… is the title of Johnny’s 33rd album release and how he used to introduce each episode of The Johnny Cash Show on ABC. It’s also the title of a tribute song by Alabama 3. We had set aside Saturday morning for a visit to the Johnny Cash Museum in Downtown Nashville. It’s really well set up, and it needs to be because it gets a huge number of visitors on Saturdays. We enjoyed the visit a lot, and took a few snaps of some of the exhibits.
We spent a while here and went up to take another look at the Ryman. We’d enjoyed the Opry backstage tour so much we thought we might check out Ryman’s version. It was also very busy and we decided that the combination of wait time and the $30 per head cost put us off so we just had a coffee in their cafe and moved on.
I was due to pick up my mandolin from Carter’s with, hopefully, a new tailpiece in place. There’s a free bus that runs a circuit around Nashville and we decided to take one of these buses over to the Gulch area, close to Carter’s shop. It’s strange that all of the attractions were so busy, but we were the only two people on the bus.
The mandolin was ready, and was looking and sounding great so we paid the very reasonable cost and headed back towards our hotel. The day had flown by and we had to get changed for dinner. We had booked dinner at a steakhouse called Deacon’s New South, which turned out to be delicious. After dinner, we strolled down onto Broadway and, having enjoyed some lovely wine with dinner, I took my Dutch courage in hand and signed up for karaoke in a very lively bar. It took a while for my name to come round on the list and there had been some great singers in the interim, despite which my rendition of House of Pain’s Jump Around was astonishingly well received by what was, admittedly, a liberally lubricated audience. We called it a night after that and headed back to the hotel.
Sunday started at a more leisurely pace. We had noticed a place near Carter’s called Rudy’s Jazz Room and had discovered it offered a jazz brunch on Sundays, so we decided that would be a pleasant alternative to the very basic hotel breakfast we had been having this week. And we were right. Sunday was the 5th of May, and they were hosting a special Cinco de Mayo brunch, presenting Latin-infused jazz. It was a very pleasant change of pace, musically.
After brunch, we headed back to the hotel for a while before our next musical stop. The Station Inn is a legendary bluegrass venue in the Gulch area. Sunday night is the open bluegrass jam night, and we decided we’d enjoy just going along and watching rather than taking instruments and trying to join in.
According to the website, doors would open at 7:00pm and music would start at 8:00pm. We got there at 7:30 and were lucky to get a seat. And the music had already started with a half dozen musicians playing. Within the next half hour the ensemble had grown to over twenty, and there were some great musicians among them. My heart, however, went out to the young banjo player who played rhythm all night and steadfastly refused any and all invitations to take a break (solo) on any of the tunes. I know how he feels.
Monday was our last full day in Nashville, and it was scorchingly hot. We decided to take a walk in the Two Rivers Park to get some fresh air and see some wildlife, hopefully.
We did see some very uncooperative birds who wouldn’t sit still long enough for a photo, and also encountered some difficulty with Ishbel’s camera sometimes not recognising that the long lens was attached. Either the body or the lens probably needs a service. We enjoyed our stroll, but need to shower and change when we got back to the hotel.
Tonight we were bound for the Bluebird Cafe, another landmark Nashville venue, particularly among songwriters. On Monday evenings, they have an early show where budding songwriters can sign up to perform one or two songs to a discerning audience, and hope to be discovered. That wasn’t for us. We were going to the late show where Mike Henderson would play some old-school twelve-bar blues.
We queued for over an hour to make sure we got in and chatted with a couple of lovely Canadian ladies while we waited. Their husbands had gone to see Judas Priest, supported by Uriah Heep. I don’t know how that gig went, but Mike Henderson and his band were brilliant. He had a young man guesting on keyboards that night who usually plays guitar and sings in a bluegrass band, but his honky-tonk blues piano was wondrous.
This was a great way to end the Nashville portion of the tour. Back on the road on Tuesday.