Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #5: Memphis Music

First of all, I will state that I am by no means a local music expert or historian. I just love the local music scene and probably attend 3-4 shows a month. So this is just a list of bands that I listen to regularly either on my iTunes and/or attended a live show recently. Im sure that there are some other local blogs that do a much better job of covering and eloquently writing about local Memphis music. But here's my current top 10. But honesty there's just too much good music in this town for one blog post. Anyway, check some of this out and buy someone on your list a CD or take them to a show. I love going to shows so I tried to include tour dates for the bands that have shows coming up.

Also, I recommend that you go to Otherland's Coffee Bar to catch some shows. With only a $5 cover, it's an incredible deal and it's where I go to hear many of my favorite bands and find new favorites. They're very selective and I think on average you could show up any night, not know who's playing, and still have a good time. Also, even though it's know as a coffee bar, you can order beer and you can for a small fee bring your own bottle of wine or booze. I tend to enjoy the show with my friend Mr. Beam.

Grace Askew
If Grace is playing in town, I'm there. Seriously, I can be a bit of a groupie. But I dont have a crush, I just love her music. The old soul sound of her voice, the  imagery and storytelling in her writing, the faces she makes when she sings, and the little intros about the songs... it all comes together for incredible Memphis Blues. When I'm painting, you can bet that I have Grace Askew on the playlist. Looks like her next show is Thu, Dec 9th at The Brooks 5-7pm.


Two words for you: "Blue Dress." Play that song, dim the lights, and pull your girl close to you (or guy as your case might be). At the end of the song, you should have a new appreciation for this band. I'd characterize most of their music as that rock/alt country style. Their live shows are killer and you can even catch a free one from time to time at Swanky's. They usually do a packed out Christmas show every year with lots of local musicians that pop in for a song or two. So find them on Facebook and be on the lookout for that. 

Another indie/folk singer/songwriter girl that I love. She's on tour a lot so she's getting harder and harder to catch in Memphis. In 2009, I had the chance to book her at one of my art openings

Holly Cole and the Memphis Dawls (or the Dawls, the Heathens, the whatever-we're-calling-the-rest-of-the-band-today)  As my old favorites are getting harder to find playing in town, I'm having to find new favorites. I'm becoming a regular at Holly Cole's shows.

I just want to say that I was there in the audience for this Ardent Sessions recording. In fact, watch the clip. The shot of someone tapping their foot to the music, yeah those are my TOM's shoes. Still one of the coolest shows I've ever attended because it you're inside Ardent Studios and being a part of a live recording. You should definitely try to go to one of the sessions if you get the chance. Anyway, they are another local band that I've seen so many times that I've jokingly been accused of stalking them. 


Lucero was one of the first local bands that I feel in love with and started following. Although they play 150-200 live shows a year according to their website, they don't play in Memphis often. Like maybe twice a year. So you better catch them whenever you can. Looks like they are playing at Minglewood Hall on Dec 23rd.

Although their shows are few and far in between, it's not because they're out touring. They live and work here in Memphis at jobs that wouldnt permit taking off for tours. I think the music is an excuse to buy cool toys. So add them on Facebook and you should be able to catch them. Also, you can download 20 tracks from their bampcamp site for free and enjoy their sound anytime.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqb7Jwi6Bq8 Funny, i think this video too was shot at a show I attended.

Jump Back Jake
I haven't seen these guys play yet but I want to. I hear it's a great show. You can get some free tracks from their bampcamp site. My iTunes tells me that I've played their "King of Romance" single 33 times.

Blair Combest
I've seen Mr Combest play but only a few songs when he hosts a Girls Night Out (aka Blair and the Women night) at Otherlands. It's a sweet gig. Even though I can't sing, I can't help but be jealous. He gets to plays host to some of the best local singer/songwriter girls and does a duet with each of them. The next one is Nov 26 at 8pm.

Ryan Peel
I've only seen Ryan Peel play once, but he's frequently playing around town and often for free. He's very good so you better catch him soon before he gets big and stops playing in Memphis. Because he will. It's just a matter of time. He's a little to pop for me, but the girls get big goo-goo eyes for him. So take the girlfriend to this one even if it's not really your style. Ryan will be your wingman for the evening.

