Nashville: Home Away from Home!
Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
13Trip End Oct 07, 2012
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We rolled into Nashville mid-afternoon on a very warm and sun drenched day. Before going to our hotel we had to check out Broadway. Both of us are fans of country music and seeing Broadway in Nashville for the first time was the ultimate pilgrimage. Live music fills the air from the crowded honky-tonk bars all along Lower Broadway.
As we meandered along the famed strip, soaking up the atmosphere we called into a couple of boot shops, as Chad was keen to get a pair of cowboy kicks. While browsing we ran into Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson (with baby Poet). They were so friendly and happy to chat to two fellow Aussies. They were in town as part of the Americana Music Festival and gave us some ideas on what we should do while in Nashville. They were also interested to hear about our journey thus far and happily posed for a photo with us
As day turned to night we stopped by our hotel bar on the way out to sample the honky-tonks. The bar was busy with a bachelor and bachelorette party present. The boys were very merry and keen to hear about our travels. At another table a distinguished looking gentleman and his much younger wife/mistress fell off his chair not once, but twice and was escorted back to his room by staff in the safety of a wheelchair. We chatted to some other folks about the US election, sport, Chicago and things to do around the Lakes area before we caught the courtesy shuttle to Downtown. Later we realised that we had given the bar waitress the incorrect room number to charge our beers. Oops…
The dazzling neon lights shone and lit up the whole street, we can see why locals refer to it as Nash Vegas. We walked into the first honky-tonk on the corner called Rippy's. This place has 3 different bands playing throughout the venue. We stayed in the front bar for quite some time and listened to covers of Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Eric Church. We met Matt and Molli (on their 2nd date) who approached us after hearing our accentsJackson Alley. She told the band we were from Australia, so the band dedicated Keith Urban’s Somebody Like You for us - we were stoked! We moved onto about 4 other bars during the night all with live country music and had a few beverages along the way. We had a chuckle at a group of girls doing a country-dance with lots of kicking around the full bottle of champagne on the dance floor. We ended the night at a karaoke bar and Chad entertained the crowd with some Big n Rich! Yee Haa!
Day two in Nashville we visited Music Valley and the revered Grand Ole Opry. What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today a live-entertainment phenomenon. Dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps. We did the guided backstage tour and walked in the footsteps of country legends. We were blown away (just like Carrie Underwood) by the Opry. It felt spiritual and church like when inside the theatre. The chairs are pews (luckily they are cushioned) and they hold 4 400 folks. There are three shows a week from March – November. There have only ever been 200 members of the Opry, with 60 alive today. You must be invited to be part of the sacred club and Keith is the newest member and the only non-American. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Once a member you are expected to perform at the Opry 8-10 times a year - $200 a show! Oh and you have a mailbox too, Blake Shelton’s is number 117 if anyone is interested. The dressing rooms are all themed and surprisingly not overly lavish with only two out of the nineteen having their own bathroom, the rest have to share
We cruised back into Downtown and drove around the city looking at the architecture and picking out which honky tonks we would visit in the evening. Nashville is a clean and striking looking city and we know many of you reading this would love this place.
Before we knew it, it was dark once again and we had places to go. The shuttle dropped us at The Rutledge. We went to see Australian country music singer, Felicity Urquhart, in town for the Americana Festival. Chad is Facebook friends with Felicity and had been in contact leading up to the show, so she invited us along as her special guests. She shared stories about her songs, including 'Girl on the Mall', which is about growing up in Tamworth and busking on weekend. Chad felt connected to this song as a fellow Tamworthian and after the show they shared a few laughs about their hometown. This was a very different side to Nashville, as it was about singer/songwriters and their own original material. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and our time with Felicity before the lights of Nash Vegas lured us back again.
It was starting to sprinkle with rain so Chad went into one of the boot stores to see if he should spray something on his new boots. The lady was a cack and said no you don’t need to. Chad said thanks and apologised as he didn’t know. She laughed and replied "Honey, they’re a cow! They’re all used ta gettin wet in da rain!"
We sampled a few new bars including one that didn’t play country. It felt strange being in Nashville and listening to Maroon 5 covers, so we went back to Rippy’s to get back in the country groove. Here we met Nancy, looking like she had just stepped off the set of GCB (Channel 7). She was thrilled when Matt suggested she was a GCB – as she looooooooves that show y’all!
We felt like mini-celebs again as the singer again noticed that we were Australian so we got another Keithy song played – this time “Who Wouldn’t Want to be Me”. We loved it. The band also had this great fiddler and she at one stage hopped on the bar and played the song “Devil Went Down to Georgia” – she was unreal! (see video). We also had cameo photos with randoms like 'The Pink Cowgirl’, Justin Beiber and a guy from Fat Pizza.
We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and kicked on to a couple more bars.
Aussie Rampage Chevy Rating:
Nashville is our favourite place in the US so far
Next stop - Chicago
Aussie Rampage Mantra:
'Talent is being able to please people.' - Marty Robbins (dressing room wall at the Grand Ole Opry)
Aussie Rampage Observations:
- Americans love the words ‘sassy’ and ‘y’all’ and when you put both in the one sentence like “Y’all look so sassy!” in a southern accent they love it!
- Americans don’t understand the word ‘keen’
- Drinks are served VERY strong here in Nashville.
Aussie Rampage US Playlist:
Thank God for Hometowns - Carrie Underwood
Home - Phillip Phillips
Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me - Keith Urban
For You - Keith Urban
Like a River - Kasey Chambers
Girl in the Mall - Felicity Urquhart