Country star first to perform in important new concert series

Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 12:00am

Safari Swizzle at Nashville Zoo
3777 Nolensville Road
6:30-9:30 p.m., $35 members, $40 non-members (21 and over event)

Since elephants never forget, if you share tall drinks with a giraffe try not to make a fool of yourself at the Safari Swizzle, a special social gathering for adults only at the Nashville Zoo.

The unique event urges guests to socialize with Earth’s largest land mammals — and the largest zoo residents — at the Giraffe and African Elephant Savannah. ‘Swizzlers’ also will have an opportunity to learn more about the Earth’s largest land mammals from their keepers while sampling great food and specialty drinks from area restaurants and beverage merchants and grooving to African music by the Love Drums.

Space is limited and reservations can be made by calling the zoo at 833-1534, ext. 129, or by e-mail to Guests also can register online.

Among the food and drink sponsors are Blackstone Brewing Company, Capitol Grille, Dulce Desserts, Jackson’s Bar & Bistro, Amarula Cream, Rainforest Café, Rumba, Taste of the Wild at Nashville Zoo, Yazoo Brewing Company and Tall Horse Wines.

Enjoy the fare, but just be careful what you say around the elephants.
— Vincent Troia

Pete Yorn with Zee Avi
Cannery Ballroom
One Cannery Row
$25, 8 p.m.

Since turning a fair amount of heads with an impressive 2001 debut, Pete Yorn has put out three more records of well-wrought singer/songwriter fare, cutting the classic balance between finger-picked acoustic weepers and tempered, tame rock songs. Male-model pretty, Pete has always been unfairly targeted as talentless, the vapid billboard fronting simple songs. But put aside the looks (and the horrible, tacky music videos he is continually guilty of perpetrating on fans) and Yorn has written a body of work that is consistently quality and challenges listeners with departures and new approaches. When recording his latest effort, Back and Forth, Yorn enlisted a band in the studio for the first time. Produced by Saddle Creak's Mike Mogis, the album luckily skirts away from the kitschy kitchen-sink-and-all aesthetic the producer is famed for creating on Bright Eyes albums. Yorn shares Thursday's bill with the quirky, Feist-y Zee Avi.
— Kyle Swenson

World Caravan Sale at Ten Thousand Villages
3900 Hillsboro Pike
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The African proverb says "it takes a village to raise a child," but in this case, it takes thousands of villages to fill the unique retail space that is Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit, fair trade retailer of artisan-crafted home décor, personal accessories and gift items from across the globe.

Shoppers can also enjoy a cup of fairly traded coffee and delectable fair trade chocolate samples while they browse selections from fairly paid artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

And this week anyone can shop like a world traveler on a staycation budget during the semi-annual World Caravan Sale. The sale, which features exotic products at up to 75 percent off, ends Saturday, so hurry over before someone else fills the hand-woven Egyptian tote with Pakistani onyx candleholders and Thai-made stationary sets.

Music City MMA (mixed martial arts)
Municipal Auditorium
417 Fourth Ave. N.
7:30 p.m., $20, $25, $30, $75

Neither Shane Primm nor Mike Dolce were the class of the field in their respective turns on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Now, each is trying a different weight class.

Primm (2-1) and Dolce (4-6) will meet in a middleweight matchup that will be the main event of a Music City MMA promotion, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Municipal Auditorium. The difference is that Primm is dropping down to make the 185-pound limit, while Dolce is moving up.

Primm, a Murfreesboro native who trains in Tampa, was a light heavyweight when he participated in Season Eight of The Ultimate Fighter and through the first three fights of his career. Dolce, a New Jersey native, is moving up from welterweight, the class at which he fought and trained as a cast member on Season Seven of The Ultimate Fighter.

The card features three other professional fights, which include Ashland City’s Dustin West in his pro debut and former University of Tennessee football player Vince Preux, who is 2-2 in his MMA career.

Joe Dubin of WKRN-TV (Ch. 2) will serve as ring announcer.
— David Boclair

Long Players perform Prince's Purple Rain The Mercy Lounge One Cannery Row 251-3020,, 9:30 p.m., $15

As a culture, we're inclined to mark time with memories of favorite albums and misguided hairstyles. With fewer records lingering in the larger cultural consciousness these days, it's nice to be reminded of a time when a band or artist's reach extended beyond a micro network of friends and followers.

This is part of the appeal of Bill Lloyd's Long Players, who take us back to music as cultural phenomenon one iconic record at a time. On Saturday, they will once again assemble to tackle a classic record from start to finish — this time it's the 80s classic, Purple Rain.

Prince brings to mind the aesthetic of an era replete with questionable hair, leather pants and smoke machines. Even with no great nostalgia for the decade of hair mousse, hits like “When Doves Cry,” “I Would Die 4 U” and the incomparably energetic "Let's Go Crazy" still hold up surprisingly well.

The Long Players, whose regulars include Bill Lloyd, Steve Allen, Steve Ebe, Brad Jones and John Deaderick, are joined by a supergroup of Nashville talent featuring original The Revolution guitarist Dez Dickerson. Funk band Space Capone and Todd Austin (AKA Toddzilla) will be there to lend a dance sensibility, while Daniel Tashian of The Silver Seas and Melissa Mathes bring their soulful pop goodness to the mix. — Helen Stevens

The Champion and His Burning Flame with Madi Diaz, The Rocketboys and Dear Future
2208 Elliston Place
9 p.m., $5

I first saw this dark, long-legged singer at Bonnaroo. Not on stage, but standing within reach of portable toilets somehow looking stunning, which is a bit of an oxymoron at a hot, muddy four-day music festival.

Even if Madi Diaz wasn't so easy on the eyes, she'd win you over with her smooth voice and sound that are equal parts pop, Americana, folk or indie. (A comment on iTunes says: "Madi's voice will bring tears to even the strongest man's eyes.")

She was raised in Lancaster, Pa., but later moved to Philadelphia to attend Paul Green's School of Rock, where she ended up being such a stand-out student that she was its featured pupil in the 2005 documentary Rock School.

From there, she spent three years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met Kyle Ryan who she's collaborated with ever since. You can hear tunes from their fine, new EP Ten Gun Salute, when Diaz appears at Exit/In Saturday night in a show with The Champion and His Burning Flame, The Rocketboys and Dear Future.

Word on the street is that multiple record labels are after Diaz, so it might not be long before her small venue days are over.
— Alexa Hinton

Josh Turner
The Wildhorse Saloon
120 Second Ave.
7:30 p.m., $20, $35, $75

Multi-platinum MCA recording artist and award-winning songwriter Josh Turner is the first artist/songwriter to perform in an important new concert series created by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). The "It All Begins With a Song" Performance Series — a permanent new concert series in Nashville — will raise money to support members of our dwindling songwriter community and to promote legislative efforts aimed at getting those songwriters the revenue they deserve.

The world's largest not-for-profit songwriters' trade organization, NSAI has greatly increased the value of and the respect for songwriters' copyrights among lawmakers and music buyers alike. It has also played a major role in helping secure the growth of future royalties for songwriters. The songwriting community is a huge part of Nashville's identity and heartbeat and helping NSAI while having a good time listening to some great tunes at the Wildhorse is a slam-dunk win-win.

Among country music's hottest stars, Turner's hit singles include "Would You Go With Me," "Your Man," "Firecracker," "Me and God" and "Long Black Train."
— Drew Ruble

Vienna Waits
The Lipstick Lounge
1400 Woodland St.
7:30 p.m., $7

If you’ve had the good fortune to see Jeffrey Williams perform Bat Boy: The Musical, The Full Monty), you know that he represents one of the city’s most promising young artists. A gifted vocalist and musician, Williams also possesses an uncanny ability to connect with his audience in a way that sticks with them long after they leave the theater.

Perhaps this is what makes Vienna Waits — on stage at the Lipstick Lounge Wednesday — so special. Billed as “an entertaining tribute of songs spanning three decades of Billy Joel’s career,” Vienna Waits explores the story of one young man’s life through a mix of music and Williams’ original monologues. Billy Joel fans are sure to enjoy this enthusiastic tribute, but Williams wisely mixes in a few of Joel’s lesser-known songs to punctuate his engaging story.

Williams first presented the show last summer at 3rd & Lindsley and has since played to enthusiastic crowds in Monteagle, Tenn., and Shelton, Wash. He is calling this “a final encore performance,” so don’t miss this opportunity to see Williams in action.
— Amy Stumpfl