“Several years ago, I went to Barton Springs with a banana plant and a spade, and the lifeguard said, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I said, ‘I’m going to plant banana plants in the men’s dressing area.’ And he said, ‘Cool.’ That’s Austin.”
- Frank Fischer, 86
Wild Cub, “Thunder Clatter”
By those smart devils at Young Jerks
A couple weeks ago, our pals at Stitch helped us whip up a little SXSW/Austin promo for the upcoming field guide. We spread the sky blue pieces at a few of our favorite places in the city - Hotel San Jose and Saint Cecilia, Billy Reid’s Shindig at Weather Up, Spartan, and at the paint-still-drying new showroom/shop for Helm Boots. We hope the pieces got people excited about the upcoming book. The opposite (or thereabouts) happened too: We’re dying to get the second field guide out into the world. Burning the candle-
“Why did men come to that once forbidden land?
Well, they were restless, of course, and had to be moving on. But there was more than that. There was a dream – a dream of a place where a free man could build for himself, and raise his children to a better life – a dream of a continent to be conquered, a world to be won, a nation to be made.
Remembering this, I knew the answer.”
-President Lyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union, 1965
natgeofound: December 1941.
Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, National Geographic
Nashville in the New York Times, October 1861
“Nashville is the grand ready-made military clothing store, from whence all classes of Southern purchasers are supplied.”
I never tire of old newspaper stories. Just the tone of the writing transports me backwards in time. Every so often, combing the archives, your skin will prickle at some semblance of reincarnated city life. This piece is from the New York Times, October 1861, as the War is ramping up. I can’t help but think of today’s maker heroes in Nashville - Otis James, Emil Erwin, Imogene + Willie and Peter Nappi - when I read about the tailors, leathermen and cobblers, all sewing their threads into the cause. Story after the break.
Picking a city’s record collection is an impossible task. It crosses the decades, the styles and sounds, Billboard hits and cult favorites. Just watch High Fidelity. Here’s the Nashville list we included in our first field guide. What did we miss?
Chef Tandy Wilson’s City House is by far the best place to spend a Sunday evening in Nashville. Besides pulling from a Colonel’s bourbon list, Tandy’s pals cook the best - and most inventive - ovenfired pizzas in Tennessee. Just last week, they served a pie topped with country ham, mustard greens and buttermilk cheddar. Tandy, if we were in town, we’d be at your place tonight.
For the last two years, there’ve been rumblings about a band in Nashville. They’ve been patient to write and record, biding even more time to release their debut album. But good things come with waiting. Low and slow, a Tennessee pitmaster might say.
The band is Leagues. And ‘low and slow’ is the last thing anyone would say about the ten songs on You Belong Here, the long-awaited record that finally dropped this week. As MTV.com describes them, Leagues is “where thinking deeply and feeling carefree collide.” And some might say the pop trio is the freshest sound beating out of Nashville in a long while.
When we first heard Thad Cockrell’s high-bent vocals and the fast runs of bandmates Tyler Burkum and Jeremy Lutito, what came to mind was the Beach Boys, oddly enough. Forty years later and with lyrics that require repeats.
The Nashville valley is a far whistle from Southern Cali, but Leagues sure makes you feel like kicking your shoes off and throwing the windows open.
Welcome to the world, Leagues.
(Photograph by Heidi Ross)