About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”

But Officer, the Music Made me do It

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI was recently driving back from the family beach trip and looked down at the speedometer.  Holy crap, I was splitting Birmingham wide-open on I-65 doing about 85 MPH.  First of all, I was getting passed by a bunch of crazy drivers and secondly, I realized the music made me do it.

We all know those songs that when we hear them, we just have to speed up.  For some it is the beat of the song, and for others, we may associate it with a movie or something that involved a speeding car.

While thinking of this topic, I jotted down a few songs that will naturally make me want to drive fast.  

  • I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters
  • (You Can Still) Rock in America – Night Ranger
  • Dream Police- Cheap Trick
  • Surrender – Cheap Trick  
  • Get it Up – Chickenfoot
  • Rock City – Damn Yankees
  • Can’t Keep A Good Man Down – Eddie Money
  • Reach for Me – Jackyl
  • Detroit Rock City – KISS –it also helps that the song is about driving fast
  • Ridin’ The Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
  • In a Simple Rhyme – Van Halen
  • Unchained – Van Halen
  • Rockin’ with the Radio – Blue Tears (Google the band)

And finally, the ultimate –

  • I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar, ultimate

How many of these impact you the same way?  Do you have others?  Let me know.

Speeding Along in Music City 

Zach

P.S.  No, I didn’t get a ticket in Birmingham.

I Can’t Think of a Song

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhen I write my weekly, bi-weekly, monthly musing, it is generally about something musical – either an artist, song, album, experience, etc.  Today it is not.  I actually thought about trying to force it, but like bolts that won’t fit or bad relationships, you just can’t force some things.

You see, eight years ago on May 1 – 2, disaster hit Middle Tennessee where I live.  My town of Kingston Springs was one of the hardest hit areas by the Great Flood of 2010.  There wasn’t anything funny or musical about it.  There was some magic that happened when our community (and greater Nashville) banded together and helped each other.  We didn’t loot, burn cars, or sit and wait with our hand out for the government slop trough to roll into town.  

Prior to my Music Musings blog, I had a blog entitled Squire Ponderings.  A few days after the flood, I blogged about it and people’s reactions and included some pictures.  I read it last night and it is still hard to believe it happened.  You can find it at Flood Ponderings.  The executive summary of the blog is 1) it rained, 2) it rained some more 3) water got deep 4) people helped each other.

I was wrong – there is a musical connection that I left out of the blog.  Many travelers got stranded at our exit (I-40, #188) due to flooding on I-40.  One group that was stranded was a polka band from Pennsylvania.  They set up and played outside a service station at the exit.  I mean, you have instruments and beer – why not play?  Because of the hospitality afforded them, when they finally returned home, they played a benefit show and sent the money raised back to help the people of Tennessee.  I guess music does bind us all together.

Musing on flood waters

Zach

Backstage Without a Pass

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis is a line in the Chickenfoot song “My Kind of Girl”.  It alludes to a lady who evidently gets backstage to party on the weekends.  For many years, the image of being backstage at rock shows conjured up images of scantily clad folks, beer fountains, and overall debauchery.   A while back, I mused about this in the classic Backstage: Sex, Drugs and… Bar-B-Que? musing.   Besides reveling in activity that would make your Sunday School teacher blush, one of the benefits of being backstage allowed you to meet some of the very people you were there to see perform.  

How does one get backstage?  You could be lucky enough to know someone in the band/crew or win a radio contest.  Often, someone gets picked out of the crowd by the band to join them in “social interaction” after the show.  They get noticed because they flash the band during the show.  I tried that once a few years ago – luckily I could hide from Stevie’s security detail.  I apologized to her for making her laugh during a song.  Over the last few years, there has evolved a new way to get backstage – you pay for it.  

Yep, you can now plop down that ole credit card and buy your way backstage.  There are various VIP packages you can purchase from Ticketmaster for some artists.  I browsed some coming shows to obtain a sample of what you could get.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Cheap Trick – for only $325/ticket at the Ascend Ampitheatre, you sit in the first five rows, get a shirt, a limited edition print, a Dream Police badge, and a meet and greet with the band.  [The meet and greet session is typically a production line where you walk in, get a pic snapped, and are ushered out].
  • Taylor Swift – for $546 at Nissan Stadium, you will get a seat and a custom memorabilia box with a personal message from Taylor herself.  No meet and greet though.
  • Def Leppard – for only $850, you get a front row seat, meet and greet, picture, autographed picture, and a luggage tag among other items.

