Get to Know: El El at 17 off 8th | Mercy Lounge & High Watt | Tonight In Nashville

Happy Monday, Nashville! Earlier this morning, we announced our full lineup for No Country’s Second Anniversary Party at The Basement on May 25th, and, the opening act for that party, El El, is hosting an 8 off 8th tonight at Mercy Lounge.  But, that’s not enough, there is also an 8 off 8th going on over at The High Watt tonight too.  Wait, want more?  Sure.  No problem.  How about a little open mic comedy to get it all started?  What?  How much can this cost?  Oh you know… it’s FREE!

It’s a Monday.  I understand that, but this is a good chance to for you to check out 16 local bands and have a few laughs for free.  I can’t think of a better way to start off the week. The Mercy Lounge stage kicks off with some open mic comedy around 8:30, and then you get three song quick sets from El El, Action!, Meadownoise, Chris Crofton, Odessa Rose, Waterfall Wash, Steve Lee, & Jonathan Dunn. Make sure you hop back and forth between venues because our friends at Lockeland Springsteen are hosting the 8 off 8th over on The High Watt stage with sets by Gavin Shea, The Electric Hearts, Diamond Carter, Heavy Sole, Mercy Bell, Stacey Randol, The Weakenders, and The Cultivation.

We’ll share a bit that we found out about El El, and give you a preview of the bands on tonight’s mega-bill after the jump. Get to it.

El El (named after his wife Eliska Elkins) is the new project of former Heypenny frontman Ben Elkins. After the untimely demise of the previous band, it is good to see a new sound from the talented front man. We asked Ben how this project came about, and he prepared a very sweet, heartfelt response for us. There is no reason to change the man’s words, so I’ve block quoted the message below. The first single from El El, titled “Kiss Kiss”, isn’t out until June, but you can be on the front end of getting to know this band tonight. We’ve already had a chance to check out the demos for El El, and it is an incredible sound from a talented local musician. It should be noted that we are so excited about it all, that we asked Ben to help us arrange a track or two from the Song Reader for the upcoming show at The Basement on 5/25! Get excited Nashville!

Following the talk on El El, we have for a ton of embeds from the other bands performing on Cannery Row tonight, so get out to see some live music!


My wife (Lisa, short for Eliska) and I became really close, really fast. We wanted to keep moving forward with our life together. The next step was to live under one roof. The only way we could work it out was to move into this really crappy little shack place over near an industrial district by the Sounds baseball field. The house and neighbors were pretty rough, but the front porch and the garden we made in the back yard was awesome. Lisa and I were listening to Van Morrison, Neutral Milk Hotel, and old soul music a lot. As that music sunk in, I started writing songs about us, and writing songs to her. I’d get home from work and sit on the front porch and play my classical guitar and sing these songs. They felt different than anything I’d ever written. The veil was down, and I was openly and simply talking about love and the wonders, trials and joys of starting a new relationship.

I eventually thought “maybe I’m starting a side-project” because these songs definitely weren’t Heypenny, which was more mysterious, naive, playful… younger I guess. So for a bit I thought I was going to have two bands, but the new Heypenny songs I was writing were sounding similiar in sentiment as the new side-project’s music.  And though I was initially excited about having two different projects going on, it became apparent that my heart felt strength for one, and not for the other. All this considered, I decided to throw all my creative energy into El El.

A lot of the music I’ve written for El El so far is relaxing to me. While some songs talk of the struggles of life, most of them talk about the joys. And, they sound like the joys as well. I guess El El, now that I think about it, is the sound of my life after things fell apart. It’s the sounds of the energy, love, and belief that have all become so strong after they were tested so greatly.

There’s 7 of us making this music happen live. It’s thrilling to have so many good friends join up with me. It’s also thrilling to already call them good friends even though I haven’t known any of them for long. Sometimes you just connect with people.

El El includes:

  • Tim Cook (guitar, keys, roto toms, vocals)
  • Alex Mojaverian (drums and vocals)
  • Jerry Pentecost (drums)
  • Zach Tichenor (keys, guitar, vocals)
  • Fredrick Weathersby (trumpet)
  • Jo Jo Jackson (bass, vocals)
  • Ben Elkins (keys, roto toms, guitar, vocals)

Here’s the supporting cast for the El El inspired 8 off 8th at Mercy Lounge.



Chris Crofton

Odessa Rose

Waterfall Wash

Steve Lee

Jonathan Dunn

Meanwhile… over at The High Watt…

Gavin Shea

The Electric Hearts

Diamond Carter

Heavy Sole

Mercy Bell

Stacey Randol

The Weakenders

The Cultivation

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