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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.

 

A year ago today, we arrived in Nashville.

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!

 

Instruments For Education 1st Annual Instrument Drive and Fundraiser 

Listening Room Cafe, November 15, 2018

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)

I was lucky to be in school at a time when music and art programs were considered main staples of education—the schools I attended in California had pretty darn good instruments for music students to use, and most families, mine included, had the ability to rent or buy instruments for their kids. This access to instruments not only made it pretty easy for me to pursue my passion (my music), but could be a large part of the equation that led me down the path to a life in music. My parents were even able to float me loans(with 1% interest, just to teach me about finances..haha) which I paid back with my paper route money. 

I never had kids, but I’ve watched my friend’s children attend schools where the music and art programs are being stripped back, or even eliminated from curriculum—this is a damn shame, as music and the arts are every bit as important to human development as math, science, history, or english. It is creativity and learning how to implement it that leads to some of the biggest accomplishments for humanity—even in aspects of life that have nothing to do with music or art. Developing a creative mind is essential to success in life, and as a former private music teacher, I have seen this concept at work. I even helped run a friend’s company that used music as a tool for corporate team building workshops, and we saw the method ignite a lot of fire at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies. 

Here in Nashville, we have a knight in shining armor by the name of (Sir) Troy Castellano, and he has started a non-profit here to help counteract the trend of struggling music programs in our local schools—it is called Instruments For Education. It’s mission: “To collect and distribute used and unused musical instruments and provide them to classrooms that may not otherwise have it in their budget to purchase instruments. Allowing upcoming generations a hands on way to learn to play a musical instrument(s).” Troy  even goes so far as to drive around picking up instruments himself and fixing them if need be. He has a music store in Spring Hill TN(Bluesman Vintage) that does repairs that he can’t handle himself. 

Last night, I attended a great event at the Listening Room Cafe here in Nashville—It was Instruments For Education’s First Annual Instrument Drive and Fundraiser. 24 of Nashville’s best song writers volunteered their time and gave us a killer night of intimate performances, backed by the awesome steel guitar player Smith Curry see the list of performers below. Proceeds from the show went to Instruments For Education, and I believe even some instruments were donated. 

In a city called Music City, it is great that we have someone like Troy who supports the very thing this city is known for and helps to make sure future generations keep the roots and lifeblood of this city alive. 

If you want HR images without watermark let me know. EMAIL ME

 

Billy Lee

Sasha Aaron

Melissa Bollea Rowe

Michaela Clarke

Steve Metz

Hailey Verhaalen

Jordan Mitchell

Mary Kutter

Megan Barker

Taylor Goyette

Jean Nolan

Dixie Jade

Joe West

Victoria Banks

Keesy Timmer

Steven Williams

Riley Weston

Lexie Hayden

Adam Searan

Brian Desveaux

Elizabeth Lyons

Marti Dodson

Tori Martin

Ashlyn Grayce

Ava Boney