Lauren Atkinson Rows for a Reason and a Community

Lauren Atkinson said community is about togetherness. Read her story as this week’s feature on Neat Nashville.

Lauren Atkinson, 31, is an entrepreneur and a lover of people.

Originally from New Jersey, Lauren moved down to Nashville to attend college at Belmont University, where she graduated in 2007 with a degree in music business.

Lauren owns a floral design company for weddings and events and is also heavily involved with the Crossfit gym on West End Avenue.

Continue reading “Lauren Atkinson Rows for a Reason and a Community”

For LeAnder, the Music is About the Experience

Scott Anderle, Logan Rhea, and Andrew Hall bring experience and emotions with their alternative-rock band, LeAnder. Read their story on Neat Nashville!

Together Logan Rhea, Andrew Hall, and Scott Anderle form LeAnder, a Nashville-based alternative rock band.

Logan is the bassist, the acting manager, and the booking agent. Andrew (not pictured above) is the band’s drummer and sound engineer, while Scott leads creatively as the singer/songwriter and marketing person.

Continue reading “For LeAnder, the Music is About the Experience”

Judge Sheila Calloway Takes a Different Approach with Juveniles 

Davidson County Juvenile Judge Shelia Calloway says education can empower the community. Read her story on Neat Nashville.

Davidson County Juvenile Judge Sheila Calloway, 47, is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.

“I had a tight family growing up. My parents were college educated, so there was never a question about whether I was going to college, but where I was going to go,” she said.

When she was growing up, Sheila’s mom saved everything she did as a child. In the fourth grade, she wrote a paper that said when she grew up she wanted to be a lawyer and help people.

“No one in our family was a lawyer, and I don’t know if I saw one on TV or what but for then on it was a goal of mine,” she said. “At one point, I thought I was going to be an entertainment lawyer because I like to sing but I now I realize that wasn’t for me.”

In 1987, she moved to Nashville to go to college at Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate degree. Once she finished her undergraduate, she loved Nashville so much that she stayed at Vanderbilt for her law degree.

After she finished her law degree in 1994, she started working at the public defender’s office, first in the adult division. Four years later, she noticed an opportunity and an opening in the juvenile division.

Sheila asked the former mayor and her boss at the time, Karl Dean if he would consider letting her go down to the juvenile court. He said sure, and so she started as a public defender in juvenile court.

“The adult criminal system was more crime and punishment, but it was different for juveniles. It became was a true effort to figure out why the juvenile was committing a crime and what could be done to try to rehabilitate. I loved it.”

Sheila said the nature of the job was less adversarial and more like social work, which is something that is near to her heart.

In 2004, she was appointed to be a Juvenile Court Magistrate by Judge Betty Adam Green.

“When she retired early before her term was up I thought, ‘Hey I could be the judge,’” she said. “So when it was time to run for her position I put my name in a hat. There were two of us that ran, and I was fortunate enough to be selected by the voters to be the next Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge.”

a NEW COURT in TOWN

Sheila has been the juvenile judge since September 2014.

“Since then it’s been super busy, and super fun. I’m constantly on the go and being on the bench just about every day,” she said. “I am fortunate in Tennessee that I have the ability to make policies for my court on how things are going to work.”

With a staff of about 125 people, Sheila not only handles business on the bench but she is also an administrator as well.

“I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world, but it’s a lot,” she said. “I’ve had a chance to revamp the way we do our processes to take a more in-depth look on the front end.”

Sheila said previously, the effort was “Band-Aid” work. For instance, she said if a kid came in because he or she stole a car, the court would not necessarily delve into why he or she took the car or what was going on in their circumstance and only give him or her services like taking a taking a class and tell them not to do it again.

“We decided to change that. Whatever child comes in front of us no matter what their issue is, we’re going to figure out the root cause. Once we do that, then we can make some changes on how to proceed further.”

Sheila said the court started an assessment team in early 2015 and said the results she’s seen have been tremendous.

