Briston Maroney Presents: PARADISE!
Hovvdy, Skullcrusher, Olivia Barton
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville
925 3rd Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
A special three-night musical event LIVE at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, returning for its second year Thursday, October 12 | Friday, October 13 | Saturday, October 14 Performances by: Briston Maroney, Samia, Hovvdy, Charlie Burg, Skullcrusher, Arcy Drive, Jack Van Cleaf, hey nothing, Olivia Barton, and Hannah Cole This ticket is valid for standing room only, general admission. ADA accommodations are available day of show. All support acts are subject to change without notice. Any change in showtimes or other important information will be relayed to ticket-buyers via email. ALL SALES ARE FINAL Tickets purchased in person, subject to $3.00 processing charge (in addition to cc fee, if applicable). Sales Tax Included *Advertised times are for show times - check Brooklyn Bowl Nashville website for most up-to-date hours of operation*
For Briston Maroney, it's been a journey to arrive at the current moment. A mental, physical, emotional, and musical one. But it's left him equipped: not only with a deep understanding of self, discovered through life's trials and errors, but just as important, with a piece of art that reflects his personal growth. Sunflower, Maroney's debut album, is the culmination of the past decade of the now-22-year old's life. "It's all of the things I've been stoked about since I was 12 coming together," the wise-beyond-his-years, Nashville-based singer-songwriter says with a laugh of his striking album. "It's been a literal and physical relationship with the record as far as coming to a point where I understand what parts of me it represents, what it means to me as a person and what it means for my entire life."
Recorded between the summer of 2019 and early 2020 in LA with acclaimed producer John Congleton, Sunflower is "definitely a milestone," Maroney admits. "I'd be lying to say I didn't feel a little bit of that. And why not let yourself enjoy it?" It's also a gut-punch of fuzzy power chords ("Sinkin") and genteel acoustics ("Cinnamon"); deftly-composed pop songs ("Freeway") and hard-charging rockers ("Rollercoaster"). "I put all of myself into it," Maroney adds of the 10-track LP. In retrospect, he adds, "I definitely have this sense of calmness now. I did what I was capable of doing and I'm just glad I was around my friends and my people to help me get to this point."
An energetic live performer with a craft first honed in basements, living rooms, and jam-packed clubs, Maroney quickly developed a style steeped in the sweat and sounds of Nashville's DIY scene. After self-releasing his 2017 debut EP Big Shot and amassing a strong local fan base, Maroney ultimately attracted the attention of Canvasback Music. After signing with the label, his subsequent releases -- Carnival (2018), Indiana (2019), and Miracle (2020) -- remained entirely self-written with just a single producer credited on each project, namely Grammy Award-winning producer Tone Def and UK-based producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele).
When Maroney began to tour the US and Europe alongside other artists, co-writing sessions became commonplace as they created music together while on the road. It was at this point he made the conscious decision that he would seek out additional songwriters and producers to work with on his debut full-length project; as Maroney's music world grew, so too did his desire for collaboration.
While Maroney is the first to admit he was 'terrified-in-a-good-way' to be working alongside top-notch talents with the likes of Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull and venerated songwriter Dan Wilson on the creation of Sunflower, over time he came to understand a simple lesson. That being, "If you're approaching what you're doing from a place of love and kindness and passion you can be as open and flowing artistically as you want to be with your collaborators," he says. "I learned a ton from writing with those people," Maroney continues. "I think the biggest thing I took away is you get to decide how open you want to be, and you get to decide how much of a stage you want to set for emotions in songwriting."
If there was a sense of apprehension heading into such sessions, it's only because songwriting, for Maroney, has long been such a highly personal process. "It's been my journal for a really long time," he explains. "There's a beauty in songwriting. It's a scrapbook. It's a photo album. And if you're really putting your heart into what you're doing and writing songs for the right reasons, every one of them should take you back to a very specific place." For Maroney, the songs that comprise Sunflower take him along the long and winding path to the present, from his time as a young, upstart-tween musician busking at the Knoxville farmer's markets to playing dank basement gigs, sobering up amid personal struggles, and finally arriving right now at his most fully-realized self.
