In my tenure behind the 11 Questions’ desk, I have never listened to the new music of one of my subjects as much as I have to “Compositions” by Music City’s Johnathan Pushkar. Chalk it up to my love of his nod to the British Invasion Power Pop of the 60s which he captures so well on record. Jump right in and give a look and listen to the video for “Any Second Now” while also discovering Johnathan’s Lego-themed persona.
Among the guest musicians on “Compositions” is Geoff Britton, the original drummer for Wings. Geoff plays on both the original song and Pushkar’s cover of Sir Paul McCartney’s “Junior’s’Farm,” both of which were recorded right here in Nashville. Johnathan himself has served time playing in a Beatles tribute band and in his other career as a media consultant has represented Nashville’s Grammy-nominated The WannaBeatles.
There is sure a lot of fine praise being given to this record, and it’s one that comes with my highest recommendation. Here’s hoping to see a live performance soon. Thanks “Ringo” for taking a spin at 11 Q’s.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I am originally from North Huntingdon, PA, just south of Pittsburgh. I grew up playing “Ringo” in a Beatles tribute band and moved to Nashville in 2014 to attend Belmont University. I graduated as the Public Relations Department’s “Graduate of the Year” in 2018 and made Nashville my home shortly after. There is nowhere else in the world that energizes me creatively the way that Nashville does, and I truly cannot ever see myself leaving this town!
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
I bought my first two CDs on the same day at FYE at my local mall: Led Zeppelin IV and Drake Bell’s Telegraph, which to this day remains one of my favorite albums ever and was super influential to me as a budding musician. The latest album I bought was a pristine copy of The Beach Boys’ Surfs Up on vinyl from an antique store. I’m always adding to my vinyl collection!
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
The first live concert I saw was Drake Bell at a baseball park in Pittsburgh, probably around the summer of 2004 or so. The last concert I was The Beach Boys at the Ryman Auditorium in February 2020. Are you sensing a theme here between Drake Bell and The Beach Boys in my answers?
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
My music is heavily influenced by the 60s British Invasion movement, but perhaps deeper than that, my true roots lie in Rockabilly and late 50s Rock and Roll. For that reason, I think amazing additions would be Buddy Holly, who recorded the first (and unreleased) version of “That’ll Be the Day” at the Quonset Hut on Music Row. I would love to see the inclusion of Carl Perkins, a true hero of Tennessee. Without Carl, it’s hard to imagine what Rock and Roll might’ve become.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do love pizza! It’s hard to beat Bella Napoli in Edgehill, so they’re my go-to!
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo comes to mind immediately, but songs like Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-a-Lula,” Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady, Lay,” “Crazy” from Patsy Cline, and so many more are at the top of my list. I’d be remiss not to include Taylor Swift’s first album which to me is an incredible milestone in Pop/ Country music for the modern era.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Depending on how late your show is, Blue Moon Marina in West Nashville has a pretty amazing atmosphere at night. They’re always number one on my list!
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
First up, Wyatt Funderburk who is my producer. He doesn’t ever do rounds, so I’d be interested to see how he’d tackle it. Next up would be my pal John Salaway, one of the kindest people in Nashville and an immense talent. And to round out our “Nashville Fab Four,” I’d invite the amazing Sami Jo who is an amazing writer and a force to be reckoned with!
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
My live band only got to perform once before COVID shut everything down, but our show at the Great Escape Nashville was a total blast! We’re looking forward to doing more shows as things continue to reopen. Some of my favorite venues are Fat Kat Slim’s, 3rd and Lindsley, and City Winery.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
I think Paul McCartney should come and spend another summer in Nashville. He was here for six weeks in 1974 and recorded “Junior’s Farm” with Wings while he was here. He should come back and see how things have changed!
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
My new album, Compositions, drew lots of influence from the 60s pop anchors like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Searchers. For my next project, I plan to do a 50s rock n roll-inspired project in the vein of Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, and the other American forefathers of Rock and Roll.
Love his music.