Against the Grain & After the Gold.
To start—well, we started Contrary Western to make sense of how we ended up here.
We being one Nashville native and two Tennessee transplants who arrived here, each of us on a more-or-less permanent basis in 1996, 2015, and 2018 respectively, and figured the best way to make sense of how we ended up here was to start asking artists who’ve also ended up here, or have found themselves temporarily in town, what they do when they get here—to try to get at what it is that brought them here.
Whether they’re passing through to play a show and only have one day in town, what is the first thing they do and the last thing to do before they leave for the rest of their tour. Whether they’ve been hanging around for a while and are getting set to release something new this year, what was the process like in the day-to-day that made this the year. We’re maybe most interested in that, how the day-to-day makes not only the art but also the artist, how the time and space an artist takes toward their art every day informs who they are, and how practice is made perfect.
In what forms will that all take, well, maybe we’re just trying to do the opposite of that ad from a while back that used a wax cylinder recording of Walt Whitman reading from his poem “America” to try to sell some blue jeans. Not to say we necessarily have anything against Walt Whitman or blue jeans or, for that matter, recording America.
Contrary Western is, more or less, a conversation with artists about how they got here, through their songs and their shows, through days in studios and thoughts on the history here too, which is all to say, we’re just asking about how we ended up here—to start.