Out of Macon and up to Nashville. I had a surprise for the Dark Lady.
Something I had been working on for a week or so. I like nice surprises.
Gentle drive up to “Music City” which I had last visited in 2007 as part of American Adventure 1.
Earlier in the week I had stopped off at a branch of Wal Mart to start buying CD’s for the show. Ones that I had heard on the radio over here that I thought you might like to hear as part of “Lester’s Library.
Record stores and the poor exchange rate mean that things are pretty expensive over here this time.
So much so that I may have to draw my horns in a tad as I had jotted down about 50 tracks I wanted to buy.
Several of them I discovered I had on various CD’s at home when I checked them out and a number of others have not been released yet. I will keep my eye and ear out for the release date and maybe get them on import when I return.
After the previous night in a none too fabulous motel with our “intruder”. Obviously I was keen to make amends.
“We’ll find a Holiday Inn or something “
I said airily as we drove through the peach growing areas of Georgia. We tuned into country radio and wept along to the tunes until I we decided to play some of the CD’s that I had bought.
“This is nice” said the DL as on album came on.
“I’ve played him for you at home. This is his new album. He is the guy that did “That’s my Name”
“That’s the guy”.
We made Nashville about 5pm discovering that as we had headed North West from Macon we had gone back an hour so we were 6 instead of 5 hours behind the UK.
We came off the interstate and drove up Broadway which eventually turns into the main drag where all the bars are.
“There’s a Holiday Inn Express” I said . “We could stay there.”
“That’s an odd building the other side of the road” She said.
“Lets check it out” quoth I turning into the car park.
Valet parking swooped the moment we arrived.
“Do y’all have reservations?”
I had booked it the previous week as a welcome to the USA gift. The hotel was the old Nashville Railway station and was expensive but fantastic.
Glowing in her delight I then led the way to our room which couldn’t find.
“Excuse me “I said as we ended back on reception.
“We can’t seem to find room 291”
“That sir is because there isn’t a room 291. You are in 204!”
It is now three days later and I have not lived this down. I have a nasty suspicion wherever we go from now on every hotel room will be referred to as “291”. Not that I like to deal in stereotypes but it has been said women never forget anything.
I am currently typing this in room “291” of the Holiday Inn Express in Alcoa Tennessee!
It was only a few hundred yards from the hotel to the main drag of Broadway where all the bars with the music are.
“Fancy hitting a few music bars?”
We went and had a drink in “The Second Fiddle” and watched the band. I have recorded the sound of Broadway which I hope to post on “Audio boo” shortly. There are seeming dozens of bars all with excellent bands playing mainly covers and doing it brilliantly.
People shout out requests for all sorts of country songs and the bands seem to know them all. Admittedly I think we heard “Ring of Fire” at least 34 times whilst we were there. Twice in one bar.
“You know I told you about the time I was here last and I saw Earl Scruggs the banjo player at the Ryman Auditorium? Fancy taking a walk up there to see the place?”
“That would be fun” Said the Dark Lady.
We walked down the street to the main entrance.
“Ooh look Dierks Bentley” she said spying the poster.
By this time we were at the entrance.
Security guard stepped forward to bar our way and asked.
“Can I see your tickets please”
If I live to be a hundred I will never forget the look on her face when I said:
“I’m here to collect tickets for the show”
At the same time as booking the hotel I had managed to buy a couple of tickets for his sold out show.
It was the last date of his tour and was going to be filmed for a TV special.
Unlike his normal work he had been going out as a bluegrass act.
He was amazing. So were his backing band The Travelling McCoureys. He was also joined by the Punch Brothers and Del McCourey.
If these names mean nothing to you and frankly they meant little to us. Check them out. You will not believe instruments could be played so fast.
By the time the concert finished both our jaws were aching from smiling. It was a magical evening.
We stayed two days in Nashville and headed for the Country Music Hall of Fame which had been affected by the recent terrible floods. It had been billed as having reopened.
However on the day we turned up it has closed again ready to induct the 2010 members. Ferlin Husky. Jimmy Dean. Billy Sherrill and Don Williams. We had to wait until the following day to get a look around. It is not completely back to normal after the floods but is still well worth a visit. There were plenty of Brits there with the same mind as us.
Back to the bars of Broadway and some great bands.
On the way back to the hotel a man stepped from the shadows and said:
“Money for food for the homeless”
There are signs in town warning people against giving money to beggers.
This is always a difficult one. Do you give people money hoping they will spend it on food rather than on drink or drugs?
Should it matter if they spend it on drink and drugs rather than food?
Is this fuelling a cycle of dependence?
Generally I tend to give to charities rather than individuals. So I shook my head and said:
“No it’s alright thanks”
Quick as a flash he replied -and I can see his point:
“No it ain’t alright bitch!”
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