Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The twang's the thang

Flew down to Nashville via Cincinnati yesterday. Snowy on departure and still snowy changing planes in Ohio, but no snow here although the bus driver, who brought us from the airport to Best Western Music Row, said they had some last Saturday. Road testing Boothill - my ancient Dell laptop rebuild - fascinating watching all the road warriors at the airports with their wifi rigs and wireless mice. Arrived in time for late lunch at Christopher Music Row Pizza, 1524A Demonbruen Street [rhymes with Columbian] - "No we are not part of a chain; you are at Christopher Pizza World HQ. We reserve the right to refuse service to mean people."
We walk across the bridge over I-40, the interstate that I hitchhiked on to Memphis in the early seventies - it looks eerily familiar running in a rocky trench and I have a faint memory of hitching from the side of the road. We walk on to the Union Station Hotel - it is worth coming to Nashville for this alone - a wonderful relic of the gilded age - we would have stayed there if we had got our act together. We check out the old station and some derelict VIA rail cars - wonder how they got here from Canada? The bridge by the hotel is a great vantage point for watching the freight trains.Nashville is a work-in-progress. There has obviously been a massive effort to clean up the town with a lack of litter and no graffiti, but as you work your way down Broadway the derelict shops put in an appearance like broken teeth in a smiling face. We reach the bottom which hosts the tackiest souvenir stores and a Hard Rock Cafe. Beyond we come to the Riverside Station, next to the Cumberland River, where the Music City Star commuter train is ready to depart eastbound for Lebanon, TN. The train seems well patronised despite early anxieties that Americans would not take to commuting by train.
There is live music all day on Broadway at the many bars - we check out the Bluegrass Inn where a five-piece hat act are playing "Guitars, Cadillacs and Hillbilly Music," "The Okie from Muskogee" etc. You get the picture - the singer is dancing around like a demented donkey - no talent scout required - 12oz Heineken $4. A few doors up and the singer is so pregnant that she looks like she will have the baby on stage.
We walk back to The Station Inn, the very picture of a blockhouse roadhouse, which we'll try later in the week. Supper at The Tin Roof back on Demonbruen - Heineken and iced tea $4!
George Bush is in town today at the national convention of religious broadcasters - they don't call it the buckle of the bible belt for nothing.

1 comment:

Vivian said...

What can I say? VIA Rail gets around :)

Vivian, your virtual VIA Rail service attendant