11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Shane Tutmarc (Solar Twin)

Solar TwinThe opening line of Solar Twin’s “Salvation,” is “They say that rock is dead.” While I don’t disagree that there isn’t some truth to what Shane Tutmarc sings, there is the contradiction that Solar Twin’s 2017 release on which this song appears, “Pink Noise,” is a great rock record.

Solar Twin is the product of Tutmarc, and sadly, this record almost escaped me. As I’ve gotten older, I impatiently struggle and generally avoid listening to most new rock music which tends to disappoint me these days. But, had I heard a song like “Pink Noise’s” pop-rock gem and stand-out track, “True Colors” on the radio, I would have run right over to Grimey’s to buy it.

Fortunately, I recently saw Shane open solo for The Posies at the City Winery. His set won me over when he scored extremely well on my “Unknown Opening Act” performance scale.

Tutmarc is one talented musician who we should be proud to now claim as a Music City resident. “Pink Noise,” which you can get on a cool pink-swirl-colored vinyl, is a fine pop-rock record of original songs that Tutmarc has wonderfully written, produced and arranged. While I saw him playing live solo on electric guitar over a recorded track, that harder edge came across much softer on vinyl with its poppy touches, electronic tweaks and nice backing vocals.

I look forward to seeing Shane live again and thank him for being kind enough to let me ask him my 11 Questions. There’s also quite a back catalog from Shane that I look forward to discovering.

 

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

Seattle, WA.  I left Seattle on January 1, 2010, and arrived by January 8th.  I had first come out to Nashville on tour in June of 2008 and just fell head over heels in love with the city, its people, its culture, and its history.  After one more visit in early 2009, I set the date for the first day of the new decade to relocate.  I had already been putting out records for nearly a decade in Seattle, and after many ups and downs in my hometown, I was ready for a fresh start.  Nashville was a chance to really challenge myself and help me grow as an artist and songwriter.  It was not a bad decision.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

I was obsessed with Elvis at around 10 years old, so I remember buying some cassettes of Elvis around that time.  Also, the “blue” Beatles 1967-1970 collection would have been one of the first CDs I bought.  The first album I bought the day it came out was Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York on CD.  I’ve been back on a vinyl kick lately, replacing records I sold when I was broke.  I used to work at a record store in Seattle and had an insane record collection, but I sold most of it off during my first few years in Nashville to help pay rent. So, my most recent purchases have been replacing some classics: Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information and Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man and Death of a Ladies’ Man.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

I think Mudhoney in 1995 in Seattle was my first real concert.  And the last show I saw, that I wasn’t playing, was Jessica Lea Mayfield at the Basement East in November.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

I think my name would look pretty good on there.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Portland Brew in East Nashville is my favorite spot to hang out, catch up with a friend, and chain-smoke by the hours.  I don’t do it as much these days, but I used to live a couple blocks away, and it was a daily ritual.  Italia Pizza and Pasta and Five Points Pizza both have great vegan pizzas, so those are my spots for pizza.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

There’s too many. The first three that popped in my head would be: Ween’s 12 Golden Country Greats, Bonnie “Prince” Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music, and Elvis Presley’s Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old).

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

If it’s a weekend, it would be Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen.  Their late-night menu is insane, and they have an amazing vegan meatball sub.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

How ‘bout Jessica Lea Mayfield, Tristen, and Tanya Montana Coe?  That sounds like a good night of music.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I have a pretty deep history now with the OG Basement, The 5 Spot, and The Cobra (formally Foobar).  Those places have been constants since I moved to town.  But, there’s no short supply of great venues around Nashville.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

I think there’s enough musicians here for now.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

In addition to Solar Twin, I’m a pretty active producer and co-writer for other artists as well.  I just finished producing Tanya Montana Coe’s new single, “Electric Blue,” which we co-wrote.  That will be out on February 9th.  Beyond that, Solar Twin is playing Spewfest 3 at The Cobra on February 10th, and I’m looking into doing some regional touring around the South and possibly up the East Coast in Spring/Summer.

 

 

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