Tuesday, September 19, 2017

AmericanaFest Attendees Treated to Out-of-This-World Harmonies


By Wil Comstock
MCAU Contributing Writer

Downtown Presbyterian
6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14

         Parking at the Anchor on Third Avenue South, I headed on foot to Downtown Presbyterian to catch Joe Henry and the first 20 minutes of Shelby Lynne and Alison Moorer.  Downtown Presbyterian was built in 1848 and is one of the finest examples of Egyptian Revival architecture in the United States.  Walking into the building is like walking into an Egyptian Temple.

         Joe Henry is a wry storyteller. His narratives are intimate and genuine. He is a maverick who seems to operate in his own plane.  He is about to release his 14th studio album "Stream" in October.  Joe performed several new songs from the album including “Climb” and “Believer.”  The most poignant moment came when Henry introduced his only piano song “This Was My Country.”  He said it was July 4, 2005, and America was involved in a war he didn’t believe in.  He had no reason to celebrate the holiday.  He had to fly out of LA that afternoon, and as he does on most flights, he started to work on a song.  But all that came out was rage.  He stayed with it and eventually saw a ray of hope. It was then that the music started to come. “This was God’s country, this frightful and this angry land... But if it’s his will, the worst of it might still somehow make me a better man.”

         Like many, I had never seen sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer perform together.  They recently released their first duet album "Not Dark Yet" comprised of favorite cover songs.  They drew on these cuts for their performance.  I only stayed for the first 20 minutes but was fortunate to catch the sister’s incredible harmonies on the Louvin Brother’s “Every Time You Leave” and the Bob Dylan penned “Not Dark Yet.”


The Anchor
7:30 p.m.

         I was one of the 4 million people who were introduced to Dustbowl Revival on Facebook when their “Never Had to Go” video featuring Dick Van Dyke went viral.  I caught them two years ago at City Winery and was happy to see that they were playing AmericanaFest this year.  This eight-piece Americana swing band from Venice, California, rocks!  Starting in 2007 when guitarist Zach Lupetin placed an ad on Craigslist hoping to form a group inspired by brass and string bands, the band has moved from an acoustic sound to funky soul and roots-infused rock. I for one am loving it!  “If You Could See Me Now” is a prime example of the new sound, a real crowd pleaser.  The band returned to their roots for their last two numbers coming down from the stage and playing without amplification in the middle of the audience.

         At this point I wanted to head across town, but MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting wanted to stay at the Anchor… I’m glad we did!

The Anchor
8:30 p.m.

         The Steel Wheels hail from Harrisonburg, Virginia. All of the members were born into Mennonite families and grew up on bluegrass and mountain music.  They formed as a string band in 2004, later weaving  Americana into their music.  Trent Wagler is on lead vocals, guitar and banjo;  Jay Lapp plays mandolin and National Steel guitar, Eric Brubaker is on fiddle; and Brian Dickel is on bass.  They all sing delightful background harmonies, are fine musicians, and pen their own songs. This band is tight. What a great find and surprise!

The Anchor
9:30 p.m.

         Next up after working through some technical difficulties was the Boston group Darlingside.  I had read about their great harmonies. They exceeded all expectation.  NPR describes them as “Exquisitely arranged, literary minded, baroque folk-pop." I couldn’t agree more.  The band is comprised of Dave Senft on bass; Don Mitchell playing guitar and banjo; Auyon Mukharji on classical violin and mandolin; and Harris Paseltiner on guitar and cello.  They gathered around a single microphone, blending their richly textured voices into glorious harmonies that breathed life into their lyrics.   My favorite number was “The God of Loss,” just incredible.  Go see this band when they play in your area.

Friday, September 15, 2017

AmericanaFest Continues With 'Hillbillies and Hot Dogs' (And Exceptional Music)


By Wil Comstock
MCAU Contributing Writer

Wednesday, Sept. 13 
Compass Records Hillbillies and Hot Dogs.
11:30 a.m.

                  I always enjoy going to this event. Who doesn’t like a good hot dog and craft beer? This event is held in the front yard and inside the Compass Record building on 19th Avenue on Music Row. The best part is cramming into the small studio and watching the artists on the Compass roster share their music.  They are among the most intimate performances at Americana Fest. This year the bluesy Shannon McNally kicked off the show. I was really drawn in by the haunting “No Man’s Land,” which she wrote for her mother. Bluegrass swing artist Mike Barnett and friends followed with Bob Wills and Buddy Spicher-influenced arrangements for double fiddles. I have never heard such sweet and tender fiddle playing. I really enjoyed his rendition of "Tennessee Waltz" featuring Molly Tuttle on vocals.  Molly remained onstage explaining that she just received her new Pre-War guitar and was excited to be playing it. She featured it on a traditional song using her amazing claw hammer skills. Tuttle was recently featured on the cover of Guitar Player magazine!   AJ Croce took the stage before he was announced, fingering the piano keys with blues riffs. I’m sure it’s not easy to be the son of a deceased legend, but Croce is his own man. That being said, he performed a song his dad had demoed but never got the chance to record, the soulful “Name of the Game” (a song AJ steered away from earlier in his career). He now delivers it with smoldering confidence. Unfortunately, I had to miss Colin Hay and Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards. Had to get back to work!


