KORT is Lambchop frontman Kurt Wagner and solo singer/songwriter Cortney Tidwell, and with covers album Invariable Heartache (City Slang), the duo has recorded a sort of love letter to its hometown of Nashville and the city’s musical past. Eleven of the LP’s dozen tracks were originally recorded in the ’60s and ’70s for the Music City-based Chart Records (a label with huge familial ties for Tidwell), and the 12th song was cut by Tidwell’s mom, Connie Eaton, in 1975 for ABC Dunhill. And while the heartfelt Invariable Heartache is certainly ensconced in Nashville’s storied musical history, it’s a thoroughly modern statement by two of the town’s brightest hopes for Music City’s future being as fertile as its past. Wagner and Tidwell will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with them.
Wagner: No, this topic has nothing to do with food, though it is rumored that the wings at Betty’s Grill rock. Rather, this has to do with the fact that in Nashville, where KORT resides, there are surprisingly very few places to perform live music. If you are playing anything creatively rich or even genre challenging, forget it. There’s nowhere to turn. Such has been the case since I grew up here in the ’60s, and little has changed since. This notion in itself is heartbreaking considering the wealth of talented, gifted, young, up-and-coming musicians who call this place home. So what’s an experimental, electro, synth, drum ‘n’ bass, country or R&B band to do? Well lucky for us, Leslie Keffer, who is a bartender at Betty’s Grill, convinced her boss to let her start booking shows there. It’s now been going strong for quite a while, and there amongst the NASCAR regulars and the pool table, you can find on any given night great unheralded musical situations. There’s no stage and a minimum PA, but the vibe is great and the beer is cheap. Short of going to another “house show” in town, this place fills the niche that’s been lacking around town since way back when Steve Earle stood on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in his cowboy boots.
Video after the jump.