Harnessing the power of music and food for good...

Kesha has probably had a worse few years than you. It’s not a competition, but if it wer, her cards to play include a loss in court against her accused rapist, an eating disorder, and a rehab stint. But she came back a healthier artist, dropping the hottest album of 2017. Rainbow is dripping with extremes of up-tempo rock anthems, glitter-snarl attitude, and thoughtful ballads. I didn’t stop dancing or singing along once when her tour hit Raleigh.

But more than great music, her album proves she has learned a lot in her recovery. I could write a post about easily half the tracks on this record. The one I’m picking for Movember, the one I think best applies to us men and is so rarely actually taught to us, is “Let ‘Em Talk.”

That’s right—it’s Boundaries week here on Fighting The Nashville Blues!

Shake that ass
Don’t care if they talk about it
Fuck all that
haters, just forget about them

Kesha, “Let ’em Talk”

“Boundaries” is a word us shrinks use to talk about the essential rules of communicating in relationships. It’s a little tough to define, so I’ll give you some examples instead.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, etc. Some of them, I can choose. I can, like we covered last week, opt to spend my attention on the past or the present. I can recognize that thinking about old mistakes is more likely to get me in a sad mood compared to thoughts of my present-day options. But I’m not ultimately responsible for my feelings. I can’t help it if I feel sad seeing a picture of a refugee camp, or if you remind me of that jerk in middle school, or if a plate of olives makes my stomach twist up and my nose do that scrunchy reflex thing my mom told me was rude and that I had definitely inherited from her mother-in-law.

What I am responsible for is my actions, including what I say and how I say it. “No thanks” is probably going to be better for my relationship to my host than, “Olives are gross. I won’t eat them, and I think less of you for thinking I would.” Even if that’s true. And it is.

Remember, that same rule applies to every other person in your life. People are responsible for their actions, not their thoughts or feelings. If somebody’s putting you down, it’s absolutely okay to point that out to them. But if they’re generally cool to you, you can stop analyzing why. That’s on their side of the boundary.

Here’s where that gets awesome: As long as they keep their comments civil, their opinions don’t actually mean anything. It’s good to know them. Part of an authentic friendship is a curiosity about a person’s inner world. But if they don’t like how you do something, well, “fuck all that.” You want to tell me I stepped on your foot? Please do, I need that feedback. I’ve affected you. You think I need to take a few lessons and lose ten pounds before I share your dance floor? Thanks for letting me know your thoughts, that’s cool, I’m still dancing until I decide not to. Maybe you won’t like me. A risk I’m willing to take.

Do your thing
don’t care if you make ‘em jealous

Kesha,”Let ’em Talk”

So does that mean we get to say whatever we want? Like, if your hurt feelings aren’t under my control, why should I even think about you? No, and here’s why:

We are all people together. We’re existentially alone, it sucks. We’re all going to die and probably not together; and until that day, we’re just walking each other home, my friends. That shared community, however loose or arbitrary, means we have a responsibility to each other. We have to take ownership of our side of the health of our relationships.

If I said something and it pissed you off, you may be overreacting. I don’t know you. Maybe you take everything too personally. But if I want a relationship with you, I owe it to both of us to ask what happened. “I have no idea if this is because of something I did, but you look/sound angry; and since I haven’t tried to piss you off, I’m confused. If you tell me what’s bugging you, I can explain or apologize for my side of it. If you need time, that’s cool, too, but message received, you’re mad, I get it.”

Because I don’t have a responsibility for you. I’m not in charge of reading your mind or predicting your emotional reflexes. But I have a responsibility to you. I factor in what I know about you when I talk to you, and if I step in something, I apologize or ask about it.

Until then, what do I do when I freak out that you’re judging my dancing or hurt by my speaking up for myself when we tried to pick a movie for our next date? I get to remind myself of the boundaries. The freak out is on my side of the boundary and not controllable. What you think about the situation is on yours and is just as far out of my control. What I say to you or where I put my attention, that’s up to me. So I’m going to talk myself down as many times as I need to. And we’re going to be just fine.

