The Nobility / Ashford Castle

The Nobility continues to vie for your attention, and here is my attempt to remind you that A. we have merchandise to sell and B. we would love for you to buy some of it. Among the newest items are a “masher” t-shirt, a limited-run poster from the legendary Hatch Show Print, of course, the new album. All of these items you can buy here.

Robin Hilton on NPR’s All Songs Considered called our newest album “joyful, exuberant music” and he “really really loved it”. (humblebrag alert)

The new album:
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Shirts and posters:

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(above photo by Sean Williams)

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We also have a soon-to-be-officially-released 7″ vinyl (45 RPM) record. The A-side is a song from our full-length album, but the B-side, Hope You Still Want to Be Loved, is exclusive to the vinyl and features a previously-unreleased track we recorded with our harmony heroes The Secret Sisters. If you’d like to buy it now, there are ways (i.e. send me an email).

The Nobility with The Secret Sisters

BUY THINGS HERE // BUY THINGS HERE // BUY THINGS HERE // BUY THINGS HERE // BUY THINGS HERE

United Record Pressing

I recently made a rather educational visit to the United Record Pressing. It’s quite literally a hit factory over there.

Serving planet Earth since 1949 and from their current location since 1962, United Record Pressing began as Southern Plastics and is the oldest continually operating and largest vinyl record pressing plant in the US. It’s a time capsule in all the best possible ways.

If you’re a sucker for “how things are made” documentaries, a short, wordless film about the birth of vinyl records can be seen here, but really you’re better off taking a tour of the plant yourself. I would suspect most casual music fans don’t know the place exists, much less the fact that you can walk through the factory.

(See my larger, more extensive photo gallery here)

Directly above the factory is United Record Pressing’s upstairs lounge known as the Motown Suite, where black Motown artists used to stay in the 60’s because hotels wouldn’t allow them a room. Records weren’t kept of the visitors who stayed, but considering the roster of Motown artists of that time, it’s surely an impressive list. The Motown Suite party room, which is a few steps away from the bedroom, still has all the original furniture from 1962. It’s the spot where a 16 year-old Hank Williams Jr. had his first record contract signing party. The space is still a break room for employees but also occasionally doubles as a recording studio, where artists like Brendan Benson and The North Mississippi All-Stars and have recorded live, exclusive URP releases.

My favorite part of the tour had to have been the peak inside a nondescript upstairs room – quite possibly a storage closet at one point in time – where a dude named Oscar sits and listens to literally every single test pressing of every record that is birthed at URP. It’s his job. Before the test pressings are sent to the customer, he must notice any bump, peak or blimp in the record in case of a faulty stamper, which could lead to a screw up in plating. Once approved by Oscar, the test pressings are sent to the customer for their blessing and then production commences.

Special thanks to Jay and Richard at URP for the incredible hospitality!

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See a larger gallery here.

WAMB Radio 1200 AM

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT NASHVILLE, EPISODE ONE

I drive a 2002 Subaru Outback, with a busted CD player and no iPod-playing capabilities, but you know – I don’t mind, because my AM dial works just fine.

There are many things I love about Nashville, but near the top of the list is WAMB 1200 AM. In the world of broadcast it goes by “Adult Standards”. To me, it goes by “Old-Timey Goodness”. From The Andrews Sisters to Herb Alpert, it’s a format that makes all my low-fi, easy listening dreams come true. I felt I was due for a tour after several years of loyal listenership, so I recently tracked down the WAMB powers-that-be (via the station’s befitting website), and they very generously invited me in.

Housed on the bottom floor of the Roundtree Apartments on the outskirts of Nashville, WAMB has been in the same space, with the same analog equipment and the same wall decor (mostly) as when the ribbon was cut in 1975. A few computers and CD players have been added to the arsenal, but for the most part, the place is a time capsule… an incredible time capsule. Fifteen hundred square feet of wood paneling, reel-to-reel tape machines, a wall of still-in-use vinyl records, paperwork done on TYPEWRITERS… my visit was as close to a time warp as maybe I have ever come.

Dave Eastman (seen above and below), the “afternoon drive announcer” weekdays from 3pm to 6pm, was on the mic during my visit… such a nice guy. He graciously let me invade his personal space while in the middle of a busy workday. Dave is a self-proclaimed metalhead, raised on hair bands as high schooler in 1980-something Los Angeles, yet has a deep appreciation for the golden oldies of easy listening. So much so that he has won himself a few octogenarian sweethearts. I could tell by the high volume of call-in requests from ladies at the beauty parlor getting their hair set.

For those of you in the Nashville area, the station plays totally awesome music on weekdays from 12pm until 6pm. After 6, the frequency switches to an all-mariachi format. On weekends, the programming looks something like this (cut and pasted directly from the station’s website):

Weekends
Let’s Talk Computers Saturday 8am
The Safe Money Show with Steve Lux Saturdays at 9am
Great American Song Book Dick Robinson 12pm to 2 pm
Big Band Jump with Don Kennedy 2 to 4 pm
Sunday
Howard Wilks Gospel Show 6 am to 8:30
Christian Science Sentiel 9 to 930 am
Grace Baptist Church 10:15 to 11:30 am
Try the light with Ken Binkley 1130 to Noon
Your hit parade 12 to 1 pm
WAMB Bandstand with Bill Barry 1 to 2 pm
Big Band Jump 2 to 4 pm
First Presbyterian Church 4 to 5pm
Music 5pm
John Michael Grogan Success for Today 11:58 to noon Monday through Friday
The Senior Spotlight: A 2 minute report of news specifically geared to the seniors of middle Tennesee, hosted by paul day, editor of fifty forward newspaper 11:50 am

Please listen! Help make it popular. I want WAMB to live forever!

Special thanks to Mr. Bill Baird and Mr. Bill Barry  for letting me to roam the station freely without any questions asked.

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(Mr. Bill Barry, the station’s manager)