The day trip to Franklin for brunch was just what I needed to fight the blues of the first day in Nashville. Our theme for this trip is music, so now we'll jump in with both feet.
It's 7:00pm and we're at a non-descript office park south of downtown. Looking for a place to park, we see a guy in an empty lot waving frantically at us to park.
"You going to the Jumpers' show?"
"That'll be five dollars, park right over there. Y'all have a good time, OK?"
Mightly friendly but what comes next is a bit disturbing. Another guy working the lot pulls up and doesn't shut his door quick enough for the first guy's liking. Pretty soon, guy number one is yelling at guy number two. Then both are yelling, then guy one tells guy two he's fired, then pushing and shoving, then a truce is reached and I guess guy number two is still working.
"Sorry about that, he's just a bad apple. Y'all enjoy the show," guy number one tells us.
At the other end of the building is 3rd and Lindsley, a small nightclub that you blink and miss. We're here to see the Time Jumpers, a band made of of some of Nashville's biggest names that like to get together each Monday night here, play music together, drink beer, and just have a good time.
If' you're there, you get to hang with them and have a good time, too.
It's low-key and casual. We're treated to the sight of Vince Gill...a Country Music Hall of Famer and multi-Grammy winner...on stage setting up his own gear. No roadies tonight.
Singer of Riders in the Sky, Ranger Doug Green steps by our table and has a little chat. He poses for the picture above and tells us Dawn Sears...wife of the band's leader, Kenny Sears and one of the best female vocalists anywhere...will not be there tonight because she is starting round two of her chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer.
It's a shame it's happening to such a great singer. (Note - sadly, Dawn lost her battle to cancer last year - Ed)
I get a CD for Letty so she can get to work getting signatures. Tim and I had met Billy Thomas, Vince Gill's regular drummer, before. He didn't remember me but it came in handy to get him to start the signature fest.
Letty went to work for the rest of the band, me filling in when I could get one easy, and got Sears, Vince Gill, Andy Reese, and Paul Franklin...one of the best steel guitar players around.
It's truly an all-start cast and when the swinging starts at 9:00, the place gets rockin'.
Kenny Sears, the leader and head fiddle player, is celebrating a birthday tonight as is Gill's wife, Amy Grant. A cake is cut for Kenny and Amy takes to the stage to belt out a song before giving way to Gill's daughter Jennifer, who also has a great set of those Gill pipes.
At the end of the show, a few band members scoot out the back very quickly but the remainder settle in at the bar. Ranger Doug had sung "Put Another Candle on Your Birthday Cake" for Kenny and Amy, which was Sheriff John's song when I was a kid.
I went up to him at the bar and thanked him for singing that as it reminded me of those childhood memories. He told me he grew up in Costa Mesa, then sang another Sheriff John song for me at the bar.
It's another day in downtown Nashville in the morning as we battle the bitter cold (34 and dropping) at Broadway Brewhouse. Just a place we wandered past, really, but it turned out they make a very good gumbo.
The hot stew, warm dining room, and cool beer seemed to be just what we needed.
After, we head up the street to the Ryman Auditorium for a tour. The Ryman is the historic home of the Grand Ole Opry, our country's longest running radio show.
Although they moved the Opry to a new theater east of town, most people really consider this its proper home. The folks who run it must have taken it a bit to heart. Now, the show moves back to the old and renovated Ryman each fall and winter.
Inside, we see a short video, see some exhibits of costumes and musical instruments, take a souvenir photo, and see the snow starting to fall outside.
Tim is not doing well in the cold. He has a thick jacket, gloves, and a hat but only a thin pair of pants as the bottom layer. Back to the hotel to warm up and, while he's doing that, I run over to a nearby sporting goods store to get him some long Johns, which help out quite a bit.
Now, it's back to the Ryman for the show. Tonight, we're attending the Grand Ole Opry with seats in the third row. It's one of three wheelchair spots on the bottom. There are a few more up in the balcony.
The show is great with eight acts doing three numbers each. John Conlee, Katie Armiger, Sundy Best, Riders in the Sky (there's Ranger Doug again!), Chris Janson, Bill Anderson, Marshall Chapman, and...the evening's headliner...Craig Morgan, who is celebrating five years as a member of the Opry tonight.
Great show! First timers Sundy Best, a duo from Kentucky, brought the house down with their music earning them a standing ovation on their first try.
In the morning, a forty minute drive takes us to the far, western side of the city and the Loveless Cafe.
Famous for their biscuits, everybody tells you that you cannot leave Nashville without trying it. Yes you can, actually.
The Loveless is really good, is home to another classic Nashville music show ("Music City Roots", taped each Wednesday night in the barn out back), and has great service.
Food is good but not so good as to overcome the forty minute drive each way and the two hour wait once we got there.
If you can get in quick before all the tour buses hit, maybe it might be ok.
Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
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