 
Station Inn
10 p.m. Caitlyn Canty

                  Caitlyn Canty's stark, reedy voice touched me as I was listening to videos trying to decide what show to see for this evening. I’m glad I went with my hunch and showed up! This was a great show.  Canty was accompanied by Noam Pikelny, the producer on her newly delivered album.  Noam, an artist in his own right, and a member of the Punch Brothers, played steel banjo throughout the evening.  He tastefully lent his skills to Caitlyn’s beautifully penned songs.  Favorites were “Seven Lines” and “Get Up.”  She received a huge round of applause on her lazy rendition of “Tennessee Waltz.” It was the second time I heard that song in one day!  Noam got a laugh when he commented that the stage usually had a full band when other acts played.  He was afraid the exclusive real estate around him (on stage) might run the risk of having a condo go up with huge cranes!  Such is the present state of Nashville in 2017. If you ever get the chance to see Caitlyn Canty live, please do. You won’t regret it!

Station Inn
11 p.m.  Hayes Carll

                  Hayes Carll is a modern day troubadour, his lyrics plainspoken with a touch of sarcasm. I could understand every word he sang. This is a man with a message. Hayes accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and was backed by Adam Landry on electric guitar and Mike Meadows on snare and percussion.  I enjoyed “Nobody Wants to Hear the Truth Anymore,” “The Magic Kid” (a tender song about his son), and “My Wild Pointy Finger,” a number about the accuser in all of us. I left feeling challenged to look at life a little differently. Hayes will do that to you.   

                  For more information about AmericanaFest, visit http://www.AmericanaMusic.org.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

AmericanaFest Begins with BMI Party and Unforgettable City Winery Shows


By Wil Comstock
Contributing Writer

         NASHVILLE -- At 2 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 12), I headed over to the Basement to pick up my press pass. It was raining steadily. We all stood quietly in line waiting under our umbrellas. One of the volunteers manning the line gave his umbrella to a girl in front of me. He then proceeded to stand in the rain with his hooded raincoat dripping onto his shoes. I was pretty impressed. I thought about the sacrifice so many people make to get this festival up and running. All of the volunteers, the extra hours the staff puts in, the endless meetings, the workers at the venues all over town, all lending grace with welcoming smiles on their faces. Thanks... you are the pillars that support this wonderful event! There would be no AmericanaFest without you.

http://www.AmericanaFest.org

         At 5:35 p.m., MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting picked me up at work, and we headed over to the BMI Kickoff Party. It was held in the downstairs foyer because of the rain. This event was sponsored by George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey. Upon entering, I grabbed a Tennessee Punch... yum and strong!  I then made my way over to the food line. Barbecue chicken breast for me with salad and jalapeno chips. The place was crowed, all bistro tables taken, so I made my way over to the stairs and sat down. Bravely, I lifted the chicken off of the hamburger roll and ate it with my fingers. My birthday is next week, and I’m trying to drop a few pounds! There are no calories in the alcohol, right? 
         About the time I finished my dinner, Hurray for the Riff Raff was taking the stage. They were fronted by Alynda Segarra, looking and sounding like a chic folk artist.  To quote The Wall Street Journal on Alynda’s singing: "She has a subtle, expressive voice that she wraps around songs that draw on the sounds and styles of the American South, and her lyrics often takes unconventional tack on traditional subjects." Riff Raff was followed by Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers. I really liked this band. Phoebe and husband, Dominick Leslie (mandolin and vocals), spent time in India at an ashram studying music. This eastern influence is felt in the music and executed perfectly with Phoebe’s searing vocals accompanied by fiddle, mandolin, accordion, upright bass, and percussion. Last up was indie rock band Susto from Charleston, South Carolina. Their lively music had me dancing as we left BMI and headed over to City Winery. 
Hurray for the Riff Raff performs in the BMI lobby during AmericanaFest
         After parking on the street in one of the last free areas in Nashville, we headed to CW to see Colin Hay at the 8 p.m. show. This was the second time I saw Colin, and I was not disappointed. Colin fronted the Australian band Men at Work in the early 1980s. That’s his vocals on “Who Can it Be Now” and “Down Under." His familiar voice is like a good glass of sherry, stirring up warm memories. Colin is quite funny and entertaining, a great storyteller who does not shy away from the hard subjects like his mother’s death. He had the audience in the palm of his hand on “I Don’t Know Why,” “Come Tumbling Down,” and “Waiting for My Life to Begin.”     
         Joan Osborne filled the 9 p.m. slot singing songs from her critically acclaimed album "Songs of Bob Dylan." Osborne had a residency at New York’s Cafe Carlyle in March 2016 and March 2017. At those gigs she performed only Dylan material. She always loved the way Ella Fitzgerald performed the "Great American Songbook" and wanted to do something like that. She picked Dylan because of his lyrical timeliness to events going on today, saying that even though we may be polarized politically, music brings us together. She was accompanied by her two virtuoso producers, Keith Cotton on piano and keyboards and Jack Petruzzelli on guitars. Joan’s sultry voice wrapped around each song and made them her own. No imitation here, pure interpretation. I especially enjoyed “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Masters of War,” and the rearranged “Rainey Day Women #12 & 35.” I can’t wait to pick this album up!
To learn more about the AmericanaFest and see the full schedule of live shows, workshops, and parties, visit http://www.AmericanaFest.org.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Americana Fest to Stage 16th Annual Honors & Awards Show at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 13