And for your Christmas CD collection you should buy BB King's A Christmas Celebration of Hope if only for the track "Back Door Santa."

Check out some creative and quirky local music videos:

Other links:


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #4: Deeann Rieves

It can be difficult finding good quality, artsy gifts. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite artists. Hopeful it will help you quickly find a special and unique gift.

Deeann Rieves:
Deeann is one of my favorite artists. She graduated from the Memphis College of Art and now lives in Atlanta. I just love the way she works with figures, texture, and type. We've featured her art at The Stirring numerous times. I've even hosted one of her collage workshops in my backyard.

COMMISSIONS- approximate prices according to size*:

12" X 12"- $50
11" X 14"- $50 SPECIAL $10 OFF ***
10" X 18"- $70
14" X 18"- $80
11" X 24"- $90
16" X 20"- $100 SPECIAL $25 OFF***
18" X 24"- $125 SPECIAL $25 OFF***

*I pulled these prices from Deeann's website at the time I wrote this post, but they may have changed. Email her at deeannrieves@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Check out more of her work at:


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #3: For Artists

What do you get for the artsy person on your Christmas list? Here are my recommendations:

Buy them the best canvas ever made!
When I started to do large paintings, the price of the canvas really held me back. Stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's didn't carry many sizes and even with a 40% off coupon it was just too expensive. The Art Center had plenty of sizes but catching them on sale was difficult. Even then I felt it was too much. I dont have the time or the tools to start making my own canvas. Then I found out about David Comstock. He makes the best canvases that I've ever used. I even now call him to order smaller sized canvas. I'm that hooked. He does custom wood panels too.

Great Custom Canvas
by local Memphis artist, David Comstock
2" deep gallery wrapped, thick, un-primed canvas
36" x 36" = $30
36" x 48" = $35
48" x 48" = $45
48" x 60" = $55
All sizes available. Call him at 901-605-7096.

Buy them a gift card to Memphis's best art store:
In Memphis, the best place to buy supplies is the Art Center on Union. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable and the prices are very good. One day I went to the Art Center to buy some illustration supplies. I wanted to make the switch from pen and ink to brush and ink. I had been to an art opening where i'd been inspired by Derrick Dent's work. So who happened to be working behind the counter that day? Yeah, Derrick himself. When he asked me if he could help me find something, I jokingly replied "Yes, I'd like the Derrick Dent starter kit." He led me around the store and helped me pick out supplies. 

Buy them a gift certificate to the best online art store:
Another gift card suggestion? Really, Richard? Yes, artists are typically broke and you do not want to try to pick out art supplies for them. It's like trying to buy clothes for that one member of your family who always takes everything back to the store for an exchange. Cheap Joes is so amazing that on my great big roadtrip this summer I HAD to stop at one of their few stores, buy something there, and get my photo taken in front of it. Their online catalog is huge. So I was surprised to find that their actual store was no larger than the Art Center in Memphis. I was hoping for something big like a cavernous place of wonder and art supplies about the size of a Sam's Club or Ikea. It's probably best that it wasn't or i would not have had enough money left to continue my roadtrip. Anyway, buy the artist on your list a gift certificate. You'll be a hero. 


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #2: Arian Armstrong

It can be difficult finding good quality, artsy gifts. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite artists. Hopeful it will help you quickly find a special and unique gift. 

I can't say enough nice things about the Armstrongs. I hosted Arian and Daniel last year when Arian was featured in The Stirring's art gallery, and they hosted me this past summer when I was on my artsy roadtrip. Arian has some wonderfully creative and adorable prints for sale at her Etsy store. I own 3 myself and have them proudly on display on my mantel. 

Here are a couple of my favorite prints of hers:

From now until 2:00pm EST on November 23rd, Arian is holding an online Facebook art auction! You can bid on original paintings and single run prints from her Owl City/Sky Sailing music videos! 

online auction: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=35692&id=100250070026524

Find more prints @:


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas: Local pottery

It can be difficult finding good quality, artsy gifts. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite artists and other creative gift ideas. Hopeful it will help you quickly find a special and unique gift. Please feel free to send some of your suggestions my way too.

