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No. 410: A Chili Dawg Rises From the Ashes of Broadway

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Chili Dawg · Metro Council · Grasslands · Standards · F-18 · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

Here’s what’s on the docket today:

  • Off the Cuff Davis introduces the latest budding star to emerge on Broadway.
  • Nashville Megan gives us a preview of tonight's Metro Council meeting.
  • Elsewhere William Harwood dives into the work of the Southeastern Grasslands Institute and their discoveries about the Southeast's ancient ecology.
  • Local Noise Honky Tonk Tuesday at American Legion.
  • And More Don't Always Play the Heel.

Mild weather is ahead of us this week. Looks like some rain in the forecast tomorrow.


Off the Cuff
Notes from the editor


Over the weekend, a clip of a Broadway guitarist made the rounds online. In the clip, the guitarist, Michael "Chili Dawg" Castleberry, takes a longneck Coors and uses it as a slide before sticking it between his teeth, rearing his head back, and chugging the whole thing while shredding on his '52 Telecaster.

Later that night, after that epoch-defining performance, Chili Dawg was caught snoozing in his car out front of Tootsie's while loading up his equipment; the MNPD, doing their usual surveillance of the Broadway drunks, subsequently charged the mythical performer for driving under the influence (does napping in your car really warrant this?). As unfortunate as the charges are, from the molten ashes of Broadway—where the gutters run with domestic beer and the streets are filled with the shrieks of wooing women—a new phoenix has risen.

We often lambast Broadway for its excess, but occasionally, it produces a moment of rare, crude excellence. Chili Dawg's performance is one such example. His antics—and ensuing run-in with the law—sit nicely alongside the storied outlaw behavior of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard.

Inspired by the bravado, attracted by the "vibe", I wandered down to Kid Rock's Big Ass Honky Tonk on Sunday night to witness Chili Dawg play with a band on the second floor of the complex—just above the Cadillac Pussy VIP Room, where Tucker Carlson was famously spotted hanging with the bar's proprietor last year.

When I exited the elevator to the second floor, I was immediately greeted by the imposing figure of Chili Dawg who, turning to his own private audience that had gathered around his corner of the stage, ran his own little sideshow as he accompanied the band.

Murmurs in the crowd spoke of his '52 Telecaster, which you could visibly see ring with electricity in a way modern guitars simply do not. Chili Dawg let the thing rest on his belly and deftly maneuvered it, occasionally taking a beer and using it as a slide. His body seemed to absorb and reflect some portion of the sound, adding an elemental depth to the music. It was immediately obvious that here was a personality who could draw a crowd.

At The Ben & Morey Show back in December, Mayor Cooper mentioned that he thought the future of Broadway would mirror, in ways, the Vegas model of residency shows. Big country stars like Luke Bryan, Kid Rock, and John Rich might take up the mic on a semi-regular basis as the draw for crowds becomes more about particular performers and less about the general party scene. It’s an admittedly rose-colored vision of Broadway, but seeing personalities like Chili Dawg emerge time and again helps one see how this could play out.

Instead of people barrelling into a bar to drink, with a live band's "muzak" there to add some excitement, a certain subset of Broadway patrons will begin to show a more discerning eye, looking out for and going to see acts like Chili Dawg or The Pamphleteer's personal favorite, Kelley's Heroes. Most of us dread venturing into the “Tourist District”, but occasionally it yields fruit. And as an enthusiastic resident of this city, I’d suggest we all put in the time now and again. You know, so we can keep tabs on the place.

You can catch Chili Dawg on Fridays at 9:30 p.m. at Tin Roof Broadway on the second floor (More Info)


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Oprah enters the council chambers, tells everyone to look under their chairs then points around the room while shouting, “You get an e-bike, and you get an e-bike, and you get an e-bike!”