It used to hurt me
Used to bring me down
But do your worst
Cuz nothing’s gonna stop me now

Kesha, “Let ’em Talk”

Special case: People in relationships with people using drugs or alcohol to avoid emotional pain may have an extra-tough time with this “responsibility to versus responsibility for” thing. It can be hard to trust a person to take care of himself when his substance abuse keeps him from really doing that well. So people can end up thinking it’s on them to keep the family going, to keep the neighbors from asking questions, to make sure she doesn’t have a bottle hidden in the bathroom. If this sounds familiar, please check out Al-Anon, a free group that meets all over the world and even on Skype. There’s no better way to learn boundaries.

Let’s all take a lesson from Kesha this Movember. Let’s dance, not like nobody’s watching, but like we don’t have to take responsibility to keep them entertained. Let’s use our boundaries to give ourselves a break for the natural moods we feel and to get closer to the people we love. And let’s let ‘em talk.

Movember

I have mentioned each year I do Movember that I have personal experience dealing with depression. Each year I plan to elaborate on that, but to date, I haven’t. It still isn’t an easy thing to talk about. I have suffered from four major depressive episodes in my life over the last twenty years. Not stretches of time feeling sad, but months at I time where I don’t get out bed, shower, put on pants, answer my phone, or really talk to anyone. This cost me an academic scholarship to Southwestern University, my Ph.D. from Vanderbilt, and has put a strain on both romantic and family relationships .

The first time I was diagnosed with depression was the summer between high school and college. I had been manifesting some strange neurological symptoms after being under general anesthesia for the extraction of my wisdom teeth. There was a bit of aphasia, where I spoke in short, choppy sentences and sometimes forgot words I should know. After a series of escalating doctors visits, I ended up at a neurologist’s office. At some point in our personal history interview he discovered my girlfriend broke up with me a few months prior, so he jumped to a diagnosis of depression, wrote a couple scrips, then decided it was a done deal. Mystery solved.

I was still far from 100% when my Freshman year at Southwestern University began. The admissions counselor I interviewed with observed and noted the differences between the bright, energetic young man he talked with and my current condition. He looked at all of my existing college credits through AP and Dual Credit courses and told me I’ve already done my first semester and then some. He advised me to take some time to get better and to come back in the spring and hit the ground running. I followed this advice.

Eventually, things returned to more or less the way they were before. I don’t recall how long I took the drugs for depression. I suppose it is hard to determine when something like that is “working.” I didn’t notice it “working,” but I did notice some unpleasant side effects and, eventually, I stopped taking them. My return to University was uneventful, and I started my time at Southwestern doing quite well academically.

Things were humming along until Spring 2001. Looking back, I wonder if my first diagnosed episode of depression was indeed that or something related to the anesthesia from my surgery. With this second bout, there is no doubt that I was suffering from a classic, major depressive episode; though I did not realize or acknowledge this at the time. This was the first time that I was bed-ridden, don’t put on pants, or even leave my room for days at a time.

My GPA plummeted from a respectable cumulative 3.6 to a 1.2 on the semester. (Damn Southwestern lowers your GPA for an A-. Side note, when looking at colleges, check out their holiday calendar and the +/- policy on the ole’ GPA). I was able to withdraw from a couple classes, somehow managed a C+ in Spanish, got an A in wind ensemble—I was able to put pants on by noon three days a week to go play my horn for an hour. Failed both neurobiology and an elective called “Parenting: Theories & Realities.” (I can’t wait for when I have kids, and they are teenagers and think I’m an asshole to remind them that I did fail Parenting in college, so deal with it.)

When I say this was a classic, major depressive episode, what do I mean? The DSM-V has eight criteria for such incidents. If you experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the signs is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, guess what? You’re clinically depressed. Here are the criteria:


1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

Yep.


2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.

