (Live at Paradise Gardens)