Last week, a resolution was filed introducing a piece of legislation which would provide $1 million in American Rescue Plan funds to subsidize the purchase of e-bikes. If passed, this money would go toward standard rebates for residents of up to $300 for an e-bike or $500 for an e-cargo bike. Income-qualified rebates based on household income would also be available: up to $1,400 for both e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. That being said, according to CM Sledge, the legislation will be deferred tonight while the council explores alternative ways to support the initiative without ARP funding.

Aside from RS2023-1951, six other items on the agenda are also related to “alternative” transportation. As we noted last week, five maintenance resolutions for lighting and signal upgrades associated with cycling and pedestrian facilities throughout the city will be up for vote. RS2023-1965 will also be introduced to extend the term of the Nashville Complete Trips Transportation Demand Management Program, an initiative aimed at easing traffic congestion, for a grace period of 120 days beyond its  December 31st completion date. Below, we take a look at a  few more items to keep an eye on this evening, before tallying up the cost of these ARP-funded projects.


RS2023-1947 Ten million dollars in ARP funds will be allocated to neighborhood needs through a community-led participatory budgeting program. There’s a twist here, though:  Davidson County residents will be able to submit ideas to be included on a 35-item ballot. All residents aged 14 and older will be able to cast a vote for the projects they want funded.

RS2023-1950 This resolution proposes the use of ARP funds to bankroll the salaries and office incidentals of a staff assigned to oversee the allocation of… these very funds. In other words, ARP funds are paying for ARP fund oversight to the tune of $517,000.

The grand total of American Rescue Plan Act funds being voted on tonight is $11,517,000.


RS2022-1901 and BL2022-1632:   These are paired pieces of legislation aimed at creating a reserve operating fund policy that will set aside a minimum target of 17 percent of each governmental operating fund. This will create a stockpile equal to approximately two months’ worth of expenditures which can serve as Metro’s operating budget. Read more on Metro’s past budget-balancing shortfalls here.




  • TSU Unveils $250 Million Plan For Major Campus Improvements & Renovations (Now Next)
  • East Side ex-pizzeria building sells for $2.05M (Post)
  • Music Row building listed for sale (Post)
  • Auto dealership with Midtown presence preps moves (Post)


By William Harwood · Read Online

Theo Witsell and Dwayne Estes' work at the Southeastern Grasslands Institute sheds light on the forgotten ecology of the Southeast

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds."

Aldo Leopold

It’s called ‘May Prairie', a wedge-shaped bit of land that stands along US 41, a busy highway slicing through Manchester, Tennessee. It’s nearly 500 acres, but the part that really matters – the reason why May Prairie even exists – is a little patch of planet measuring a mere twelve acres plus, hardly enough sod for a decent par four. Here, and all-but-surrounded by a county jail, an industrial park, and an auto salvage yard, still lives a remnant, old growth grassland– a biodiversity hotspot with roots reaching back tens of thousands of years.

"This is one of the most special places I can think of," says botanist Dwayne Estes, co-founder of the Southeastern Grasslands Institute (SGI), an initiative based out of Austin Peay State University that is working to save southeastern grasslands. "May Prairie is truly a sacred gem when it comes to landmarks within the eastern United States."

Dwayne knows of what he speaks. May Prairie is home to scores of rare plants native to Tennessee, including one endemic to May Prairie itself: Symphyotrichum estesii, or Estes's aster. Found nowhere else on the planet, Dwanye discovered the perennial plant -- growing one to three feet in height and sprouting with white flowers -- in 2008. The mind reels at how many people have clomped over those deeply unique twelve acres over the past two centuries, harvesting hay or blasting birds or just sucking suds by a bonfire, but all united across time by their shared obliviousness to the rarity of the life around them.

Southeastern Grasslands' other co-founder, botanist Theo Witsell and Dwayne's best friend, quotes at some length on this theme the father of the modern ecology movement, Aldo Leopold: "Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise." In a nutshell, or, in this case, a Symphyotrichum estesii's seed, the Southeastern Grasslands Institute exists to tell us otherwise.

Continue reading...



