In April of 2008, after making friends, dances, and songs in Ann Arbor for twenty-seven years, I moved away. For my husband, Al, born and raised here, it was, perhaps, an even more significant relocation. We’d planned it for ten years. Destination: Nashville. Music City.
Now, two years in, we’re really starting to feel at home. We’ve made some wonderful friends and found a rich and welcoming musical community. I’d heard that everyone here was a songwriter-musician but I didn’t really believe it. Now I do. Burst a water pipe and call a plumber? He’s a bass player. The guy who sells you your dishwasher? Used to be on the road with Dolly Parton. Of the fourteen houses on my little dead-end street, precisely half shelter musicians.
Before we left Michigan, I joined forces with Deanna Relyea and the Kerrytown District Association to start NashBash–a one-day country music mini-festival held on a Thursday in August at the Farmers’ Market. The goal? To bring some under-the-radar Nashville singer up to Ann Arbor. Since 2007, we’ve hosted Thad Cockrell, Dana Cooper, Sean Locke, and Angaleena Presley. A host of excellent local artists have always rounded out the show. My band, the Postcards, closes the night, usually bringing the featured artist up for some kind of powerhouse finale.
This year’s Nashville “find” is Olivia West. Let me tell you about Olivia. She came over to our house to swap songs and talk about NashBash and pretty much did not stop singing the whole time she was here. The girl lives to sing and, happily, she does it really well. Her songs are pure country and a true reflection of her life, her roots, and her beliefs. My favorite is “Hell and Corn.” Other things about Olivia: she’s been married to her high school sweetheart for twelve years and homeschools their two adorable sons. She’s one of Nashville’s most sought-after demo singers. Her trip to Michigan will be her first time on a plane. She’s funny and irreverent and so excited and wants to meet All Of You.
If you’ve missed NashBash in the past, it’s well worth a mosey. Music starts up about 4 and goes til 8 or 9. Come hungry; there’s barbeque and beer. There are chairs to sit in and children running around sweatin’ happily in the late afternoon sun. There’s an afterglow across the street in Braun Court. Best of all, admission to NashBash–on August 19 this year–won’t set you back one shiny, copper penny.