Ah. Anhedonia. From the Greek an-, “without” and hēdonē, “pleasure.” A diverse array of deficits in hedonic function, including reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure. This is my personal number one indicator of depression. From this publication, you can rightly assume I enjoy music and going to live shows. When I am depressed, I can’t get it together to go to shows I would otherwise never miss. And it isn’t that I want to go, but just can’t do it. The desire to go is absent. And if I do get drug out to
I would usually love by friends, I don’t really enjoy it. It isn’t bad, it’s just whatever. No emotional response whatsoever and I’m the type of guy that generally can’t stop grinning at a concert and gets goosebumps from music on a regular basis.


3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

I think my most substantial weight fluctuations in college were my freshman year (got the freshman 50 instead of the 15, going from 175 to 225) then when I was getting ready to enlist in the Army. When I am depressed, my weight tends to remain relatively stable, but my eating habits go to shit. I won’t be hungry or interested in food for days, but when that changes, I’ll house an entire pizza with half a bottle of ranch in one sitting. So, no real net gain or loss; but not a healthy, ideal nutrition plan.


4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).

I am definitely sloth-like when depressed. This manifests mostly through my remaining in bed until motivated by hunger to forage for food around four in the afternoon, but even when I am ambulatory, it is at a snail’s pace.


5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

Yep.


6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

Oh yeah. This wasn’t particularly the case during this particular episode, but my most recent two incidents in graduate school, this was definitely a daily thing. The tape on repeat in my head was how I have made all the wrong choices and irreparably screwed up my future and damned myself to continued poverty and worthlessness.


7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

Oh yeah.


8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

This one is tricky, and also difficult to talk about even though I am trying to be completely open and transparent. I never contemplated suicide in any concrete manner, though it would be inaccurate to say it never crossed my mind. When it did, it was always a transient, fleeting thought. Nothing that I got fixated on or planned out in any specific way.


If you are contemplating taking your life, call someone. Call me. Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.


To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The signs must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition. I would say straightish As to straightish Fs counts as a significant impairment to functioning.

Looking back, this was so obviously a major depressive episode. I had no idea what was happening at the time. I knew something was up. I knew it wasn’t good or healthy. We had free counseling services available at the university, but it never crossed my mind to take advantage of them. Shrinks are for crazy people. I don’t know what’s up, but I’m not crazy; so I don’t need a shrink.

I didn’t seek treatment. Eventually, things returned to normal. I had enlisted in the Army National Guard the Fall before and left in May after my atrocious semester for Basic Training. Not entirely sure where I was on the depression spectrum when I left for basic, but wallowing in bed until four in the afternoon was not an option there.

I returned to Southwestern in Spring 2002. Three As and one B was a significant improvement from my last semester, but a C in Molecular Genetics (docked an entire letter grade for missing one lab), and a D in Frank Guziec’s Organic Chemistry II course meant my GPA was just under the threshold that I needed to maintain my academic scholarship and my days at Southwestern were over.

Since this tell-all account is growing longer than even interested parties would care to read, I am going to wrap this up for the day. We will have the next installment soon.

If you have ever felt this way, please comment with your story if you feel comfortable. If you are feeling this way right now, please know you are not alone. Even though people don’t talk about it, this is more common than you think. There are resources out there and you do not have to suffer in silence alone!

If you are still reading, please consider making a donation to my Movember fundraiser. Thanks!

Jim is a multiple Grammy and Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award-winning musician. He’s had his songs cut by Patty Loveless, George Jones, Shelby Lynne, Solomon Burke, The Dixie Chicks, Blake Shelton, and George Strait; and played with Lucinda Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rhonda Vincent, Hot Tuna & Charlie Musselwhite, and Elvis Costello.

To say he is prolific is an understatement. Since 1986, he has released 27 studio albums.

Jim Lauderdale NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Jim has pave the way of the current Americana Movement recording records and writing songs that cross genres from country, pop, roots, rock, folk, and bluegrass.

He co-hosts a weekly SiriusXM radio show on with Buddy Miller called “The Buddy & Jim Show,” and hosts Music City Roots each week in Nashville.

Highly entertaining and a genuinely nice man. He played my American Legion post regularly and was always generous with his time and stories. Music City Roots had a show featuring Austrailian artists after the Americana Festival a couple years ago. Jim met the musicians after the show for drinks and gave them his personal number telling them to call him directly if there was ever anything he could do for them. That really struck me.

