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December 5 - Christmassongs (Nashville musicians who perform together for 2 weeks before Christmas)

posted Aug 14, 2015, 3:12 PM by Mike Allen   [ updated Dec 12, 2015, 6:19 AM ]
Decembersongs is back! This time it’s crossed the river to the other side of Nashville -- Decembersongs '15: An East Nashville Holiday Concert with critically-acclaimed songwriters Amy Speace, Rod Picott and Doug & Telisha Williams (of Wild Ponies). Imagine if The Bluebird Cafe moved to East Nashville, where folkies and hippies, rockers and hit songwriters all collide in a funky neighborhood that is enjoying a bohemian renaissance. Decembersongs ’13 is a little bit low rent, a whole lotta great new songs, some sentimental favorites and a lot of belly laughs. Picture The Bob Hope Christmas Special but hosted by some alt-Americana/Roots/Folk songwriters who aren’t afraid to put “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” right next to their original song “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” with a touch of “Dradle, Dradle, Dradle” in there even though none of them are Jewish (well, none of them are really anything, but that's neither here nor there). Just as it started in 2010 with songwriters Amy Speace, Dan Navarro, Jon Vezner and Sally Barris, the 2013 version of Decembersongs features great songwriters sharing music, singing along with each other as you've come to expect the past few years, with a bit of a lineup change and an even wider range of holiday favorites and original songs.


Amy Speace’s songs hang together like a short story collection…it’s a gift to hear a heart so modest, even
Amy Speace with a guitar
when it’s wide open,” writes legendary rock critic Dave Marsh in his liner notes to Speace’s latest release, “How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat.” He continues, “It is the most daring, confident, ambitious and beautiful album Amy Speace has made since she began recording…she has never sung or written better.” Gathering widespread critical raves from NPR’s “All Things Considered” to The New York Times to Billboard Magazine who writes that “Speace is in the midst of a career whirlwind,” it is the vivid emotional simplicity of her songs and her graceful, crystalline voice that bridge that gap between the old and new schools of folk music. A former Shakespearean actress who started putting her poetry to music only in her late 20’s, Speace was discovered by folk/pop legend Judy Collins who signed her to her imprint Wildflower Records in 2006, inviting Amy to share her stage and recorded her songs. After 18 years in NYC, Brooklyn and Jersey, 3 critically-acclaimed releases, and a lifetime above the Mason-Dixon line, Speace amicably parted ways with Wildflower and moved to East Nashville, TN to explore the rich songwriting community and to deepen her own writing and sound. Well, that, and to trade bagels and lox for hot chicken and fried okra. 2011’s “Land Like A Bird” was a richly textured travelogue of that southern migration. But with “Stormy Boat,” a record loosely based around some of Shakespeare’s characters and poetry, Speace has made “what might very well be the single greatest leap an indie artist takes this year between what once was and what now is.” (PopMatters). 
Doug and Telisha Williams offer dead right, honest songwriting delivered in a hauntingly beautiful yet gritty,
neo-traditional Americana wrapper. Hailing from Martinsville, Virginia, in the shadow of The Blue Ridge Mountains, where boarded up factories stand as monuments to how fast the world can change, Doug and Telisha write and sing songs about dying small towns, and when they do, they know what they're talking about. Their 2009 release, “Ghost of the Knoxville Girl,” received wide critical acclaim and spent 15 weeks in the Americana Music Association Top 40 Radio Chart. They have shared the stage with Lucinda Williams, Joe Ely and count none other than legendary songwriter John Prine as a fan. Uprooting themselves from their rich hometown, they moved to East Nashville in 2011 and quickly became part of the essential fabric of that community, hosting their show “Whiskey Wednesday” on East Nashville Radio, and being recently named by “The Alternate Root” as one of the Top East Nashville Artists Right Now. Coinciding with their move to East Nashville, Doug and Telisha Williams' 2013 release, “Things That Used To Shine,” is a departure of sorts. Released under the band name Wild Ponies the album was produced by roots royalty Ray Kennedy (Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle). The collection of songs contains all the rich detail and narrative of their earlier folkier incarnation but adds a sonic right fist that is thrilling. 

Rod Picott

Rod Picott's songs are inhabited by sheetrock hangers, drinkers, circus hands, boxers and working girls and he sings about his characters with intimacy. Listening to a Rod Picott album you can smell the gasoline on a mechanics hands and the perfume of lovers in dark corners. The son of a welder and former Marine, Picott grew up in the small mill town of South Berwick, Maine and worked construction jobs from his high school graduation until the release of his first cd, “Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues” in 2001. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Slaid Cleaves, Fred Eaglesmith have all recorded songs written or co-written by Rod Picott. Picott's "Broke Down" released on Rounder Records by co-writer and artist Slaid Cleaves became the most played song on Americana radio and was awarded the Song Of The Year Award at the Austin Music Awards. In 2010 "Broke Down" found new life in the soundtrack to the Brian Koppelman written and directed film “Solitary Man” starring Michael Douglas. In that same year Picott's song "Circus Girl" was featured in the PBS documentary “Circus”. Picott has released five solo cds and has been featured in “No Depression Magazine”, on BBC 2 Radio London, Sirius/XM Radio and in “Maverick magazine” (U.K.) and toured as opening act for Alison Krauss and Union Station. Picott is lauded for his narrative and melodic songwriting, passionate delivery and darkly humorous onstage storytelling. His 2011 release “Welding Burns” spent 10 weeks on the AMA chart and reached #1 on The FAR Chart. Picott was voted Songwriter of the year and Male artist of the year by the Far Chart reporters.