     NASHVILLE -- Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller will be returning as hosts for the 16th annual Americana Fest Honors & Awards Show at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

     The Americana All-Star Band will feature Larry Campbell, Robbie Crowell, Jim Hoke, Jerry Pentecost, Chris Wood and the McCrary Sisters.

     Check out the entire festival schedule at http://americanamusic.org/2017-schedule 



     Here's a list of this year's awards show performers:


Billy Bragg
Brent Cobb
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Rodney Crowell
Iris DeMent
Drive-By Truckers
Rhiannon Giddens
Joe Henry
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Jason Isbell
The Lumineers
Lori McKenna
Van Morrison
Graham Nash
Old Crow Medicine Show
Sam Outlaw
Margo Price
John Prine
Amanda Shires
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
Aaron Lee Tasjan
 
     A live video stream of the 2017 Honors & Awards show will be webcast via www.NPRMusic.org starting at 6:30pm. A live audio simulcast of the show will also be available via SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country, and on Nashville area terrestrial radio stations: WRLT (100.1 FM), WSM (650 AM) and WMOT (89.5 FM).

     Individuals can catch performance highlights on Austin City Limits for a special broadcast to air on Nov. 19 on PBS.


     Tickets for the 16th annual Americana Honors & Awards are made available for purchase with an AMERICANAFEST℠ conference registration. To buy tickets or learn more about the festival, visit http://americanamusic.org/buy-your-pass.


 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Gail McDaniel to Teach Watercolor Painting Course Near Atlanta

            ATLANTA (September 2017) -- Gail McDaniel, an acclaimed watercolorist who, by invitation, has served as an associate member and demonstrating artist/instructor for the prestigious Winsor & Newton Creative Artist Network of London, will lead an eight-week watercolor painting course this fall south of Atlanta in Griffin, Georgia.

            The course will be offered to beginning, intermediate and advanced artists on selected Wednesday afternoons starting Oct. 4, 2017 at Griffin First United Methodist Church, 1401 Maple Drive. Sessions will occur from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25; and Nov. 1, 8, 15 and 29. The class will not meet the week of Thanksgiving.     

            The artist/instructor will provide insights on composition, value, color theory and application. She also will demonstrate some of the techniques that have helped make her an award-winning artist, including abstract under paintings, disappearing purples, painting on Masa Paper, white on white, monotype paintings, let it flow, texturize your paintings, portraits, reflective surfaces, and wax-resist Batik. The course is structured to serve artists at all skill levels, from the very raw beginner to the most advanced. McDaniel will close each session with individual critiques.

            Because space is limited for the classes, reservations are required. Tuition is $165 for eight class sessions. For more information or to register, contact the artist by phone at (678) 603-1502 or send an inquiry to gail@gailmcdanielart.com. Individuals can learn more about the artist/instructor and view her artwork at http://www.GailMcDanielArt.com and follow her at http://www.Facebook.com/GailMcDanielArt and http://www.Twitter.com/GailMcDanielArt.




            McDaniel recently was commissioned to create four program covers for Griffin Choral Arts' 10th anniversary concert season. Before moving to Georgia, McDaniel spent more than 20 years working as a professional watercolorist and art instructor in Nashville and Brentwood, Tenn. During that time, she taught more than 1,300 students in classes and workshops around the world. A number of her former students have developed into professional artists with exhibitions and commissions.

            "Some people come to find out if they can paint in watercolor," said the artist, who painted the invitation cover for "A Little Night of Music" starring country superstar LeAnn Rimes. "Like me, others love the look of watercolor paintings and want to learn the medium. Many come for the change of pace and the new, wonderful, relaxing challenge it brings. The intermediate and advanced students come to me to grow in the medium."

            Over the years, McDaniel has seen the positive change that comes over many people when they spend three hours with her, creatively thinking from the right side of their brain.

            "It's truly a night-and-day change, not to mention the fun they have," McDaniel added. "Many who come to me with no art background find they really have a true talent for painting. Some of them never had the slightest notion they had any talent. It's such an outstanding reward for them and a source of real pleasure for me."

