Eileen Rose (vocals, guitar)
The Legendary Rich Gilbert (guitar, pedal steel)
When she’s not recording or touring her own material, Eileen, along with the Legendary Rich Gilbert, plays classic country music with her side-project, The Silver Threads. The band played weekly sets in the famous honky tonks on Nashville’s Lower Broadway for over a decade before Eileen took a break to focus on her own material.
They released their debut album 'The Silver Threads' in December 2010. Their second, 'Live At Robert's Western World' soon followed. And TWO brand new records, NASHVILLE ONE and NASHVILLE TWO will be out on March 17th! Buy them in our store and we'll sign them for you!ks on Nashville’s Lower Broadway, including Robert’s Western World and Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, and they released their debut, self-titled album in December 2010.
The Silver Threads play country standards and honky tonk music by the greats that started it all in the 50s and 60s: Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Party Cline, Earnest Tubb, Connie Smith, Buck Owens etc – to the outlaw mavericks that kept it going in the 70s: Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Lynn Anderson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and many more.
“There are a lot of reasons I like traditional country music - not this new stuff which is just pop music with cowboy hats! “ explains Eileen. “The song-writing is incredible. There are so many intense, dark, highly emotional stories delivered in concise, economical, punch-you-in-the-gut lyrics. All the fat is trimmed away in a country song – they’re short, melodic, full of hooks, seemingly simple but difficult to play. And vocally, it’s a real challenge to approach a Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Connie Smith or Merle Haggard song. It’s not just that they’re technically brilliant singers – they are – it’s more the emotional gravity with which they deliver a song, largely because they were singing about real things in their lives.”
Eileen formed The Silver Threads with her Holy Wreck sideman The Legendary Rich Gilbert, soon after she relocated to Nashville at the end of 2008. Rich is known for his slash and burn, punk influenced guitar work with Frank Black and Human Sexual Response but, like Eileen, he has always harboured a love for country music, which he revealed with his band The Blackstone Valley Sinners. Since he moved from Boston to Nashville in 2004 he has become a regular and respected player in the honky tonks and has established a reputation for his fast country guitar picking, jaw dropping solos and beautiful pedal steel (he made the widow of pedal steel legend Don Helms cry and step up to the stage to shake his hand). In 2010, Rich appeared on the David Letterman Show, Conon O’Brien and The Grand Ole Opry playing pedal steel with the great Wanda Jackson and Jack White.
The band is completed by Johnnie Barber on drums (Johnnie has played drums for some of the all time country greats: Earnest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and, from 1978-1984, with Johnny Paycheck), with bass duties split between Zach Shedd, Bard Albin, Joe Fick, Mark Winchester, Elio Giordano, and Chris Maclachlan,
The Silver Threads began playing on Lower Broad in January 2010, and quickly became one of the street’s “must see” bands, proving a hit with locals and tourists alike for their authentic country sound, top-notch musicianship and fun, high energy shows.
Many of the country legends that The Silver Threads cover started their own careers in the honky tonks on Lower Broad, and the street is steeped in country music history. On the corner stands the Ryman Auditorium, which housed the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974, and the historic alleyway connecting the honky tonks to the backstage door of the Ryman have been well trodden by artists like Merle Haggard, Lucinda Williams, George Jones, Bob Dylan and Ricky Scaggs, who have dropped into one of the honky tonks to relax after a concert at the Ryman. Today, honky tonks like Robert’s Western World are keeping traditional country music alive in a city that is now dominated by New Country.
“Though it's become very commercialized now, the Lower Broadway scene is a unique, historic thing that somehow still survives”, explains Eileen. “In its own way, it’s very punk rock in that it’s doing its own thing no matter what anyone else thinks or says about it. And it’s continued to exist for over 50 years as all other trends come and go. It’s very much the kind of thing I gravitate toward. The street is a weird and wonderful mix of some of the best players in the world, a collection of unpredictable bona fide kooks, homeless and misfits, honky tonk regulars who love the music and have embrace the scene as their own community, plus tourists, all wide-eyed and delighted at the players and general atmosphere and neon glow of the place.
The music begins at 10a.m and ends at 3a.m. Bands play 4 hour sets; sometimes two a day at different clubs. There is no cover charge – the honky tonks only ask that you tip the band in the tip jar that is passed around.
“It makes you better”, says Eileen. “You have to be. So many hours with everyone looking! Practice at home, though I still do it, is no substitute for stage time. That’s what playing on Lower Broad has done for me. Not only have I had to learn hundreds of songs from some of the all time great song writers and singers, but I’m in front of a crowd expecting to be entertained 20-24 hours a week. And if they’re not entertained, having fun and aren’t impressed, we don’t get paid.”