  • 💰 U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday the United States will likely hit the $31.4 trillion statutory debt limit on Jan. 19, forcing the Treasury to launch extraordinary cash management measures that can likely prevent default until early June.
  • 📑 Additional classified government documents were found at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home this week, the White House confirmed Saturday.
  • 🏛 House Republicans are gearing up for a tense intraparty fight, with factions ready to face off over where and how deeply to propose cutting federal spending, a central pledge in the midterm campaign.
  • 🤡 A San Francisco advisory committee has recommended paying out hefty reparations to the city’s longtime black residents, including a $5 million payment per qualifying person and a supplemental income to low-income residents for 250 years.
  • 💉 The CDC announced Friday that it is investigating a “safety concern” linked to the use of the updated Pfizer Covid vaccine booster in seniors.
  • 💵 The International Monetary Fund said that fragmentation could cost the global economy up to 7% of GDP in a new report. The longer-term cost of trade fragmentation varies from 0.2% of global output to almost 7%, which is roughly the combined annual output of Germany and Japan.


View the full calendar here.

🐙 The Eighth Room, the new venue taking the place of Douglas Corner Cafe on 8th Avenue, is now open for business! Check out their shows and their great radio station.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out Nashville's winter farmer's markets on our farmer's market guide.

🎧 On our Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week. On the Radar, a playlist of the best bands in town in the future, and Nashville Sounds, an ever-growing sample of the local music scene.

🏕 Happy New Year! Here's our list of this year's best southern festivals, where you'll find celebrations both popular and obscure, with a wide range of themes including music, history, health, heritage, beer, BBQ, cars, and more.


⛸ Predators vs. Blue Jackets @ Bridgestone Arena, 7p, $19, Info

🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
+ Two-step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p

🎻 Bluegrass/Old Time Jam @ The 5 Spot, 8:30p, Free, Info

🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street


🎸 Tedeschi Trucks Band @ Ryman, 1/23-25, 8p, $49.50, Info

🎻 Billy Strings @ Bridgestone, 1/24-25, 8p, Info

🎻 Billy Strings @ Ryman, 1/26, 8p, Info
+ Only elligible if you purchased a ticket to one of his previous nights' Bridgestone shows

🎹 Piano Trios of Haydn & Ravel @ The Schermerhorn, 2/1, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Lotus @ Brooklyn Bowl, 2/16, 8p, $20, Info

🎙 Weyes Blood @ Brooklyn Bowl, 2/22, 8p, $23+, Info
+ Folk-pop, a modern Joan Baez

🥁 Os Mutantes @ The Blue Room, 3/1, 7p, $25, Info
+ Brazilian psychedelic rock band, part of the the Tropicália movement of the late 1960s

🕺 Lettuce @ The Brooklyn Bowl, 3/17-18, $32, Info
+ Funk

🎸 Goose @ The Ryman, 3/31-4/1, Info
+ Funky jam band



Cheesesteak Deluxe
Discovering a taste of Philly in Nashville with Mike Wolf
What Divides Us
The oral tradition undergirding conservatism puts it at odds with liberalism
When to Eat What
There Are Right Answers, But Not One
Most Anticipated Movies of 2023
Ten movies to keep an eye on this year
Shield in Tatters
The Broken Front Line Against Urban Crime
Around the Web

The media don’t have god-like powers to turn lead into gold. They tried to label the George Floyd riots as “mostly peaceful protests,” for example, but that was a complete failure. The reality was too powerful to suppress. And, notably, there was no conservative heel handy for them to brand as the bad guy.

But if you give them material to work with, they can do a lot with it. When you voluntarily play the heel role, you are often actually furthering the narrative the media wants to create. Without a villain, their story has no drama, and the hero they want you to support isn’t going to be viewed as strongly a sympathetic victim. Without you stepping in to act the heel, they would have to invent one, which is less effective than when you voluntarily play the role for them.

Source: Why You Shouldn't Play the Heel
Aaron Renn, 15 January 2023, Read Online

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