Check out our interview with Storme Warren & Joe Denim here
If you have not been to the historic and extravagant War Memorial Auditorium any time you are in Music City, you are missing out! Built in 1925 to honor the 3,400 Tennesseans who died in WWI, the elegant performance space was once home to the Nashville Symphony and the Grand Ole Opry. In fact, Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe, and Minnie Pearl were all inducted into the Opry on the War Memorial Stage. And over the years, it has played a role in notable political gatherings, music videos, comedy shows, and of course concerts. Billy Joel, REM, Three Doors Down, Bo Diddley, and Ray Charles are just a few of the legendary entertainers to grace the WMA stage.
Since September 2017, on the first Thursday of every month, two of Nashville’s most beloved guys have been taking over the WMA stage for their own show, along with a few of their famous friends. We are of course talking about Nashville House Concerts with musician/funny man Joe Denim and Sirius XM’s “The Highway” host, Storme Warren. Hailed by The Tennessean as the “Dick Clark of Nashville”, Storme is always out and about, covering multiple events ranging from CMA Festival stages to the New Years Eve Bash. And on the first Thursday of every month, he can be found on the couch at the War Memorial doing what he does best—no–not napping, although he probably would if Joe said it was okay! Instead, he is swapping stories and sharing funny tidbits with some of today’s biggest artists and writers. Storme is the perfect balance to the crazy comments and comedic stylings of Mr. Joe Denim. Joe’s funny songs like “I’ll Pray For You” and “Together We’re a 10” will have you falling out of your chair, only to be mesmerized five minutes later by his incredible piano playing and singing , whether it’s with the band or solo. After all, he did originally move to Nashville to be a touring musician, with skills in piano/keyboards, guitar, and harmonica.
Speaking of the rhythm section, the crew in the back has been affectionately given the nickname, the “It Is What It Is” band. Perhaps because all of the amazing musicians you see on stage are actually touring crew members that play with different artists on the road and sit in without much rehearsal time at all. And yet, they never miss a beat. Kenny Chesney’s drummer may be jamming with Toby Keith’s lead guitarist while George Strait’s background singers carry the harmonies.
You never know who you are going to find on that stage, whether they are playing an instrument or having a drink at the bar. While most guests are announced weeks before, there are pop ups from time to time hiding away at the bar, usually until Joe or Storme call them out to the forefront. Jim Lauderdale comes to mind as does “Friends in Low Places” writer, Earl Bud Lee.
So what about those pre-planned acts? Well, it’s a little bit like Chex Mix. Joe and Storme take the “It Is What It Is” Band, mix in an up-and-coming recording artist, add a hit songwriter or two, throw in some laughs with a comedic great, and top it off with an established favorite to give you the best bowl of trail mix you’ve ever put in your mouth! The Who’s Who roster has included Tracy Lawrence, Dierks Bentley, Love and Theft, Billy Currington, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson, and Martina McBride. Rising artists like Natalie Stovall, Ryan Kinder, Waterloo Revival, and Ashley McBryde have brought their A-game, and of course, where would anybody be without the writers in this town? Rhett Atkins, Shane McNally, Josh Osborne, Kendell Marvel, Tim Montana, and David Fanning have all dropped by to share the stories and play the hits. And as it turns out, the writers have a more difficult job then they expected when they signed on for this show. House Concerts’ two mischievous hosts like to play a game called “Create a Song” which involves the audience, a list of random words (from the audience), the writers, and a made up song. Words like “Lady Marmalade”, “Rumplestilskin”, “moist”, “mule ride” and “two step” have all been used. It may indeed be the best part of every show, as it happens at the end after the writers have had some time backstage to create their newest hit!
If all of this is not enough to peak your curiosity, know that literally, anything can happen on that stage during those two hours. Who could forget January’s show with Ed Roland from Collective Soul? If you somehow missed Storme Warren and Tim Montana fan girling and singing BGV’s on “Shine”, (especially the famous “yeah” parts), go find it in our Instagram page (@thecountrynote).
And don’t worry if you haven’t seen a show yet—you still have plenty of chances, the next one being this coming Thursday, February 1. So cancel any other plans, grab those tickets and get ready to spend your Thursday night with one half of Sugarland, Kristian Bush, Morning Radio show host and recording artist Chuck Wicks, Big Machine Recording Artist Delta Rae, and songwriter extraordinaire Natalie Hemby (“White Liar”, “Pontoon”). Because like we told you earlier, this script is not planned and you never know who’s going to show up. After all, it is what it is. . . .