I lost a whole weekend a few weeks ago, absorbed in Rev. Keith A. Gordon's new book "The Other Side of Nashville: An Incomplete History and Discography of the Nashville Rock Underground 1976-2006". I bought the book almost out of a sense of obligation and with a bit of nostalgic dread – I assumed that many of the Nashville bands I worked with in the 1980s and 1990s would be represented. The book is so much more – a 609 page collection of all the artists who contributed in one way or another to the creation of Nashville's rock music scene. It is a fascinating read – from the early DIY recordings of R. Stevie Moore (which I used to buy via mail order from New Jersey with no idea that Moore was a Nashville native raised in the music business) to the Scorchers and Praxis era onto the Kings of Leon – this is a hell of a 30 year ride.
But while it's great to read about the bands we all know and love (or hate) it's even more interesting to read about and remember the bands that have been lost to the ages. There are plenty of them and I am going to resist the urge to catalog them here. It is fitting that Keith gives each of these artists their proper place in the continuum. He also touches on a lot of important people who operated behind the scenes.
While this is fun and interesting reading in 2013, I have a feeling that this book is going to be an important historical document in the years to come. Keith clearly has the heart and soul of a researcher and he is able to put all the issues of magazines like The Metro and Nashville Intelligence Report to good use, providing lots of historical context along the way.
My only problem with the book is that the layout is a little confusing but that is probably to be expected with such a massive undertaking. For anyone with a passing interest in Nashville music (or independent music scenes in general) over the past four decades, I highly recommend Keith's book. Read more about it here: