Friday, March 23, 2012


OK, the next stop falls more into the "when in Rome" category...Nashville, Tennessee. I guess I could have lived my life without regret had I never been to this city, home of country music and the Grand Ole Opry. But Nashville happened to be an appropriate number of hours away from Asheville and in the right direction (West), so we went there, and I don't regret it...

We camped at a private campground not two miles from the famous Grand Ole Opry, but we did not go there to see a show. See, the problem is, it seems only country musicians perform there! Neither Nancy or I is what you would call a country music fan. The closest either of us have ever come to enjoying the genre would be some of the twangier of Jimmy Buffet's songs, maybe an Eagles riff or two, and a few of Johnny Cash's tunes. Nothing against it - don't get me wrong. If a-pickin' and a-grinnin' is your bag, if you like some twangin' in your sangin', that's cool. Just because I'm not a fan doesn't mean it's not perfect for you, right?

But before we get to our lifetime-supply-of-country-music-in-one-evening story, first my bit about the Gaylord (ha!) Opryland Hotel. Nancy had wandered around in there once before and was impressed, so she wanted me to see. I had no expectations - it's a hotel. Whatever. But when we passed through the back entrance and into the Delta atrium, I have to admit, I was pretty amazed. Picture, if you will, a monstrous luxury hotel built so that all of the rooms overlook a giant covered courtyard. Now double that. Double it again. Multiply by nine and divide by seven, then add the square root of pi. That's how big this place is. Fill the football-stadium-sized courtyards with lush tropical foliage, koi ponds, pools, waterfalls, and a freakin' river with boats in it, plus an island with shops and restaurants. Yeah, crazy stuff.

Not just potted palms and ferns thrived there. There were tree species I've never seen before, flowering shrubs, groundcover plants, mosses, water plants, annuals, air plants, and orchids. I think I even saw a truffala tree!

So then there's the music:

I already said that we didn't go to the Grand Ole Opry. I'd have gone, actually. I've found that almost any kind of music is much better when performed live. I bet even bands with names like "Insane Clown Posse", or "Wayne Newton" would be entertaining live. But we didn't go because you pay a bit of money for the privilege, and then file in with 10000 old people, and if you don't like it, then what? Instead we went downtown... Broadway, where all of the Honky-Tonk bars are.

Dozens of these venues line the street, always have live music, and no cover charge. Plus, they serve alcohol! So, we bar-hopped, and checked out three honky-tonk bars and one that was more upscale. In order, they were Legends Corner, Second Fiddle, The Stage and Benchmark. At the first we listened to a five-piece band play straight-ahead country, and just as I suspected, it wasn't objectionable at all played live! And the more we drank, the better it sounded!

Lead signer looked as if his shampoo bottle ran out a while back, but he sang good, I reckon, and he taught us to "Holler 'n' Swaller", which will surely come in handy. Next stop featured a four-piece band that played country that was a little more rock-n-roll, which we actually kind of liked. But in the interest of experimentation, we moved on to The Stage, where there was like a 10 piece band, doing something like country-crooning, and we got the heck outta there. Lastly, at Benchmark, we heard a lot of variety, from country to rock to blues, and it was good.

So, that's our Nashville Country Music experience. Checked off the list (well, first we had to write it on the list, then we checked it off). I won't be so adamant in my dislike for the genre anymore, and if you like it, we can still be friends.

1 comment:

  1. Come on now. You've fiddled that violin a time or two. Deep down there is country in all of us. Uncle Jake