            A good example is Phyllis Tatum, a watercolorist who studied with McDaniel for 14 years in Middle Tennessee. She and her fellow students were thrilled when she won four blue ribbons and a red ribbon at the Tennessee State Fair. Her crowing achievement came later when she won the fair's "Best of Show", a rare occurrence in watercolor circles.

            McDaniel fondly remembers receiving a thank you note from former student Suzy Foy of Estes Park, Colo., who wrote, "My whole life I have dreamt about being an artist... I never believed I could live that dream, one painting at a time. Because of my workshops, mentoring and support (from McDaniel), it is happening."

            "One of the obvious results of classes is the togetherness that comes upon the group," McDaniel noted. "Friendships develop, and with that interest in each other's lives and the happenings and events in their world. The group watches children grow up, grandchildren being born, and members die. The group celebrates the joys together, as well as the sad times, giving special support. Sometimes, our paintings reflect those experiences."

            The classes near Atlanta should be no exception. McDaniel will demonstrate the techniques, shortcuts and concepts that she has developed or learned by doing, reading or studying with others. She plans to show her students everything she knows, holding nothing back. Her goal is to inspire them without making them feel overwhelmed.

            During her career, McDaniel has trained artists from 36 different states (including Alaska and Hawaii), the District of Columbia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea. She has taught 11 workshops at historic Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, a landmark where the late Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted. She also served as a member of the arts faculty of Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art.

            In 2002, she and her husband, Ken, launched the "Students and Friends of Gail McDaniel Awards", raising more than $90,000 for Middle Tennessee public schools. The fundraising effort earned Gail and Ken a nomination in the "volunteer innovator" category of the 2009 Mary Catherine Strobel Award. In 2012, the artist was named the PENCIL Foundation's "Volunteer of the Year".

            Before leaving Tennessee, she received an award for "Excellence in Community Service" from the Travelers Rest Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was inducted into the Cave City, Ky., Hall of Fame and named (as an eighth generation Kentuckian) to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels as one of  "Kentucky's ambassadors of good will and fellowship around the world."

            In 2001, she was invited by directors of the "Art in Provence" program to conduct an eight-day watercolor workshop in Dieulefit, France. She studied under 38 noted art instructors to help build her reputation as one of the South's top artists/instructors. -- even accepting a commission to paint a family landmark for former Kentucky Gov. Louie B. Nunn.

            Gail McDaniel's artwork is featured on the program covers of four major concerts in 2016-17 performed by The Griffin Choral Arts group. The choir, which is led by Artistic Director Dr. Stephen J. Mulder, is celebrating its 10th anniversary season.

            For more information about Gail McDaniel or to see her work, visit www.GailMcDanielArt.com.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Gail McDaniel Returning to Nashville for 'Watercolor Pouring Workshop'

     NASHVILLE -- Award-winning artist/instructor Gail McDaniel will return to Nashville from Nov. 10-12 to lead her "Watercolor Pouring Workshop." 

     Emerging and professional watercolorists will work with gail from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. All sessions will occur at Plaza Artist Materials, 633 Middleton St. in downtown Nashville. Tuition for the three-day workshop is $175. 

"Espanola Lavanderia," a watercolor painting by visual artist Gail McDaniel.

     "My students will learn to pour luminous, transparent layers of watercolor while saving the pristine whites of your watercolor paper," McDaniel said. "You are truly pouring your pigment across your paper and creating your artwork without brushes, a palette knife, and other painting tools. Your results will be truly amazing!" 

     McDaniel, an internationally known watercolor artist/instructor, will return to Plaza, having moved to Georgia after 20 years of teaching in Nashville and Brentwood. She has taught workshops across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Central and South America. 

     Visit her website at http://www.gailmcdanielart.com. For questions or to register, call (678) 603-1502 or send an email inquiry to gail@gailmcdanielart.com. You can follow McDaniel at http://www.Facebook.com/GailMcDanielArt and http://www.Twitter.com/GailMcDanielArt.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nashville Realist Camille Engel To Celebrate Tennessee With 'My Tennessee Home' Art Exhibition at Parthenon Museum

By Chuck Whiting
Editor of Music City Arts Network


             NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Internationally awarded Nashville visual artist Camille Engel will celebrate her home state of Tennessee with an exhibition of original contemporary realism paintings at the Parthenon Museum of Nashville from Sept. 9-Dec. 31, 2017.

            "My Tennessee Home: the Paintings of Camille Engel" will kick off with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 15 (Friday) in the American art galleries section of the historic Parthenon Museum, 2500 West End Ave. in Nashville. Engel has spent the past two and a half years researching, referencing and creating these contemporary realism, trompe l'oeil, and encaustic paintings that present unique and surprising depictions of state symbols such as the state beverage, cultivated and wild flowers, fruit, wild animal, insects, butterfly, gem, reptile, fish and more.

            The exhibition will also spotlight original artworks by the 12 winners of the "My Tennessee Home Student Art Competition." Winning student artists, grades 1 to 12, from across Middle Tennessee were chosen by jurists Engel, abstract expressionist Jan Batts, and abstract expressionist and contemporary realist Sandra Vanderpool. All are members of the Nashville Artist Guild.



            "I am thrilled to celebrate my beloved state in the 'My Tennessee Home' exhibition," said Engel, who has won dozens of awards from organizations such as Southwest Art Magazine, International Artist Magazine, and the International Guild of Realism. "I have had so much fun learning about each subject and creating these artworks."

            Highlights of Engel's "My Tennessee Home" paintings include

            * "Glory!," an oil painting on canvas measuring 66 inches by 44 inches that features the state cultivated flower, a purple iris. The artist’s focused view of this flower closely examines the inner quietude of a single iris to evoke much larger atmospheric feelings of awe. "I used a variety of soft lavender tones and flowing curves complemented by brilliant golden strokes to illustrate a breathtaking grandeur that is always within reach," Engel said. Interesting Fact: In 1919, the schoolchildren of Tennessee chose the wild passionflower as the state flower. However, in 1933, the Legislature designated iris as the “State Flower of Tennessee” but failed to formally rescind the passionflower as the state flower. To eliminate confusion, in 1973, the General Assembly designated the passionflower the state wildflower and the iris the state cultivated flower.




            *  "Tough Crowd," a 24-by-24 contemporary realism painting on panel, depicts a red tomato seemingly hurled and splattered against a crisp, white surface. "My choice portrayal of this fruit with its insides exposed and juices forming seed-filled puddles, intrigues the imagination with questions as to what actually happened and why," the artist added. Interesting fact: The tomato was designated Tennessee’s official state fruit in 2003. While commonly considered as a vegetable, the tomato is, botanically speaking, a fruit.


 

            *  "Little Rascal," a 24-by-24 oil on panel, features a friendly raccoon curiously popping through the artist’s crumpled canvas. "His eyes, though masked, shine with playful innocence," Engel noted. Interesting fact: Named the state's wild animal in 1971, raccoons were hunted aggressively in earlier times, mostly for their water repellent fur. In the days of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, the coonskin cap was a common clothing item.




            * "Revealed," a 24-by-24 trompe l'oeil on panel, is a painted display of simplicity. Engel’s linear composition of various river pearls is flanked by the iridescent interior of an opened shell. According to Engel, "the elegance of this shimmering arrangement against a pure white background brings forth the feeling of an enlightened balance." Interesting fact: Named the state's gem in 1979, Tennessee river pearls are remarkable iridescent products of nature, emerging from the indigenous washboard mussel in the fresh water rivers and come in various shapes and colors and are among the most beautiful and durable in the world.


 
 



            * "Fish Tale," a 12-by-12 trompe l'oeil on panel, is a clever trick of the eye. The artist suggests that an instructional card describing the smallmouth bass is taped to a weathered board. "A trick of surrealism suggests the fish tail is flipping up off the card," Engel continued.  Interesting fact: Named Tennessee's sports fish in 2005, the smallmouth bass will fight ounce for ounce harder than any other species of sport fish in Tennessee. The current state/world record of 11 pounds, 15 ounces, was caught by D.L. Hayes at Dale Hollow Lake on July 9, 1955. 

 
 
            * "The Way The Cookie Crumbles," a 12-by-12 trompe l'oeil on panel, suggests that a tasty photo is taped to a weathered board. "In truth, I have painted every last crumb, crease and indentation in this appealing rendition," Engel said. "The featured glass of creamy milk, the cookies and the jettison crumbs, all stir the viewer’s senses with memories of this legendary snack." Interesting fact: Milk became the state's official beverage in 2009. Tennessee is home to approximately 45,000 milk cows that live on 317 dairy farms.


 

            "Camille Engel’s trompe l'oeil paintings, with their clever ideas, take the Tennessee state symbols and make them active participants in each picture plane," said Susan Shockley, curator of The Parthenon Museum. "Her vision invites interest."

            Engel, whose paintings have been chosen or commissioned by art collectors from around the world, has emerged as one of America’s most respected realist painters. She was named an "Artist to Watch" by Southwest Art Magazine in 2014 and Fine Art Connoisseur magazine in 2010. A self-taught oil painter known for her passionate oil paintings with rich lighting, colors, textures and intricate detail, Engel works in the "indirect layering" techniques of the Dutch Masters to create her art.

            "Realism, for me, is the most intrinsic and true form of self-expression," the Nashville artist added. "Much like the notes in a musical composition, every stroke is a statement and each one an essential part of the whole."

            Pursuing the aims of the realist movement with passion and skill, her oil paintings have been accepted into prestigious museum tours and art exhibitions from California to New York City. She has won numerous awards, and her paintings have been featured in magazines such as Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, Western Art Collector, Southwest Art, The Artist's Magazine, American Artist, and International Artist. Major commissions include the Tennessee State Museum, Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and Middle Tennessee Medical Center.

