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Nashville’s Music Underground unearths more diamonds

As I mentioned previously, I keep running into more and more ‘diamonds in the rough’, here in Nashville. For me, this happens largely at the meeting of the musical minds known as The Music Underground. By the way, this particular musical get-together was formerly known as The Play It Again Jam, or merely The Jam. It appears that it seemed right to the current sponsors of the jam to re-name it, to avoid any confusion and to help give the effort a fresh new start.

Lancelot McGough at the Music Underground studio
Frankcine Harvey

With the absence of the distractions of the former tavern atmospheres---meaning the attendant smells, sounds and other hassles---the Music Underground has become a haven for more serious musicians, whose focus is more purely on the actual making of music.

The music at the new venue still tends to lean toward Rock and Roll (and it’s roots: The Blues), but is not without it’s forays into Swamp Rock, Trop Rock and other forms of Americana. So, you won’t hear very much Country Music there, although my appreciation for the early works of Hank Jr. is such that the boys have heard and played along to more than one of his songs, when I’m in attendance.

Having played professionally for lo these fifty years, I have suffered the common effect of hearing loss. It’s bad enough where some of my loved-ones are starting to call me ‘tin-ears’, on occasion. So, it’s not uncommon for me to ask someone to repeat something they’ve said to me; particularly at a jam session. At one fairly recent meeting of the Music Underground, I had to ask Lancelot McGough---one of the newest attendees---to repeat something he had said to me. He took opportunity to mention that he had “a speech impediment: an Irish Accent.” It was great to see Comedy rearing it’s pretty head, and I took note that this was a talented individual who was not limited to what appeared to be his instrument of choice---the bass guitar. As it turns out, Lancelot plays a variety of instruments, right down to the usually unsung tambourine. And anyone who remembers the song “Satisfaction”, by the Stones, knows the potential value of the addition of tambourine in a song.

Watching Mr. McGough periodically put down his bass and sit on the drums, take up a six-string guitar or jump on the microphone caused me to add him to the list of the multi-talented people I’ve now met at the aptly named “Underground”. (The studio is actually encased, in Hobbit-like fashion, by three sides of a hill)

A little Internet searching showed me that Lancelot, who originally hails from across the pond, has been playing music in a variety of places around the USA, and not just in this town. Only currently is Nashville the lucky possessor of this one-of-many diamonds in the rough. I imagine this town will see more of his antics in the near future.

--Ken Utterback is a long-time musician who writes a blog on MySpace as well as the occasional essay for other publications. You can email Ken at:

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