She said, unfortunately, it’s too early in the assessment to have real numbers on recidivism, but said anecdotally her team has seen changes in people and changes in the way that they are cooperating with the court.

“Families really want to work with us,” she said. “Before they saw the court system as the enemy and didn’t want to come down to talk with us. Now, we have more families that are willing to open up and help us figure out what they need.”

Sheila said her favorite thing about working with the law is having the ability to work with people on bettering themselves.

“Everyone should have the same opportunities and abilities to succeed. I was fortunate to have a good hand dealt to me with a supportive family who understood the need for education and good health,” she said. “I just want everyone else to have the same thing. It’s only fair. When others don’t have it, we need to help bring them to that point.”

Sheila said the most difficult times are when she has the ultimate decision on cases when a young person must be charged as an adult because of the severity of the crime and terminating a parent’s right. She said in both cases, they are life-changing events and the youth will never be the same.

NASHVILLE, COMMUNITY, and CONCERNS

 “It’s crazy to see the evolution of the change in Nashville, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.”

Sheila said she’s impressed with the fact that as the city has grown the crime rate, in proportion, has not. She said it makes her job harder to make sure the crime rates don’t rise, but she’s okay with that.

“It’s a good thing,” she said of the steady rates. “It means that we, as a community, are doing well of taking care of one another.”

When Sheila thinks about a community, she thinks about everyone playing their part in the area.

“Everyone from the guy that sleeps under the Woodland Street Bridge to the head of HCA, everyone is a part of the same community. And we all have a responsibility to one another to make it a great community.”

As the juvenile court judge, she said she can positively affect the way our community treats our youth.

“Being a judge doesn’t mean just hearing cases, it means educating the community on the good things and the bad things that our children are going through. It’s my role to make sure we are empowering the community to do a better job of taking care of all of our children,” she said.

Sheila said empowerment comes from education and learning and that people become more empowered when they understand the youth’s minds and what happens once teens grow up, especially the brain science behind it.

“There’s a reason we act crazy when we’re 13 – our brains are not quite developed. It’s the same thing when we’re 16 or 18,” she said.  “When we see a 13-year-old making an impulsive decision, it’s important that we don’t immediately fall to blame or punishment, that we work with that child and help them understand what good decision making is.”

Sheila said students’ recent decision to protest at Antioch High School by walking out of class was well thought out and planned and shows how strong the youth can be.

“We have a good core group of wonderful, intelligent, on-fire youth that are ready to change this world,” she said. “All they need is a little more development, a little more urging and confidence ability and they’re going to do great.”

Sheila said as Nashville continues to grow she has concerns about poverty around the city.

“Money is an issue and poverty is real, and we have a lot of poverty in Nashville. As we continue to grow, the poverty rate and the poverty divide is going to continue. Both contribute to unhealthiness, which can then lead to violence,” she said. “We have to be aware of poverty divides and what that can do as a community for the whole. We have to be cautious that as we grow that we’re giving everyone the ability to grow and have access to affordable housing, health care and a good quality education. It’s a difficult balance.”

Beyond the bench, Sheila said she wants to change the age of majority from 18 to 25 on a national level for all the court systems.

Sheila’s term is up in 2022, and she is more than likely going to run for another term.

“Right now, most courts say anything that you do as way of crime once you’re 18 is considered a crime as an adult. However, the brain science says that your mind is not fully developed until you’re over 25,” she said. “The largest majority of people incarcerated in Tennessee and most states are between 18 and 30 years old. You have a good amount of people 18 to 25 who are not making good decision because they cannot yet, and I don’t think we should be treating them the same way that we treat adults.”

Sheila said incarcerating young people based on impulsive decisions they’re making takes away their ability to work, their housing ability, and their ability to be good citizens.

Sheila spoke at this year’s TEDxNashville event. Be on the look out for the video of her talk at TEDxNashville.com.

Thanks for reading Nashville!