The creative spark for this musing was an interview I heard with Gene Simmons (of KISS if you must ask) about him coming to Nashville.  He is pitching the Gene Simmons Vault which is a collection of recordings and pictures throughout his whole career.  Somewhat intrigued, I checked out the website and then proceeded to laugh.  Big Gene wants $2,000 for you and a guest to come see him play a few songs and hand you your autographed copy of the Vault.  Scary thing is that there is a list of about 40 cities where Gene is going – that means that people are paying this amount.

If you can buy your way backstage just like Jim Ed Bob in McEwen can, it loses some of its luster in my mind.  Maybe you could buy your way backstage and come up with a great story about how Stevie picked you out of a crowd and wanted you to feed her grapes……

Dreaming, uh musing in Nashville

Zach

The Eagles Touch Down in Nashville

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI remember going into the Service Merchandise store on Nolensville Road (in South Nashville) when I was probably 12 or 13 and purchasing the Eagles’ Hotel California on 8-track.  It was my first “album” that I ever purchased.  I never go to see them since I was too young for concerts when I was 12 and I don’t think they came to Nashville in support of The Long Run when I was in high school.  

Needless to say, when hell froze over and the Eagles reunited and toured in the mid-90’s – I was there.  I saw them in 1995 at Starwood Amphitheatre (RIP) where they played for two consecutive nights.  I remember the local paper ran a review of the first night’s show and the reviewer questioned whether Don Henley was actually the one hitting those high notes during One of These Nights.  Henley must read the locals because he invited the reviewer to the second night’s show and sat him next to his drum kit and when the high part was coming up, Henley turned to the reporter and mouthed “watch this”.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Well, fast forward 20 years and the Eagles are playing two nights at the Bridgestone arena.  The line-up is different – Don Felder was kicked out of the band and sadly Glenn Frey passed away in January 2016.  Besides founder Don Henley, the current line-up is Joe Walsh (joined with Hotel California), Timothy B Schmidt (joined with Long Run), Vince Gill (country superstar) and Deacon Frey (Glenn Frey’s 24 year-old son).  They did not disappoint the sold out crowd for 2.5 hours as they sang hit after hit.  Rather than try to weave my observations into paragraphs, I will resort to the lazy way – bullets (in no particular order):

  • Vince won the crowd over by simply coming out in a Nashville Predators jersey (sweater).  He fits right in with not only his guitar work, but his vocals.  
  • Steuart Smith was the unmentioned guitar player on stage (in addition to other backing musicians) who could trade licks with Joe Walsh and the best of them.  
  • Timothy B Schmidt spent the entire show sitting on a stool with his foot in a boot.  He later explained that he had fallen in the shower and broke his foot.
  • Strings and horns were added to several songs which added a nice touch.
  • Don Henley played drums on all the songs prior to Long Run, except Life in the Fast Lane.
  • Pretty brave to open the show with the acapella Seven Bridges Road. 
  • Henley gave a big shout out and plug for Ashley Monroe’s new album coming out.  This was probably worth 5,000 sales/downloads alone.
  • Deacon jumped right in and sang Take It Easy as the second song.  
  • Speaking of Deacon, he sang his father’s songs that were lower and he sounded just like him.
  • Joe Walsh played four of his solo songs and Vince played one of his hits, while Henley played none of his.  I’m curious as to why?  It isn’t like Henley doesn’t have the material to play.  I would have given up one of Walsh’s solo songs for Heart of the Matter or another Eagles’ song.

The entire evening was an opportunity to travel back in time and relive a lot of my teenage years with these songs. If you have a chance, go.

Still humming those great Eagles’ songs

Zach

P.S. Here is the set list from the 03/23/2018 show:

1.      Seven Bridges Road

2.      Take It Easy – sung by Deacon

3.      One of These Nights

4.      Take It to the Limit – Vince.  Yes, he did go after those high notes at the end that Randy Meisner wouldn’t attempt most nights.

5.      Tequila Sunrise – Vince 

6.      Witchy Woman

7.      In the City – favorite Eagles’ song by Joe Walsh

8.      I Can’t Tell You Why

9.      How Long

10.     Ol’ ’55 – deep cut that hadn’t been played in 18 years – sung by Vince

11.     Peaceful Easy Feeling – Deacon.  Song ended with picture of Glenn Frey on the screen.  It got very dusty around this time. 

