2020 started with hopeful thoughts for many, but soon, premature hopes would be dashed on the proverbial rocks as 2020 tumbled down the cliff, moving ever more rapidly to becoming the worst year in recent history for the entire planet. WATCH VIDEO AT END!
Nashville suffered one of the earliest big blows of 2020, literally and figuratively, when in the early morning of March 3, a deadly and unpredicted tornado outbreak ravaged Northern and East Nashville, as well as outlying areas.
In East Nashville, where Kenny Schick, and his wife, Sabine Heusler-Schick run Basement 3 Productions, a music production company, many of the businesses that made East Nashville vibrant (including a very popular music venue, The Basement East) were torn to pieces, just a few blocks from the Schick’s ‘compound’.
Immediately following this tragedy, the whole planet went into lock down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nashville, being a town where music, entertainment, tourism, and restaurants make it the destination it is, and being a town full of musicians who rely on gigs and touring, immediately felt the full impact of the shutdowns. Followed immediately by Black Lives Matter protests and riots, Nashville unraveled quickly as opposing ideologies and contrary opinions about how to ‘carry on’ clashed in grand fashion. Musicians and the music industry that gives Music City it’s identity, an industry who’s employees often struggle to eek out a living even in the best of times, hangs on the verge of extinction in Nashville, and many wonder if the clubs, the artists, the hotels, the restaurants will survive. Even before 2020 reared its ugly head, concerns of rapid growth and rising housing costs had threatened the survival of an already challenged music industry, as well as the charm and history of Nashville.
It is with this whirlwind of thoughts and fears that Kenny Schick penned the song, The Ghost Of Nashville, a tribute to his hometown of just 3 years. Schick and his wife had fled the San Francisco Bay Area as some of the highest costs of living in the country had gutted the once thriving community of artists there. Schick and his wife knew Nashville was growing quickly, but both were surprised to see a place called ‘Music City’ on a trajectory to let economic growth alone potentially devour the very industry that attracts so many to Nashville from around the world. ‘The Ghost Of Nashville’ leaves listeners with lots of questions, but Schick hopes it inspires thoughts and new ideas that will lead to preserving the heart and soul of Music City.
Though we’d talked about it a bit over the last several years, it was actually a pretty spontaneous move—a decision made just a little more than 2 months before our departure.
Photography by Kenny Schick – Kenny Schick is a Music Producer, engineer, singer songwriter & professional photographer, living in Nashville TN (from the Bay Area CA) (see more photos here)
A stressful year in California and ever rising rent costs in the Bay Area, an exodus of musicians and artists, and a desire to be around people, who like us, make their living creating music in one form or another, all pointed us out of town. Along with an accident that resulted in us replacing our old Honda Civic with 300,000 on it with a newer, bigger car that would actually make it to Tennessee, and our amazing friend Chris who let us store our stuff in an empty building at his new place, we found ourselves in a position to make a big decision to give Nashville a shot.
Since Sabine and I met online in 2006 discussing music on what is now the ghost town called MySpace, our lives have been about big decisions: from my move to Australia after 8 months of emails and phone calls resulted in us falling in love, to her move to the US in 2008 to continue our relationship, to our 2 month drive/tour across the US immediately upon her arrival (interestingly centered around a gig I got at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville), to our deciding to use my decades of experience as a musician/producer to start our own business, Basement 3 Productions. Sabine has been an essential ingredient in helping me take thoughts and ideas that might otherwise remain in my head and make them reality. As such, she made me realize that making this big move, like most big moves, was totally doable.
So on December 2nd, 2017, we packed up our car and left California, and on December 5th, we arrived at our first place in South Nashville near Berry Hill. We’d found it online, and the pictures were quite a glamorized version of what we actually moved into—LOL. We stayed there for the terms of our 6 month lease, and we enjoyed the urban meets rural neighborhood, but we made the move to the ‘hip’ part of town, East Nashville, as soon as our lease allowed, upon finding a house with a separate building for our studio.
I’m proud that we were brave enough to just go for it, especially given we are not 20 something, or 30 something…or….. well…. we did it!
Everyone asks what I think of Nashville. I have enjoyed that it is indeed music-centric. We’ve seen a ton of amazing music, eaten great food and made wonderful new friends. I am intrigued by the weather – how cold it gets in the winter, and how hot and humid it gets in the summer. I love all the summer wild life—lightning bugs, tons of butterflies and other big flying critters, and plant growth like I’ve never seen—it is literally a giant green house. I adore the summer lightning storms. Unlike California, there is no watering lawns—just fighting them back—there is visual growth within one day. Nonetheless, I still miss the even, mild temperatures of the Bay Area, of course.
I have surely had an adjustment period, all the while keeping super busy with all my fabulous California artists. I am thoroughly enjoying working and creating music in my East Nashville studio and am excited to dig deeper into the scene here. We’ve really enjoyed hosting California artists and our home/studio is always open to out-of-towners as well as locals! I am eager to keep my focus and see what this musical jewel called Nashville has to offer, and equally, what I have to offer Nashville.
We’ve met some amazing musicians here and try to incorporate as many as possible into our work. Sabine and I are immersing ourselves in the culture and the music of Nashville. We are about to release a new album as our Duo ArtemesiaBlack called Gravity – some songs inspired by our new city – and are curious to see what our second year in Music City will bring. All in all, I’m proud that we were brave enough to just go for it, especially given we are not 20 something, or 30 something…or….. well…. we did it! It’s quite an amazing adventure. We are very excited about the artists we will be working with in the coming year!
$2 Tuesday at the 5 Spot with Derek Hoke
East Nashville 7/18/18
Photography by Kenny Schick – Kenny is a music producer, engineer, singer songwriter & professional photographer, living in Nashville TN (from the Bay Area CA) (see more photos here)
EVERY Tuesday it’s $2 Tuesday at the 5 Spot! For 8 years Hoke has been doing this event!
We love this night so much and this place so much and love see Derek Hoke play (he’s kind of our favorite Nashville performer). He always brings in other great music too… thats $2 entry and $2 local yazoo beers!!! um yeah! Dos Perros is my FAVORITE beer like ever! That’s me Sabine talking – Kenny likes his beer as hoppy as it can be… also DJ Tim Hibbs is awesome!!