Last year I had coffee with a good friend by the name of Jeff Taylor. Jeff is one of the busiest and best players in Nashville, and one of the coolest things he’s a part of is a band called the Time Jumpers. Every Monday night at a club called 3rd and Lindsley he joins about ten other of the most brain melting musicians in town (including Ranger Doug from Riders in the Sky and some guy named Vince Gill) and plays some of the most brain melting songs Texas ever exported. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Time Jumpers are a Nashville treasure, and if you don’t try and see a show at least once, you’ll spend your elder days berating yourself for choosing Netflix over that increasingly rare and wonderful thing called Live Music played by those rare and wonderful things called Real Musicians.
Jeff wanted to meet me for coffee because he had an idea. He’s been a part of the Behold the Lamb of God show at the Ryman for years now, and he said that, among the many gigs he has in town, that one stands out. He asked himself why, and realized that it was because it was a group of writers in-the-round who were not just dedicated songwriters, but were also Christians. Many of the songs weren’t explicitly Christian in content, but the whole vibe of the community was seasoned by Jesus in one way or another, and Jeff knew that was what made it special. What if there was some way of wrangling a similar group of songwriters to play once a week or so–a regular thing, a la the Time Jumpers? The more we talked about it, the more we realized that, while Nashville has plenty of dives for songwriters (the wonderful Bluebird Café being the most famous), they tend to be for country writers. As far as we knew, there wasn’t anything happening in town quite like what Jeff was suggesting.
Thus began the Local Show. Last year we tried it in the fall: one show a week, every Tuesday night at a cool place called the Well in Brentwood. Britt Norvell signed on to handle the details, Brannon McAllister designed a super-cool logo, we called on pretty much every writer we knew (and then some!), and we managed to finish out our first season with a bang thanks to steady attendance from many of you. One of the artists told me that it was the first time he’d felt completely at ease at a gig in Nashville. We made some new friends, drank some great coffee, and a part of the proceeds each night went to a different ministry. By all accounts, the thing was a success.
This year we’ve decided to change things up a bit. Instead of every Tuesday we’re testing out an every-other-week schedule. And instead of Britt and I going bonkers every week trying to fill out a balanced roster, we’re going to let each week’s host choose their own guests. As you can see, we’re making this up as we go–but last year’s run made it clear that the Local Show needed to be renewed for Season Two. I hope you’ll join us.
Tickets are now on sale for the first show of 2015, hosted by me, and featuring, um, someone awesome! I haven’t confirmed all the guests yet, but in this town I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find a songwriter or three. Advance tickets are only $10 in the Rabbit Room, but they go up to $15 at the door, so be sure and get them early. And remember, Rabbit Room Members get in for $5.