At their surface level, year-end retrospectives appear to be wholly frivolous endeavors, yet here we are, charging headfirst into one such retrospective projected entirely from a singular purview. If this were a retrospective from a realist’s perspective, it would likely begin and end with some inflated take on the words of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), via the most recent (and delightfully polarizing) Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi - “.... Let the past die.”
But alas, this is not an abbreviated retrospective (I apologize in advance), nor a space opera, but rather, a (bound to be) indulgent look back at the most dynamic year in this writer’s life - both personally and socially - and will undoubtedly swan dive into the deep end of indulgence (especially with references, parenthetical citation, and hyperlinks), but that’s what makes these things fun (at least for the writer).
What follows will be some bastardization of equal parts whimsy and self-seriousness (a la The Young Pope), listicle and soft edged op-ed, and anything else that seems like it would appear in a high-trafficked “culture” site like The New York Times, Buzzfeed, or The Ringer (“one of these things is not like the other….), but oriented toward the Nashville purview.
Dubbing 2017 as a "banner year" for Nashville could quite possibly be the understatement of the year, and for fear as appearing portentous (which is portentous in and of itself), we will dub it exactly that. There's all manner of anecdotes that stand out in 2017, and this sweep will likely only scratch the surface, but here are just A FEW moments that stood out, or were at least worth noting:
- 15,000 people convening at Cumberland Park in downtown Nashville, acting in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington, bringing attention to a whole slew of social justice issues that many seek to resolve within the United States.
- Sturgill Simpson's continued skewering of the CMA's absurd refusal to recognize his work in the "mainstream" country music market. He referenced Gil Scot Heron at the 59th Grammy Awards, stating that "The revolution will not be televised" upon receiving the Grammy for Best Country Album, and punctuating such a fact by busking ironically outside the 2017 CMA Awards raising money for the ACLU, with his Grammy in tow.
- Nashville filmmaker Kogonada's Columbus. One of the best indie (and most underrated) films of 2017.
- Any time Butthole (the band) opened up for anybody - Bully, The Courtneys, Birdcloud. The self-described "Taylor Swifts of fudge rock" are one of Nashville's finest purveyors in proto-punk prowess, and are certain to ascend to new heights in the coming years.
- The Predators' magnificent 2017 Stanley Cup Final run, thrusting the city into the forefront of sportscasters' mouths for a full month, and spurring one of Nashville's most hilarious PR fall outs, the fated National Anthem singer quarrel, pitting fame versus tenure, with fame (obviously) coming out on top. Trust me when I say this, Now/It's has reached out to the team many a time requesting any and all availability for interview from any and all Preds players. No developments thus far.
- SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017. Bringing one million people to the greater Nashville area (and a something like 400,000 to White House, TN), the eclipse and it's totality actually wound up being one of the most fascinating and cool events of 2017. It'll be another seven years until another solar eclipse will be visible in North America, which provides just enough time for those partially blinded from staring with the naked eye to recover.
- Mayor Megan Barry continues to (literally) cement her legacy. There are a gazillion different takes on how fast Nashville is growing, and Mayor Megan Barry has done her best to continue such a trend for the foreseeable future. 2017 saw many "Big City" initiatives enacted to further legitimize Nashville's rise from novelty music and medicine town to burgeoning mini-megalopolis. There's the Ikea set to show in Antioch come 2020, the new 27,500, (reported) multi-use soccer stadium and subsequent MLS franchise set to be erected where the fairgrounds are, and last but certainly not least, a $5.2 billion transit proposal featuring light rail and subterranean transportation.
- The Government of Nashville's Facebook Page (bless the clever folks behind this satirical saving grace).
- The passing of beloved figureheads of the Nashville music scene, Jessi Zazu, Ben Eyestone, Jeff Pettit, and Diane Carrier.
- The massive years in the national music spotlight for Margo Price, Ron Gallo, and Jason Isbell (especially on Twitter, for Isbell), all three of whom showed up on many a large scale publication year-end list.
Speaking of year-end lists, here's a (promised) listicle of some of Now/It's favorite records from Nashville-area artists who have not been (but hopefully will be soon) featured on the site in the form of an interview or song premiere. These are presented without explanation and no particular order, so interpret that as you may.
Favorite Nashville Records (from artists not featured on the site):
But What About Me - Good Buddy
Love You, Mean It - Okey Dokey
Deep Dream - Daddy Issues
Breakfast Alone - Little Bandit
Wrangled - Angaleena Presley
Somebody’s Doin Somethin - Thelma and the Sleaze
1 - Moruga Scorpio
Here Comes Trouble - The New Respects
So Not a Sonata - Rigby
Spades and Roses - Caroline Spence
If you've somehow (miraculously) made it this far without throwing your phone out into the road in hopes of being run over by a pedal tavern (was that really necessary?), I would like to take this moment to thank you for putting up with the continued prolix rambling that so few have come to know Now/It's for. It really does warm the deepest cockles of my (see: the site's) soul.
This format will likely change in (hopefully) years to come, but for now, this feels like an okay way to render a retrospective.
Furthermore, if you've read this far, then you're likely aware of the fact that 2017 was the year of Now/It's inception (unless you've just arrived to the site for the first time, in which case, I'll take a second moment to apologize for a terrible first impression)! What an exciting time!
As silly as it is to say, starting Now/It's: Nashville was a rather intimidating initiative, especially with your writer having never served under the vaunted (and vain) title of Founder/Editor-in-Chief (a title of which I will never claim outside of this write-up and maybe a business card). But dread aside, Now/It's did not go gently into that good night (thank you Welsh modernist, Dylan Thomas), due in large part to the fine folks that tolerate the site's aimless verbosity, otherwise known as YOU, the reader. Thank you.
It is with great vigor and excitement that I look forward to 2018, as the continued development and growth of the site seems imminent (and hopefully apparent). There will be plenty more interviews with creatives and the like, but next year will see our first forays into politics, business, and everything in between, all the while maintaining the long-form conversational format we've all come to know and love (or loathe), as well as extensions into other forms of media (hopefully).
Once more, thank you to anyone and everyone that has taken the time to read, conversate, like, share, email, criticize, and any other form of interaction with Now/It's: Nashville in 2017, and let's get on with 2018.
For the fifth and final time, thank you.