            Each painting in "My Tennessee Home" exhibition invites the viewer to momentarily step into her world and share in her joy of these subjects. For more information about this exhibition, including museum location and hours, visit http://www.nashville.gov/News-Media/Calendar-of-Events/Event-Details/ID/7130/begin/9-1-2017/My-Tennessee-Home-Paintings-by-Camille-Engel-at-the-Parthenon.aspx . To learn more about Camille Engel and view her award-winning artworks, visit http://www.Camille-Engel.com.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Award-Winning Artist/Instructor Gail McDaniel To Teach Watercolor Painting Course Near Atlanta

            ATLANTA (July 2017) -- Gail McDaniel, an acclaimed watercolorist who, by invitation, has served as an associate member and demonstrating artist/instructor for the prestigious Winsor & Newton Creative Artist Network of London, will lead an eight-week watercolor painting course this summer near Atlanta.

            The course will be offered to beginning, intermediate and advanced artists on selected Wednesday afternoons starting Aug. 9, 2017 at Griffin First United Methodist Church, 1401 Maple Drive in Griffin, Georgia. Sessions will occur from 1-4 p.m. on Aug. 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27.

            The artist/instructor will provide insights on composition, value, color theory and application. She also will demonstrate some of the techniques that have helped make her an award-winning artist, including abstract under paintings, disappearing purples, painting on Masa Paper, white on white, monotype paintings, let it flow, texturize your paintings, portraits, reflective surfaces, and wax-resist Batik. The course is structured to serve artists at all skill levels, from the very raw beginner to the most advanced. McDaniel will close each session with individual critiques.


            Because space is limited for the classes, reservations are required. Tuition is $165 for eight class sessions. For more information or to register, contact the artist by phone at (678) 603-1502 or send an inquiry to gail@gailmcdanielart.com. Individuals can learn more about the artist/instructor and view her artwork at http://www.GailMcDanielArt.com.


            McDaniel recently was commissioned to create four program covers for Griffin Choral Arts' 10th anniversary concert season. Before moving to Georgia, McDaniel spent more than 20 years working as a professional watercolorist and art instructor in Nashville and Brentwood, Tenn. During that time, she taught more than 1,300 students in classes and workshops around the world. A number of her former students have developed into professional artists with exhibitions and commissions.

            "Some people come to find out if they can paint in watercolor," said the artist, who painted the invitation cover for "A Little Night of Music" starring country superstar LeAnn Rimes. "Like me, others love the look of watercolor paintings and want to learn the medium. Many come for the change of pace and the new, wonderful, relaxing challenge it brings. The intermediate and advanced students come to me to grow in the medium."

            Over the years, McDaniel has seen the positive change that comes over many people when they spend three hours with her, creatively thinking from the right side of their brain.

            "It's truly a night-and-day change, not to mention the fun they have," McDaniel added. "Many who come to me with no art background find they really have a true talent for painting. Some of them never had the slightest notion they had any talent. It's such an outstanding reward for them and a source of real pleasure for me."

            A good example is Phyllis Tatum, a watercolorist who studied with McDaniel for 14 years in Middle Tennessee. She and her fellow students were thrilled when she won four blue ribbons and a red ribbon at the Tennessee State Fair. Her crowing achievement came later when she won the fair's "Best of Show", a rare occurrence in watercolor circles.

            McDaniel fondly remembers receiving a thank you note from former student Suzy Foy of Estes Park, Colo., who wrote, "My whole life I have dreamt about being an artist... I never believed I could live that dream, one painting at a time. Because of my workshops, mentoring and support (from McDaniel), it is happening."

            "One of the obvious results of classes is the togetherness that comes upon the group," McDaniel noted. "Friendships develop, and with that interest in each other's lives and the happenings and events in their world. The group watches children grow up, grandchildren being born, and members die. The group celebrates the joys together, as well as the sad times, giving special support. Sometimes, our paintings reflect those experiences."

            The classes near Atlanta should be no exception. McDaniel will demonstrate the techniques, shortcuts and concepts that she has developed or learned by doing, reading or studying with others. She plans to show her students everything she knows, holding nothing back. Her goal is to inspire them without making them feel overwhelmed.

            During her career, McDaniel has trained artists from 36 different states (including Alaska and Hawaii), the District of Columbia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea. She has taught 11 workshops at historic Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, a landmark where the late Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted. She also served as a member of the arts faculty of Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art.



            In 2002, she and her husband, Ken, launched the "Students and Friends of Gail McDaniel Awards", raising more than $90,000 for Middle Tennessee public schools. The fundraising effort earned Gail and Ken a nomination in the "volunteer innovator" category of the 2009 Mary Catherine Strobel Award. In 2012, the artist was named the PENCIL Foundation's "Volunteer of the Year".

            Before leaving Tennessee, she received an award for "Excellence in Community Service" from the Travelers Rest Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was inducted into the Cave City, Ky., Hall of Fame and named (as an eighth generation Kentuckian) to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels as one of  "Kentucky's ambassadors of good will and fellowship around the world."

