December 2, 2009

The new collective featuring Glen Phillips (of Toad The Wet Sprocket)

Next Thursday morning I’m boarding a plane bound for Nashville. That sounds like the first lyric of a good song.

I’ll be visiting one of my favorite people in the world, and together we are going to cram in a good deal of musical fun into four days. On Friday night we’re heading to the Exit/In (this show happened there, among others, which makes it some sort of hallowed ground) to see the newly-birthed supergroup Works Progress Administration.

This civic-mindedly named band is an “expandable collective” formed this summer, consisting of Glen Phillips (of my terrifically-beloved Toad The Wet Sprocket), Sean and Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek, Benmont Tench from The Heartbreakers, Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello and the Imposters), Luke Bulla (Lyle Lovett’s fiddler), and the pedal steel talents of Greg Leisz. In addition to tapping some of the coolest icons and typefaces of the last century, their independently-released album sweetly blends bluegrass and pop and I cannot wait to hear it live.

wpaYou can listen to their entire debut album above, and purchase it here (they’re doing it all by themselves, with no label). The vocal duties shift between four band members, and my favorites are still the ones where Glen sings (lead track “Always Have My Love” is an instant classic, and “Rise Up” is an introspective piano-based gem that feels like twilight). But the richness of other tracks are growing on me too — like Sara Watkins’ take on the Ray Davies/Pretenders “I Go To Sleep.” It’s clear that these folks love playing together.

My innards still get happy every time I hear Glen sing, not even kidding. I’ll be interviewing him on Friday afternoon in Nashville, and I will try not to knock him over with all the pent-up enthusiasm of fifteen+ years of fandom. Cross fingers.

Dec 3 – High Noon Saloon, Madison, Wisconsin
Dec 4 – Ladies Literary Club, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Dec 5 – The Ark, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dec 6 – Old Town School Of Folk Music, Chicago, Illinois
Dec 7 – The Basement, Columbus, Ohio
Dec 9 – Southgate House, Newport, Kentucky
Dec 10 – Birdy’s, Indianapolis, Indiana
Dec 11 – Exit/In, Nashville, Tennessee
Dec 12 – Phoenix Hill Tavern, Louisville, Kentucky
Dec 13 – The Kent Stage, Kent, Ohio
Jan 6 – Sellersville Theater 1894, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Jan 7 – Infinity Hall, Norfolk, Connecticut
Jan 8 – Arden Gild Hall, Arden, Delaware
Jan 9 – City Winery, New York, New York
Jan 10 – Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield, Maine
Feb 21 – Cayamo Cruise, Miami, Florida
Mar 27 – Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, California
May 1 & 2 – Merle Watson Memorial Festival, Wilkesboro, North Carolina

I am also taking suggestions for things we can entertain ourselves with in Nashville. You might not know this about me but I can belt an absolutely absurd number of country songs with great passion and without skipping a word. I think there might be some fun music-related things to do in Nashville…


  • i loved loved loved Toad growing up (well, still love) and i love love love Glen Phillip’s solo stuff.

    saw him open for nickel creek. it was an outdoor, city-sponsored concert in buffalo, NY and it was pouring rain and it was COLD. i loved it all.

    believe it or not, until the concert i had pictured glen phillips as looking like meatloaf (to the great amusement of my husband), due to a very very misinformed perusal of liner notes when i was maybe 12. (this did not affect my love for him even at 12–that’s how much i loved his music!)

    i eagerly anticipate the interview! (am equally thrilled for and jealous of you!)

    Kate — December 2, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  • Check out Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills (about 45 min outside Nashville.) You won’t be disappointed!!! The tribute museum there is amazing.

    Craig — December 3, 2009 @ 5:41 am

  • yay! yay! yay! I’m almost as excited for you as you are. But please don’t knock him over.

    dianne — December 3, 2009 @ 7:07 am

  • he is slight, isn’t he? i may be taller than him. i’ll do my best.

    browneheather — December 3, 2009 @ 7:31 am

  • Love the track! I have always had great love for Toad and Nickel Creek. It’s like that one night when I decided to marry my favorite cereal (Honey Bunches of Oates w/Strawberries) with my favorite ice cream (strawberry) and mixed them up in a bowl.

    julio — December 3, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  • Nashville is awesome. Here’s my list, in no particular order:

    1) Visit the Ryman Auditorium (Johnny Cash donated those stained glass windows).

