Experiencing Music City, Nashville TN
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I drop the needle, wait. And wait and wait. Because after writing these blogs, I realized that my parents did not own a record player when I was a little girl. There was not a needle to drop. The only way I initially heard music on our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington, was from a radio. My Mom would play contemporary music on the house radio. But, my wheat farmer Dad? He always played country music in the pickup truck. We owned horses and my Dad rode in our local Sheriff’s Posse. I remember seeing him ride his horse at the Palouse Empire Fair rodeo parade. I also remember watching the tv show Hee Haw. Men in overalls singing, and of course, Minnie Pearl wearing her hat with a price tag hanging. That was my exposure to country music. Hee Haw, and occasionally Johnny Cash on the radio.
Country Music started coming back into my life, approximately 4 years ago. Both of my parents had passed away, the family wheat farm was sold and I was grieving. As I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs, meeting local country artist Jessica Lynne, is the avenue that music used, to bring me back ‘home.’ And it was initially through her song “Calling me Home”. Quite appropriate. Because, that’s exactly what she did.
In the spring of 2016, Jessica Lynne (by now we were friends and I was on her music support team), was recording an EP in Nashville, TN; Music City Even though I was a flight attendant, that was a city I had never been to before. After listening to her stories, and stories from others, it became this mysterious destination. A city filled with magical music. It was exciting when she released her EP “Catch Me If You Can”, and to market it as Nashville recorded. Suddenly, I had a bucket list item to fulfill. I wanted to go to Music City.
It did not take long for that bucket list item to be fulfilled. This past May, the airline that I fly for announced a new flight destination out of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; Nashville. I was ecstatic! Nashville, here I come.
I had no idea what to expect on my first layover in Music City. However, I was thrilled to find out our hotel was only a few minutes’ walk to Broadway, AKA Honky Tonk Row. I had one main goal, besides listening to music. I wanted my first official pair of cowboy boots to be from Nashville. The selection of boots is overwhelming. They’re all so pretty and smell so good. But, my perfect pair found me. Literally. They fell off the rack, and onto my head. Boots purchased, I headed out to find live music. And boy, did I Hit the Jackpot! This was the week of The Stanley Cup Playoffs. Broadway was blocked off, and a huge stage was set up for a free concert. Right when I walked by, the gates opened. I ended up right next to the stage. I had no idea who the musicians were, because I was not familiar with many country artists. I now realize what a lucky girl I was.
The artist that was onstage doing the soundcheck, was none other than Kip Moore! I was right next to the stage, and was not going to move. He was awesome, and I knew it was going to be a special afternoon.
The crowds started to swarm in behind me, excitement rising. The concert began, with two newer artists. And then, out came Brett Young. Everyone went wild! I had no idea who he was at that time. But, now I know he had the #1 country song on the radio, “In Case You Didn’t Know”. He ended up sitting on the stage right in front of me, singing it! Totally amazing. I dragged myself away to make the 4:00 pm pickup, to work my next flight. But I was hooked. I was coming back to Nashville.
My next layover was 30 hours. We landed at midnight, and had the whole next day and night. My fellow crew member, Laura, was on a boot mission initially. But we met up later, and joined hitting the honky tonk bars. It’s amazing how great the music is…everywhere! And every bar has a unique style of music. From traditional country, to more current style. Soft acoustic to rousing fiddle players. My local musician friends, Ray Hayden and Jessica Lynne, had recommended The Listening Room. Laura and I headed there for dinner, wearing our cowboy boots, of course. We were seated right next to the stage. 3 singer-songwriters sitting on stools, taking turns performing. An excellent recommendation
My third layover arrived; another 30-hours! My co-worker, Dawn, wanted to buy cowboy boots. Do you see a tradition occurring? After her boot purchase, we met up with our other crew members who were also out buying boots. We enjoyed some music at the honky tonk bars, a Southern Style bar-b-q dinner, followed by more music. This was also the day that country music legend, Glen Campbell passed away. Thank you, Glen, for giving us so many years of music to share in our lives.
And then there was my 4th, and recent 30-hour layover. Wow, one that goes down in my memory banks as incredible. My friend, and fiddle player, Kat Bula, recommended seeing The Time Jumpers at 3rd and Lindsley. The minute we landed, I bought a ticket. And, I was lucky, because it ended up being a sold-out show. I spent the day walking around and exploring different streets and bars. One of the favorite bands I listened to was Kenny P. I asked him to sing “She Talks To Angels”, and he did a powerful cover. I’m keeping my eyes on him.
I headed down to 3rd and Lindsley, for The Time Jumpers, with very little expectations. I just figured I would be listening to some wonderful local performers. I walked in, found a place to stand at the bar, turned around and looked at the stage. And there, sitting on stool a mere 25 feet away was Vince Gill. Casually doing a soundcheck with his guitar. This was going to be a very memorable night.
It was ShowTime, and out came the Time Jumpers. All ten of them, including Vince Gill. Guitars, fiddles, accordion/keyboards and a drummer. I found myself getting choked up. I was experiencing the history of country music. Later, my friend Kat, gave me a more thorough description of it. “Western Swing from Texas, with Nashville pickers, banding together to play some of the best music anywhere!” For a whopping $20 ticket. WOW. Absolutely, one of the most impressive shows I have attended. I would go back anytime.
Halfway through the show, a young woman that I had talked to earlier, ended up onstage singing with Vince Gill! Brittany Brodie from Canada, fulfilling a dream of singing with one of her favorite Country Artists. I talked to her later, and she was so excited. Her song “I Do” had just charted on the New Indie Chart! An exciting night for her. Another emerging artist that I will be following.
The night closed with Ranger Doug yodeling. It was wonderful! And, they were all so nice to talk to. That traditional Southern Hospitality that you hear of.
When is my next trip to Nashville? I’m not exactly sure, but I hope it’s soon. I’ve fallen in Love <3
SUSAN IN SEATTLE