To Create Innovation and Creativity, Dr. David Owens Says Something Has to Stop

Dr. David Owens, teaches business at Vanderbilt University but has appointments in multiple disciplines. Read about what creativity and innovation mean to him.

Dr. David Owens, 57, was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. to attend Stanford University when he was 18 years old.

“My mom’s German so we spoke German at home. We wore lederhosen and ate bratwurst and sauerkraut,” he said. “I remember being on the plane on way to school and I couldn’t figure out where it was. I didn’t know where San Francisco was compared to Los Angeles. I didn’t really know anything.”

David encountered a great deal of culture shock, which made the transition to the United States difficult.

Continue reading “To Create Innovation and Creativity, Dr. David Owens Says Something Has to Stop”

Jon Dragonette comes to Nashville for New Inspirations

Professional photographer and badass, Jon Dragonette is looking for a fresh surrounding and new inspirations in Nashville. Read his story on Neat Nashville!

Professional photographer Jon Dragonette, 37, grew up in a small town in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York.

At 22, he moved to San Francisco for six years and then moved to Los Angeles for seven years until coming to Nashville last November.

“I grew up skateboarding, and that’s how I got into photography,” he said. “My mom wanted to be a photographer. I have a twin brother, and she had us when she was super young, so she had to put those dreams aside. When I was 13 or 14, she gave me a little 35 mm camera.”

Continue reading “Jon Dragonette comes to Nashville for New Inspirations”

Diversity and Creative Drives Éva to the South

Éva Boros writer and cofounder of Nashville Walls Project seeks to further her passion for the arts in a new city. Read about her story on Neat Nashville.

Éva Boros, 28, was born in Germany but grew up in Hungary.

In 1992, her father got a job at Ohio State University in the cancer research department. Her mother and her father both moved to the U.S. but decided to keep little Éva with her grandparents in Hungary. At the time, her parents couldn’t speak English and thought she would be more comfortable there.

“I had a great childhood in Hungary, but I missed my parents,” she said. “I was 11 when my family decided it would be okay for me to join them. My dad was transferred to Harbor-UCLA that same year.”

Continue reading “Diversity and Creative Drives Éva to the South”

For Kyle Needham, Community Means Coming Together As One

Kyle Needham is a health care specialist in Nashville. Read how important a sense of community is to him on Neat Nashville!

Kyle Needham, 35, grew up in San Jose and around the Bay Area of California. He moved to Nashville about two and a half years ago when his boss asked him to relocate.

Kyle can’t say he didn’t enjoy growing up in California. He said they had a little bit of everything around as a kid including the beach, the snow, and Disneyland.

“As I child, I loved it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have changed it at all by any means.”

the NASHVILLE MOVE

Before moving to Nashville, Kyle had never had a reason to venture out and live further than about an hour and a half from where he was born.

“An opportunity came up with the company I work for, and I wasn’t married with kids or anything,” he said. “I’ve been working with my boss for about 12 years now, and he asked if I’d like to be his eyes and ears out here for a group he acquired. I said I’d give it a shot, and here I am.”

When Kyle arrived in Nashville, he came in with an open mind.

“Yeah, it’s the music capital, and country music is big, but I didn’t come here with the idea that everyone was in cowboy boots or anything,” he said. “I knew there were a lot of schools so with that I assumed there was a lot of diversity and culture and that’s what I’ve noticed.”

He said Nashville is a lot slower than California, but not in a bad way.

“It was a change of pace. However, Nashville itself seems to be pretty progressive in regards to the perceptions of the South for people who had never been out this way. I never had before moving here. It was a new experience altogether,” he said.

In the Bay Area, he said people seemed more focused on themselves and where they were going. He said everyone seemed to be in a hurry and moved in a big pack together.

“Here people take a little more time. I guess I would say they take the time to appreciate things a bit more and I would say it’s much friendlier. It was almost weird at first, like why is this person talking to me, and what do they want?” he said with a laugh.

On nights and down time, Kyle said his time in Nashville is spent exploring new places and restaurants, checking out the state parks. He said once in a while he also likes to try and mess around on the guitar, but what he loves is drawing.

