Hello Music City
In Nashville these days, you frequently hear about “Old Nashville” and “New Nashville.” Much of the time, “New Nashville” is used pejoratively in talking about greedy developers and the loss of treasured landmarks. There is, however, a different side to this “New Nashville” that is maybe a bit harder to define. This other “New Nashville” is a by-product of a larger shift in the music business, and it reflects a newfound wellspring of creative energy.
Enter Bebe Buell. The former model, Playboy Playmate, renowned groupie, and singer has a place in the rock and roll lexicon. A long-time resident of New York, Buell relocated to Nashville a little over a year ago. (Correction: Buell has been in Nashville a little over three years ago) In Nashville, she hit the ground running with a series of noteworthy appearances. Wednesday night’s show was her second appearance at 3rd and Lindsley this year.
Maybe most well known for her relationship with rock royalty, Buell proved – right out of the gate – that she was paying close attention. She commanded the stage in the manner of the classic rock front person. The set opened with one of her newest songs, “Secret Sister” and a song she described as autobiographical, “Cross My Legs”.
“Hello Music City”, another recent song, is a statement of purpose for this latest chapter in Buell’s story. It was then, fitting that she was joined by long-time and notable Nashville songwriters and session musicians, Beth Hooker and Harry Stinson.
After another new song, “Nothing Really Changes”. Bebe Buell reached back to her very first EP, Covers Girl (1981), for “The Little Black Egg” – a hit song for The Nightcrawlers that was later recorded by The Cars. Ric Ocasek brought the song to Buell and co-produced the EP.
Following another cover, this one of the Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell song, “Superstar”, Buell brought out her next guest, which again underscored this fascinating aspect of this other “New Nashville”. The legendary Crystal Gayle joined in to sing a song she recorded with Buell called, “By a Woman” and stuck around to singing a rocking version of Eddy Arnold’s “I’ll Hold You in My Heart”.
Bebe Buell backed by her new band settled into a groove for the middle part of the set that was highlighted by “Devil You Know” from her 2011 album, Hard Love, “Too Sweet”, “Guilty As Charged”, “Frenemy Mine”, and “Baby, Baby.”
Buell was joined by Dylan Whitlow and Matthew Paige of The Blackfoot Gypsies – a Blues/Rock combo that has emerged as one of the fastest rising bands on this “New Nashville”. “Shake Your Tushie” got the already enthusiastic crowd on their feet.
Buell then closed the set with the proto-punk classic, “I Wanna Be Your Dog”.
The Blackfoot Gypsies took the stage for an unannounced set of songs, while Buell – true to her word – joined the audience in front of the stage. This young band play with unbridled and relentless energy, and they quickly won over the crowd – many of which may have been seeing the band for the first time. The inclusion of Crystal Gayle, Harry Stinson, and Beth Hooker – all well-known members of the “Old Nashville” and The Blackfoot Gypsies – who seem poised to be one of the defining bands of this emerging “New Nashville” served to starkly demonstrate that Bebe Buell once again has her finger on the pulse of a burgeoning and volatile music scene.