Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Thinking Back — Looking Forward

We never had a chance to comment on our final day in Nashville. Perhaps it was because it was so sweet, we decided to hold on to it awhile. While all the events leading to Saturday were just plain fantastic, it was the little things that happened during our “last call” so to speak that still have me buzzing with so many good feelings. I can’t help but smile when I think of that afternoon.

We decided to skip on conference activities in order to make good on our promise to see Jake Mauer and his band tear things up at Tootsie’s. Ah yes, Tootsie’s and Jake. That’s really how this whole crazy affair with Nashville got started a few years back. It was a fluke that has turned into a friendship and following over the miles. I could really get philosophical right now but I’ll save you that. Just know that we believe the circumstances that caused us to bump into Jake three years ago were intended to help us see things a bit differently…  and find focus on what really  brings out our happy. Beer not required.

Jake was playing the 2:00 to 5:30 afternoon slot and he generally has a good crowd. But when we got there at 3:00, the place was PACKED. I wasn’t sure if Dave was going to be able to make it for more than a few songs without a place to sit, but once again the bar stool gods smiled upon us. Wedged waaaay back at the ‘big table’ were two empty seats. A polite inquiry and purchase of a round and we were invited to join a haphazard party in progress. That’s Tootsie’s for you.

There was a lot of banter going on between the stage and the crowd — half of which were Georgia Bulldog fans in town for the big game at Vandy. Jake treated them kindly and in return they made sure he and the band were hydrated and rewarded. (You don’t request a song without the proper dead president attached, now hear.) Things got a bit testy when the band fired up “Rockytop.” *snicker* Just when it seemed right for a brawl to break out,  Jake’s fiddle player took command with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” People where a’whompin’ and a’stompin’. It felt good to be there taking in all the unadulterated ruckus. We chatted with our table mates and swayed with the music. We smiled up at the faded 8 x 10 images of the legends who had graced this place over the years. We realized how much we loved that quirky little bar with all its quirky memories. We got sentimental thinking about the past year, and excited plotting the years to come.

And while that was our internal feeling in the two seats waaaay in the back, it quickly became external. Jake, the incredible guy that he is, dedicated a very special toast to Dave and let everyone know that he was in town for a reason. As he put it, this was Dave’s “I kicked Cancer Tour” — and to that, all those fine people raised their beers. Not too many people get a “Holler ‘n Swaller” in their honor. In that moment, Dave took my kiss from Jim Lauderdale and raised it by 10. Booyah!

Of course, Jake and the band played “Wagon Wheel” and we realized this silly song has become an anthem of sorts. Our table mates were clinking our bottles and people patted Dave on the back. Everybody sang along (Dave took the girl part) and through the smiles and the festivity, we each let a tear hit the floor as we held on.

And that’s where I’ll let this story come to its wonderful close — cryin’ in a honky-tonk while the guitar part comes around again. Appropriate, agree?  I mean come on… this is Nashville.

October 29, 2011 - Posted by | AmericanaFest 2011, Dave

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