“It’s something that started as a kid. I think I got that from my grandfather. He was very into art,” he said. “For a while there, I got too busy and wasn’t doing it, but just recently picked it back up and rediscovered my love for it.”

As a career, Kyle is a perioperative blood management specialist.

“Ultimately, my role is to savage blood being lost in a surgery and recover as much as possible to get it back into the patient,” he said. “It’s kind of like a recycling process if you will.”

He said he likes being in the health care industry and being in the hospital. The company he works for is contracted throughout the Nashville area, so he visits multiple hospitals throughout the week.

Out of high school, Kyle was working as a manager of a coffee cart inside the lobby of a hospital.

“I started hearing the stories about the stuff people got to see. Based on hearing all these stories, I realized I had an interest in it,” he said. “I eventually got a job in the operating room, and that’s when I met my boss. He asked if I wanted to come and work for his group and looking back, I’m glad I did.”

Kyle said he likes that he’s out and about and not just in one hospital.

“The cliché thing to say is that it’s very rewarding, but it is. It’s great when you see a case you’re involved in, and things are looking like they’re on the downside, but in the end, they turn up great. It’s a good feeling to walk away with that.”

He said the most challenging thing about his job is that it is not the clinical side that gets difficult but the emotional side.

“I’ve seen some things, and sometimes I go home and shut everything off and just lay there and try to decompress,” he said. “When you do something long enough there’s always room to keep learning but you can also become very proficient in what you do. I think once I finally reached that point it was more about the days where something doesn’t go right with the case in general.”

Kyle said he loves children and said it can be intense to see a child with something severe. He said the job includes things you don’t always want to see and that can be difficult.

“Again with the clichés but, don’t hesitate to tell the people you love how you feel. Don’t hesitate to give them a hug. We all have our differences but set them aside as quickly as you can because even quicker than that something can happen and you can’t ever get those moments back again.”

a CITY and a COMMUNITY

Kyle said one of the best things about Nashville is that it’s small enough to where he was able to figure out his surroundings without too much trouble.

But, of course, he misses home.

“Coming out here after 33 years of living in the same place and knowing where everything is and having friends and family to not knowing a single thing was a huge adjustment but Nashville isn’t that big, so I was able to pick things up pretty quickly here.”

Kyle said just in the last two and a half years, he’s seen the big growth and change.

“As welcoming and as nice as the locals have been, I also hear their complaints, and I get,” he said. “As busy and crowded as the Bay Area is, it’s still definitely going on out there too. I get the concerns and the worries and even just the general annoyances of the people who have been here.”

He said there are two sides of the issue and he sees both.

“I also think it’s good for the city that new restaurants and businesses are popping up. It creates great opportunities for people who want to start businesses and lives here.”

Kyle likes the community of Nashville and defined the word community as a group of people from various backgrounds and cultures that work together and embrace each other’s differences. 

“We can learn from one another. We don’t have to take on another person’s lifestyle but we can learn how to work with theirs, and they can learn how to work with ours with the idea of moving forward and progressing for the betterment of the future.”

Clinically speaking, he said when everyone is working together with one goal, a sense of community has to be developed.

“If you do think differently about politics or religion or whatever gets people so fired up these days, when you realize in the end you have the same goal those things don’t matter.”

Kyle said in the future he’s seeking opportunities to further his education to branch out to a higher level, wherever that may lead. He said he wants to reevaluate things shortly and to decide which path he wants to jump on next.

Thanks for reading Nashville!

 

Ellen Gilbert Cultivates Diversity and Love in Nashville

Co-founder of Global Education Center in West Nashville, Ellen Gilbert gives her heart for her community. Read her story on Neat Nashville.

Ellen Gilbert, 65, is the founder of Global Education Center in West Nashville.

She grew up in Ohio and after high school started college at Kent State before transferring to Peabody College in Nashville. Midwestern born and raised, she had never been to the south before moving in December of 1970.