First up: Bridgman Pottery
I have a small collection of Bridgman pottery that I highly treasure and enjoy. Every morning, I have my coffee in my favorite bridgman mug. I have a small soup bowl that I use all the time that is more precious to me than any of the ones in my china cabinet. Best of all, all her pottery is functional and food-safe, as well as safe to use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Melissa is having a pre-holiday sale at her home in midtown and I strongly suggest that you go.

Bridgman Pottery Pre-Holiday Pottery Sale
Friday, November 12 at 5:30p to 9 pm
Saturday, November 13 at 10a to 4pm
719 Dickinson St., Memphis, TN

This is my favorite mug. It has a button fern detail. 
If there was a house fire, l'm grabbing this mug.

Find it @:
The Trolley Stop Market - 704 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103


Are you thinking about ordering some Fudge for Christmas?

I know. It's only the first week of November. You've just calmed down from your Halloween sugar high. Christmas still seems like a long ways off. Heck, there's Thanksgiving to worry about. But if you're thinking about ordering an original Fudge painting for yourself or a loved one, you should probably get that order in now. I'm not trying to drive up sales here. I'm just being honest. Painting isn't my full time job so the 7 weeks between now and Christmas really isnt much time for me to finish a bunch of new paintings. So if you want that commissioned painting for Christmas and not the New Year. You should email this professional procrastinator artist real soon.



Fudge Freebie

Chester Cards Sets - now available
4"x5.5" folded cards, blank inside, envelopes included
set of 5 = $8. set of ten cards = $15. set of 20 = $30. shipping is extra.

That's right. I'm offering a free 5 pack of Chester Cards - picture of your choice. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite of the 8 designs pictured above. The winner will be randomly selected on Monday.

Here are the title's from left to right:

Top row
1. Blown Away
2. Instructions Not Included
3. Crossroads
4. Waiting for a Reply
Bottom row
5. Letting It Out
6. Ready to Go
7. Release
8. Proper Postage

Union University to have their first Arts, Culture & Theology Conference

Just saw this posted on Continuum's website and thought i would repost it here. Looks really interesting:

Union University’s First Arts, Culture & Theology Conference
April 8th & 9th, 2011,
The tentative cost is $80 for the two day event. 

Friday April 8th
1:00 – Welcome/ Introduction to the Conference: Artists and Union University Art Professors Haelim Allen & Melinda Eckley
1:15 – Introductory Addresses: Dr. David Dockery, Union University President and author or editor of more than thirty books; & Dr. Steve Halla, Artist, Writer and Union University Assistant Professor of Art
2:00 – Worship through the arts: Michael Card, Contemporary Christian Musician
2:30 – First Plenary Speaker: Nigel Goodwin, Executive Director of Genesis Arts Trust- London, UK
3:15 – Worship through the arts: Ballet Rejoice Dance Troupe
4:00 – Dinner Break (on your own)
6:00 – Second Plenary Speaker: Dr. Dan Siedell, Art Historian, Curator, Writer, Speaker, and Assistant Professor of Art History – University of Nebraska
7:20 – Worship through the arts: Union University Music Department presentation
8:00 – Art Event & Gallery Opening: Wayne Adams, Artist

Saturday April 9th
8:50 – Opening Comments: Dr. Carla Sanderson, Union Provost
9:00 – Morning Devotion: Michael Card
9:30 – 15 Minute Vignettes:

  • Dr. David Taylor, Arts Pastor, Hope Chapel Artistic Advisor, and Resident Fellow Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity, Austin, TX
  • Dr. Paul Shockley, Associate Professor of Bible and Theology at the College of Biblical Studies-Houston
  • Michael Winter, Gallery Director, The 930 Art Center Gallery, Louisville, KY
  • Dr. Taylor Worley, Union University Assistant Professor of Christian Thought & Tradition
10:40 – Worship through Art: Union University Theater Department
11:00 – Panel Discussion (all speakers) with Q & A
11:30 – Third Plenary Speaker: Mary McCleary, Artist & Regent’s Professor of Art Emeritus – Stephen F. Austin State University
12:30 – Lunch (we provide)
1:30 – Worship Service
2:00 – Closing Comments: Dr Gene Fant, Union University VP for Academic Services and Author of “God as Author: Toward a Christian Approach to Narrative”