THE NEWS WIRE
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(Editorial Director of Music)
January 13, 2018 (Saturday) - As Leonard Feather and Nat Hentoff were to jazz journalism of the 1950s and 1960s, so is Jessica Hopper to music journalism (rock and genres otherwise) of the 1990s and early 21st century. Jessica Hopper currently serves as the editorial director of music at MTV News. She has done duty as the editor-in-chief of the Pitchfork Review. She has penned pages for the Chicago Tribune, The Village Voice, SPIN, and GQ, to scratch but the surface of her written compendium. Hopper is the author of two books: The Girls' Guide to Rocking, and The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. The latter was featured in the New York Times Review of Books. She has been interviewed by Newsweek and Time. More vaunted than all this, (and all that), in our eyes, is Hopper's unmitigated voice supporting and defending the place of women in the music industry. By turns subtle and razor-sharp, Hopper never hesitates to brand as "foul play" the all-too-typical practices and behaviors of male chauvinism, as found enshrined and protected in the tower. For all of these reasons, and then some, we are delighted to embed this screenshot for posterity, commemorating one fine day back in September 2017, when Jessica Hopper took a moment on her Twitter Feed to remark upon the merits of the album Shaky by Thayer Sarrano. Many, many thanks, sent by way of Athens, GA, due north, to a place called Chi-Town.
To bump the Hopper commemoration up a notch, we thought we would take this occasion to unveil some photographs that are now a year-old this very month. The photographs are of the Thayer Sarrano String Chamber Ensemble, performing at the Flicker Theatre on January 20th, 2017. The Chamber was constituted on this occasion by, moving left to right: JoJo Glidewell (vox), William T. Kissane (vox), Sarrano herself (vox, guitar), Keiko Ishibashi (violin), Maria Kindt (viola), Elijah Neesmith (bass), and Will Taylor (cello). This show was part of the annual Camp In Festival in Athens, Georgia. Camp In is the East Coast mirror of the West Coast Camp Out, two showcases hosted by two immortal headliners Camper Van Beethoven (namesake) and Cracker. Thayer Sarrano joined both Camper and Cracker for their respective sets across that weekend, playing keys and contributing vocals. You can read our original write-up of that event here in our Vaulted Archives. You can also visit the full gallery page, replete with all the photos of the Sarrano String Chamber Ensemble séance here. If you examine the photographs closely, you can spy Mr. David Lowery himself, sitting on the Camper / Cracker frontman row to the left, wearing the jazzy hep-cat lid (or "hat," for ye layfolk and squares).
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May 19, 2018 (Saturday) - At the Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens, Thayer Sarrano and her String Ensemble join in the album release celebration of that man of the hour -- Don Chambers. That would be Don Chambers pictured above, in the embers of the Georgia Theater, sometime after its destruction by fire in 2009. That would also be the said man gracing the cover of Athens Potluck, with his bright red megaphone, in the snow. (All photos by Jason Thrasher.) Chambers now returns to that same theatre, fresh and resurrected, with a new record under his arm -- Love of Oblivion. You should definitely watch the new video for the lead single "Your Lovers" right now, dear readers. You would also be thoroughly remiss, if you did not explore his "Cabinet of Curiosities" Series on Instagram. This is Chambers' eighth LP release. It follows Disquietude from 2014, in a catalog that extends back to 1998, the year which marked his debut, with Into the Burlesque.
Also aiding Chambers in his celebration of his new album will be Joe Rowe, a multi-instrumentalist of the Athens music scene. Rowe has performed with The Goons, Bliss, and Hall of Fame, among other acts. Explore the story of Rowe's musical accomplishments and journey in his interview with the Athens Music Project, as archived by the Russell Library, of the University of Georgia. As mentioned, Thayer Sarrano takes a brief hiatus from her fuzz-laden musical explorations, offering her song-craft in a guise that weaves the textures and sonorities of a String Ensemble. According to our Archives, Thayer Sarrano last played atop the Georgia Theatre on July 7th, 2017, in a show that marked the album release tour of Tristen, a moment emblazoned on the marquee of that historic venue below.
The Georgia Theatre
May 11, 2018 (Friday) - Thayer Sarrano is in the lounge -- Dee's Lounge, that is, just outside Nashville, in Madison. Also performing tonight will be Christy Hays, a native of Austin, Texas. Nary but a few days ago, Hays brought out her new album -- River Swimmer. Prior to this latest venture, two other full-length LPs sallied forth under Hays' name: Drought (2012) and a self-titled debut from 2009. Joanna Barbera is also in the lounge this evening -- Dee's Lounge, that is, just outside Nashville, in Madison. Her album Forget dates from 2013. Carnival Beginning is from 2009. Her EP -- IMAGO -- is from just last year. Attentive readers of the Guildwater Gazette -- tattered sluice of a paper that it is -- will recognize Barbera as the orchestrator of Songs Not Silence, a showcase for which Thayer Sarrano performed two years back -- in May 2016. As we wrote then, Songs Not Silence is "an organization, helmed by women, that seeks to feature the best female musical talent based in Nashville, all while donating a portion of its proceeds to various women’s organizations across the state of Tennessee – a most noble cause." A statement as true in May 2018, as it was in May 2016.
April 26, 2018 (Thursday) - "Looky looky yonder." Thayer Sarrano rocks the Caledonia Lounge, all in fine-feather, all in Athens, GA. Sarrano is joined by fellow set contributors Kenosha Kid, and The Viking Progress. Our ever-perspicacious readership will quickly recognize Kenosha Kid as the musical vehicle of Dan Nettles, as joined by Marlon Patton, Rick Lollar, and Robby Handley. Sarrano fans the world sideways and over will recognize Dan Nettles as the atmospheric guitarist in her "Thieves Living Room Sketches" performance video. A cluster of studio albums are to Kenosha Kid's credit: Outside Choice (2017), Inside Voices (2015), Fahrenheit (2013), Steamboat Bill Jr. (2013), and Projector (2005). To these, one should also consider the band's live recordings: View 1 and View 2 (2014), as well as Land of Obey (2013). As for videos, the Kid has a few, but we Scribes of the Guild find ourselves pressing play quite often on "Wallpaper," with its aromatic evocation of fusion era Miles Davis, without the trumpet, and a more rapid-fire beat to boot. Jettison your tired copies of Kind of Blue, you too cool cats. Our quills dip their electric ink in Big Fun -- back when Miles confided with Sly, and was the wiser.
Or Perchance It Was The 40 Watt
As for The Viking Progress, this is the musical vessel of Patrick Morales, Athenian, turned Alaskan coastal marine biologist, turned Athenian again, blooming anew, writing songs all the while. The Viking Progress released Whistling While the End Is Near in 2012. Catch their appearance on BalconyTV in hot Atlanta. Thumbing through back copies of the Guildwater Gazette, we learn that Thayer Sarrano last played the Caledonia Lounge on June 23rd, 2017, as part of AthFest, along with longtime music scene cohort T. Hardy Morris. We highlight this particularly because Mr. T. Hardy has a new record coming out this summer -- Dude, The Obscure. Why not give an aural peep to the early single "Be"?