FROM a NEW ENIVORMENT FORMED a PASSION

“When I was at Kent State my freshman year my roommates were African American. When I transferred to Peabody, the black girls were in the basement in a separate room, and there was no interracial mixing. They had separate rooms for dances and everything,” she said.

Ellen had never been in that type of environment before. In Ohio, the schools were integrated in the 1950s, but when she arrived in the 1970s, she said Nashville was still fighting desegregation on buses and schools.

“Where I grew up people were divided by what their dad did, not what color they were,” she said. “If your dad was in the auto industry, then you lived in one neighborhood, and if your dad was a professor, doctor, or lawyer, then you lived in another neighborhood. Our neighbors were mixed, and it was more based on family economics.

Ellen finished Peabody College in 1973 with an undergraduate degree in early childhood education. Part Native American and coming from a diverse background yourself, she always put a multicultural spin on everything she taught.

“Because the schools weren’t that diverse and children had to learn about other cultures, I started doing workshops with teachers on how to make their classrooms welcoming places for all of their kids and families,” she said. “The program was called Anti-bias Education back then. ”

When her first son was three, she started another program called Passport to Understanding. For the next fifteen years, Ellen coordinated and curated hands-on cultural museum presentations for children.

“We would set up in whatever space they’d give us with instruments, masks, artifacts, toys, games, clothing from different cultures, one at a time,” she said. “Children ask such deep questions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone home and changed the way I did something because a seven-year-old said something to me or a nine-year-old asks a question.”

GLOBAL EDUCATION CENTER

Ellen began doing some traveling and sharing her program with others around the country.

“During that time some teachers wanted me to move up to New York because they felt that their schools were segregated,” she said. “I didn’t want to move to New York, so, the teachers asked me to open a place in Nashville where they could come in the summer.”

Ellen immediately thought it was a great idea and so in 1996 she began writing up 501c(3) paperwork to receive a nonprofit organization status.

“I put together a board from all the international parents who are artists that I had met from working in the schools and voilà,” she said.

Ellen found and purchased a building in West Nashville that had been empty for a few years. After months of renovations, the Global Education Center opened in August of 1997.

Almost 20 years later, Global Education Center now has about 110 artists from 40 countries and cultures on their roster.

Classes and programs at the center range from swing dancing, Capoeira, Hip Hop, African percussion, English country dancing, and much more.

“Our whole mission is based on a Lakota phrase which translates to we are all related to one another as humans but also to everything else living in the universe,” she said. “I feel like as human beings we’re all more alike than we are different.”

Ellen said people should understand that everyone has the same roots if traced back far enough and that when God created people, he created perfect children and spiritual people.

As a teenager, she was the victim of a violent crime.

“My family’s reaction was, that I had to love that person because that is God’s perfect child, and what he did materially was evil, but he was not evil,” she said.

“Every day is a clean slate. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. You have to love people.”

Ellen’s grandmother was adopted as an indentured servant at nine years old. She said looking back she’s been one of the people who has impacted her life the most.

“She couldn’t read very well, but I thought she was the smartest person in the world,” she said. “Out of all of us, I was the only one that sat and listened to her stories. I don’t know if they were true or not but they shaped my way of looking at the world.”

NASHVILLE NOW and COMMUNITY as DEFINED

A Nashvillian for the last 47 years, Ellen said she loves the city and feels safe in it. But she said she is saddened by the significant changes it has seen over the last few years.

“The people that we serve and the people that I hang with that are artists, musicians, and teachers are getting priced out of this city,” she said.

Ellen said developers try to buy her building every day, but she’s fighting and not planning on selling.

“We want our clientele to feel comfortable here, which is hard when everything is getting expensive,” she said. “The price of housing is ridiculous, and someone needs to be steward over the people.”

Ellen feels the most saddened by what has happened to the African American neighborhoods in Nashville.

