We first heard Jimmy Wallace’s tribute to the Peanuts cartoon characters at the Station Inn, Nashville, during Americana Music Festival 2010, capping off a showcase from his other band, 18 South. Little did we realize at the time, that two of our favorite records of the year involved the same piano-player from Louisiana.
After years on the road in support of artists like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Cole Degges and the Lonesome (sometimes credited as “Deggs”), and Gavin DeGraw, Wallace headed home to East Nashville ready to write his own music again. Sitting in his music room, he stared at a plastic figurine of Schroeder and decided to write a song from the character’s perspective. A year and a half later, Wallace had written an entire concept album of songs from the points-of-view of the children themselves–conflicted and misunderstood by their peers.
With music influences from his classical piano training as a child (“playing the pop music of 300 years ago”), to his first discovery of the Allman Brothers Band, Chuck Leavell, and Billy Preston, to immersing himself in the Delta Blues of the 1940’s through his early 20’s, Wallace researches his interests, following the trails and connections from one musician to the next as his ear adopts and adapts to each style. For someone who plays at such a high level with such an incredible array of musicians, he keeps a low profile. Wallace left Shreveport, Louisiana, to attend college in middle Tennessee, but brought with him the Cajun food influences of his extended family from south Louisiana, and the “Texas” sensibilities of the Shreveport region.
The self-professed “foodie” appreciates delicious meals, although his own skills in the kitchen are developing. He likes to use raw, local honey in his creamy coffee to help with allergies and also to remind him of the “liquid dessert” that his grandmother hooked him on when he was ten. East Nashville gets a bad rap for its crime rate, which exists, but not at the perceived level of folks across the river. The bohemian neighborhood boasts artists and musicians, and great restaurants, recording studios, coffee shops, and festivals. Wallace encapsulates his part of town with a story of jamming one evening at the Family Wash with a tattooed Tiffany playing a rockin’ version of “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Only in East Nashville…