            In 2001, she was invited by directors of the "Art in Provence" program to conduct an eight-day watercolor workshop in Dieulefit, France. She studied under 38 noted art instructors to help build her reputation as one of the South's top artists/instructors. -- even accepting a commission to paint a family landmark for former Kentucky Gov. Louie B. Nunn.

            Gail McDaniel's artwork is featured on the program covers of four major concerts in 2016-17 performed by The Griffin Choral Arts group. The choir, which is led by Artistic Director Dr. Stephen J. Mulder, is celebrating its 10th anniversary season.

            For more information about Gail McDaniel or to see her work, visit www.GailMcDanielArt.com.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Video Game Composer and Audio Producer Alexander Brandon to Lead Score-Com 'Game Music Bootcamp' Symposium June 17-18 in Nashville


         NASHVILLE -- Video Game Composer and Audio Producer Alexander Brandon will provide insights on composing music for video games during the Nashville Composers Association's annual Score-Com Symposium from June 17-18 in Nashville.
        
         "Game Music Bootcamp" is expected to draw 50 emerging and professional composers to Ocean Way Studios on Music Row for two full days of game music training. Attendees will learn aspects including non-linear scoring, integration, writing techniques, and working with supervisors. Writing session demonstrations will feature Steinberg's Nuendo with practical techniques that can be used for any digital audio workstation such as Pro Tools, Logic and Reaper.

 

         All Score-Com symposium attendees will be invited to attend a Film-Com film and television conference networking event on Saturday night. A free Film-Com laminate will provide access to a Film-Com VIP Kick-off Reception, business panels, and the annual Film and Television Industry Gala.

         "We are thrilled to have Alexander Brandon as our workshop leader for our first 'Game Music Bootcamp,'" said Geoff Koch, president of the Nashville Composers Association. "He is a game audio veteran with 20 years of experience and more than 50 titles to his credit, among them for hits such as 'Unreal' and 'Deus Ex.' He runs the audio production house Funky Rustic in Georgetown, Texas."

         Tuition for Score-Com's two-day "Game Music Bootcamp" symposium is $55 for NCA members and $85 for non-members. Individuals must register by June 7 to receive a free Film-Com conference laminate. Ocean Way Studios is located at 1200 17th Avenue South.

         To register, visit http://www.nashvillecomposers.org/product/score-com-2017/. To learn more about the Nashville Composers Association, visit http://www.NashvilleComposers.org.
        
         The symposium will occur from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's schedule will include a brief history of game audio, an overview of the industry, an overview of toolsets, demonstrations of non-linear composition (vertical and horizontal), and typical industry points. Sunday's highlights include integration in Wwise, use of Wwise and Nuendo, integrations in Unreal and Unity, and licensing and networking. 

Alexander Brandon

         Brandon is a game audio veteran with 20 years of experience and over 50 titles to his credit, among them the soundtracks for such hits as “Unreal” and “Deus Ex,” and more recently music, sound and voice for such games as “Torment: Tides of Numenera,” “Wasteland 2,” “Alpha Protocol,” the “Neverwinter Nights” series, “Bejeweled 3,” “Skyrim,” and “DC Universe Online.”
         He has skills in music composition, sound design, voice acting, voice direction, audio direction, and game audio technology. He has written the award-winning book “Audio For Games: Planning, Process and Production” and written columns for Game Developer and Mix magazines. He has also lectured at UCLA Extension, Texas State University, and Berklee School of Music.
         He has also worked with Hollywood voice talent, symphony orchestras, and high-profile music acts such as BT. Brandon continues to write on numerous game audio subjects, and is always honoring his roots, interviewing such Japanese game music rock stars like Hip Tanaka and Tetsuya Mizuguchi. As part of the game audio community he has served on the steering committee of the IA-SIG and as vice president of the Game Audio Network Guild.
         He now runs the audio production house in Georgetown, Texas, “Funky Rustic”, with his wife, Jeanette, and distributes music through Bandcamp and Soundrop, releasing an album every now and again.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tin Pan South: Bob DiPiero and Other Songwriting Legends Delight Full House at 3rd and Lindsay



By Wil Comstock
Music City Arts Contributing Writer


Friday, March 31 -- First Show, 3rd and Lindsay
Bob Dipero, Jim Beavers, Lee Thomas Miller, and Ritchie McDonald


            I met industry photographer Bev Moser and her friend Carol standing in line for the first show on Tuesday at Whiskey Rhythm.  I sat with them on Wednesday at 3rd and Lindsay’s ASCAP show and again tonight. "That’s the great thing about music,” Carol said. “It brings people together.” The CMA songwriters on this this show certainly brought us all together, as we nodded out heads and sang along with these great songwriters.