5308 Buffalo Speedway 77005 Houston, TX, US
Free show. Donations accepted.

I was fortunate enough to capture the first acoustic performance of this new tune. One of two potential title tracks for the upcoming album due next year.

Drivin’ N Cryin’ – Lift the Love Beautiful

The guys performed this at Cactus Records this afternoon in Houston in anticipation of their show at Under the Volcano tonight. Come on down.

Some great other shows in the coming days as well.

[LAST MINUTE UPDATE][SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS]

Nashville Invades Houston: November

posted by Jared A. Godar November 14, 2018 0 comments

Here is a quick note to alert you to some Houston shows that just hit my radar.

Drivin’ N Cryin |Wednesday, November 14th 8:00 |  Under the Volcano (2349 Bissonnet St, 77005)

Drivin’ N Cryin

The boys are doing a free, acoustic in-store performance at Cactus Music at 3:00. Then they will be plugging in Under the Volcano taking the stage at 8:30.


Jim Lauderdale  |Thursday, November 15th,7:00 | St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (5308 Buffalo Speedway, 77005)

Jim Lauderdale

Free show. Donations accepted and encouraged to defray costs for artist, refreshments, and the facility.

Friday, November 16th: Margo Price @ 7:00  The Rustic 1836 Polk St, Houston, TX 77010, USA

Margo Price

I’m planning to attend all three and hope to see some of y’all there. Please let me know if you can make it.

[FTNB EXCLUSIVE][MOVEMBER][THE DOCTOR IS IN]

The Doctor is In: Matt Nathanson “Mine”

posted by Matthew Conner, M.D., P.L.L.C. November 12, 2018 0 comments
Dr. Matt Conner

Here’s the second installment of the FTNB “The Doctor is In” guest series by Dr. Matthew Conner. This one really spoke to me. If you missed his first article, read it here.

-Jared Godar

Matt Nathanson has been a favorite of mine since 2003’s amazing, sensitive collection, Under These Fireworks. Lightning usually only strikes once, but last summer’s Sings His Sad Heart is arguably his best one yet. It’s only fitting that the disc is a ten-song collection about a man who can’t let go of the past.

I got a text from your sister

it’s been a while

I see this a lot when men come to therapy. Sometimes, like the song says, you’re on your own and get a sudden reminder of your ex—that song on the radio, you bump into her sister, the reunion invitation that comes in the mail. Occasionally, your current partner does something that gets on your nerves and you just know that never would have happened with the one that got away.

Whatever the cause, the end result is dissatisfaction. How could you have made this choice? Why are you with this person? Maybe you should just text…

NO! Consider this your intervention. I’m going to talk to you a little bit about hanging on to old things, and I’ll teach you how to let it go.

All the ways I try to rewind when you were mine

The fantasy of “the one that got away” comes up all the time, and I think it’s going to lose some of its hold on you once we talk about where it comes from. The usual cause is anxiety: there’s a “right” answer, the one person you’re supposed to be with. If you don’t guess right or keep that person, that’s the reason why anything feels wrong in your life. If you feel bad, or anxious, or unsure, well, that must be proof that you just haven’t found the right person. But what happens when you find the right person and then you feel bad, or anxious, or unsure?

Most of the guys I see take that as a sign that they must have guessed wrong and dig into things like breaking up, affairs, or even trying to blame or change their partners. Gotta find the next right person. But I try to help these men by telling them two secrets: There is no such thing as a right answer here and everyone feels bad once in a while. It’s going to happen with this person, or the next, or alone—it’s not her, it’s you.

I know this isn’t always the case. There may not be right answers, but there are wrong ones. If you’re in a relationship that feels controlling, withholding, or cruel, you need to run that by friends you trust or a good couple’s therapist. Couple’s therapy is not forcing you to stay together, nor is it a sign you’re breaking up. It’s just asking a neutral third party to apply their understanding of relationship patterns to your situation and if there’s something toxic you need to know that.

