Saturday, 23 June 2007

"Nashville Cats" 0 Miles

Another sticky 95F day in prospect. Went out to hit the shops and sure enough found Ernest Tubbs famous music store on Broadway. You will be hearing the result of this visit when I return.

Even mid morning bands were playing in bars. I wondered if I should visit the Grand Ole Opry but despite the attractions of Pam Tillis and Marty Stuart among others, I decided to go there another time. Instead I headed for the County Music Hall Of Fame. This is a fantastic place for music lovers with the whole history of country and its artists lovingly set out on three floors of a purpose built building. There is, as you would imagine, a huge amount to see and hear, as well as acres of memorabilia.

I took loads of pictures of, among other items, the colourful suits that Nudie Cohn used to design. For me, the most evocative was the suit that Gram Parsons wore on the cover of the "Flying Burritto Bros" album. There were special booths where you could revisit classics such as "Blue Yodel" by Jimmie Rodgers or "He Stopped Loving Her Today" George Jones. In fact speaking of George "No show" Jones as he was known when he was battling alcoholism, the only omission was the ride-on mower that he used to drive into town to buy booze when his then wife Tammy Wynette had confiscated his car keys. It is a wonderful exhibition and had me damp eyed throughout. I am a sentimental old fool and the music and the place just struck all the right notes.

Back at the hotel the guy from the room next door says to me, "Hey - you from Tesla?" (the rock band Tesla are in town tonight).

"Er no, you got a ticket?"

"Yeah - Tesla rock old bean - toodle pip."


"Oh maaan sooorrry. I have had a few beers, didn't mean to upset you". I have had my accent badly imitated so many times it is beginning to grate. I may do a bad US accent at home, but I would never dream of doing it to an American's face!!

In the evening, I thought I would have a change of genre and go to B.B King's Blues Bar. It is one of several he has around the U.S. and I fancied a bit of R&B. Early evening act had a great female singer but I was less impressed with her band. As you would expect with a "named" bar there is a theme: there are blues/B.B King cocktails such as "Lucille" and "Muddy Water". I was tempted to ask if they did a drink called "The Thril Is Gone" but thought better of it; however as I had consumed two tall beers I was allowed to take the glass home.

Still quite early, so snuck into a tiny bar that promised "steel guitar and fiddle". An old guy on stage with an acoustic and his mate with an electric sitting at the back doing the sound as well. Didn't stay there long. Next bar and another terrific house band playing for tips. At one point the lead singer disappeared. As I reached for my beer I noticed on the bar next to it a pair of cowboy boots, and these were on the end of the legs of the singer who was on the bar top roaring his heart out. Now that's entertainment!!


Anonymous said...

Hey Alex
I'm so glad you made it to Nashville! My favorite place in the USA. I saw Earl Scruggs at the Grand Ole Oprey a couple of years back, and as you say he can still cut his stuff. He was on the same bill as Brad Paisley and Emilou Harris. The Ryman is fantastic too. Do take the Green bus tour of the town, it really is worth the few bucks that it costs.
I'm so jealous! Have fun Alex.
Les Batt

Steve Thomas said...

How much d'ya reckon you've put on Alex? To the gym when you get back eh?

Anonymous said...

We gonna have a bit more Country on the show when you get back please. Your blog has been most interesting look forward to having you back.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex,

cool beans! What a fab place: both kinds of music! :)
Don't let them give you any hassle about your long hair either!

Keep smilin'


judithollows said...

Have you come across NPR - National Public Radio - when scanning your radio dial on your pony? There's some good programming. "Car Talk" is a favorite of mine. Where I am (Arkansas) there's a lot of classical music 'fill in' but ( I understand this genre sends you to sleep) the discussion programs are another way for a Brit like me to learn more about this great country. Glad to see you have made it to Nashville - couldn't see how you could miss out on this musical mecca.

DMC said...

Ah yes, its a bad trait, trying to imitate the accent of the person you are speaking to. As an Irishman, I see your "toodle-pip" and I raise you a "begorrah" or any phrase of your choice from Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Assault and battery charges may ensue.

Love the blog Alex, safe home! :)


Anonymous said...

You're just having yourself quite a groovy and unforgettable time.

Tesla have some cool rockin' material that's for sure, their last studio effort full of original songs is well worth checking out and titled "Into The Now".

Yours Darkly,
Gary. (Spinal Tap)