Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Country Music Trail: Alabama & Tennessee Again

Obviously, I’ve been about almost two weeks behind on my blog posts. It’s now been 3 weeks since I left home.  I’m now about 20% through the journey and I felt God telling me I needed to slow down and reflect, so I decided to take the day off from the trip and hang out in a small town in Tennessee.  It’s hard to post, b/c a lot of places that claim to have high speed wi-fi actually don’t, some book places don’t have outlets for me to charge my computer, and this place actually has high speed so I’m taking advantage.  I want to blog more, b/c I am by myself a lot of the time and I do have a lot of thoughts racing through my mind which blogging allows me to sort of vent out.  So pardon me if my writing gets a little over the top and unhinged with these last few posts.

As I write this, a couple in the room next door continues to fight for whats now been well over an hour and a half.  The guy has his car started right now and the girl keeps chasing him back.  It’s breaking my heart to hear it right now b/c the girl is sobbing uncontrollably. I don’t know how many prayers I’ve had to lift up so far on this trip, lots of people out there have some problems.  I just want to go outside to get my socks man.  Anyways, I posted some pictures on facebook, I have a video camera which also takes snap shots, as well as some pictures on another camera which I haven’t loaded yet (photos of Charlotte, Charleston and the Cove).  I only uploaded a few from each place I was at although I’ve taken well over 250, I uploaded maybe 80.  When I get back home I will try and compile all of these into a video format. 

The Country Music Trail (CMT).

I stopped and got lost on a country road in Georgiana, AL after finding Hank William’s boyhood home.  I love doing that in every state to see what the countryside has to offer away from the interstate.  I made it up to Montgomery, AL and stayed there for a night.  Got up the next morning and hit the Hank Williams museum and stumbled on some type of weight lifting competition…it reminded me how much I missed lifting weights.  Something I haven’t done much of the past year, but I believe God has wanted to teach me about true strength as opposed to pseudo physical strength that I overly concerned myself with throughout college and early post-college.

Onward on I-65 towards Nashville, I got stuck in some traffic but I finally arrived this past Saturday.  I stayed at the Music City Hostel for two nights and loved it.  Such a different atmosphere than the last hostel I stayed at in New Orleans.  It was full of musicians and songwriters who grill out and jam on their guitars each evening.  It was a little cliquish, since some of them had been living there for a while, while trying to make it in the music industry.  I remember Chris from Britain and John who worked there, but I can’t remember the names of the others I met.  Saturday, I finally got to see the Grand Ole Opry…Little Jimmy Dickens approaching 90+ years old was hosting it and Joe Diffie was the main act, it was just cool to say I’d finally been there. 

Nashville was Paradise City for me.  Country music & cowboys hats were the norm, so what better place to go out and see if anyone would drop you a few bucks for playing?  I would never have done something like this in Harrisonburg, but here I figured I could get away with it.  I had forgotten how much I loved country music, the real kind.  Just like the mountains speak to me(I discovered I am not a beach bum), so does country music.  I do like other types of music but none of it gets to me quite like country.   So, I went out on 3rd and Broadway street and picked a spot where there was little people traffic…I was merely just out there to be a goof ball and have a good time so I tried to pick a little. in the picture my guitar strap actually broke off right as it was being snapped and I was trying to tune the thing.  I had some passer-bys take it the photo.  I was out there for maybe ten minutes…and decided that was long enough for me to check it off the bucket list. 

Playing My First Song at the Nashville Palace

Before I went to the Grand Ole Opry that Saturday, I had dinner at a place called Nashville Palace.  The guys playing there talked to me for a bit and asked if I played and if I wanted to come up and jam with them, I would have had I not had to be at the Opry.  The manager, Steve, told me I could come in tomorrow night and play so I did just that.  Steve was a really cool guy and had just started managing the place a few weeks ago, he told me Alan Jackson and Randy Travis(he thought it was Randy) had gotten their start there, and Alan Jackson used to wash dishes at this place.  I ended up playing Tracy Lawrences “Time Marches On”…and in my opinion, it was pretty bad, but it was the first time I’d ever performed(playing AND singing) in front of anybody, including family…although it took me 2 beers to do it.   Again, all for fun so who cares. 

Before I was up, there was a young lady who sang a few songs and had sung the night before as well.  She said on stage that she was from Winchester, VA.  I met her after, and apparently her and her family come to Nashville fairly regularly.  Her name is Heather Shannon, she’s a 16 year old, nice young lady who writes her own songs as well I think.  I figured I’d put in a word for her on the blog since she might be the next Taylor Swift.  She has an awesome voice.  You can check her out on YouTube and I think she has a MySpace account as well. 

The next day I went to the Country Music Hall of fame, then got a random inside tour of a Masonic Lodge.  The country music trail will end tomorrow in Memphis.  I think I’m finally caught up to speed here on the blog!  Thanks for reading!


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