East Nashville now is at the peak of the classic creative-class arc.
Ann Powers goes long on the fast-rising East Nashville music scene, from the producer behind Alabama Shakes and Hurray for the Riff Raff, to veterans like The Ettes, to the transplants like Clear Plastic Masks, to the newbies like Ranch Ghost
East Nashville is everything Brooklyn wishes it was, only affordable. It has its fair share of local butchers (Porter Road Butcher), organic and gluten-free grocery stores (The Turnip Truck) and the snobby coffee shop to end all snobby coffee shops (Barista Parlor). But unlike Brooklyn, musicians can actually afford to be musicians there.
That’s because rent averages $650 a month and cost of living is 9.5% lower than the national U.S. average. Combined with a small population of roughly 25,000, the 37206 zip code of East Nashville houses an enormous percentage of the cities’ musicians close enough together so they’re always collaborating. Redbull Sound Select artist Boom Forest and indie darlings Foreign Fields share a house in the east called Castle Red Skull. Their situation isn’t uncommon in Nashville — they have a big rickety red house filled with instruments and a rotating cast of musicians coming in from tour and going back out again. Everyone from the Avett Brothers to Mumford & Sons has passed through.
“These pictures are from an upcoming book that will come out later in the year. A lot of the people in these pictures are from a local gang in East Nashville that consists mainly of thugs who are obsessed with the movie “Chucky” [Child’s Play]. They ride around in Caprice whips with Chucky dolls rolled up in their back windows. They are currently at war with a Kurdish gang who ingest a drink called “jizz wine” and live in abandoned antebellum mansions on the edge of town.”