But the answer isn’t that your high school sweetheart should never have dumped you for that skinny guy with the guitar at the first college party. Let’s work on letting that one go.

First, recognize that it’s completely normal to wonder what might have been. You were with your ex for a good reason, and it’s fine to remember those good times. It’s normal to feel dissatisfied and go back in time for a few minutes.

But then, tell yourself that not every relationship has to last to be successful. We all hit spots in relationships where we aren’t going to learn or grow anymore and most of us have that experience when we’re too immature to deal with it without hurting each other. It sucks, but it happens, and it’s how we learn. No amount of playing that tape over is going to make you feel okay that it’s over. She may be funnier than your wife is, he may load the dishwasher the way your husband just can’t figure out; but remind yourself that even with the good parts, this wasn’t your last relationship, and it ended. You can learn from it and make better choices now, but you can’t undo it and you don’t have to.

In the end I was practice

Yeah, you kissed me like an actress running lines

Here’s the last step: be in the now. You’re here and you’re with your partner. You may feel dissatisfied, but you’re both still in it. If you stay present, you can’t be in the past. Sounds oversimplified, but it’s true. We don’t multitask the way we claim to.

Think about things you like about the person you love and build up to things you love about them. Try to stick to the positive—more “She saves me the corner piece of the lasagna, which sounds lame, but I like that best and she remembers” rather than “Umm, she doesn’t sweat too much, I guess.” If that’s too hard, remember what first attracted you. Make a list. Write it down. Or better yet, write it to her. Say it to her. Make it part of the daily routine until it doesn’t feel awkward anymore. Don’t you want to know what your partner loves about you? Why not make that the last thing you say when you separate in the morning? I have had plenty of arguments with boyfriends, but if I can say, honestly, “I’m mad, but you are usually really considerate, and I want to remember that before I say anything else.” I stop comparing them to the exes.

I’m not saying you can’t think about them. This is your story, you’ve learned from it. But when you’re nodding to Matt Nathanson singing, “All the ways I try to rewind when you were mine” remind yourself that part of the tape is over, and hit “Play” instead.

[MOVEMBER][THE DOCTOR IS IN]

David Dondero “Real Tina Turner”: The Doctor is In

posted by Matthew Conner, M.D., P.L.L.C. November 5, 2018 1 Comment

This Movember, FTNB is hosting a series of guest posts by mental health professionals addressing mental health in song.

Movember is a charity started in Austraila to raise awareness
and funds for men’s health issues including prostate and testicular cancer with a focus on mental health, depression, and suicide. If you are interested in learning more or helping out, please join or contribute to  the Fighting the Nashville Blues Movember team.

Our first post is by Matthew Conner, M.D., P.L.L.C. Matt and I have been friends since I moved to Texas in the eighth grade. He completed his medical degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, his residency in psychiatry at Duke, and has been practicing in the Research Triangle area for over a decade.

-Jared A. Godar
David Dondero – Real Tina Turner

The song’s a catchy one, a deceptively upbeat song about loss, missing the New Orleans and the “real” music of his youth. And of course, his life right now sucks, with the last of his worldly possessions (even his “voter registration card!”) stolen last night. But his sad lyrics have the curve of a smile at the edges, and it’s easy to miss the first two lines.

Men have a reputation when it comes to taking care of themselves. We know unmarried men die younger than married men, and we have reason to assume that’s because left to our own devices, we prefer to cultivate a stoicism rather than go to the doctor. As a result, our cancers don’t get caught early enough. Our bad habits get entrenched and out of hand. And we commit suicide, possibly because we don’t trust that talking to someone can help.

If it wasn’t for the liquor and the weed

We never would have made it through the winter.

-David Dondero

So how do men cope with stress? Well, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, we abuse substances, with SAMSHA’s latest report that twice as many male adults have had a drinking binge in the past year compared to women the same age and twice as many males over age 12 reporting illicit drug use. (https://www.samhsa.gov/specific-populations/age-gender-based)

And what’s the problem with that? If it gets you “through the winter,” who cares, right?