12.     The Best of My Love

13.     Lyin’ Eyes – Vince  

14.     Love Will Keep Us Alive

15.     New Kid in Town – Vince. 

16.     Next Big Thing – Vince’s solo song.  He proclaimed that he was the “new kid”

17.     Those Shoes – deep cut from Long Run

18.     Already Gone – Deacon

19.     Victim of Love

20.     Walk Away – Joe Walsh solo song

21.     Heartache Tonight – Vince

22.     Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh solo song

23.     Funk #49 – Joe Walsh solo song

24.     Life in the Fast Lane.

Encore #1

25.     Hotel California – had a horn intro that was killer

Encore #2

26.     Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh solo song – unusual to be an encore

27.     Desperado – great way to close.  THE Eagles song.

I Knew Her Back When…

music musings, beaverdamusa.comOccasionally, you may be lucky enough to catch an opening act at a concert who goes on to make it big, or if you are in Nashville, you may get to boast that the latest hot artist used to wait on your table at the local restaurant.  Seldom do you have a chance to see someone grow in popularity as she grows up.  

2016-12-07+21.09.50-1Several years ago, my oldest son Will emceed the middle school talent show and proclaimed to the audience that we should remember one of his classmates because she would be going places.  He does appear to have the talents of Carnac the Magnificent, because it appears that Kingston Springs’ own Savannah Conley is taking off.  I mused about one of her Nashville at journey resurrection & savannah

Savannah recently signed a recording deal with Elektra and issued an EP entitled Twenty-Twenty which can be found at all the usual digital and social media outlets.  My favorite cut on her most recent EP is Same Ole Eyes in which she wishes she could “…see her father the way other people do and not through the lens of a daughter.”  Elektra classifies her as a folk artist, but I classify her as a singer with a great voice and vocal range.

It is great to watch her progress from the Harpeth Middle School talent show some eight years ago to going on the road with Brandi Carlile and opening for the one and only Willie Nelson.  My favorite Savannah memory though is her high school graduation night.  She wrote and performed a song for her classmates that night.  I couldn’t tell you any of the lyrics, but the dust was clearly stirred up that night.

Do yourself a favor and snag some Savannah Conley for your music library.  You won’t regret it.

Dust in the Wind

music musings, beaverdamusa.comYou know there are songs that can immediately transport us back in time the second you hear them.  Often, it takes you to a happy place such as the beach or maybe a particular relationship.  Today’s musing is about a song that takes me back several years to a very tragic event.  

Every time I hear Dust in the Wind by Kansas (1977), it reminds me of probably the only time my hometown of Waverly, TN made the evening news.  The date was February 24, 1978 which was the day a railroad propane tanker exploded in downtown Waverly, eventually killing 16 people, injuring hundreds more, and forever changing the lives of everyone in our town of 5,000.  It was the lead story on NBC’s Nightly News and John Chancellor uttered the words “there’s been a train explosion in Waverly, Tennessee.”

This year will make 40 years since the explosion.  Each year on February 24, I think about that day; however, I also think about it whenever I hear Dust in the Wind.  One of my good friends at the time was the son of the police chief.  The chief was one of the 16 killed.  I remember my friend had a Kansas concert shirt and Dust in the Wind was very popular at the time.  After the explosion, I thought the words were very poignant as the town attempted to recover.  There are friends who still carry the literal scars of that day.  More carried the emotional scars as they pushed through their new normal without spouses, children, parents, co-workers, or friends.  For years, people around Waverly would flinch whenever they heard a helicopter go over them.  It seemed like choppers filled the skies for days carrying wounded to all parts of the country for burn treatment.  A monument and caboose stand at the site now to honor all of those impacted by this tragedy.  The number of people who pass it and understand what happened are dwindling.  I was 14 years old when it happened, so my generation is the last one to remember it.  That in itself saddens me.

I took the liberty of including the lyrics to Dust in the Wind.  

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
The wind

Musing on the past

Zach

P.S.  If you are interested in learning more about the Waverly explosion, please see:

Love Songs

music musings, beaverdamusa.comAs I write this musing, it is Valentine’s Day.  I thought I would wax poetic on how love has impacted different music genres through the years.  Then I realized I didn’t know what the hell that last sentence meant.  In football terms, I dropped back and punted. 

I then decided to see what my music catalog turned up when I searched for “love”.  It returned 926 songs that had “love” in the song title, performer’s name, or album title.  Once again I am amazed at the diversity in my catalog.  Contrary to my sweet Valentine’s belief, there are songs more recent than 1995 in the list.

