The Leaf-Chronicle
Clarksville, Tennessee
newspaper article
July 28, 2005

Unveiling of Dunbar Cave book
to feature James Nihan

By Stacy Smith Segovia

James Nihan will play an acoustic set at the mouth of Dunbar Cave for the unveiling of Larry E. Matthews book, "Dunbar Cave: Showplace of the South."

If you go

WHEN:5-8 p.m. July 30

WHERE: 401 Old Dunbar Cave Road

COST: Free. Signed copies of "Dunbar Cave: The Showplace of the South" are available for $16. People may purchase a signed copy of the book and a voucher for a future cave hike for $20.

CALL: 648-5526

    The unveiling of Larry E. Matthews' book, "Dunbar Cave: Showplace of the South" is Saturday, held fittingly at the mouth of the cave that is its subject. Also fitting is the choice of musician who will play during the signing, 5 to 8 p.m.

    Singer/songwriter/guitarist James Nihan is a spiritual artist, one who believes in the transformative power of nature and love. A Nashvillian since 1987, Nihan is interested in caves and has written 16 chapters of a novel about a Tennessee cave.

    "One quite exciting aspect of this event is to be able to hear 'unplugged' music at the mouth of the cave, while enjoying the 60-degree air coming out of the cave at the same time," says Dave Boen, member of the volunteer Friends of Dunbar Cave group that is hosting the event. "Standing near the mouth of the cave you can position yourself for hot to quite cool depending on where you stand."

    Nihan says he is looking forward to playing in the natural venue. "It will certainly be a unique performing experience," he says.

    Nihan began playing guitar at 9 and writing songs at 14. By 19, he was performing at The Folkway, The Pressroom, The Sword In The Stone, The Grog and other venues in his native New England, and he has been performing ever since.

    His early influences were Tom Rush, John Prine, Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor. In his adult years, he has been inspired by Toltec and Native American wisdom, as evidenced by his 2003 CD "Rays of Light" and 2005 sequel, "All Creation." People find themselves moved by Nihan's open-hearted lyrics and gentle, beautiful delivery.

    "Being a connoisseur of all music, it was refreshing to see someone singing their heart instead of their wallet," Michael Parkes of The Whole You Inc., wrote to Nihan after seeing him perform in North Carolina. "Now that I have met you the songs ring truth even louder."

    Nihan has had an encouraging reception in Nashville since he moved there to further his songwriting career. He is admired by fellow songwriters, who voted him "Songwriter Of The Year" through the Tennessee Songwriters Association in 1990. The annual New England Songwriters Show at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe was Nihan's creation, and he still hosts it today.

    Matthews' book, "Dunbar Cave: The Showplace of the South" was published in May. A devoted spelunker, Matthews looks back at the millions of years of the cave's physical history, as well as the ways humans have found Dunbar Cave both useful and amusing. The book includes information about the latest discovery of an additional entrance to Dunbar Cave.

    "It's an easy cave to write a book about because it has such a long and interesting history," Matthews says.

    Boen says although the event is free, its purpose is to raise money for the Dunbar Cave Interpretive Center through sales of Matthews' book. Signed copies are available for $16, or people may get a book and a voucher for a later tour of the cave for $20.

Stacy Smith Segovia is a features writer for The Leaf-Chronicle. She can be reached at 245-0237 or by e-mail at

Originally published July 28, 2005

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