It’s avoidance. We can talk about the long-term health consequences of chronic alcohol use, the liver scarring, the memory problems, the weight gain; but I think everyone knows that, and we do the denial thing about it. On some level, we can all point to that alcoholic over there with the shaking hands and know that’s not us, never will be.

But chemistry and physiology aside, when a person hits a lot of stress and drinks it away, he’s not learning about it. He’s not figuring out what he can do to support himself, he’s not building up the support network he needs, he’s not proving to himself that he can feel uncomfortable for a while and that it’ll pass. He’s giving himself the message that he doesn’t have to acknowledge feelings. Shut those down. Do it now, do it fast, don’t let it register, I’m just getting through.

Developed the habit of washing your hands to the point that your fingers would bleed.

-David Dondero

And the hand-washing thing, that’s avoidance, too. If I can make it about the germs, even subconsciously, then it isn’t about my life being out of control or my regret for my decisions or the responsibility I’m going to end up having to take. It’s hand-washing. I can do hand-washing. I can do hand-washing until my skin cracks.

And when the skin calms down, when the buzz wears off, when the bill comes due, everything I’m avoiding is right there. So I guess I need to go back and do that thing that didn’t work in the first place. Gotta make it through the winter.

What’s the alternative?

Approach.

Talk to someone who might understand whatever “winter” means to you, and if you don’t know, talk to someone about the patterns you’re using to cope. If you only cope with stress in one or two ways, those are going to get overloaded, and I promise you, investing in a social network is the best way to develop a broad range of healthy responses to stress. Including joining a book club. Including joining a class at the gym. Including signing up for the open mic night and putting your struggle to music and talking to the people who go on before and after you. Including Crossfit or kickball or the yoga studio. Including paying a counselor. Including going to free 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon for people who recognize a need to support healthy boundaried relationships.

Because hey, I don’t know you. But I know enough about you because of the work I’ve been doing with men for ten years. I have yet to meet someone who really lived down to his fear that he can’t handle talking about his pain. Your emotion may be bigger than you right now. I get that. But it’s not bigger than us.

Put the bottle down. Turn off the hot water at the sink. And make it through the winter with the people who hear your music instead.

[MOVEMBER]

Movember is upon us…

posted by Jared A. Godar November 1, 2018 0 comments
movember

Globally, a man dies to suicide every second. This is often preventable. 

Movember

I took a couple years off—last November was crazy as I lost my job and house in Nashville—but, I am back in the Movember swing of things and I would love your help.

If you aren’t familiar, Movember is a charity that was started in Australia to raise money and awareness about men’s health issues. Topics include prostate and testicular cancer with a large focus on mental health—particularly depression and suicide. I have personally suffered from several major depressive episodes and they have been quite debilitating.

Here is what we are doing this month at FTNB. I will be featuring guest posts from mental health professionals who select songs related to various mental illnesses and comment on them. Music is also a great coping mechanism. Every Friday, I will feature a song or two that helps pick me up when I am blue.

There are several ways you can become involved and help. I have created a Fighting The Nashville Blues Movember team that I would love you to join. You can do so here. “But, I can’t grow a mustache?” you may say. No worries, our Mo’ Sisters can sign up and help out too. If you are too attached to your facial hair to part with it for a month, please consider making a donation.

Thanks in advance for your support! Stay tuned for a more detailed personal essay about my experience with these topics.

Cordovas

Georgians, unite. Nashvillians, gas up your cars. If you’ve seen a Cordovas show, this is probably already on your calendar if you live within a four-hour radius. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, do yourself a favor and make it a point to be there and you will become a life-long fan. No exaggeration. For my money, this is the best live act touring these days.

Their latest album, That Santa Fe Channel, was produced by Kenneth Pattengale of Milk Carton Kids and I have been listening to it daily since before it was released. The first single, “This Town’s a Drag,” has been getting love from terrestrial radio stations as well as those emanating from outer space.

Just noticed the boys will be at the Georgia Theater tomorrow, so I wanted to get this quick announcement out into the ether. Stay tuned for a more in-depth article about the band and their sound in the coming weeks. Joe doesn’t know it yet, but I’m scheming away on a sort of then-and-now follow-up to the story behind a song or two on his first album.