"Hopefully this record is representative of my journey," Maroney says, singling out the opening track "Sinkin" as summing up the record to him in a single cut. "Here's 100 percent of who I am," he says of the brash and bursting song. "It feels the most connected to my heart."
"I hope that people hear the record and see the songs as windows into what I've been experiencing and hopefully they'll relate to that," Maroney says, continuing. "I know these songs will continue to do that for me."
Working with producer John Congleton, Maroney explains, was about learning to trust his impulse. While Maroney had long been the first to question initial instincts, Congleton taught him to respect his gut. "He communicates really directly and really taught me a lot about speaking precisely and speaking about what you want to accomplish with a song and a record," Maroney recalls. "Whereas I have a tendency to be really abstract. I learned to be able to switch into that mode. He had my back the whole time."
Maroney gushes as he reflects on the session with Congleton that resulted in "It's Still Cool If You Don't." Their initial stab at writing together, "was the first experience of really letting go," Maroney contends of the song. "Just coming in and having a silly idea and being down to see where it goes." Working on "Cinnamon" alongside seasoned songwriter Jenny Owens Young, which Maroney describes as a "quieter more low-key song," was by contrast an exercise in "being all gushy" and exploring his feelings on love. "That was really fun to write a love song with someone else who was also in love with a person," Maroney offers.
Where "Rollercoaster," an older track that Maroney and his band typically closed out their sets with, was his attempt at getting a bit raucous, the track "Deep Sea Diver," which Maroney penned with Dan Wilson, was a far more meditative affair. Or as Maroney says with a laugh, "It's like, well, if this really pissed off angry rock thing doesn't work here's my best attempt at trying to be John Prine."
If anything, the process of assembling Sunflower was the best way Maroney learned to take his foot off the gas a bit and ease into his life in a more gratifying way. Where he admits at times throughout the recording process he was "squeezing it so hard," completing a brilliant debut album to him "was so much about just learning to be a little more laid back," Maroney says with a smile. "I still feel really connected to it, but I'm so stoked to share it and especially one day play it live," Maroney adds of Sunflower. "Right now, I am just so thankful and happy."
Last year, Charlie Martin impulsively wrote T-R-U-E L-O-V-E in all caps across the top of what would become the title track of his and Will Taylor’s fourth Hovvdy album. The on-the-nose instinct encapsulates the LP’s elemental look at relationships – familial, romantic, friendly – and that desire to capture them in a bottle. Since the creation of their last album, both Charlie and Will have married their partners. Will became a father.
A nod to their roots and a reach for more, True Love maturely embraces the best of the duo’s hyper-genuine, chin-up qualities developed over the past seven years. Charlie and Will first met at a baseball game while touring with other bands, both as drummers. Back home in Austin, the pair connected over shared sports-centric upbringings in Dallas and, most prominently, likeminded batches of solo songwriting. The interlocking tracks would become 2016 LP Taster, introducing a comforting sonic push-and-pull continued in the innate melodies of Cranberry (2018) and the propulsive storytelling of breakthrough Heavy Lifter (2019).
Fourth album True Love follows a surprisingly folksy and beautifully determined course, just hinting at the lo-fi layers of the Austin-based project’s DIY origins. Co-produced by the genre-morphing Andrew Sarlo (Nick Hakim, Big Thief, Bon Iver), the acoustically-driven, forward-looking songwriters’ statement stamps Hovvdy’s debut with Grand Jury Music.
Charlie and Will add: “This collection of songs feels to us like a return to form, writing and recording songs for ourselves and loved ones. Spending less energy consumed with how people may respond freed us up to put our efforts into creating an honest, heartfelt album.”
Throughout 2020, the band visited Sarlo’s small Los Angeles studio to put down their biggest-sounding record yet. Trusted guidance freed Charlie and Will to play to their strengths on essential elements – an upright piano, an acoustic guitar, a few keyboards. Songs harken to the duo’s Southern totems of Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams, with longtime collaborator Ben Littlejohn adding pedal steel and dobro for subtle drawl. Will calls True Love “the other side of the coin” from past LP Heavy Lifter’s tweaked pop, reflecting instead on the sturdy strums of sophomore Cranberry.
“Sarlo heard things in our individual production styles that we might otherwise feel self-conscious about, but he would lean into them,” says Charlie. “We knew we could come in with a very stripped-down acoustic guitar song and it would end up being expansive and vast. I felt really confident in letting this record be as tender and beautiful as we could make it, knowing there would always be a layer of darkness in there.”
“Blindsided” embodies the bespoke Hovvdy balance. Charlie’s waltzing piano lines and classical bedding make way for punctuated vocal assurances. Will’s textured guitar downbeats also softly power syncopated storytelling on “Lake June.” Channeling the warmth of new fatherhood, he repeats “I love you so much” at the song’s center.
In the exuberant rush of title track “True Love,” Charlie references his old Cranberry-era song “Colorful” – a wizened callback to a growing catalog, forever morphing in hindsight. Shaking off any nostalgic haze, the new album’s immediate production places their detailed scenes surely in the present. There’s flashes of a magnolia tree, a Tom Thumb, a cross on a trailer. “Around Again” frets over the fleetingness: “Memory won’t let me take a picture / Turn to me and tell me you’ll remember.”
“It’s about resiliency and appreciating the little moments, even when the big picture
can be daunting,” says Will. “I’m proud of how we let the songs and the feeling of the record do the work for us. Even in somber moments, the joy behind the music is noticeable, and that’s what makes it special to me.”
Helen Ballentine’s spellbinding first full-length album Quiet the Room is the sound of a window opening, a barrier dissolving. Across these fourteen tracks, the outside world seeps in and the inside world crawls out. The result is a stunning and quietly moving work that reflects the journeys we take through the physical and spiritual realms of ourselves in order to show up for the world.
While writing the album in the summer of 2021, Ballentine drew inspiration from her childhood home in Mount Vernon, NY. What she set out to capture on Quiet the Room was not the innocence of childhood, as it is so often portrayed, but the intense complexity of it. Past and present merge Escher-like in this dreamlike space laced with elements of fantasy, magic, and mystery. Musically, this translates into a sound that feels somehow weighty and ephemeral all at once, like a time lapse of copper corroding.
To capture the effortless blend of electronic, ambient, folk, and rock, Ballentine and her collaborator Noah Weinman brought in producer Andrew Sarlo to record at Chicken Shack studio in Upstate New York, close to where Ballentine grew up. “We wanted every song to have that little twinkle, but also a sense of crumbling,” she says. These songs thrum with moments of anxiety that boil over into moments of peace, as on lead single “Whatever Fits Together,” which chugs to a ragged start before the gears catch and ease. On “It’s Like a Secret,” Ballentine struggles to connect and let people in, recognizing that no one can ever fully know our inner worlds and that to understand each other is to cross a barrier and leave a part of ourselves behind. And yet, on closing track “You are my House,” she finds a way to reach out. “You are the walls and floors of my room,” she sings in perfect, hopeful harmony.
As the album cover invites, these are dollhouse songs to which we bend a giant eye, peering into the laminate, luminous world that Ballentine has created. Like a kid constructing a shelter in a patch of sharp brambles, she reminds us that beauty and terror can exist in the same place. The complexities of childhood are so often overlooked, but through these private yet generous songs, she gives new weight to our earliest memories, widening the frame for us—even opening a window.
Olivia Barton writes songs that sound like stream-of-consciousness journal entries—because they are. Olivia asks and answers questions in real time, taking you through a “diary of the healing process” (Sound of Boston). The 90s-inspired folk-pop songs live in a raw but playful space Olivia (sort of) jokingly describes as “somewhere between Elliott Smith and Hilary Duff.” After releasing her sophomore album This is a Good Sign at the end of 2022, she is gearing up for her biggest year yet supporting Lizzy McAlpine’s full US tour in spring of 2023.
This is a Good Sign has been written about in publications such as Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan, charted at #3 on college radio, featured on Spotify editorial playlists, and gained the attention of dream collaborators, including Madi Diaz, Carol Ades, and Evan Stephens Hall of the band Pinegrove. The album’s opening track, “I Don’t Sing My Songs” is reflective of Olivia’s infectious ability to hold darkness and light in the same hand, starting by directly facing reality: “I stay inside / I call my dad / I wait to feel” and ending with an inner knowing: “Good feelings are so possible within me.” She leaves you feeling cracked open, seen, and vibrating with hope in the connectedness of things.