Archives For the basement

Songbird. No other word so easily comes to mind when thinking about Rebecca Roubion. I went to look up the word itself, as if the very word didn’t provide its own meaning. The dictionary was kind enough to offer “a bird having a melodious song or call.” Too obvious. Then I stumbled upon Urban Dictionary of all places which provided this definition: “Anyone who consciously looks for the best in all people, places, and things; who has acknowledged and released the pains of their soul. And who entergetically help all others release the pain of their souls.” For Rebecca, or “Ruby” as she is affectionally known by many of her friends, this definition could not be any more spot on. It’s her conscious looking for the best in everything and everyone and in her grappling so deftly with the longings in her own soul and those so prevalent in the human condition that make her proper debut release, “Fields” so immediate, and so necessary.

The album lives up to its name of “Fields” as an escape from the normal, everyday routines that we so easily get entangled in. It’s an escape to a place where life is light, high-spirited, playful, whimsical, and dare I say frolicsome. Over the course of it’s 4 tracks, Rebecca’s personality shines through in the best ways possible, inviting the listener into her 12-minute study of love and the human condition. She will inevitably be compared to a young Sara Bareilles, Norah Jones or Regina Spektor, but her music has a more classic feel to it, reflecting her roots in Mobile and New Orleans, with her smoky/jazzy/”bayou” flair mixing with a bit of her childhood idol, Carole King. With all the comparisons, however, her voice and her music stands on its own as a beautifully unique creation.

Each track touches on a different aspect of love: either realized or hoped for, and any of them would sound right at home on the soundtrack of a popular indie romantic comedy. (Just listen to “Love Me Now” and tell us that it wouldn’t have been perfect on (500) Days of Summer). In Rebecca’s words the song is a “playful pursuit”, one lover trying to reach another. “It’s a flirty song; the very beginnings of a relationship.” Rebecca sings of her grandparent’s love in “Vacherie Girl” but puts a modern twist on it that makes it sound just as likely to be about madly-in-love newlyweds straight out of undergrad, with their clever back-and-forth (from Rebecca and the talented Steven Fiore.

“Here Lies My Pulse” is a “window into the soul” for Rebecca and is the track most likely to pull on the listener’s heartstrings with the expertly executed string arrangement buoying Rebecca’s delicate vocals. It’s a story, more than a song, that is sure to become a fan favorite as people find their own ways to identify with the lyrics. “Doorway” closes the album peering into the future with the fulfillment of a forever love. And throughout this album and true to the definition of a “songbird”, Rebecca’s music is a catharsis, allowing the listener to release their held-onto pain in order to chase after a greater joy. As Rebecca told us once, “I didn’t choose music; music chose me.” We’re really glad it did, as we get to peer into the soul of a dynamic talent and celebrate the inherent joy in each and every melody with her.

Tonight marks a special evening for us Nashvillians, as Rebecca is hosting her “Fields” EP Release at The Basement. Local favorites Carolina Story and CherryCase open  the night, beginning at 7pm for just $5. You don’t want to miss this momentous occasion. And while we’re mentioning her EP release, we be remiss if we didn’t mention this little fact: Once 1,000 copies of “Fields” are purchased, Rebecca will release the equally remarkable sister EP, “Forests”. It’s a breathtakingly exquisite album that needs to be heard. So let’s help her get to 1,000 by purchasing on Bandcamp, Amazon, or directly from Rebecca’s website.

– Larry Kloess

The first time we saw Dawes, there couldn’t have been more than 100 people crammed into the Mercy Lounge. Sunday night, they packed the 1000+ capacity Cannery Ballroom and delivered exactly what both the veteran and rookie Dawes fans expect: a night of pure, unadulterated rock and roll with all of the emotion that so many bands in America hope to cover up with smoke and lights. On the contrary, Dawes consistently delivers one of the most refreshing live music experiences touring the United States today, and Sunday night was no exception The evening opened with the unique personality of Simone Felice, whose brothers (The Felice Brothers) also carry a genetic disposition towards menacing facial expressions and potentially distressing lyrics. The especially dark opener, “New York Times” met squarely with our expectations based on our familiarity with Simone’s former band of brothers as did the deceptively twisted “Shaky” despite its seemingly fun lyrics like “C’mon and shake that country ass!” But it was the sequence of covers from The Band that closed Simone’s sequence that set the tone for the night’s headliner as Simone and his ensemble paid tribute to the late Levon Helm with “Atlantic City” and “I Shall Be Released,” which featured the accompaniment of Nashville favorites – and fellow Gentlemen of the Road tour guests – The Apache Relay.
The scene was set for Dawes to bring out their own special guests, as an extra microphone was placed rather inconspicuously in front of bassist Wylie Gelber, who has no singing credits on the band’s albums. Indeed, it would be Deer Tick front man, and Taylor Goldsmith’s close friend and cohort from side project Middle Brother, John McCauley, who would join the band for “When My Time Comes” and “Million Dollar Bill” sandwiched around Deer Tick’s “Baltimore Blues No. 1.” Simone Felice himself would even make a brief cameo adding backing vocals alongside Griffin Goldsmith as Dawes would close their encore with the radio hit “Time Spent in Los Angeles.”

But it was the tracks in between that are what make a Dawes show so memorable. It was Taylor Goldsmith’s guitars on “Fire Away,” the reference to playing in Nashville where Taylor claims “we all know each other already,” and the heartfelt line of “… pile on those mashed potatoes and an extra chicken wing” that really engaged the Cannery crowd this Sunday night and left us anxious for their third album, which we understand recording for to begin next month.

Dawes has certainly benefitted in Tennessee by playing premier spots – opening night of Soundland 2011 at War Memorial, opening for Mumford & Sons w/Apache Relay at the Ryman this past spring, and just the night before in Bristol with the Gentlemen of the Road tour – but its simply at these shows where they continue to win over music lovers. And if all that wasn’t enough, Dawes, along with The Apache Relay, Simone Felice, Nikki Lane and a cast of others made their way down 8th Ave for a late night after party at The Basement that lasted until at least until 2:00 in the morning. We couldn’t be more excited to see the growth Dawes has made as a band and to see the amount of hearts they continue to win over in Music City. Count us among the many who have been completely won over.

– Brad Hughes