            Bob DiPiero was born in Youngstown, Ohio. His first hit was the Oak Ridge Boy’s “American Made,” which became a jingle for Miller beer and Baby Ruth Candy bars --not a bad start! Bob rocked the house with his Shenandoah smash “Church on Cumberland Road,” a co-write with John Sherrill and Dennis Robbins. He turned it into a tribute to Chuck Berry, who recently died, by inserting a few lines of “Johnny B Good,” a real crowd pleaser. His next song was by the movie "Forrest Gump." In the film Bob explains, “Forrest talks about his girlfriend, Jenny, and how she would come and go out of his life. At one point, he says, 'And out of the blue clear sky, Jenny came back.' And I was listening, thinking, 'Hey! It’s clear blue sky, it’s not blue clear sky!' Just that little turn of phrase stuck in my head. The next day, I was writing with John Jarrard and Mark D. Sanders. I said, 'I have this idea: blue clear sky. And they said, 'Well, that’s backwards!' (Laughs) I said, 'I know that,' so we wrote it anyway! We demoed it, and about a month later, I got a phone call from Tony Brown. He said, 'I’m in the studio with George Strait, and we want to cut your song — but George has a question for you!' So George gets on the phone and says, 'I’m from Texas … and in Texas it’s clear blue sky. You think it ought to be clear blue sky?' So I told him about going to see 'Forrest Gump,' and life was like a box of chocolates … and that Forrest said, 'blue clear sky.' I told him the song is all about just giving up on love and then, out of nowhere, out of the blue clear sky, comes the love of your life. And George was kind of quiet for a while, and then he says, 'Well, you think there’s many Gumpsters out there?'  And I said, 'Well, yeah, I do!' And he says, 'Well, all right then, we’ll be Gumpsters!' And he recorded 'Blue Clear Sky.''  Next DiPiero performed the upbeat “Daddy’s Money," a song he wrote with Mark D. Sanders and Steve Seskin for the band Ricochet. Introducing his last song, Bob said he and Jeffrey Steele were in Panama City. “We spent three hours on a song that was not going anywhere... in the music business we call it 'polishing the turd.'  (Laughs)  And I said, 'Let’s write a simple song with two verses,'" and they came up with the Montgomery Gentry mid-tempo rocker “Gone.”

            Texas-born Jim Beaver has a BBA from Baylor and an MBA from Vanderbilt. He intended to make a life career in the music business.  He is the former director of marketing for Capitol and Virgin Records,  As well as a professor at MTSU. Since 2002, he has been writing full time. Jim started off with “Am I the Only One,” which he co-wrote with Jeffrey Steele for Dierks Bentley. Introducing his next song Beavers said, “I had just quit my position as a music executive... my wife was pregnant and the future was unclear." This set the stage as he sat down to write with Jonathan Singleton and Darrell Brown. They came up with “Why Don’t We Just Dance," a song about throwing your cares away and being happy. Josh Turner took this song to number one. He followed it up with Luke Bryan’s chart topper “Drink a Beer,” which he co-wrote with Chris Stapleton. The ballad is about the unexpected loss of a loved one. He saved his Gary Allan cut “Watching Airplanes” for last. Jim wrote this power ballad with Jonathan Singleton. 

            Songwriter and sometime producer Lee Thomas Miller hails from Kentucky. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University. He is the current president of NSAI, which takes him to Washington as an advocate in congress for composers. He penned Tim McGraw's number one "Southern Girl" with Rodney Clawson and Jaren Johnston. Miller sounded great on the perfect summer song. He followed with a song he wrote with Brad Paisley, Brad’s “I’m Still A Guy." He explained, “We wanted to capture the struggle between men and women in a playful way." Miller said he received a call to write with Brothers Osborne.  They got together and wrote a little. The guys seemed very casual and not in a hurry. They got together again and finished the song. Miller thought they were writing for an album that would be out in a year.  Eight weeks later Lee is driving down the road listening to DJ Bobby Bones when he announces that Brothers Osborne are coming out with a new album. He made a few calls and found out that the song he wrote with them would be the next single! With that, Miller tore into “It Ain’t My Fault.”

            Ritchie McDonald founded Lonestar in 1992 when he lived in Lubbeck Texas. The band charted nine number one singles in their heyday. Ritchie started out with one of their biggest, “My Front Porch Looking In,” a song he wrote with Frank Myers. Ritchie said "the view looking into the house at my beautiful wife and children was far better than anything on the outside." He followed with the beautiful ballad “I’m Already There.” The inspiration came on the road after hanging up the phone with his 4-year-old son, who wanted to know when he was coming home. McDonald laughed and said his son is now 21!  He picked up the guitar to play the mid up-tempo “Mr. Mom,” a co-write with Ron Harbin and Don Pfrimmer. This song brought a smile to my face as I recalled the cartoon video as Ritchie played and sang “Pampers melt in a Maytag dryer, Crayons go up one drawer higher, Rewind Barney for the fifteenth time, Breakfast six, naps at nine."  McDonald closed with Lonestar’s biggest hit, a song written by Marv Green, Aimee Mayo, and Chris Lindsay.  “Amazed” spent eight weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot Country Singles and Tracks. McDonald never sounded better!