NASHVILLE, TN. — September 20, 2018 — Nashville has a storied past, certainly — most known are Music City’s tales of country music fame and stardom, cowboy hats and rhinestones. Lesser known are the other pieces of the city’s rich history. From love and affairs to deception and murder, drugs and debauchery to war and ghosts, Nashville has it all. Granville Automatic has taken their passion for storytelling and turned everything from city founder Timothy Demonbreun’s two wives to the Ryman’s last-minute save from the wrecking ball into a 13-track concept record, Radio Hymns. The album will be released on November 2.
The duo, comprised of songwriters Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins, are inspired by the city’s stories that were lost over the years. Within the album’s 13 songs, the duo rocks and rolls, haunts and soars, and pays true homage to the mystery of Music City. Radio Hymns features guest appearances from Jim Lauderdale, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra, Ben Fields and Matraca Berg. Elkins and Olivarez self-produced the record, using some longtime Granville players and some of Nashville’s legendary studio musicians (and studios).
The duo titled the album Radio Hymns around the premise that the two songwriters, who often write for the radio in hopes of making a living, are actually saved by songs. These are their hymns. The collection takes listeners on a journey through a storied history; songs like “Black Avenue Gallows” discuss some of the darker parts of Music Row’s past, while “Radio Hymns” discusses the fateful save of The Ryman Auditorium in the 1970s, now once again live on the Opry’s radio station, WSM. “Marbles,” inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s time in Nashville and the locals thought he’d actually lost his sanity, tells a part of Nashville’s music past far from its country fame.
Named after a 19th-century typewriter, Granville Automatic is inspired by acts as diverse as Nashville’s history. Their tour schedule has been as frenzied as 200 shows a year, including stops at SXSW, the Key West, Island Hopper, Red River and 30A Songwriters festivals, CMA Fest and Tin Pan South. They’ve played at venues from the legendary Joshua Tree roadhouse Pappy & Harriet’s to Texas’ haunted Gruene Hall to listening rooms such as The Tin Angel (Philadelphia), Club Passim (Boston), Eddie’s Attic (Atlanta), The Station Inn and Music City Roots (Nashville) and Rockwood Music Hall (NYC).
Elkins and Olivarez have written songs recorded by country stars Billy Currington (the single “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem”), Sugarland, Kira Isabella, Wanda Jackson, Angaleena Presley, and others. Their songwriting led them to a coveted Composers in Residence spot at Seaside, Fla.’s Escape to Create program. They’ve appeared on PBS’ Sun Studio Sessions and WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. You may have heard their songs on ABC’s American Crime and The Lying Game, as well as Netflix’s The Ranch.
Sept. 21 — High Point, NC — High Point Theatre *with The SteelDrivers
Sept. 27 — Nashville, TN — The Listening Room
Oct. 13 — Alpharetta, GA — Matilda’s
Nov. 9-12 — Miami, FL — Shine A Little Love Fest at Sea
Nov. 16 — Nashville, TN — The Bluebird Cafe
Dec. 15 — Deadwood, SD — Deadwood Mountain Grand *with Shenandoah