Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Night two… Wow!

Talk about an incredible show. Opening act was Sharon Little from PA. Hers is a Cinderella story…. five months ago she was a waitress. Last night she performed her last show on the tour with Robert & Allison (she’s been the opening act in 34 cities.) She was so sweet and soulful; deserving of her standing ovation! As she thanked the audience for coming she mentioned that Robert Plant visited her dressing room before she took the stage one last time and gave her a hug. She then said, “I know I’m probably a nobody to everybody here tonight; but right now I feel like a somebody. Thanks again.” Then she and her band ripped a few more tunes. She’s honest. We liked her. And her jacket was straight vintage.

Robert and Allison played for over two hours… including a 5-song ovation. T Bone Burnett was in his glory. Buddy Miller strong. The utility player, Stuart Duncan, was amazing. If it had strings, he used it to fill the place with all sorts of sound and color. Together, they played material from Raising Sand as well as some standards and Zeppelin material re-arranged in the spirit of the project. The sound was eerie and slinky. And yeah hey mama, we liked they way moved and grooved. Robert’s dance steps were charming. Allison was beautiful, perfect and effortless. She liked being home.

And speaking of home, we realized as we left the Sommet our time at Nashville was coming to an end. There were three hours until last call so we headed across the street to Layla’s … the place with the hot dog cart outside and chicken wire on the side of the stage. The band was playing all sorts of ruckus stuff, the perfect counter-balance to what we just heard. In exchange for two bar stools in the back, we promised to keep watch of this particular beer can AND the precious popcorn buns. Civic duty.

Around 1:30, our friendly barkeep found us slouching on the job, took this picture on our camera as evidence and said we might think about heading home. After contributing the the tip jar of course! Gladly. Worth every dime!

July 20, 2008 Posted by | The Birthday Trip, 2008 | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nashville … the first six hours.

So we hit the streets 4:00ish. Hard to say because we forgot about Central time and neither of us had a watch. Then again, who cared?

Watching Dave approach Broadway was hysterical. Kid in a candy store! All of a sudden… bam! Lots of bars, all with live (great sounding!) music pouring from them at a time when we should have been toiling behind a desk — and he didn’t know where to go first.

We opted for Rippy’s because the food looked good there. Our waitress, Kat, was the best ever. Shame I didn’t get a shot of her. Too busy taking dumb pictures of us. Rippy’s was having happy hour when we got there. Two-for-one beers. Oh, yeah. We stayed there a bit. They had to call Belgium to restock the bar.

Next was Legends. Dave was amazed watching the break down/set up of the different bands. Night Shift was the six piece and without a sound check … BAM! We stayed for a few but knew there was more fun to be had.

So off to Tootsie’s next. Yes, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge… home of one of the smallest stages ever but man, it has held a lot of talent. When we got there we were a bit confused… There was a guy singing along with the band. Open mic night? Well sort of. We hung around, joined the party, and learned that Josh Miller is with the Army. Getting ready to go back to Iraq this Tuesday. He wanted to have fun and the night turned into a salute/send off for our troops. The band was front man Jake Maurer on acoustic with three great players behind him (including a full drum kit on the smallest stage ever!)

Jake was great at taking requests. And if your request had an Andrew Jackson attached to it and some talent in your back pocket, well, you too could sing at Tootsie’s. For my birthday, Jake said “C’mon” to Dave’s desire to sing “Wagon Wheel.” After sharing the mic on sweet harmonies in verse one, Jake got Dave a mic of his own and it was just bee-yoot-i-ful!

Josh promised to keep America free and keep his buddies safe overseas. I whispered a little prayer into my bottle that he, and his friends, will come home.

There’s only so much beer you can drink (really!) so we decided to venture over to the record store. Again, Dave in a candy store! I was mesmerized by the 8 x 10 b/w photos of the C&W legends I remember as “sangers” of my childhood soundtrack. There was a particular shot of Dolly with the biggest hair ever. It was pure architecture. I lost track of Dave during this time, finding him a few minutes outside. Not sure what happened in the store… something about trying to order a beer and the guy just pointed and said “out there, son.”

So I took thirsty boy to Second Fiddle. We had a nightcap under the big banjo. Which reminded Dave that we never did wander into the guitar shop on the corner. Ah…. that’s for tomorrow before the concert.

July 19, 2008 Posted by | The Birthday Trip, 2008 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Knew?

Twenty years ago if you had asked me how I would celebrate my 40th, I know I would never had said by going to Nashville. And blogging the journey. Then again, never did I think I’d be living in Kentucky and enjoying all the things offered by the Bluegrass State (including Bourbon!) We have our tix in hand for Allison & Robert, gas in the car, plans for the kids to stay behind and bar money. Here’s to music, adventure, love and silliness. Ride along with us. Not sure where this one is going… J.

July 18, 2008 Posted by | The Birthday Trip, 2008 | , , | 2 Comments