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A Relaxing Night in the Way Too Busy City of Nashville

27 Aug

Last night, we had dinner with friends at Silo, a restaurant in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville. On the way, we hit little traffic and, once we arrived, found a parking spot within a few yards. You may ask why I mention that and here is the answer.

A few blocks from the restaurant, the Nashville Soccer Club was playing in the recently built minor league baseball stadium.

Just past their stadium, Taylor Swift was performing in front of over 60,000 screaming fans at Nissan Stadium.

From there, a short walk across the pedestrian bridge would have taken you to Ascend Amphitheater where Needtobreathe was putting on a show.

Down the street from the amphitheater, Journey and Def Leppard packed Bridgestone Arena with fans reminiscing about the 1980s.

Across the street from Bridgestone Arena, over 4,000 people were competing in the Pokemon Finals at the Music City Center.

Up the hill from there, another sold out show was being held at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

On top of all that, Garth Brooks appeared on two shows of the Grand Ole Opry.

In short, there was a lot going on in Nashville. In fact, it is estimated that over 130,000 fans were in the city for some kind of event.

However, we had a nice dinner without any hustle and bustle. The only issue was everyone in the back of the car trying to get this picture right before posting it on social media.

While others were rocking the night away, older eyes were trying to determine how they looked in a picture as I rolled down the interstate.

By the way, dinner was awesome. If you make it to Nashville, then you should definitely go to Silo.

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My iPod Has Issues – Bunco Night

29 Jul

My wife is off playing Bunco, so I have my iPod cranked up throughout the house. With music blasting, it occurred to me that it may be a good time to share the warped mind of my iPod. You can never tell what sounds might come out of it.

“Boogie Woogie Country Girl” by Big Joe Turner

“The Monument Valley” by Drive-By Truckers

“Torquay” by The Leftovers

“If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want to Be Right)” by Issac Hayes

“Eclipse” by Pink Floyd

“Jungle Bill” by Yello

“Night Fever” by Bee Gees

“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson

“Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith

“The Final Countdown” by Europe

“The Locomotion” by Little Eva

“Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash

“It Happened in Monterrey” by Frank Sinatra

“She Never Knew Me” by Don Williams

“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge

“Home from the Hill” by The Kingston Trio

“Try and Love Again” by The Eagles

“Sweet Lady Luck” by Whitesnake

“Radio Free Europe” by R.E.M.

“All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople

U2 and the Rules of Rock

28 May

Last night, we saw U2 in concert. They are not our favorite group, but some friends had extra tickets that they wanted to sell. We took them because U2 is a legendary band that people should see if given the chance and because we thought it would be a good show. In fact, it was a good show. However, it could have been a great show.

We got to our seats and saw a big wall.

I immediately thought they were trying to copy Pink Floyd, and, as the concert progressed, it was apparent that this was their version of The Wall.

Songs took the crowd through Bono’s youth with odes to his mother and to his childhood neighborhood. Then, the story took a turn as a comic book version of U2 was formed and flew too close to the sun before being brought back down to earth. Finally, the concert turned to the current state of politics and how America is a nation that can still be a shining beacon for the world.

Through all of that, there were great visual effects and moments of acting from Bono. At one point, he went from being a demon to talking to someone at home while cleaning up in a mirror.

All of that was fine. U2 is successful enough to indulge themselves in a little Rock Opera, and they have money enough to put together a visual spectacle. They were also low-key in their political statements for a band that has always been known for its politics.

However, through all of that there was one vital missing ingredient.

U2 did not play many of their hit songs. There was new stuff. There were deep cuts. There were homages to other artists. There were only a few songs that the casual U2 listener would recognize.

Throughout the day, I have been thinking about this and have come up with some ideas about what long-established bands should do during a concert. I call these ideas The Rules of Rock. Of course, they could also be called The Rules of Country. The Rules of Pop or The Rules of Any Genre of Music.

