Tennessee, September 2012.

This is a blog post that actually means a lot to me.  See, I have a certain angst about the term 'home' and everything it implies (something I bemoaned here) and I don't rightly know how to explain it.  (I don't rightly know? My Tennessee is coming out.)  I always just summarize it with "Tennessee sure is pretty."  And it is.  In an almost dreamy, heartbreaking way, for me.  People don't really believe me when I say this, mostly because they're already conjuring images of Deliverance, and also because I happen to think the desert is gorgeously, breathtakingly beautiful.  I do have a lot of pride in the state I was raised in.  These places all mean a lot to me and they come to me in dreams, or in my most nostalgic memories.   So I will share them without saying much more in the hopes that you can see why I call Tennessee beautiful and leave it at that.

(ps, stay tuned for my next blog entry where I have a surprise run-in with my dad)


Tennessee Vacation: Arborea in Nashville

Well, I'm back! After a full two weeks in my home state, I have a TON of pictures and stories that I can't wait to share.  Sidenote: I'm up to 99 followers, oh my! I never dreamed to have 10, much less almost 100! Thank you wonderful ladies :)  And now, since I could post a thirty-page entry on my vacation, I'm going to split up the events and start with the first one: Arborea in Nashville.

Arborea  is one of my favorite bands (though they're really just a duet) and I have loved them ever since I found them back in 2010.  Their music is mysterious and haunting, with just the right touch of melancholy and  wilderness charm.  They're a husband and wife team who play a variety of instruments and sing about beautiful things.  So when I saw they were playing in Nashville during my trip, I was excited, flailing around uselessly with glee.  Because another of my favorite artists, the beautiful Mariee Sioux, was with them on tour.  

On the day of the concert, we rode from Murfreesboro to Nashville as the sun was setting.  Sunsets in the east are so different than my desert sunsets.  Out west, the sky lights up with fiery colors and the sun lingers for hours, almost refusing to give up on its mission to make everything buttery and golden.  In the east, the colors are softer, the sun is meeker, and the sunsets are brief at best, so quiet and fleeting.   These were the sunsets I grew up with and remember as a child; I will never forget seeing my first desert sunset and thinking that my retinas would be fried with all of the reds and yellows we rarely get in Tennessee.  I think that both types of sunset are beautiful, but as always, I prefer my desert. Still it was nice to see the calmer side of a sunset for once.  

the sunset on the way to Nashville

The Basement--the venue, as it were, is very properly named.  It was easy to find and hard to get into.  A typical Nashville hipster kind of place, really small, crowded, funky, and dark.  Perfect for the type of mood you'd expect.  We finally found the 'alley entrance' which wasn't an alley at all, it was a side road and a sign nailed on a tree that led us to a hidden parking lot.  Thanks Tennessee for being so needlessly confusing.  It's hard to look cool and musical when you're walking around going "duhhhhhhhhh? whrurdoigo??? durrr"

I guess it's part of the charm for hipsters.

Arborea had a few guest singers, William Tyler and Jeff Zenter.  Both were great artists and I enjoyed them; they complimented Arborea and Marie beautifully.  William had a song (I forget the name) which he wrote in response to a priceless occult library being burned down because of a Quiznos fire.  There were a lot of psychedelic tones to the song, and he used different things like a handheld fan, a violin bow, and some unidentified device on his guitar.  I would've been angry about the destruction of the instrument, but it was a Fender Telecaster, one of my most despised guitars.  While he was hammering out the screeches about nine minutes in I turned to my friend and whispered, "Man, he's really tore up about them books."

Jeff Zenter was just....fucking awesome, no other way to describe it.  With songs about the desert, the heat of summer, and everything played and sang with a gritty western vibe, we all know that I liked him.  He's pretty cute too, but don't just take my word for it.  When Mariee got up, I was all ecstatic and giggly.  Nobody ever expects to see someone they admire and listen to on at least a weekly basis, sitting five feet in front of them.  But there she was....and she was amazing.  I never knew just how great at guitar she was until I watched her play and sing.  She was self-professed 'sick with a virus' (probably a virus named mushrooms) and while she could barely talk in between songs, she sang like an angel and never, for a single goddamn second, did she go even slightly out of tune.  I was so pissed.  Someone that perfect shouldn't exist.

At one point, her 'fever' got the best of her and Mariee paused, in the dead center of her song, and rather flustered, tried to explain a lyric that mentioned underwater tea parties.  It was so funny to hear her pause, explain the song, and then immediately go right back in where she left off.  I mentioned to my friend that how, with her green sparkly dress and black hair, she looked like a psychedelic mermaid.  He responded, noting the emphasis on psychedelic, and I countered in her defense, "There's not a lot of oxygen underwater."

I was sitting right next to Shanti from Arborea and I was too much of a damn chicken to say hi.  But I mean, what do you say to someone who is at a venue about to play music? "Oh hi, I love your music--no fucking shit, but I mean--OH MY GOD YOU GUYS ARE GREAT!!!"  I maintained my dignity (maybe) and didn't fangirl to them publicly, but I probably leered while they played.  And it was the most wonderful and beautiful thing I could've expected from Tennessee.  So thanks Nashville, and thanks amazing musicians!