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Tennessee Shines – 8/2 – Willi Carlisle, Tommy Prine, The Local Honeys
August 2 @ 7:00 pm $30
Tommy Prine’s debut album This Far South coming June 23, 2023 is not only a long awaited introduction but a testimony to Prine’s 20’s and the loss, love, and growth that has defined them. Co-produced by close friend and kindred musical spirit, Ruston Kelly, and beloved Nashville engineer and producer, Gena Johnson, the album is rich and dynamic from cathartic jams to nostalgic storytelling.
“I feel like I’ve learned more about myself in the last year and a half than I ever have in my life,” Prine says. “And I think that speaks a lot to doing something that I’m passionate about. I love and respect the craft. Just hitting the road and doing what so many people before me have done and will continue to do, it’s really resonated with me. I think it’s transformed me into the person that I am meant to be.”
Willi Carlisle is a poet and a folk singer for the people. Like his hero Utah Phillips, Carlisle’s extraordinary gift for turning a phrase isn’t about high falutin’ pontificatin’; it’s about looking out for one another and connecting through our shared human condition. On his anticipated second album, the magnum opus Peculiar, Missouri, Carlisle makes the case across twelve epic tracks that love truly can conquer all. Born and raised on the Midwestern plains, Carlisle is a product of the punk to folk music pipeline that’s long fueled frustrated young men looking to resist. After falling for the rich ballads and tunes of the Ozarks, where he now lives, he began examining the full spectrum of American musical history. This insatiable stylistic diversity is obvious on Peculiar, Missouri which was produced by Grammy-winning engineer and Cajun musician Joel Savoy in rural Louisiana. The songs range from sardonic trucker songs like “Vanlife” to the heartbreaking queer waltz “Life on the Fence.” The album also imbues class consciousness in songs like “Este Mundo,” a cowboy border ballad about water rights, and the title track’s existential talkin’ blues about a surreal panic attack in Walmart’s aisle five. Though Carlisle’s poetic words evoke the mystical American storytelling of Whitman, Sandburg, and e e cummings, ultimately this is bonafide populist folk music in the tradition of cowboys, frontier fiddlers, and tall-tale tellers. Carlisle recognizes that the only thing holding us back from greatness is each other. With Peculiar, Missouri, he brings us one step closer to breaking down our divides.
Many artists are defined by place, but only a handful of artists come to define the places they’re from. The Local Honeys are Kentucky and Kentucky runs through their veins like an unbridled racehorse. When a master songsmith like Tom T. Hall calls an artist “a great credit to a wonderful Kentucky tradition” it’s time to pull up a chair and pay attention. As it pertains to The Local Honeys he was right on the money. For almost a decade the duo (Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs) have been an integralpart of the Kentucky musicscape.
They’ve paid their dues, garnering countless accolades and accomplishments (tours with Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, praise from the New York Times) and have become the defining sound of real deal, honest-to-God Kentucky music. With their self-titled debut on La Honda Records (home of some of today’s most gifted songwriters, including Colter Wall, Riddy Arman, Vincent Neil Emerson), the duo have set forth on a journey to create something true to themselves while pushing theenvelope within the traditions they hold dear. Carefully crafted vignettes of rural Kentucky soar above layers of deep grooves and rich tones masterfully curated by longtime mentor Jesse Wells, Grammy nominated producer and musician (Assistant Director atthe Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State). “Jesse grew up with sisters. He was cut from the same cloth as us and we knew he would understand what we wanted to do.” What they ended up with is the most nuanced, moody, deep-holler sound they have captured to date. “This is the first time we’ve actively gotten to express who we are and where we’re from,” says Linda Jean.