May 29, 2007

Brooke flows, Gran entrance, Fam festival, Tenderhooks and T.P.

Louisville hip-hop label Gully Fam is about to have its coming-out party.So far, the independent label, run by Dan Montgomery, who raps under the name Batman, has enjoyed some attention. Gully artists have been featured on 98.9 KISS-FM and in Worldwide West Side Magazine, and it now boasts a handful of rappers, including Subjekt and Redik, as well as the R&B group ironically titled Poetic The Street Soul Assassin. An official album release featuring Scales from Nappy Roots is still in the works, but you can tide yourself over at the show this Sunday at Headliners (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088).Rap fanatics should have no trouble vibing to the beats at “Gully Fam Live” thanks to scheduled hip-hop battles — which are always cool — as well as a contest for the ladies. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., the rhymes start at 9. Tickets for the 18-and-over show are $10.•••“We’re not selling millions of records, but we’re playing live,” says Gran Bel Fisher, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter who joins Jonatha Brooke and Cabin at tonight’s free WFPK Waterfront Wednesday concert.“The record (Full Moon Cigarette) came out last July, and since then, it’s just been busy, and that’s all you can hope for.”And TV appearances. Fisher’s song “Crash and Burn” will appear on Thursday’s episode of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s return to television that won’t be back this fall.“It’s just about me and my lady getting into it, because we’re both big dreamers, and we want it all right now; it’s the good and bad of relationships.”Fisher returned to the Midwest after living in Hollywood for almost four years. He since moved back with his wife to a farm an hour north of Cincinnati. The move was a matter of logistics, and of Fisher realizing his job has turned him into a nomad.“Since we’re everywhere, we realize we can live anywhere. It’s kind of hard to start a tour in Boston from L.A.”He still has a soft spot in his heart for Hollywood. “I love people, and it’s so diverse there. We got to stake our claim there. We got out with our manners.”•••In making Careful What You Wish For, Jonatha Brooke had, for lack of a better term, fun.“This is the most painless record I’ve ever had to make. It was a gas,” she said of the album, which was engineered by Bob Clearmountain, who mixed Bruce Springsteen’s The Seeger Sessions, the Barenaked Ladies and even a bluegrass tribute record to Van Halen.For her part, Brooke’s past is rich. First, she was half of the folk-pop duo The Story, which released two albums, 1991’s Grace in Gravity and 1993’s Angel in the House.Careful was ready almost a year ago, but she was also in the process of finishing a live DVD of a 10-night concert series she did at a small public theater in New York back in 2004. She decided not to promote two releases at once.“I had to wait. Timing is everything and nothing,” she said. “You never know what it will mean.”Brooke roped in songwriter Eric Bazilian to help her write material for Careful, a decision she said ended up being eerily telepathic. But in a good way.“I had this crazy entrance of the electric guitars and the synth in my head for a long time; he was able to actually play what was in my head,” she said.Brooke, who has previously played WFPK’s Live Lunch, plays the Waterfront Wednesday show tonight. The free concert starts at 5 p.m., weather permitting.Good thing she’s on the road, too. Brooke hates downtime. “I start to wonder what I’m on the planet for. You can only do so much laundry and twiddle your thumbs.”•••Knoxville, Tenn., is putting itself on the map musically, thanks to a key festival in Sundown in the City, and surefire rock groups like Tenderhooks. The four-piece is in the middle of a three-week tour supporting its new album, Vidalia. They play Friday at Third Street Dive (440 S. Third St., 587-0706). “It’s our first time doing it, so there’s a lot of surprises,” said Emily Robinson. “It’s been going really well. No big pitfalls so far.”At the end of the trip is one hell of a finish line: They scored a slot on one of the café stages at this year’s Bonnaroo Festival, which takes place next month on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. The owner of AC Entertainment, which puts on Bonnaroo, is from Knoxville, and he heard Tenderhooks play at Sundown last year.“It’s weird,” Robinson said of the Knoxville scene. “There’s not really a Knoxville sound, whereas people say there’s a Chicago sound. There are a lot of different bands doing a lot of different things.”•••Mick Sullivan (ex-Fire the Saddle and current Squeeze-bot) threatened to cover the LEO offices in toilet paper if we didn’t do a cover story on his new project, The Town Criers.Just goes to show that threats can, occasionally, get you what you want. Almost.On Friday, the Town Criers return to the Jazz Factory (815 W. Market St., 992-3242), the site of the band’s very first performance. The show starts at 11 p.m. Sullivan, known for his adept voice, banjo acumen and guitar work, said this concert will feature drums on some of the group’s tunes, “which we’ll play with our feet.”We love you, Mick!