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Liner Notes

Justin Wade Tam “Calm Yourself Down” Video Release and New Humming House Music!

Bobby Chase
Justin Wade Tam

As the founder and front man of Nashville folk-rock outfit, Humming House, Justin Wade Tam has toured internationally and throughout the U.S. with opening slots for artists such as Emmy Lou Harris, Kacey Musgraves and Drew Holcomb. Last fall, he released A Place To Land, his first collection of songs as a solo artist. Jordan Lehning’s sparse production style on the four song EP is the perfect backdrop for Tam’s descriptive lyrics. He’s also released a few singles this year, “On Your Side” and “Calm Yourself Down” have been featured on The Local Brew Hour and the newest one, “Paradise” is a co-write with long time Nashville artist Daniel Ellsworth. I caught up with Justin about his solo releases and new Humming House Music for this edition of Liner Notes.

AnaLee: Humming House has a new single coming soon, I think next week! Can you fill us in on what the band has been up to and if you’ll continue to release singles, an ep or a full album?

Justin:  We do have a new single coming out! On August 28th, we release the first of 5 new Humming House singles. We went into the studio with Jordan Lehning in January and came out with a batch of songs that we are really proud of. The first song is called Sure Hope We Survive and it's probably the most rock n' roll song we've ever put out. We wrote it in January of 2017 in response to the election and the barrage of the 24-hour news cycle. It's felt relevant ever since, and particularly in 2020.  

AnaLee: In addition to making your own music as a solo artist and with Humming House, you have been a generous supporter of other artists through your work with the Centennial Park Conservancy for Musician’s Corner. Unfortunately, this year’s free concert series in Centennial Park is not happening, but I’m digging the videos from the “Totally 90s Week” live stream in June! Amy Stroup’s cover of Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You and Quinn Deveaux’s take on Blind Melon’s Change are two great examples! How is the Conservancy working to stay engaged with the public these days?

Justin: It's been heartbreaking to not be able to gathering in the park this year for Musicians Corner. The program has some great stuff to announce very soon though! Centennial Park Conservancy also supports the Parthenon and there are two fantastic exhibits open right now. You can visit in person or check out the online tours: 

We Have Vision: Nashville Women from Centennial to Suffrage celebrates the progressive women's movement in Nashville from the 1897 Centennial Exhibition leading up to the 19th amendment ratification. Just this week, there was a re-dedication of the Women's Suffrage Monument to coincide with 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote.  The monument has been moved to a prominent permanent location on Great Lawn as a part of the park revitalization.

Music in The Park is also a cool exhibition that celebrates all the musical performances in Centennial Park from the 1897 exhibition through contemporary Musicians Corner. It features the Blind Boys of Alabama, Bruce Springsteen, Brenda Lee, and even Margo Price's band Buffalo Clover. 

Centennial Park Conservancy is also posting weekly at home children's activities through the Kidsville education program. Lots of great stuff happening at the park. 

AnaLee: Congratulations on the success of “Calm Yourself Down”. It really took off and is now approaching half a million spins on Spotify. I can’t help but wonder if that has to do with the much-needed reminder in the lyrics (and title) as well as the sound of this song. You released it March 13, right when the first stay at home orders were happening in Nashville, so you had written this song prior to the pandemic here in the U.S., what timing! Tell us about collaborating with Jamie Drake on this track and how it came together. And, if you would, a little about the “vertical” video!

Justin: Calm Yourself Down was recorded in July of 2019, also with Jordan Lehning.  I had written the song a month or so prior to the recording and it just worked out that Jamie Drake was in-town on tour and able to sing on it. We've been friends since 2012 when we were paired for a co-write through ASCAP. Since then we've co-written a couple of Humming House songs. She's an incredible singer, songwriter, and person. I absolutely love her latest album Everything's Fine and her voice really is special on Calm Yourself Down.

The vertical video came about at the beginning of quarantine. Jamie and I decided to film some of the things we were doing while isolating in Nashville (me) and California (Jamie) on our phones. We sent the footage to Luke Harvey at Moss Flower Pictures and he stitched everything together beautifully. Luke suggested that we film in portrait orientation (vertical) because so many people consume media through their phones. The format just fits the medium really well these days. It was a lot of fun to make and a nice memento from quarantine. 

"Calm Yourself Down” 

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