Cordovas 2018 Fall Tour Dates

Oct 3 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre (Free show)
Oct 4 – Mobile, AL – Saenger Theatre#
Oct 10 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre (Free show)
Oct 15 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre (Free show)
Oct 19 – Knoxville, TN – Barley’s Taproom
Oct 29 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works*
Oct 30 – Charlotte, NC – The Underground*
Nov 2 – Washington, DC – Lincoln Hall*
Nov 3 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall*
Nov 4 – Philadelphia, PA – TLA*
Nov 5 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw*
Nov 8 – Toronto, ON – Opera House*
Nov 9 – Columbus, OH – Newport*
Nov 10 – Chicago, IL – The Vic*
Nov 12 – Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Theatre*
# with Blackberry Smoke  * with Elle King


Cordovas are: bassist/vocalist Joe Firstman, drummer Graham Spillman, keyboardist Sevans Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Lucca Soria and guitarist/vocalist Toby Weaver.


Get That Santa Fe Channel here.


I am honored and excited to have the first opportunity to share Nina Ricci’s latest single with you. The inspiration for “Southern Goodbyes” comes from a special ritual when she would depart the family homestead in north Georgia for the return to Nashville. Nina’s grandmother remained on the porch waving goodbye until the taillights disappeared around the bend.

The power of that story and this song lies in how relatable it is to so many of us, independent of geography. My southern goodbyes with my Mamaw and Papaw in Mississippi were very similar to the ones described in verse here. When we left my Uncle Chuck’s place outside New Orleans, we had to drive a block in the opposite direction, make a U-turn and drive back on the other side of the neutral ground (that’s the median, for all of y’all who aren’t from New Orleans). For the entire duration of this detour, Chuck and his family remained in the driveway waving until we were on the main road.

Nina had been toying with this song concept for some time. She wrote the song this February, shortly before the March release of her debut album Designs on Me.

With the lyrics basically done and dusted, August rolled around and the composition still remained closer to a poem than a song as it hadn’t been fully set to music or arranged. Two weeks later, it was definitely a song. Nina placed sheet music in front of her band and one sight-reading session and rehearsal later, this ethereal concept that had been floating around in her head was given shape and form and came to life.

The song was recorded on September 6th at the East Nashville studio of fellow Berklee alumnus Marc Lacuesta. Marc actually coached and trained Nina for her Berklee audition, so it came full circle when he engineered this single. (Marc is also a great friend of FTNB and has very comfortable trees.)

Nina’s father was songwriter Robert James “Bob” Ricci and she enjoyed exposure to music ranging from Greenwich Village folksingers to the Beach Boys to the Beatles preceding her earliest memories. This unique musical incubation simmered in the background as Nina grew up. She took a few piano lessons and a bit of music theory here and there, but neither captured her interest. 

This changed when 14-year-old Ricci picked up and fell in musical love with her Dad’s Alvarez guitar. Her aspirations rapidly transitioned from a Brian May-style guitarist, to lead singer, to a songwriter. After formal training in performance, theory, a bit of engineering, and music business at Berklee, she returned to Nashville in 2015 on a mission. Her driven efforts and constant support of mother/manager/partner-in-crime Teresa Ricci are paying off. Through talent, ambition, and sheer force of will she has written and recorded her debut album, performs around Nashville, and now adds this song to her catalog.

Without any further adieu, FTNB humbly presents “Southern Goodbyes” for your enjoyment. Listen here exclusively this week and purchase your own copy when it goes on sale October 5th.


FREE PREVIEW STREAM ENDED. 

Voice: Nina Ricci
Acoustic Guitar: Nina Ricci
Harp: Olivia Fortunato
Violins I and II: Patrick Monnius
Upright Bass: Brandon Cantwell
Drum Set: Stewart Newman
Mixed by Marc Lacuesta
Mastered by Harold LaRue


Nina would like to extend a special thanks to Tony Gillespie and his Facebook group “The Village – Folk Music, History and Memorabilia” for financing the recording of this single.