Day 4 – Nashville
After the last post Lindsey and I hit the road through what remained of our trip through West Virginia, Kentucky, and finally Tennessee. The roads were treacherous and slow moving, but we made it into Nashville without being one of the numerous cars and tractor trailers we saw run into the ditch. I can see why most touring is done in the warmer months of the year.
Once we made it to Nashville we found The Listening Room Café. I had a slight panic attack once I saw the number of seats that needed to be filled in the place but people trickled in and we were off.
I played to a receptive crowd and I think I won over a few people in the audience composed mostly of complete strangers. I’m extremely grateful for everyone that came out and Lindsey’s uncle for driving up from Alabama for the show. The next day I realized how lucky I was to be playing at such a phenomenal venue as I walked Nashville’s Broadway listening to people playing at 10am in the honky tonks to no one. That could have easily been me and my view of Nashville would have been completely different.
After the show we went out to dinner with our awesome hosts for the night, Rachel and Jeremy Johnson of The Barrel Jumpers and newly formed music collective “Nashville Clusterfolk”. I enjoyed getting an insight into what the Nashville musicians life is like and have the utmost respect for the dedication and drive it takes to make a name in a town full of big names. Many thanks to them for putting us up for the night.
The next day, as I mentioned, we did some sight seeing. Since I didn’t have another show till Friday we thought we would see the town then get into Granbury, TX at a leisurely pace late that night. If I had known about the craziness happening on I 40 at that time my day would have been much different, but I’m glad I didn’t. Sometimes you can’t plan a great time, it just happens. First we went and checked out the Grand Ole Opry which was cool then headed over to Third Man Records. Inside they had a recording booth that would record you straight to vinyl so I took a turn and recorded a new tune I’ve been working on for the past few months. Once I get back home I’ll get it into a more distributable format and let you have a listen. Inside the record shop, there was a film crew getting “B-Roll” footage for an upcoming documentary so who knows I might make my film debut too.
Once we got done exploring Nashville we headed west. We left later than intended and knew we were looking at a long drive. Lindsey and I wanted to stop in Memphis but knew we would have to be quick. Graceland takes too long so we decided to check out the Gibson Factory. The last tour was at 4 and we got there at 4:30 so we decided to just go check out the Gibson shop that has guitars along with memorabilia.
There was one other person there playing guitar and talking with the showroom attendant. I was browsing the acoustic guitars and the showroom attendant asked which one I wanted to try. I chose to play one of Gibson’s “Hummingbird” models. I started finger picking a little chord progression and the other guy in the showroom started doing a little solo so I kept the jam going for another couple of minutes until it ended. He turned to me and said “You play pretty good”. I thanked him and we got to talking. I told him about the tour, Nashville, and Lindsey mentioned that we had wanted to tour the factory but got in too late. He then said he would give us a tour himself and that ”they kinda let me do whatever I want around here”. We didn’t even know the guy worked for Gibson.
He took us back into the factory and showed us all the steps in the process. I completely nerded out over the types of wood they were using, the individual setting up of the guitars, and the “artist” models that haven’t been released yet. I always assumed that modern guitars were made almost completely by machines. Not Gibsons out of the Memphis plant. The amount of work done by hand is amazing and I have the greatest respect for the craftsmanship that goes into the ES line of guitars. Before we started the factory tour our guide said he wanted to buy one of my CDs so at the end of the tour we were walking out to the car when I told him that I hadn’t even caught his name. He told us his name was Mike. Once we got out to the car I went to go get a CD, which we told him he didn’t have to pay for since he was so generous to give us a free tour, but he declined and insisted to. After Lindsey and I were headed out of Memphis I started to look Mike up and it turns out he is Mike Voltz the Master Luthier at Gibson in Memphis. This was probably the highlight of what was already an amazing day.
Side note: When we were ”jamming” in the show room Mike was playing a J-45 which is the same Gibson I have. I had never seen this style before though. He asked me if I wanted to try it out. Of course. This was one of the best feeling guitars I’ve ever held and the sound was immaculate. Punchy, warm, and the neck was extremely comfortable. Mike had built it himself. I wisely handed it back before I started drooling on it.
Arkansas… then back to Tennessee
After leaving Memphis we headed into Arkansas and almost immediately ran into stand still traffic. Not slowly moving, not creeping, not stop and go. Stand Still.
Turns out Arkansas completely failed at getting the roads cleared from the storm two days prior (yes TWO days ago) and so we sat, then eventually moved two miles in two hours. We exited I40 ASAP and headed back to Memphis to head south. So from Memphis to Granbury is about 7 hours. Heading south to Jackson, MS then to Granbury takes 10. By the time we got turned around and back to Memphis it was 9pm. I drove like crazy until we hit the Texas state line at 3am then Lindsey took over the rest of the way pulling into Granbury at 7:30 in the morning.
I spent most of yesterday sleeping and chatting with family. I have another day off today then we head into Ft. Worth tomorrow night which will be a bit of a homecoming show. I’m excited about the progress and trip so far. We’ll see what’s around the next corner.