Rooftop of Nashville Underground, 105 Broadway
Nashville at Christmastime
As I sit in my red, vinyl beanbag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
The holidays bring back a rush of nostalgic memories. My Christmas childhood memories are from our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington. The smell of almond extract, brings back memories of my Mom baking cookies in the kitchen. The scent of fresh evergreen, creates an instant vision of our scraggly tree, covered in silver tinsel. And the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas, is still my favorite.
After being a flight attendant for over 30 years, I have a few cities that I view as ‘home’. Places in the world, that I always feel welcomed during one of my quick visits. Nashville, Tennessee has quickly become one of those destinations. If you scroll back through my archives to September 2017, you will read my blog on how this warm and friendly city has taken over my heart. I create a new flight schedule every month, and one of my goals is to have a layover there every few weeks. I call it soul regeneration. This past December, I was fortunate to have a 30-hour layover there, 4 days before Christmas. I was ecstatic. I knew in my heart, it was going to be a magical experience. And I was right!
December 2017 Nashville, TN
Flying so many Nashville trips these past few months, has gained me a reputation for being a fun tour guide. On this trip, I had two Nashville Newbies; Kathy and Fredrica. When we rolled our suitcases onto the airplane in Seattle, we had no idea the people we would meet and the experiences we would share. It didn’t take long for the musical magic to begin.
During the boarding process, I greeted a lovely couple. Obviously, musicians, as he was carrying a guitar that we stowed in the First-Class closet. As the flight progressed I learned I was correct in my assumption. It was Gospel Rock musician Randy Stonehill and his wife, Leslie. I always enjoy my conversations with musicians and to hear their stories. One of Randy’s stories, is that his song with Amy Grant, “I Could Never Say Goodbye”, was nominated for a Grammy. I was thrilled to hear that, as we had tickets to the Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Show at The Ryman Auditorium the next night. Before the end of the flight, he gifted each of us with a CD. I love the sound of his music, and will be keeping an eye out on his tours in 2018.
After enjoying a full night of sleep (a flight attendant’s dream) we were ready to experience Nashville. Off to the music races we went. The hardest part of Nashville, is trying to enjoy all the music. It’s EVERYWHERE! Each bar is filled with talented musicians.
The weather was pleasant, so we enjoyed roaming in and out of every establishment on Broadway. Being so close to Christmas, everyone was in a gifting mood. Thank you for our new CD John Stone!
Our last bar to visit, before our concert at the Ryman, was the newly opened Nashville Underground. I had been walking by it all summer during its construction, so it was fun to walk in and see it finished.
The minute we walked in, we were greeted with warm and genuine Southern Hospitality. Nashville Underground is the creation of American singer-songwriters Joey and Gavin DeGraw. We were lucky to be there before the official grand opening, so it was not crowded. And we were also lucky enough to meet Joey and his dad Wayne, and spend our entire visit with them! Nashville Underground is a 40, 000 square feet live music venue, that includes a restaurant and bars. 4 stories, boasting the highest, largest and only double deck rooftop on Broadway. When we were there, only the bottom two floors were open to the public. Joey graciously offered to give us a private tour of the entire club. WOW! Now that is some serious Southern Hospitality.
What a beautiful and first-class establishment. The attention to detail was astounding. Every floor offered a unique experience. The bottom floor had a top class 5-piece band performing to a comfortable bar and table area.
The second floor was a quieter restaurant seating, with one of the most phenomenal women’s restrooms. Seriously, women lay on the floor and take a picture of themselves, because it is so pretty! Oh, and numerous bathroom stalls… YAY!! Someone finally understands our needs. The third floor was lit with a video dancefloor, surrounded by a gleaming bar. Immaculate detail everywhere. And then we were up on the incredible top deck. One side has a real lawn with Adirondack chairs to relax on. The other side offered the most stunning view of Broadway and the Cumberland River. Breathtaking.
Joining us were two young women, that he referred to as his adopted little sisters. To have Joey as our tour guide, telling us his vision and journey surrounding its development … I mean, that’s a sign of smart, dedicated and sincere business owner.
At the end of our visit, we were back relaxing in front of the fireplace, talking and laughing with Wayne. I loved that. Here they are, a family of two well known, successful musicians, and they are just hanging out with us. I truly felt welcomed and comfortable. And the staff was excellent. Unfortunately, we never got to experience the food, because we were so busy talking and getting a tour. So, next visit I will be back for dinner. The menu looked mouthwatering. Underground Nashville is going to become THE place to visit, while in Music City.
The icing on our Holiday Cake, was attending The Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Show at The Ryman Auditorium. I had never been inside before. To be sitting in a such a sacred venue, where so many artists had performed was true glory. And what a beautiful performance it was. Genuine, pure and filled with so much love. We found our eyes watering off and on throughout the performance. The talent, the beauty, the feel of family. The real meaning of Christmas, which is Love. And we can even say we sang at The Ryman; along with 2,300 other people to “White Christmas’. It’s hard to describe the beauty and power of the music.
Too soon, it was over, and we were walking back to the hotel. It was good that I had Kathy with me, because she steered me in the right direction, when my body started turning back down to Nashville Underground. It was time to get our Stewardess Beauty Sleep.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, our airplane landed back in the rainy clouds of Seattle. We all kept looking at each other, “Can you believe what we experienced? How lucky are we.”
My Motto for 2017 was “Expect the Best 2017”. And it fulfilled its destiny. What a wonderful year of music and experiences. It’s a good thing I take a lot of pictures, because it’s hard to absorb it all sometimes.
Thank You for sharing this musical journey with me. I truly hope it is inspiring you to seek The Passion that is in your soul. I’m rested and ready to see where The Music takes me in 2018.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Randy Stonehill www.randystonehill.com
Nashville Underground www.nashunderground.com