“African Americans owned their homes, had great pride, and had a great sense of community in those neighborhoods,” she said. “Why can’t these young people who are moving into the city move into these multiethnic neighborhoods and embrace what’s there instead of trying to change it so that they feel comfortable?”

In the immediate future, Ellen believes more and more people will be displaced. She also said neighborhoods and communities will become homogenous if people don’t do anything about it.

“This city has to do something, and it has to value people over prosperity and being labeled the ‘it’ city. And we can do it, but everybody has to work at it including the school systems, the social systems, and the religious systems.”

Ellen asked how can anyone be a person if they’re always surrounded by people that look, talk, and worship like themselves?

“That’s why the country is so divided right now. People only look at the news they agree with, and I’m guilty of it too,” she said. “I feel like you’re doing a disservice to your children if you don’t expose them, and not in a patronizing way but in a way where everyone is valued and looked at as equal.”

At Global Education Center, Ellen said they use the arts to address things like racism and xenophobia but said it’s also a great vehicle for expression and keeping the community vibrant.

Ellen said the work she’s done over the last 21 years is her heart. She said the community at Global Education Center is certainly diverse. She sees people as family.

“A community is any group of people that feels comfortable together, and respects each other and works together.”

“I feel like everything I grew up thinking has come to fruition here and this is my family, and I love people here,” she said.

Ellen is a self-proclaimed workaholic.

“The best thing is that it doesn’t at all feel like work,” she said. “Sometimes it is frustrating when there’s so much going on at once, but I would do it all over again.”

Ellen said she does wonder what will happen if funding from the NEA is cut because they are small and rely on government grants rather than wealthy donors.

This year, Global Education Center went from a staff of two to seven because of more funding for federal grants.

Thanks for reading Nashville!

Musician, Producer, and Actor Jon Lucas Saw a Dream from Young

Drummer and musician Jon Lucas shares his story, his passion and his hopes for the future on Neat Nashville. Read about him as this week’s feature!

Jon Lucas, 30, was born in Florida where most of his family still resides. After his mother had been discharged from the Navy and while he was still very young, she decided to move to Nashville.

“My mom got a job here and raised me in Nashville,” he said. “It’s always been home for me.”

Growing up, Jon was interested in many things like sports, computer engineering, and music but it would be the latter that changed his life and gave it purpose. 

into a WORLD of MUSIC

Initially, Jon said his first big interest was in sports. 

“I excelled in them, and I was a decent athlete,” he said. “I was the most talented in baseball but I spent the most time playing basketball, and I liked football, so I played that too.”

He said he wasn’t ever good enough in sports to get him to the pros, so he decided to develop his interest in music.

“My mom introduced me to everything, really,” he said. “She used to sing a community choir that one of her close friends had started. He was a mentor of mine, and he had a group that my mom and aunt sang in. They used to travel all around the city and even regionally to do concerts.” 

Jon was about eight years old at the time, and it was his first taste of being a musician.

“It was magical. When you’re a kid, and you see people doing what you’re interested in doing and at a level that provides money and some recognition for the personal work, it’s incredible,” he said. “They’re not just clocking in and doing someone’s heavy lifting for a dollar. They’re doing something they believe in.”

For Jon, those times pushed him to want to explore on his own and develop his own understanding of life and music, particularly the drums. 

After high school and while he was taking college courses for computer engineering, Jon had an opportunity to travel to Europe to play music with singer/songwriter Ty Lawton.

Just having turned 21 at the time, Jon traveled to places like Copenhagen, Denmark, and others to play funk and soul music.

“It was great. It was diving into the water,” he said. “I started working with people I had only heard about. For a long time, I was always the youngest guy working.”

Jon is now a full-time drummer. Not only does he play in gigs around town, but he also teaches drum lessons at Creative Soul Music Academy and has a part in CMT’s show Nashville, which he plays the drummer in the fictional band, The Ex’s.

Jon has been teaching for the last three years in Berry Hill and has been involved with the Nashville show for the last three seasons.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and now I’m doing it. It’s kind of surreal to look up and understand that,” he said. 

