Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Made it up to Music Row

Monday night I was watching John Rich, of country act Big & Rich, on CMT, the guy that reminds me of Deputy Dawg. He has a new 'reality' TV show which proved to be quite the worst since the belly-flopping fatties back in Houlton, Maine. Same channel - see PunchBuggy Passim.
Up early blogging then down to breakfast where Niels C Abild of the Kansas City Stompers, a Danish jazz band of some renown and a historic race car driver, chats to us. He is on a musical pilgrimage round the USA with his son - "We've got to catch a plane to Las Vegas."
We walk to the Frist Center, an old Post office building from the thirties, now an art gallery. This buiding has an exquisite art deco interior and we talk to Mancil Ezell, the docent, who is a fierce Nashville partisan. Knoxville: "They ain't nothing but a bunch of hicks." Memphis: "A river town. I don't care to go there." He did put in good word for Chattanooga, a rail town with a commendable aquarium. We take lunch at the restaurant which is both very good and cheap - Salibury Steak special $8. Don't miss this depression era gem with its black Georgia marble and stainless steel mouldings. There used to be an overhead walkway connecting the Post Office to the station: "In those days you could consign cattle at the Post Office."
Walk on to Country Music Hall of Fame which has a special Marty Robbins exhibit. He was a cool guy - singer, songwriter, movie actor and race car driver: "I drive for the fun of it. I try to stay out of the way of those other fellows who are out there to make a living. I just love to be on the track with them." Although he never won a NASCAR race, Robbins finished in the Top Ten six times. The HoF is full of Nudie Cohen stage suits including the Gram Parsons jacket embroidered with marijuana leaves, the Hatch Show Print posters add colour including gigs by Brits Chad Stewart & Jeremy Clyde. Also don't miss Elvis Presley's Barris Custom 1960 Cadillac 75. The whole show is a tour de force, except close to the exit there is a display featuring Big & Rich - surely they are watering the brandy.We take the tour bus to Studio 'B' at the RCA studio on Music Row. Much of Elvis Presley's catalogue was recorded here but also Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves and many others made records here. The Steinway piano that Floyd Cramer played is here.
In the evening we head down to The Station Inn - live Bluegrass music since 1974 - $8 on the door. Get there before redevelopment nixes the venue. The band is a pickup ensemble based on the band Mashville Brigade, with an 'M' - a request for 'Rocky Top' is declined, the equivalent of 'No Stairway' or 'No Mustang Sally' in other genres. The front line consisted of Ashby Frank, on mandolin and vocals, Josh Williams, guitar and vocals, and JeneƩ Fleenor on fiddle and vocals. Outstanding. JeneƩ is from Springdale, Arkansas and tours with Canadian country singer Terri Clark. They have just been out on tour with Big & Rich. Argh!

No comments: