More “Joy of Making Music”
Melissa Greener

Melissa_Greener-P2130647I’ve known Melissa Greener since she first arrived in Nashville (from native Detroit) about five years ago.  We have traveled in familiar circles all that time, but I think I have actually heard/seen her perform just once, when she sat in for a few songs amid somebody else’s set… somewhere.  The details are fuzzy, all I remember is she played a “fan fret” acoustic guitar – an instrumental choice indicative of a woman of some distinction, even if I can’t remember now what exactly she played on that exotic instrument.

Well I sure remember her material now.

Last Friday, Melissa performed a set at the Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville – which she mentioned from the stage was her first full show here in the entire time she’s called Nashville home.

It was worth the wait.  Boy, was it worth the wait.

For this show, Melissa assembled a full band (sorry, I don’t know the name of all the players – will update when that info comes across my transom). The stage was filled with keyboard, bass, drums, lead guitar and two harmony vocalists.  And despite all that personnel, this was the blessed (i.e. rare) show where the quantity of sound did not drown out the lyric content.

Melissa Greener proved to be an incredibly compelling performer.  Start with deft, intricate guitar figures played on both acoustic and electric guitars (no fan frets); add rich, thoughtful lyric imagery (that you could actually hear!) sung with a solid, soaring alto and joined byroof-raising harmonies from Kira Small and Vicki Carrico, and you’ve got the makings of one of the most outstanding shows I’ve seen in Nashville in quite a while.

The house was full, no doubt a testament to the many friends that Melissa has made over the five years she’s been among us.

But what was really impressive was the response when the show was over: these jaded Nashville audiences rarely rise at the end of a club show by a local; but this night, as Melissa Greener wrapped up her final tune, the audience was on its feet.

Or as one observer from the audience commented after the show, “we knew that she was good… but we didn’t know that she was that good!”

Melissa pours her heart and soul into every note and word.  Hopefully these photos catch some of that spirit.

Listen to the opening track from Melissa’s  2013 CD “Transistor Corazon” while the slide show plays.  When it’s over, click the Spotify link below to listen to the entire album.  And when it’s over, don’t be surprised if you feeling like playing it again (as I am doing as I finish this post…)

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Portals of Stone: Fountains Abbey

Sometimes, when I’m on a location and shooting the sights, something will light up in my mind’s eye… an idea for a treatment of the scene in front of me that will have to wait until I can get it in front of me on a screen, in Photoshop.

I had a lot of moments like that during the day I spent at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, England, last October.

sweet_postThe idea for reflecting the “night sky” in pools of water around the abbeys first struck me that night as I was leaving Sweetheart Abbey in Dumfries/Galloway Scotland, and I saw the lamp post reflect in a puddle.

After that, I kept an eye out for similar situations at other locations.  And since then, I’ve given a great deal of thought to how I would make the starscape reflect in the puddles.  I knew I couldn’t just replace the water with an inverse of the starscape; I’d have to find someway to make it look like it was really reflected in the water.

So it took a lot of trial and error with countless layers, but I think I’m finally seeing what I imagined that afternoon in Yorkshire:

Fountains_PA180726_HDR-IGSee more from this series at

Portals of Stone: Fountains Abbey

My day at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire last October – I was there from about 10AM till 9PM – produced some of the best work I did on that trip.  I’m still finding my way through the files.  Here is one of the massive nave, the main sanctuary of the abbey church, from the east end looking back at the west gate.  The first time I walked through the west gate, I swear, it just took my breath away…
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Fountains Abbey – Yorkshire, Englandmore at
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©2015 aka @driver49

More “Joy Of Making Music”
Thomm Jutz & Craig Market

Nothing is more
beautiful than a guitar,
except, possibly, two.

– Frédéric Chopin

Last Wednesday night offered a stark contrast to the night before.

Where Tuesday night’s performance by the New Dylans at the Belcourt Theater was nearly an hour of screeching instrumentation and unintelligible lyrics, the following night at the Station in was a perfect example of how beautifully crafted songs played with exquisite instruments can produce a totally satisfying experience.

Thomm Jutz and Craig Market actually wrote together for the first time while Thomm was producing The 1861 Project. They co-wrote two songs for Volume 2, including “The Old Songs:”

Thomm and Craig kept writing after that, and over the past couple of years assembled a collection of co-writes that they’ve now released in a collection called “Nowhere To Hide.”

I was called in to shoot some promo stills late last year.  The slide show above features a few of those shots and some from the CD Release Party at the Station Inn.

On stage, Thomm played a 1948 Martin D-18, and Craig played a 1937 D-18.  It’s hard to describe how beautiful those two guitars sounded together.  That quote from Chopin will have to suffice.

Or just listen to the CD and hear for yourself:

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G’Morning, Nashville

I had a 7:30 AM meeting in Belle Meade (the Starbucks, of course), yesterday morning.  The sun was rising just as I got on the Interstate at McCrory Lane (Exit 192 – Pegram), and there was a glorious shot of the orange half-orb rising over the highway.  Unfortunately I was not fast enough with my phone-cam to capture that at nearly 80 miles and hour.  A few minutes later I settled for this coming down Hillwood Ave in West Meade. Processed on my (new!) iPhone 6 with Snapseed.

G’morning, #Nashville.
@NashvilleTN @ #january #nashville #nashvilleguru #musiccitysunsets #igersnashville #heartnashville #nashvilleTN #nashvilleinstagram #nashvilleincrowd #nashvillegram #nashvegas #tennesseeinstagram #tennessee #musiccityliving #musiccityusa #musiccity #615 #nashvillescene #nashvillesky #nashvillelife
©2015 aka @driver49

Streaming Into Nashville

Head-and-tail light trails on I-65 from the Chestnut Street overpass.

Streaming Into Nashville
January 31, 2015 – from the Chestnut Street bridge over I-65@NashvilleTN @ #january #nashville #nashvilleguru #musiccitysunsets #igersnashville #heartnashville #nashvilleTN #nashvilleinstagram #nashvilleincrowd #nashvillegram #nashvegas #tennesseeinstagram #tennessee #musiccityliving #musiccityusa #musiccity #615 #nashvillescene #nashvillesky #nashvillelife
©2015 aka @driver49

A “Band On The Brink”
– An ‘Industry’ On The Edge

Last night, a rogues gallery of characters from Nashville’s business and creative communities assembled at the Belcourt Theater to deliver what could be considered a start-of-the-New-Year self-assessment: 

bannerThere were three parts to the evening that did a surprisingly good job of hitting any number of moving targets.

The first part was a short documentary film describing the origins, history, demise and resurrection of a band called “The New Dylans.”  The film was the final, compiled installment in a year long effort to document the reconstitution of a group that broke up in the mid 1990s – and uses their tale as an object lesson on the State of The Music Industry in Nashville in the Digital Age. Continue reading

Greetings, New Subscribers….

…and welcome to your first edition of The Weekly Digest.

The Troubadour Logo - it's a long story...

The Troubadour Logo – it’s a long story…

(Oops.  I got so wrapped up writing this this morning that I forgot to tag the relevant posts for this week’s digest – I thought I’d done that already. It should have included the first two posts below (Jeff T and Melrose Abbey)  Doh!)

I’m sure there’s a better name for this recurring missive, but despite my vaunted creative genius that’s the best I’ve been able to come up with so far.

I am pleased to see that there have been a notable number of new subscribers to this list in the past week – which is even more notable because I don’t know who any of you are.

Most of the subscribers to this list are friends and family – people with whom I have had some form of personal contact since I started the list several years ago. But lately, I’m seeing new subs from people I don’t know, whose e-mail addresses I don’t recognize,

I recall reading somewhere that your ‘fan base’ isn’t really growing until it begins to spread beyond the people that you know personally – so it is gratifying to see that my reach has begun to grow organically beyond a certain inner circle.

I am involved in several realms of creative endeavors.  My most recent business card (I make up new ones all the time) identifies me as:

Paul Schatzkin

…and each of those categories represents some measure of both accomplishment and aspiration.

Continue reading

The Joy Of Making Music:
Jeff Thorneycroft

Jeff Thorneycroft at The Family Wash, Nashville – Jan 14, 2014

JeffTOlympus OM-D E-M1 w Olympus 45mm f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/45sec @ f/1.8


It’s been a while since I’ve had an assignment to photograph a live performance, so it was nice to start the New Year out with a chance to shoot my friend Jeff Thorneycroft as he played bass with Tom Mason and The Blue Buccaneers at the Family Wash in East Nashville last week.

The Family Wash is not my favorite place in town to shoot a live performance.  No, I take that back, it is my least favorite place (along with several others…) to shoot a live performance.  There’s really no stage lighting whatsoever – just a few bare bulbs hanging over the center of the stage, in such a way that the featured performer on the front of the stage is actually back lit.  And those that are back on the stage are lit mostly from above, which can cast some pretty nasty shadows.

But, hey, my calling card says “capturing the joy of making music – regardless of the lighting conditions.  Yep, that’s my job!

So I brought my very fastest lenses with me – my 17mm, 45mm, and 75mm, all f/1.8 (these are Olympus Micro 4/3s lenses, their 35mm equivalent focal lengths are 35mm, 90mm, and 150mm).  And since I don’t like to push my cameras past 1600 ISO, I didn’t even feel like I could afford the the loss of a stop to f/2.8 in order to use my 12-40 (24-80 equiv) or my fancy new and hardly-used-yet 40-150 (80-300 equiv) zoom lenses.

But there was one moment when I situated myself in the hallway toward the back of the stage.  Jeff turned around to make eye contact with the drummer and fiddle player… and I got the shot! Several of them, in fact.  And there are some good shots of pirate Tom Mason and the rest of his scurvy crew, I’ll post some of those starting next week.

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The Cloister at Melrose Abbey

I’ve been submitting some photos recently to a Facebook page called Scotland From The Roadside, which is a very active and popular page that features all manner of scenic images form all over Scotland.

I submitted a couple of my landscapes to the page and also to Instagram, so that they would show up here as well.

Then last week I opened my primary photo editor (Lightroom) and it came straight up to this image of Melrose Abbey taken on my trip to the UK in the spring of 2013.

The village of Melrose was my first stop on that trip. I spent three nights in a lovely B&B within walking distance of the town center and the abbey ruin. That afforded me the opportunity to spend a LOT of time in that one location, which explains why I have so many photos of it (only a fraction of which have I shown here or anywhere else).

This angle is looking out of the main church sanctuary into what was in the 14th-to-16th centuries an enclosed quandrangle where the monks could repose themselves for quiet meditation.

Melrose Abbey, from the Nave to the Cloister. May 2013GPS Coordinates 55.5980° N, 2.7310° W
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@bekkymott @historicscotland @welovehistory @visitscotland @GreatBritain @instagood #medieval #Scotland #UK #medievalworld #UnitedKingdom #GreatBritain #travel #ig_europe #photooftheday #thebest_capture #ig_masterpiece #nuriss_tag #architectur #travel #awe_inspiringshots #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #editoftheday #capture_today #waycoolshots #featuremeinstagood @instagood #igcapturesclub #ig_masterpiece #ig_great_pics
©2015 aka @driver49