Additionally, he’s also producing music and making records. He’s working on some new projects with a friend and Dreamville Records producer, Ron Gilmore.

“I’ve got some writing, some production, and some musicianship showcased on his new album coming this year,” he said.

Jon said being a full-time drummer in Nashville is a lot of conscience movements.

“You have to calculate your moves. The beautiful thing about the drums is taking multiple fragments and pieces and parts and combining them to make one beautiful thing,” he said. “I apply that same thought to every aspect of life – like how I live, how I get dressed in the morning, how I talk to people, and everything else.”

Jon said the most difficult thing is doing what he already knows he was supposed to do. He explained himself by saying, “It’s easy to do what the crowd is doing and what seems popular. For lack of courage and other reasons, people persuade you to do the lesser and stay mediocre. A lot of times we have better ideas than the people around us, but we talk ourselves out of sticking with it.”

He said he sees a lot of musicians decline their gift and potential because of the opinions of others. To overcome those issues and difficulties, Jon said it’s best to spend time and learn from people with strong values and to keep those who are transparent and honest close.

NASHVILLE and COMMUNITY

Growing up in Nashville was good to Jon as he called it “the most balanced territory.” 

“You can create a lot here. If you’re not necessarily a city person, you can find some areas here that are your speed. If you want to move fast, you can hop into some parts with that speed. Nashville isn’t consumed with so much of one lifestyle that you can’t do anything else.”

 Jon is a little consumed with country music right now but said that’s not a bad thing because every genre needs their representation. In other places around the country, he said certain styles are more popular than others.

Lately, he also loves listening to eclectic-soul/Pop music blend he’s been hearing a lot of. Some of his influences are Hiatus Kaiyote, Little Dragon, The Gorillas, and Grizzly Bear.

“If we don’t see something we want, we just have to create more of it, and I’m glad there’s an opportunity to do that in Nashville,” he said. “I never thought there would be a time when you could see this much opportunity here. It wasn’t like this when I was growing up.” 

Jon said the economic boom in Nashville makes the city more attractive for opportunities.

“But I do think there should be more purpose in some of the destruction that I see. I see more purposeless destruction because people are just splurging now and they’re erasing the culture, which is not cool to me,” he said. “A brand new building with no stores isn’t cool. You should have kept that old business there and invested into it.”

 Jon said he worries that people like the artists, the teachers and the regular businessmen and women who made the city what it is are being pushed out because they can’t afford it anymore. He said he’s concerned that the people moving into the area don’t know or appreciate the history here.

However ultimately, he thinks Nashville will continue to grow and prosper because of the culture and of the people.

“I do wish that the developers would take a closer look at the communities to see what they’re actually changing and how they’re affecting people on a local level.”

 For Jon, a community is like a village.

“It’s a network of individuals who occupy the same principles of living.”

 He said to be a part of the Nashville community means you have a voice.

 “It’s not easy to have a voice because I know with my ideas personally if it were easy I’d be at the finish line already.”

He said one reason it’s difficult to have a voice is that sometimes some people don’t like to work together.

 “I understand how big ideas happen. It takes a lot of people who focus on the same result to work on that goal. If that happened in Nashville and people got behind big ideas, then we would be able to achieve so much.”

In the future, Jon wants to continue drumming and acting. He also wants to open a commercial studio in Nashville and get back to Europe to play more music.

To keep up with Jon Lucas Music, follow him on Instagram and Facebook

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Zac Radford Plays with Heart and Passion

Through his ups and downs, Zac Redford has always given his game all he’s got. Read about him as this week’s feature on Neat Nashville.

Zac Radford, 30, was born in St. Louis and grew up in Texas in between San Antonio and Austin. In 2003, his family moved to Brentwood, just south of Nashville.

After the move, he went on to finish high school and attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he graduated in 2009. Over the last several years, Zac has been traveling off and on pursuing a PGA Tour. Having lived briefly in San Antonio and Orlando, he said he would always call Nashville home.

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