Frist Fridays, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ popular summer concert series, opens the 2012 four-concert season Friday, May 25 with legendary singer-songwriter and Grammy winner, Rodney Crowell performing in the Turner Courtyard.

This year the series takes place May through August from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the final Friday of each month. Patrons are invited to enjoy an evening of live music, light snacks and beverages, as well as the diverse exhibitions on view in the Frist Center’s galleries. Frist Fridays take place rain or shine.

Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to the events.

“We have added a fourth Frist Friday evening to our lineup this year,” said Frist Center Executive Director and CEO Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D. “Music plays a significant role so much that goes on at the Frist, and we are pleased this year to pair uniquely American musicians with self-taught American artists, the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Thornton Dial and Bill Traylor. We often describe the Frist as THE place in Nashville where music and art come together, and Frist Fridays is a tremendous example of that creative marriage.”

2012 Frist Fridays Line Up

May 25, 2012: Rodney Crowell

Rodney Crowell, a Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, and artist, brings poetry and earthy tautness to the soundtrack of people in the cracks, carving out lives that matter—if only to themselves and the people they know.

Born in Houston, his songwriting led him, in 1972, to Nashville, where Emmylou Harris heard the young writer’s songs. Crowell soon became a potent alchemic property in the sound the queen of hippie country was conjuring. It was only a matter of time until Crowell struck out on his own, producing Rosanne Cash’s seminal Seven Year Ache, which marked a new wave in country—and producing hits for Bob Seger, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Waylon Jennings and Crystal Gayle, among others. Crowell’s own albums established a benchmark of what was possible in the ground between Ray Price, Hank Williams and the Rolling Stones—Johnny Cash and Elvis. Diamonds & Dirt, considered the definitive album of the new traditionalist movement, was country’s first album to yield five #1 songs. His acclaimed autobiographical album, The Houston Kid, released in 2001, marked a milestone for Crowell as he broke free from the constraints of writing songs for commercial radio—shifting his focus instead to crafting and recording music that reflected a new chapter in his life and career. Crowell’s memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks, was published by Knopf in January of 2011.

June 29, 2012: Sam Bush with special guest Lera Lynn

Sam Bush is not old enough to be a musical legend, but he is. Called the King of Telluride and the King of Newgrass, Bush has been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Mandolin player extraordinaire, three-time national junior fiddle champion, Grammy-winning vocalist and co-founder of the seminal Newgrass Revival band, Bush has had a major hand in altering the landscape of American music and influenced at least a couple of generations of instrumentalists in the meantime. Newgrass Revival, with its amalgamation of bluegrass, jazz, rock, reggae and blues, continues to live large in the minds and hearts of fans of progressive bluegrass the world over. Sam Bush has played with a staggering array of artists, including Emmylou Harris, Doc Watson, Garth Brooks, Bela Fleck, Charlie Haden and Lyle Lovett, Del McCoury and Edgar Meyer, to name only a few.

At Frist Friday, he will be joined by up-and-coming Americana singer and award-winning songwriter Lera Lynn who, in 2011, won the Christ Austin Songwriting Competition held at Merlefest.

July 27, 2012: Band of Heathens

Since emerging as an important new live band from Austin, the Band of Heathens has toured relentlessly with their epic live shows and built a devoted following that has landed them on some of the finest stages in music, including Bonnaroo, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits television show and the Austin City Limits Festival.

The Dallas Morning News calls theirs a “must-see show.” Maverick Magazine simply described them as “terrific,” and The New York Times reviewed one of their shows as “hungry, unflagging and lean.”

Their most recent album, Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster’s Son, has been lauded for demonstrating artistic stretch and growth while maintaining the band’s integrity. In a crowded field of roots rockers, the Pittsburgh Daily News dubbed the effort “truly memorable,” and American Songwriter described it as “an album that begs to be listened to from start to finish.”

August 31, 2012: The Dynamites & Charles Walker

Since their last CD release, The Dynamites & Charles Walker have spent two-and-a-half years in a furor of worldwide touring with four tours of Europe, three of Australia, and virtually every weekend, stateside. They’ve been “gettin’ up in the morning and making the world a funkier place,” to quote their nightly show-opening monologue promise. Front man Charles Walker, one of the greatest soul singers of all time, demonstrates age-defying prowess. He is the real deal at the top of his powers, strong and getting stronger with every appearance.

This rare Nashville performance by one of the hottest soul bands in the country will coincide with the release of the band’s third CD on Gemco Records. The Dynamites continue their relentless commitment to the greatest, most positive and celebratory musical art form in America. And together, they continue to passionately deliver the word here and abroad.

Admission to Frist Fridays is free for Frist Center members and to visitors 18 years and younger. General adult admission for non-members is $10.00 and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID.

Frist Fridays will offer a special selection of economically-priced snack food items in the Frist Center Café. The selections will vary for each event and will include such items as chicken wings, sliders, corn dogs and soft pretzels and will range in price from $2.50 to $4.50.

Event Sponsors

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Supporting Sponsor: Land Rover Nashville

Social Media Sponsor: Yelp!

About the Frist Center

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. With possible exception for some specially-ticketed exhibitions, Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings), 5–9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3247.The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our website at

Please consider supporting the Frist Art Museum with a donation. Your gift is essential to our mission of serving the community through the arts and art access in particular. We truly appreciate your generosity.