Bulger's Beat: Musician works to make the classics new again - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Musician works to make the classics new again

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Nashville is a town clearly built on music. But while many of the sounds that came from here years ago are today considered classic country, one popular musician is making sure those classics remain relevant.

It's ironic that a young musician like Chuck Mead lives a life where history follows him wherever he goes.

The songs he sings certainly have that connection, and history is something he made on Lower Broadway in Nashville years ago.

Good songs don't have expiration dates, and in Mead's hands, classics like the 130-year-old Wabash Cannonball still roar.

It's all part of a terrific new record, blending Nashville's A-Team, session players from the 1950s and 60s with a taste of today.

"I just decided to make a country classics record," Mead said. "I just didn't want to do it like a history lesson or some sort of a stale reproduction, so in a sense we wanted to make it 2012."

Mead and the band BR-549 helped lead the charge some 17 years ago to bring people back to downtown Nashville as the house band four nights a week at Robert's Western World.

"We kind of built a name for ourselves playing in that window, hoping someone didn't shoot through it," Mead said.

Remember, back then there was no Titans, no Bridgestone Arena and no reason to visit downtown.

"We didn't have an idea what we were doing. We were just sitting and playing and it all kind of happened around us, and people did start coming down here again," Mead said.

The music is still coming, too, both in a way that's brand new and with a tip of the hat to the likes of Hank Williams.

"Some people may not know some of these songs, so it's brand new to them," Mead said.

The new record comes out Tuesday, and Mead with the band Grassy Knoll Boys are set to play a show Tuesday night at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville.

And on another note, Mead has parlayed his success on Lower Broadway to the bright lights of Broadway. He's the music director for 'Million Dollar Quartet,' a worldwide Tony Award-winning show that salutes the music of Tennessee.

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