Way back in 1950, WSM AM 650 on-air personality David Cobb ascribed Nashville it's most recognizable moniker - "Music City, U.S.A" - making the nickname Nashville's de facto trade name. As "Smashville" (Go Preds) and "Nash Vegas" (bleh) and "Bachelorette Party Capital of the World" (double bleh) maintain seasonal relevance, "Music City, U.S.A" remains steadfast as the preeminent sobriquet of Nashville.
If you are a frequent reader of Now/It's or merely passing through, you've undoubtedly come to know that there's no shortage of challengers to Nashville's most beloved cognomen, but it is is no crumbling epitaph. It's only becoming more and more relevant, as Nashville further expands it's musical proclivities into the realms of all American music, hip-hop, garage rock, butt rock, post punk, chamber pop, indie electronica, and the like.
We've talked to and featured countless acts that continue to help solidify the accuracy of "Music City, U.S.A." Bands like the two heavy blues duos Brother Man and Black Venus, who teamed up recently to put out an A-side/B-side single aptly entitled Brother Man VS Black Venus. Now/It's has the distinct pleasure of premiering the co-op release and accompanying videos from two of Nashville's finest purveyors of blood borne blues rock n roll music.
Now, one might think that two blues duos from a town most immediately known for country music would want to work as far apart from each other as possible, but not Brother Man and Black Venus. The two were fast collaborators via the urging of Welcome to 1979 producer Nick Paredes, who engineered and produced the project. So in the name of Nashville's budding blues movement, Brother Man brought their hyper-frenzied rockabilly bravado and Black Venus added their ultra-suave rock n' roll saboteur style to the table that would eventually give birth to Brother Man VS Black Venus.
The double release itself is comprised (in one half) by Brother Man's "Rearrange," a rousing song of love and lost, but through a roustabout lens. In the video for "Rearrange," front man Chris Winfree shrieks and sashays his way about the Welcome to 1979 studio, on the verge of near calamitous break, much like his frenetic stage show would suggest. Not to be outdone, Brother Man's one-man rhythm section leader, Dalton Smith, holds it down on the kit in a manner of which is so pocket, it leaves certain writers at a near loss for words to describe. He's as smooth as ever, and makes high falutin fills look like nothing short of a cake walk. To call "Rearrange" "punchy" would be an understatement, and "kick ass" would be tiresome, so let's just stick with it being "stellar." And it's almost a foregone conclusion that the song will play earworm for weeks to come, because it's one hell of an infectious track.
Completing the double single is Black Venus' "Sour Puss," a Sunn O)))-meets-Nick Cave concoction of dark tinged guitar transmissions melded with tasteful rhythm and low end. In comparison to Brother Man's "Rearrange," "Sour Puss" is decidedly heavier. It's a far from punchy, so it might be better described as "murderous." Front man Gary Acquaro cavorts about in a wife beater, wobbling ever so slightly with a swagger that would make Mick Jagger flinch. Meanwhile, the man behind the kit - Ben Cureton - keeps everything on track, with a pulse that subverts but never circumvents Acquaro's deft guitar work. It's about as dynamic a blues track you'll hear all year. All in all, Brother Man VS Black Venus goes to show that Nashville is still "Music City, U.S.A" and that blues and rock n roll music is still alive and well in Nashville.
Brother Man VS Black Venus drops tomorrow, October 13th, across all streaming platforms, but you can listen to the tracks a day early below: