OZ ARTS NASHVILLE PRESENTS COMPOSER-GUITARIST WILLIAM TYLER’S CORDUROY ROADS, A NEW MULTIMEDIA PERFORMANCE WORK ABOUT THE LINGERING LEGACY OF THE CIVIL WAR, ON APRIL 16
Tyler Comes to OZ Arts’ Local Spotlight Series, TNT (Thursday Night Things), During Breakthrough Period in His Career, Including the Celebrated World Premiere of Corduroy Roads at Duke Performances and a Heralded Opening Set at Jack White’s Recent Concert at Bridgestone Arena
Nashville’s William Tyler is that rare instrumentalist who achieves extraordinary acclaim as a solo artist. Pitchfork called his 2010 debut Behold the Spirit “the most vital, energized album by an American solo guitarist in a decade or more.” Pop Matters has called him “an incredible musician, not just in his playing, but with his understanding of music and its emotive qualities.” He builds upon this artistry with Corduroy Roads, his first multimedia performance work. With filmmaker Steve Milligan and theater director Akiva Fox, Tyler has created a hybrid of live music and film that reflects upon the lingering legacy of the Civil War. Corduroy Roads examines questions of history, memory and the ways in which the war haunts the South to this day. OZ Arts Nashville will present the Nashville premiere of the work on April 16, as part OZ Arts’ Local Spotlight Series, TNT (Thursday Night Things).
Tyler will perform Corduroy Roads at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.oznashville.com for $10, or at the door for $12. While at the venue, guests are welcome to enjoy OZ Arts’ lounge and outdoor sculpture garden, eats from INSERT, and a cash bar. OZ Arts Nashville is located at 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle in Nashville, TN.
Corduroy Roads takes as its point of departure two of the most iconic portfolios of Civil War photographs: Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War and George Barnard’s Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign. Duke Performances commissioned Tyler to create the work after Duke University Libraries acquired Gardner’s and Barnard’s photographs, not knowing that Tyler, who grew up in Tennessee and Mississippi, had been fascinated by the Civil War since childhood. Aaron Greenwald of Duke Performances arranged for Tyler to see the photographs firsthand, and the encounter set off a year of history, research, ruminating and composing on Tyler’s part.
That initial visit also set the course of how Tyler and his collaborators would plot the “story” of Corduroy Roads. Corduroy Roads are improvised log roads, meant to enable travel through otherwise impassable forest, and used by armies since the time of the Romans. General Sherman used the technique extensively during his famous march to the Georgia sea. For Tyler, the term “symbolizes the parallel process of improvised construction and tactical destruction that accompanied the Northern war effort. The war carved out the land.”
Tyler grew up in an American South that to him has always seems haunted, physically and spiritually, by the war. “This was more immediate to me than so much other history. The locations of the Barnard photographs of Tennessee and Georgia were places I had spent much of my childhood. Even now, folks where I live in Nashville dig up bullets and belt buckles in their backyards. The great battles took place very close to home.”
Over the course of a year spent creating the work, Tyler collaborated with Steve Milligan and Akiva Fox, exchanging ideas, melodies, text and visuals. The resulting work combines Tyler’s music—instrumental pieces he plays on electric and acoustic guitars—with Milligan’s projection design, which includes a selection of photographs, sketches and insignia from the Gardner and Barnard collections.
Corduroy Roads made its world premiere in four sold-out performances, November 20-23, 2014, at Duke Performances, the commissioner of the work. Indy Week wrote that, “the net effect of the work—to explore the era’s lingering romanticization, horrific reality and perpetual aftermath—was magnificent and eye-opening.”
Corduroy Roads was commissioned by Duke Performances at Duke University. The piece premiered on November 20 in Durham, NC, and was made possible with additional support from the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
About the Artists
Over the last five years, William Tyler has emerged as one of America’s most expressive and evocative instrumentalists. For years, he was an in-demand sideman, becoming not only an essential component of Lambchop’s exquisitely strange country orbit but also playing with the likes of the Silver Jews, Charlie Louvin and Will Oldham. After a solo outing as The Paper Hats, he emerged as a commanding and inventive band of one with 2010’s Behold the Spirit. In 2013, he took another daring turn for Impossible Truth, his Merge Records debut: Tyler depended largely on the electric, a move that afforded those eight songs added grandeur and intrigue. His most recent release is the 2014 EP Lost Colony.
Durham, NC-based cinematographer Steve Milligan received his first camera credit for Stephanie Johnes’ jumprope documentary Doubletime, which opened the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2007. Since then he has served as cinematographer on numerous feature documentaries, as well as short-form documentaries, commercials, narrative short films and music videos. His collaborators include Oscar-winners Vanessa Roth Doug Blush, and Emmy-winners Gary Hawkins, Ted Bogosian and Nancy Buirsky. In 2013, The Record Breaker, directed by Brian McGinn, won the audience award at Full Frame and was honored at festivals around the world.
Akiva Fox is one of three artistic directors of Haymaker, a performance company based in Durham, NC. Before that, he spent six years as the Dramaturg and Literary Manager at the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, DC.
About OZ Arts Nashville
As the newest 501(c)3 contemporary arts institution in the midsouth region, OZ Arts' particular style of programming has begun to transform the cultural landscape of Nashville. Utilizing the venue's flexibility, OZ Arts presents the work of leading artists from around the world, offering an intimate context for performing and visual art programs that challenge and inspire a diverse range of curious audiences.
OZ Arts also serves as a catalyst for local creativity through a program called TNT (Thursday Night Things). TNT is a bi-monthly series of unexpected collaborations with Nashville-based artists from varying creative disciplines. OZ Arts' "blank slate" provides a platform onto which these artists can create, develop and present a one-time-only event that would traditionally not be seen in a visual art gallery or theatre.
OZ Arts is located in the former C.A.O. cigar warehouse owned by Nashville’s Ozgener family. Their generosity provided the seed money that breathed new life into the column-free, 10,000 square-foot space nestled amidst artfully landscaped grounds.
OZ Media Contacts
Nashville press, please contact Amy Atkinson at 615.305.8118 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National press, please contact Blake Zidell at 718.643.9052 or email@example.com.