    2) Visit Gruhn Guitars – famous guitar store. When I was there I was unknowingly playing guitar right next to Albert Lee (and yes, that was embarassing).

    3) Head to the Grand Ole Opry. Kinda fun, I got lucky and saw Todd Snider and Buddy Miller.

    4) There are a plethora of country and blues music clubs in Nashville. I was there right after Katrina happened and ran into some famous musicians from New Orleans. Ran into Chris Thomas King and Kenny Neal. We all shared a beer after they played their hearts out in a small little club in Printers Alley.

    5) My favorite little BBQ sandwich in the world is at Hog Heaven across the way from Vanderbilt. Get the shredded chicken bbq sandwich with white bbq sauce and cole slaw in the sandwich. Heaven. Hog Heaven. Mmmm.

    6) Never been so I can’t be sure about this, but hear that Bluebird Cafe is a great songwriters cafe and any given night features some pretty amazing songwriters. I think Craig Carothers plays there at some pt this month. If you can, see him. Stellar.

    Wow, I’m jealous. I need to get back to Nashville. Also, I love the Ryan Adams Exit/In show – incredible.

    ballgame — December 3, 2009 @ 8:06 am

  • julio! i never knew you liked toad! now we have even more to bond over next time i see you. oh, and i would marry honey bunches of oats if it were legal and not degenerate to marry a cereal.

    browneheather — December 3, 2009 @ 8:08 am

  • The Tin Roof near downtown is always a fantastically drunk time. (I used to work there). Cheers!

    calvin — December 3, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  • Exit/In a venue full of music road trip memories for me. Enjoy.

    Mike — December 3, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  • As I consider Nashville to be such a great spot I gotta give you a solicited opinion. To add to Julio’s list, which nails it, check out Hatch Show Prints (excellent show prints…reproductions available). It’s on Broadway….you can comfortably walk to it, The Ryman (go see a show there…any show…just cuz it’s the Ryman), and Gruhn in the same jaunt. And while you’re strolling drop into Robert’s (also on Broadway) for a Pabst Blue Ribbon (go at nighttime…great rock-a-billy live house band) and check out the Country Music Hall of Fame (killer building, ridiculous history, and who knows who you might bump into). Add Jack White’s Third Man Records to your list (not a life altering experience, but hey it’s still Jack White). Eat dinner at Margot’s in East Nashville. Expand your music collection at Grimey’s New and Preloved Music (check their website for upcoming in-store performances). Enjoy!

    David — December 3, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  • HATCH SHOW PRINT for awesome posters!

    If you can get outta town breakfast at The Loveless Cafe is fantastic and well worth going to. Best biscuits of all time.

    The RCA studio tour (via the Country Music Hall of Fam) is pretty good too, if you like standing in the rooms where some amazing stuff was recorded.

    If you can see a show at the Ryman while you’re there, do it; the tours are nice too.

    Rupe — December 3, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  • Also — Grimey’s Music is one of the last great record stores!

    Rupe — December 3, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  • Definitely Hatch Show Print

    Steph — December 3, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  • Look at all these places I haven’t yet been to! We will go to any and all that you want. Pick the ones you want and I’ll take you there – they’re all 5 minutes from my house.

    Bethany — December 3, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  • There’s also the Flying Saucer next door to the Frist Art Museum at Union Station Hotel. GREAT beers on tap.

    To reiterate, Grimey’s is a must. Music Mecca.

    Linda — December 3, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  • Favorite Toad songs. Go.


    Jeremy — December 4, 2009 @ 7:50 am

  • Can you sing “Delta Dawn”? Always a classic. :)

    Will — December 8, 2009 @ 7:20 am

  • Saw WPA at Infinity Hall CT – chose this venue over NYC to support a great small local venue. Excellent show but slightly disappointed that band was a few members short of the ‘supergroup’. Is this normal?

    Nigel Barnes — January 11, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  • yes – as they’ve written: “While we would love to have that complete community be present all the time, the logistics of getting all of us in the same place at the same time are fairly mind boggling, so: We will usually appear as a 4 or 5 piece (listed as Core Band on the tour page), but whenever possible we will have 7 or 8 people (Expanded Band). All configurations will kick ass.”

    browneheather — January 12, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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