A darling of the indie rock scene, introspective, lo-fi, genre-bending rocker Kurt Vile has seen an extradorinaiy career ascent since breaking out with 2013’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze, propelled from many years of calculated, organic musical ascent to international sensation, which every successive Nashville return, each in a bigger room, a prime illusion of how his reach has widened. After appearances the past few years at the likes of Marathon Music Works, Live on the Green, and Bonnaroo, and even a stop at The Ryman Auditorium in 2017 with Courtney Barnett, in support of their joint LP, Vile is set to return to Music City, once more at The Ryman, tonight, March 16, in support of his latest record, last year’s excellent Bottle It In, along with famed Canadian country rockers The Sadies. Sure to be one of the year’s best shows, tickets are still available right here! Read on for more about the show.
KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS
Hailing from Philadelphia, indie rocker Kurt Vile spent a couple of decades properly honing his earnest, lo-fi sound before rising to fame, first gravitating towards music in his teens, writing on a gifted banjo, and distributing self-recorded bedroom tapes, before early years of bouncing around labels and organically growing a modest following. After a couple years in Boston and upon a return to Philly, Vile teamed up with friend Adam Granduciel to help found The War On Drugs, concurrent to his long-simmering solo career, and found some modest success for the group’s early work, before departing to focus on his own music full time (though, notably, Granduciel remained a member of Vile’s backing band for a few years after). Though technically his third LP, Vile’s 2009 effort Childish Prodigy was notably his first album to feature backing band The Violators in the studio (and for that matter, his first true studio endeavor), and also his debut for longtime label home Matador. Followup Smoke Ring for My Halo, in 2011, earned Kurt even more attention, but it wasn’t until 2013’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze that Vile finally found breakthrough, worldwide acclaim, landing on countless year-end lists (including our own), and swiftly propelling the performer to larger stages, festival appearances, and universal praise. Vile’s lo-fi, folky, eclectic, and introspective sound continued to resonate with 2015 followup b’lieve I’m goin down…, another critically lauded and widely successful LP, and helped cement his status as one of the most important and buzzworthy acts in the indie scene, a legacy furthered by 2017 teamup with another modern indie darling, Courtney Barnett, for a joint album called Lotta Sea Lice. Despite a whirlwind of attention and tour schedules, Kurt managed to spend two years intermittently writing and recording all over the country whenever he could find the time, resulting in his latest, longest, and most adventurous album yet, last year’s Bottle It In, which features impressive guests like Kim Gordon, Cass McCombs, Stella Mozgawa, and Mary Lattimore. A singularly transcendent artist and an unbelievable performer, there’s no better room in Nashville to witness Kurt Vile than the legendary Ryman Auditorium.
A personal favorite of Vile, long-running Toronto outfit The Sadies play a classic and timeless version of old school and alt country rock, fused with elements of psychedelia, spaghetti western, rockabilly, and electric bluegrass. Formed in 1994 (when Vile would’ve been a teen first getting into music), the band released their debut LP more than 20 years ago, and have since earned a reputation for being one of the most talented and versatile bands around (and have even been called Canada’s greatest living rock band), collaborating with the likes of John Doe, Jon Spencer, Blue Rodeo, Mekons, and Neko Case, and even backing the legendary Neil Young. The group’s latest and tenth album, Northern Passages, dropped in 2017, and they released a Best Of… compilation last year. Despite their style and pedigree, The Sadies don’t make it to Nashville as often as you might think, so a chance to see them at The Ryman is an especially cool treat; don’t be late!
Kurt Vile & The Violators and The Sadies will perform tonight, March 16 at The Ryman Auditorium. The show is all ages, begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $30-35.