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Nashville April 9-16, 2016 – Day 4

April 12, 2016

I have to tip my hat to Nashville, they are on message as to the sanctity of the history of country music.

The morning of Day 4 we toured the mother church of country music: the hallowed hall that is the Ryman. I was captured by its story and its simple beauty.  In my next post I will let you know how the great lady sounds (we are going to a show Day 5). The Ryman does a great job presenting her story both formally (guided back stage tour and video on steroids) and informally (just letting you wander). Touring an auditorium does not seem like an attraction, but this is a genuine attraction (similar to visiting a famous church) and is highly recommended if you visit Nashville and have even the slightest appreciation for country music. I won’t repeat her story here and be a spoiler, but it is fair to say her story is intertwined with the history of Nashville and country music.

The day before we had loitered in the Hatch Show Print gift shop and based on that we scheduled a tour (yet another unlikely tourist attraction).  Like the Ryman, Hatch Show Print has a unique story and its history and influence is deeply intertwined with Nashville and country music. The Hatch poster style is iconic. We had the good luck of being there for its 137th birthday and got to help celebrate that by making the handbill above. We also had the good luck of seeing the poster for the Ryman show we are seeing being made.

By then we were hungry and headed over to East Nashville which is kind of like my hometown’s (Minneapolis) Nordeast – a former worn out neighborhood that has become hipster heaven.

We had lunch at a famous burger joint – the Pharmacy. We had the good luck of the weather properly behaving like spring and ate out on the patio/beer garden. Given it was mid-afternoon there was not the usual wait. The burger and hand cut fries were great – of special note was the burger bun and the European beer selection.

We walked a few blocks to The Groove, a record store,  to do a little crate digging. Groove had a nice ambience being located in an old house. They had a nice selection of new and used.  Prices were typical of the vinyl resurgence (high but fair).

A half a block away was one of the cooler coffee shops I have ever been to: Barista Parlor. It has a really cool ambiance in a big open space. They don’t have the typical chain selection and I had a coffee cocktail – an espresso tonic. Sounds questionable, but it was delicious.

We headed back to the hotel for a little downtime.

By our good luck the annual “All For The Hall” fundraising concert was scheduled during  our visit. We headed over to the Bridgestone Arena (the NHL Predators play there) for the show. I have been to a lot of concerts in my life but I have never been to this kind of event. Keith Urban took the primary hosting/MCing duties which fit him perfect. Vince Gill seemed more than fine deferring.

The basic format was for each artist to play one of their hits and a cover – with the go-to artist to cover being the late Merle Haggard.

It was a good cross-section of artists from old to new and from traditional country to rock/pop country. The transitions between artists was remarkably smooth.

The only odd paring was Peter Frampton – but not so odd given he is now a Nashvillian. He did a nice solo, acoustic version of Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” and a classic full band version of “Do You Feel Like We Do” including a talk box solo. Over all a fun show and great sampler platter.

We reprised Bakersfield for a nightcap and called it a night.

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