I won’t bore you with all the songs, but here are some that grabbed my eye as I scrolled through the list:

  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love by Van Halen – my favorite DLR era song.  Don’t think they had Valentine’s Day in mind when they wrote this….
  • Anything for Love by Meat Loaf – this song revived his career in the 90’s.  Love this song and glad to get to see him do it live.
  • Burning Love by Elvis – E loved him some love songs.
  • Calling Dr Love by KISS.  Again, this goes in the category of “don’t think Valentine’s Day was on their mind”.
  • Cool Love by Pablo Cruise – have always loved this song.  Still hoping Dave Jenkins will do it live someday.
  • Deeper Kinda Love by Sammy Hagar – a hidden gem by the Red Rocker.
  • Endless Love by Lionel Richie – don’t hate.
  • Heard It in A Love Song by Marshall Tucker Band – a classic that causes me to pause every time I hear the opening notes.
  • I Wanna Learn A Love Song by Harry Chapin – one of my favorites by Harry.  
  • Love in the Midnight by Styx – I can still hear the 8-track fade out and back in as the track changed on this deep cut on Cornerstone.
  • When It’s Love by Van Halen – my favorite Sammy-era song.  
  • When You Need My Love by Darryl Worley – the twist he puts on the lyrics on the last verse is great songwriting.

As you can see by the sampling above, love appears in all kinds of songs with a variety of meanings.   Regardless, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Musing on Love

Zach

 

Garth in Nashville: The Big Finale

music musings, beaverdamusa.comA few years ago, I got to see Van Halen in Atlanta on the opening night of the tour.  I loved it even though the show was a little rough around the edges.  The energy level was off the charts like the guys were anxious to get out and play.   

Right before Christmas I got to see the other end of the spectrum – the last show on a tour.  Garth Brooks closed out his massive World Tour in Nashville with seven shows at Bridgestone Arena.  How big is massive? Since September 2014, Garth performed 390 shows in 78 cities.  Over these shows, 6.4 million people paid to see him. For you non-accountants, that’s 82,000 people per city.  He played seven shows in Nashville to close out the tour.  The one I went to was the final show of the run.  While seven seems like a lot, he did nine shows for the Nashville flood relief in 2010.  The Nashville Predators even hung a banner to honor him for those shows. 

garth bannerI previously mused about seeing Garth in Memphis (Garth in Memphis), but this show was a little different.  Since Garth was only performing one show a day instead of two shows, there were opening acts. First out was one of his backup singers – Karyn Rochelle.  When I saw the show in Memphis, she got to sing during Trisha’s set.  She sang Georgia Rain which she wrote and Trisha recorded.  Karyn has some pipes and is a great songwriter.  Next up was Chris Janson.  This made the trip downtown worth it.   He was a one-man band and very down to earth.  I became a fan of his that night based on his song “Drunk Girl”.  He introduced the song by telling how he has a daughter and hopes that she would meet a guy like the one he describes in the song.  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  

IMG_0094Rather than try and weave my thoughts and observations into sentences and paragraphs, I will just give you bullet points:

  • Garth played a little over 2.5 hours.  The only “intermission” he had was when Trisha came out and did her set.
  • He wore a classic Jack Daniel’s t-shirt under his long-sleeved shirt the entire night.  Don’t know if he is a fan or just showing some Tennessee pride.
  • While introducing the back-up singers, he noted that Robert Bailey was in the band that played Shout in the movie Animal House.  He took the opportunity to play Shout and let Robert have a go with vocals.
  • Trisha came out and did a few songs.  After a while Garth came out and it was interesting to see the way he looked at her.  He was doing some fine acting or he is seriously in love with her.
  • Garth indicated the Nashville run of shows were being recorded for a live album.
  • During Trisha’s She’s In Love with the Boy, the camera operators did the “Kiss Cam” where they would zoom in on couples who would then kiss for the crowd.  Trisha did give a warning that if “you were there with someone you weren’t supposed to be, it might be a good time to go to the bathroom or concession stand”.

IMG_0096In closing, it was a great show and I can honestly say that there wasn’t a fall off from the show I saw in February to the last one as far as his energy or the music.  I must say that over the last couple of years, I have become a Garth fan.  You should too.

Proud to be a part of the largest tour by a musician ever – 

Zach

Set List:

  • Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance
  • Rodeo
  • Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House
  • The River
  • Two Piña Coladas
  • Papa Loved Mama
  • Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)
  • Unanswered Prayers
  • If Tomorrow Never Comes
  • That Summer
  • Thunder Rolls – including the “lost verse” which they took off radio.
  • In Another’s Eyes – duet with Trisha

Trisha’s Set

  • XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl)
  • How Do I Live
  • Wrong Side of Memphis
  • She’s in Love With the Boy

Garth returns

  • Shameless
  • Shout – with Robert Bailey
  • Callin’ Baton Rouge
  • Friends in Low Places
  • Dance – Garth, as well as everyone else got choked up during this song.  Damn dust. 

