Although I am leaving Nashville to see a few Nashville artists perform tonight in Cincinnati , I wanted to make sure to let you know of one spot in Nashville that you can see some real talent with a real good cause as well. The guys in the rising group Starlume are going to play new and old originals at the Hard Rock Cafe venue to help others. Not only will their musical stylings help you find something worth looking for, the mere $10 a ticket paid to enter will 100% go towards disaster relief in Haiti. The boys hit the stage at 8pm, but I’d advise getting there early while you can still get inside. You can thank me later!
As for my roadtrip up north, the Nashville talent I am going to witness is the musical giant of Venus Hum. It will be at a small venue happening at Monastery Studio located at 2601 Stanton Avenue of Cincinnati, Ohio, but the sounds and overall goodness that are sure to come from this taped show will be anything but small. Getting ready to pack my car for the road, all the while still awaiting to hear the news of the birth of Brady Roy Beard (my brother Drew and sister-in-law Kristylee’s first child), I’d like to reflect on my near future as Uncle Chuck by looking to the recent past at a story I briefly worked on about Venus Hum. I shall cut and paste it below and look forward to hearing your response to your reactions to my words and their music. Whatever you decide to do tonight, be safe and smile every now and then.
Stars are tricky matters that often fascinate my wondering mind. Some burst upon the scene, instantly filling the sky’s attention, and just as quickly fade into obscurity or their own black hole. Some are already dead when you finally see them. Some continuously move around us only to be witnessed every other century or so it seems if you’re lucky to be born at the right time. But some, some stars are so special that you may find yourself as the only person in a packed room to even notice it, to fully appreciate its existence within that split second of a moment, and cast your wish out loud that it stay awhile longer before it shoots off stage again … or for good. Yes, Venus Hum is such a special kind of star; a not-so-country kind of Nashville star.
Now, before over-shooting the whole point and myself, I should clarify some things to straighten your vision. Venus Hum is no sort of quasar in specific but more so a musical group that was formed in Nashville, TN, consisting of three distinct parts harmony: two folds eclectic electric sounds created, mixed, and arranged by Kip Kubin and Tony Miracle superbly blended with the magic bullet of one Annette Strean’s angelic vocals. Individually, each brings forth separate talents and flavor of life. Together, they form a finished product that is never truly finished and yet is unique to every other product on the music market. With the latest release of their fourth album/CD, Mechanics and Mathematics, Venus Hum continues to separate themselves from the overplayed radio pop-pack and trail blaze a path that a loyal and growing fan base is more than eager to dance to and happily follow.
In some ways, Venus Hum’s adventure has yet to begin or reach its potential. On the other hand, similar to tales of other supernovas that have been before, Venus Hum has had a storybook origin that nobody, including its members, quite ever saw coming. If you ask anyone in the band how their story ensued so far, you might not get the same answer or exact science of how these three began. In a lot of ways, the manner in which their first show and the name was realized explains everything they are about. It just happened.
How else can I explain the causes and effects, the methods behind the glorious madness … the mechanics and mathematics of it all; if you will? Bluntly writing in order of occurrences; two guys met while studying different courses at Belmont University. Kip was focusing on a career path in radio at the time while Tony was pursuing knowledge in the business side of music. They met through mutual friends, an interest and love of the almighty synthesizer, and began making music more as a hobby than anything else. Then, out of nowhere from the big beautiful sky or Whitefish if you’re keeping score, a songbird appeared on the scene. Annette, who had graduated high school in Montana and full-heartedly invested in her song writing/singing skills as her higher education at the time, took a road trip on the whim. Packed with her guitar, a book of personal lyrics, a carload of confidence in her abilities and aspirations, Annette pulled into Nashville with nothing in mind other than meeting with a friend who had been helping her with advice from afar with her questions about the music biz. The clouds began to move in the winds.
Annette met with her friend and signed up as a solo act for a show a few months ahead of that time at a rock festival to have something to look and work towards. Within the weeks following, in less than 6 degrees of separation, Annette was introduced to both Kip and Tony and asked if they would mind writing a few songs together and accompanying her for the show. During the process of writing a small string of songs, they brainstormed for something to call themselves. In true pen and pad fashion, they took to writing down the first ideas they could think of when Tony suddenly mentioned that his venous hum was really bothering him (a medical condition where blood flows to the brain and back to the heart so quickly that it causes a humming noise). The three looked at each other; they put the notepad down and with a small change of the spelling, a name stuck.
Equipped with a solid set and a name to take notice, the group took to the stage with no expectation or clear thoughts other than that they didn’t want to get laughed offstage. The music was loud but the praise from the crowd was even louder. The first show had gone over way better than they every imagined; so much so that things moved quickly in a positive direction from there. The group began playing steady around the area with a steadfast fan base on the climb and mastered their own self-titled, self-released EP and CD. It didn’t take long for the record labels to hear the buzz.
Within two years of their first unanticipated show, Venus Hum was the talk of the Nashville music scene with numerous nods as Critics Pick and Best of Nashville awards. The group decided to sign with two record labels: MCA for the USA and BMG for international play. Somewhere in those same fast times, the band found new happy faces all over the world while touring with the Blue Man Group and releasing their very own version of the single “I Feel Love.” They took to the road and overseas as if it was old hat; a non-cookie cutter kind of avant garde homegrown hat that made sounds and stories visually come alive while engaging unsuspecting listeners along their journey.
With a string of songs from two follow-up studio albums (Big Beautiful Sky and The Colors In The Wheel) appearing on popular primetime television shows, as well as in a few movies, and a sound that had no boundary or lack of appeal, the band was creatively able to do whatever they could think up with the musical side of things. The business side, however, was sometimes harder to swallow from below. Typical to stories you may have heard about music executives in the past, the big wigs thought it would be in everyone’s best interests to tweak pieces of the group’s image to quickly grab the attention of a wider audience instead of letting the promising flower bloom on its own.
When the contracts ran out, the group again unexpectedly revealed newfound passions and skills within their own hiatus of sorts. Tony honed his craft for producing and design work, Kip threw himself into directing and film production, and Annette nearly lost her voice due to troubles with her vocal chords only to have surgery, recover, and feel better than ever about her overall outlook physically and mentally relating to the health of her favorite and most prized thing in life … music. They agree that they are each a huge fan of each others’ work, that they have never had a better personal and working relationship together, and they are exactly where they need to be to grow in all directions from this point forward.
Coming full circle from their original self-released album, the fourth installment, the self-released Mechanics and Mathematics, is an exceptional compilation of the total creativity, ingenuity, and possibility of each of this three part harmony that makes up Venus Hum. Every last bit of detail, from writing the music, designing the artwork, shooting the videos and distribution of the album via their website and at live shows is 100% Tony, Kip, and Annette. Carrying out their mission to marry pop songs with strange electronic sounds, Venus Hum is better than their described unconventional, three-dimensional and completely five-sensual music … their sound is other worldly beautiful. With this not-so-country kind of Nashville star, the Big Beautiful Sky is far from their limit.