These Are A Few Of My Favorite Links

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite links and then I don’t feel so bad.

For everyone in Tennessee who got tired of saying goodbye to beloved bookstores, there’s Parnassus Books. Thank acclaimed novelist Ann Patchett. I do.

Drive south, and you’ll eventually find Square Books in Oxford Mississippi. Tell ’em Bill Faulkner sent you.

Speaking of Oxford and all thangs southern, The Oxford American is one of the best magazines you’ll ever read. Their annual music issue is not to be missed.

I came across a magazine called Garden & Gunand was appropriately baffled. Was it really Martha Stewart Living with a new, more accurate title? Some might say yes, but I like it.

Leaving the south but remaining in periodicals, The Fretboard Journal is, in my humble opinion, the best guitar magazine out there. Given how crowded the field is, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Speaking of guitars, there are lots of guitar stores in the Nashville metro, but Artisan Guitars is my favorite. Offering exquisitely drool-worthy instruments by small batch builders, this is a shop you’ll enter dreaming and leave scheming.

There are ukuleles, and then there are Kamaka ukuleles. Handcrafted in Honolulu by the Kamaka family since 1916. Need I say more?

Did you read the previous blurb and laugh, thinking the ukulele is an antiquated novelty? Jake Shimabukuro begs to differ. He will forever change the way you feel about the instrument.

Julia Nunes got her start as a college kid with a ukulele on YouTube. If you want to know how far bright-eyed enthusiasm, heartfelt songwriting and savvy use of new media can take you, visit the link below.

While the pundits were busy writing an obituary for record stores, Mike Grimes and Doyle Davis were busy opening one. Grimey’s clerks are lovably quirky, not Tower jerky. Great in-store performance vids online:

Following the demise of BR549, Chuck Mead launched a solo career. His first album, “Journeyman’s Wager,” is a favorite, and he recorded his second at the legendary Quonset Hut Studio. Hey, honkytonk heroes are hard to find.

How can I mention music in Nashville without mentioning Webb Wilder? Obviously, I can’t. “Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need ’em.” Sound advice from a man with a sound all his own.

There are better-known singers than Jonell Mosser. But are there better singers? You might want to go to her website and do some listening before you answer that. Better still, catch her live.

Looking to jazz things up? Annie Sellick is your woman. She’s a terrific jazz singer in the classic mold, but when they made Annie, they broke the mold.

If you are ever in Nashville, do your very best to catch a show at the Ryman Auditorium. Its awe-inspiring history is rivaled only by its astonishing acoustics. The Ryman is simply one of America’s great venues.

I never realized how broad, diverse and lively the Nashville arts scene is until I started picking up Nashville Arts magazine. Every issue is clearly a labor of love.

Covering the arts and creativity-driven businesses in Nashville, Native magazine is a welcome addition to the city’s magazine racks. I particularly enjoy the articles that spotlight young entrepreneurs.

Back to books. The Southern Festival of Books happens every year on the second full weekend in October, right here in Nashville. Read all about it:

If the nation’s cupcake craze leaves you scratching your head, though not without traces of frosting in your hair, you need The Cupcake Collection. Because a cupcake is one thing, but a cupcake with soul is something special.

Hatch Show Print is one of the oldest operating letterpress print shops in America. Owned by the Country Music Hall of Fame and managed by artist, printmaker and designer Jim Sherradan, it’s truly a treasure.

Fed up with manufactured marshmallows that are eerily reminiscent of the pellets you fed the hamster in your preschool? So was Sarah Souther. Her Bang Candy Company creates marshmallows and other goodies that are too good to miss.

It’s a sign. It’s a work of art. It’s both! The Sideshow Sign Company specializes in handmade signs and posters. You can’t not look.

A leading authority on whiskey and whiskey history, Chicago-based Chuck Cowdery’s blog is always, ahem, spirited and informative.

Foodie without the fancy, Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood site showcases regional eateries across the country. Do not visit this site on an empty stomach.

Whether teamed up with Radney Foster, leading The Long Players, or ringing your chimes with his power pop solo work, Bill Lloyd delivers the goods. And you know that can’t be bad.

Ed Pettersen is an acclaimed artist with his roots in roots rock. A songwriter, producer, performer, musical encyclopedia and teller of epic true-life Viking tales, Ed never fails to entertain.

Like Ed Pettersen, Kansas City’s The Rainmakers are probably better known in Norway than they are in the USA. That’s a shame, because this is a great band fronted by a great songwriter. Quick, pretend you’re in Oslo and click on the link below!

There are great guitar players in Nashville. And there are great guitar players in Austin. And Jim Stringer is one of them. The phrase “That guy can play anything!” definitely applies.

Sure, Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis get all the accolades, but Nashville’s own Elvis Wilson got there first. His charming documentary Being Lincoln brings out the Abe in us all.

Learn about it here:

Or watch the entire film here:

TV Party is a boomer’s dream. Or nightmare. A site where you can spend as much time learning about classic television as you did watching it when you were growing up.