IMG_0097Encore – G said he would do songs he wanted to as well as what the crowd wanted

  • She’s Every Woman
  • Don’t Close Your Eyes – Keith Whitley cover
  • She’s Gonna Make It – deep cut off Sevens
  • Wild Horses
  • Turn the Page -  Bob Seger cover
  • Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old
  • Fishing in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band cover – lyrics on screen.  Indicated it would be on album
  • Walk Away Joe – Trisha (requested by Garth) 
  • Where Your Road Leads – Trisha 
  • Song Remembers When – Trisha
  • Bus to St. Cloud – Trisha
  • Standing Outside the Fire – full band with Trisha singing with backup singers

Up Close and Personal

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThrough the years, I have attended musical events at various sized venues.  Sizes ranged from stadiums to small listening rooms.  However, I had never been to a house concert until a couple of weeks ago.  A house concert is exactly what it sounds like, a concert at someone’s house.  The seating is very limited due to the fact that the show is in someone’s living room – usually.

This house concert was held at the home of my friends, Ric & Helen Olsen.  So you don’t pry yourself away from this riveting musing, Ric was the guitarist for the band Berlin (Take My Breath Away from Top Gun).  In his basement, Ric has basically set up a small stage complete with sound and light systems.  So the setting was great to listen to music.

The musical guests were Jaime Kyle, Dave Jenkins, and Walter Egan.  I’ve mused about Jaime and Dave before (Jaime & Dave).  If you didn’t know, Jaime is a singer/songwriter extraordinaire from Nashville and Dave (her husband) is the founder and lead singer of Pablo Cruise.  Walter Egan is known for his hit Magnet & Steel back in the late 70s.  The couple of times I have seen Walter out, I have really grown to appreciate his songwriting.  

The house concert was a great opportunity to see some fine musicians and songwriters up close and personal.  The format was the typical songwriters round with each taking turns showing off their proudest achievements like a parent does with their children.  Sometimes their proudest achievements are not necessarily the most well-known.  My favorites of the evening were:

  • Walter’s Old Photographs which was inspired by Walter reclaiming personal photos from the May 2010 flood here in Middle Tennessee.
  • Jaime’s Untangled which has been a favorite ever since I heard it back in 2000 for the first time.
  • Dave’s Living Inside Your Love about Jaime.  As I told him that night, this song has legs and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear it on the radio sometime.

Regretfully, someone forgot the keyboard, so we couldn’t hear Jaime’s latest song Grace.  Do yourself a favor and go find this song on YouTube.  You will thank me.  The forgotten keyboard and other technical glitches just added to the evening in my opinion.  It made the performances human and real.  Not some slick over-produced show that is the same night after night.  

My first house concert was a blast and I hope Ric & Helen do more.  It is a great way to listen to music and interact with the artists.  Go find yourself one and go.

Musing on a cold December day…

Zach

It Happened Again

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI found the Christmas spirit again.  It was right where I found it a couple of years ago – at a large church in downtown Nashville.  A couple of years ago, I mused about finding the Christmas spirit by listening to of all things – tubas playing Christmas carols (Tuba Christmas).

Regretfully, work prevented me from attending last year, so I made sure my calendar was blocked off to allow plenty of time to make it there for this year’s performance.  The performances have become so popular that there have been two performances for the last few years.  

This year didn’t disappoint.   As I sat in the pew, I again found myself singing along with over 120 tubas as they played through Christmas classics such as Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and the witty Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas.  Again, I was amazed at the sound these instruments made.  It truly is surprising how beautiful these instruments are.

Though I didn’t get to go last year, a couple of co-workers went based upon hearing about it from my Musing column.   They loved it and vowed to come back this year.  They kept their promise and even took in both shows!  This year was extra special because my beautiful bride got to attend with me along with a good friend of ours.  Since they were TCVs (Tuba Christmas Virgins), I was worried that they would be disappointed after I had hyped it up so much.  I believe I do have a couple of converts.  

I guess the Joy I feel in sharing Tuba Christmas is indicative of a lot of things.  I am reminded of the old Sunday School song goes “Hide it under a bushel? No!”  We all get caught up in the bustle of Christmas and worry whether we have enough presents.  As I age, I realize that joy comes from sharing experiences and feelings – not necessarily things.  

Take some time this Christmas and throughout the year to share things that make you happy with others.  Whether it is going to an event together or just letting someone know about a great new artist you discovered, share it.  It will bring you and the other person joy.

Peace to you at this Christmastime and go share some joy.  Thanks for reading throughout the year.

Musing in Music City

Zach

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