Sunday, March 15, 2015
March 5, 2015 My Attempt at Avoiding Winter in Chicago by Going to Nashville
I have wanted to visit Nashville for a long time but never got there until a series of events occurred...first, my cousin Karissa moved there late last year...second, Chicago is once again experiencing a brutally cold winter...and finally, one of my favorite bands to see in concert, Gogol Bordello has not scheduled a Chicago date for their tour this year so I got tickets to see them in Nashville.
Unfortunately, Nashville experienced their worst snow storm in many years and the Gogol Bordello show was canceled by the venue over safety concerns for their patrons. My flight was delayed due to the weather in Nashville. This was the first time I have ever landed on a snow covered runway. I arrived to find the airport was mostly closed because people couldn't get to work. I waited twenty minutes for a cab at the airport. There was no one on the snow and ice covered highway. My cabbie said he's lived here for 15 years and has never seen this much snow. Hell, I offered to drive because I have driven in this at least 15 times in the past few months and I sure as hell did not want to die on a Tennessee highway. The city looked abandoned as we pulled up to my hotel.
This was the view from my hotel. I know that those of you who experience real winters are laughing your asses off. Nashville got about 3 inches of snow. Now to be fair, it was 62 degrees before the temperature drop to 8 degrees last night. So it was also pretty icy. I almost fell several times walking a few blocks to find a place open for lunch.
OK, I am definitely a music geek. That said, I thought it was very cool that the building next to my hotel was music publishing giant BMI. FYI, they were closed due to the snow.
Interesting statue of naked people playing in a roundabout.
I thought this was a cool bike rack pretending to be a microphone plugged into the sidewalk.
I ate lunch where everyone else that ventured out also ate today because the Tin Roof was the only place open in this neighborhood. I grabbed a local magazine and enjoyed a mushroom quesadilla with my Dos Equis Amber. I also bought a ticket to the Predators hockey game tonight against the Islanders.
Despite the single digit temperature, I decided to walk to the game. I walked up Demonbruen Street past the old Union Station that now houses a hotel.
I got a great seat on the blue line about 15 rows off the ice. I ended up sitting with a family that included a father that was an Islanders fan and his son who was a Blackhawks fan. The Islanders won 4-3 in a somewhat lackluster game. But it felt good to be at a hockey game. The stadium was barely half filled mostly due to the weather because the Nashville team has been in first place most of the season.
They hand out free programs with up to date stats and standings...let me repeat that...FREE and UP TO DATE STATS & STANDINGS.
This was the first time I used my smart phone as my ticket. The venue printed this ticket after scanning my phone. I know I am a doddering old man. So after the game, I walked up Broadway...only because I was confused which direction my hotel was located. Since I headed the wrong way, I made the best of it. I stopped for a beer and music at Robert's Western World. The band was straight up country music so I tried another place. I ended up at The Tin Roof, same place different location from where I ate lunch. I sat at the bar, enjoyed the music and the conversation with the bartender's boyfriend who sat next to me. It has been a long day so I headed back to my hotel. I was all set for some sleep but...
...in the lobby of the Best Western hotel I stumbled across a group of people sitting in the area where the continental breakfast is served. An informal group of musicians were playing bluegrass music. I sat on a nearby couch to listen. They were really good. I moved closer...
...and realized I was going to stay up until they were done playing. It was great. After each song, they swapped instruments, someone decided a song to play, the correct key was told around the circle and beautiful music was played as different people sang along. This was exactly why I wanted to visit Nashville...Music City. Seeing this was a great way to forget about missing Gogol Bordello...that's how cool this was for me...self described music geek. I found out afterwards that all these people were here for a bluegrass music conference. Most were touring musicians, which explained why such great music was being played at midnight in the lobby of a Best Western. One of the people I met was Emily Epley. She is the Executive Director of the Earl Scruggs Center in North Carolina. Not familiar with Earl Scruggs...here he is...Good Night.