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Kim Sherman and Cotten Music

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Filed under: collector, feature, good friend, home, musician, photographer, retail, singer | 41 Comments »

Kim Sherman and I go all the way back to about 1983 or so. I was a punk kid, with a studio down on Second Avenue North, (current home of Mulligan’s Irish Bar). I lived downstairs, and had a studio upstairs on the second floor. I shot about three album covers a week at that time; the music business was on fire at that time. Kim was doing a record with Phil Johnson for The Benson Company. Fifteen years go by, and we met again through a mutual friend — this time, through photography. (She’s another in this line of strong Renaissance women — she collects art; she cooks; she does photography; she writes songs; she collects bicycles; she co-owns a high-end guitar store. I think I’m going to rename this blog

It turns out, Kim and I both grew up in Kentucky, about two hours apart. Her father farms about 1900 acres in western Kentucky — mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. She has three sisters, and loves her very tightly-knit family. In 1996, Kim joined ranks with Darcy Cotten to run Cotten Music in Hillsboro Village. She’s now writing songs again, and collaborating with friends. A few years ago, she purchased a gorgeous Manuel Zeitlin-designed loft on Belmont, and helped design the interior, even down to importing some of the wood flooring for her sleeping loft, from her father’s barn in Kentucky.

She’s as fine and honest a person as you’ll ever come across. Pure as the day is long; kind-hearted and genuine. Wander into Cotten Music in the village, look down at that tile floor, and feel the history.

Mike Grimes: Grimeys New and Pre-loved Records

Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Filed under: collector, feature, mini-feature, retail, storefront | 1 Comment »

Everything comes full circle. Jon and I stood there in Grimeys Records the other day, on Eighth Avenue South, and he gently pulled out an LP from the liner, and said, “You know, there’s just something about holding a large record like this. Holding it in your hands, and reading the lyrics off the liner, and having a large 12″ piece of art to look at; it’s just so different from downloading a record off of iTunes”.

I’m 52 years old. Of course I knew what he was talking about. I can remember vividly one of the first records I ever bought — it was a Carly Simon record, from Taylor Drug Store, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Not sure the year — probably about 1972. I loved Carly Simon at that time, but the main reason I bought that particular record was because of the nipples sticking thru her blue T-shirt. Let’s not forget — I was probably 14 years old at the time, and in 1972-repressed-Southern-Baptist-Kentucky, that album cover was pretty scandalous. (I can imagine that panicked scene today, in some record company conference room, when the film was delivered — that look of panic on the publicist’s eyes, saying “We can never send out these pictures; we’ll have to Photoshop them out!”) I guess I justified buying it to my mother because it had “You’re So Vain” on it, which was a huge hit at the time.

Fast forward to about 1976 or so. I was a redneck goofball, about to graduate high school. I made this deal with the local record store (and Head Shop), to drive to Nashville and pick up a stack of concert tickets for every show at Municipal Auditorium. I think the name of the shop was Headquarters. Hint, hint. And yes, those bongs under the counter were meant for tobacco. Right. I’d ride my father’s Harley from Bowling Green to Nashville, pick up a stack of concert tickets, turn around and ride right back to Bowling Green. For this service, I was paid two concert tickets. I loved it. I felt important.

So Mike Grimes is preserving this period of time. I can’t imagine that vinyl has a chance to compete with iTunes on any large scale, but maybe there is enough market share there to at least stay profitable. I completely understand the tactile quality of a 12″ record, that Jon mentioned. There’s nothing like it — even the pops and cracks and skips. I can still remember when Physical Graffiti came out, and the record was die-cut, and the title of the record showed through the window frames of that building.

I heard the other day that there’s now a guy trying to bring back the eight-track tape as well. Vintage is nice, but some things just ought to die, for good.

Edit/Update: I received this note from Mike after posting. He wanted to add this to the message of the video:

If you don’t mind, perhaps place this at the end of your piece:

‘Grimey sometimes gets nervous being interviewed on camera, when viewing please
replace the term Contemporary Country Music for Traditional Country music, he loves
Hank, Ernest and Buck, not as crazy about Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, you get it.’

Would really appreciate it.

Sarah Souther: The Girl with the Infectious Laugh

Posted: March 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: artist, feature, food, great face, retail, yoga | 8 Comments »

I kept hearing about this Sarah Souther girl. Everyone saying, “You’ve got to include her in your project!”. But I didn’t get it about the marshmallow thing; what’s so interesting about that? But then I got to know her, and she’s just a joy to be with. She spent her first 24 years in Ireland, then followed a man here to Nashville. Now she’s here, teaching yoga, and running a designer marshmallow company in East Nashville. She’s also an artist that works with silk. I think the plan is for her to soon move to the Marathon Building, and expand her business. Watch the video, below, and tell me you can’t be with her without smiling.

(Added later: Sarah's sweet daughter, Anja).

International Market: Bell and Kont

Posted: February 24th, 2011 | Filed under: great face, mini-feature, restaurant, retail | 3 Comments »

We had a very productive day today with this project. This morning, Jon and I photographed performance artist Tom Mason in Shelby Park (to be published later, with video), then grabbed some fine lunch at Turnip Truck in the Gulch, then made our way over to photograph Mike Grimes at Grimeys (to be published later). Then out to Trader Joes to try to convince this guy that works there to allow us to photograph him; “Please say yes, you have a great face”. Then back to International Market to buy a rice cooker for a party; while we were there, we saw Kont and Bell behind the counter, and asked if we could photograph them.

I’ve eaten a thousand meals at International Market over the years; (Tom Yum and Ka Pow). Whenever I order from the kitchen, Kont usually brings me the meal out, and we have this ritual where I thank her, and we look at each other and smile, and she says, “You’re welcome”. It’s just a nice little dance we do; so sweet and kind. I found out today that Bell is from Thailand, and Kont is from Laos. Kont doesn’t speak much English, so Bell stayed with us and translated. (Mostly, I just waved my arms, smiled, and talked louder than normal, as if that would help). We photographed them both out on the sidewalk in front, on Belmont. We got off about six or seven sheets of each one, before they had to go back in to work.

Was a very good day.

Bell grew up in Thailand.

Kont grew up in Laos.

Ian Leach, Imogene + Willie

Posted: February 9th, 2011 | Filed under: clothing, retail, storefront | 1 Comment »