  1. If you have a song that reached Number 1 on the charts, then you should play it in concert. This would include “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” They did not play either of these songs, and I believe they are the only two singles to reach Number 1 on the US charts.
  2. If you have a song to which everyone in the building knows the words, then you should play it in concert. This does not have to be a Number 1 song. It could be something that was popular and people remember. “Where the Streets Have No Name” fits this category, but they did not play it.
  3. If you have a song that was the first semi-hit that put you on the map, then you should play it in concert. For a lot of people, “New Year’s Day” was the first sound they heard from U2, and it made them want to hear more. They did not play this, but it would have been a good idea.

I am sure that a ton of people left the concert happy with what they heard. Many people around us were singing along to songs that I have never heard. They cheered at some early U2 music that true fans of the band have probably grown to love. Certainly, those in the audience who Bono called out from the stage had a good time. Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore, former Republican Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, Ashley Judd, T-Bone Burnett, Ava DuVerney, Dierks Bentley. The list goes on and on.

As for us, we are not super fans or personal friends. We are people who wanted to hear the hits, and we did not hear enough of them.

In My Life

1 Apr

The record player is spinning one of my favorite artists, and one of my favorite songs just came through the speakers.

“In My Life” has always spoken to me. The Beatles originally recorded the song, but that is not the version that I like. It is Jose Feliciano and his guitar that strike a chord with me. There is something haunting about his rendition.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

In my life I love you more

It is an awesome song, and Jose does it well. You should give it a listen.

The Musical Legacy of Cumberland University

23 Dec

Cumberland University, my alma mater and place of employment, has a rich history with graduates who have gone on to great success.

Cordell Hull served as Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt and won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Howell Edmunds Jackson was a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Horace Harmon Lurton was also a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

There have been numerous governors, United States Senators and members of the House of Representatives.

We talk about those people all of the time. However, we tend to neglect those who have gained fame in the music industry. In the past few days, this has been brought to my attention.

Chloe Kohanski, one of our former students, won this season of The Voice. She now has a recording contract, and all of us at Cumberland wish her great success.

After her victory, my friend Tick informed me that others who have walked our campus have gone on to musical success. Yes, this is the south, and we have people named Tick. I also know people named Squirrel, Burrhead, Buckwheat, Pee Wee and Honeybun.

Anyway, Tick provided a few names that I found interesting.

Fred Young, drummer for The Kentucky Headhunters, went to Cumberland University. The group started playing together in 1968 and became an “overnight” success in 1989 when they had four Top 40 hits. They also won a Grammy. Unfortunately, they were not able to follow up that success.

Russell Smith was the lead singer for the Amazing Rhythm Aces. In 1975, they had a huge hit with “Third Rate Romance.” Smith went on to become a successful songwriter in Nashville. Ironically, he grew up next door to my father-in-law in LaFayette, Tennessee.

Of course, this list would not be complete without the former Cumberland student with the greatest musical legacy – my friend Tick.

He has been performing around here for years and has his own Youtube channel. You should head over there and check him out. There are some great performances and more information about local musical history. You will learn about the days when the Allman Brothers and Paul McCartney hung out in town.

A Cool Week in December

14 Dec

From December 4 to December 10, I had a pretty cool week. No, that is not a weather report. Rather, some cool things happened.

It all started on December 4 when my wife and I had the opportunity to sit on the glass for the Nashville Predators. We, along with some friends, purchased the tickets at a fundraiser. It was an awesome experience. Pregame and intermissions were spent in the Lexus Lounge, where food and drink were flowing. It was also where we could bump fists with the Predators as they made their way to the ice.

During the game, we got a good view of stuff like this.

To make it even better, the Predators defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3.

On December 7, I went with my brother, my nephew and some friends to see the John Wayne exhibit at the Opryland Hotel. We are all fans of the Duke and were able to discuss our fandom amongst his personal memorabilia. It was a great exhibit with his Oscar and a bunch of costumes. Do you know which movies these costumes represent?

We finished the night with whiskey and steaks at a restaurant inside the hotel. We figured that was the perfect way to honor the Duke.

On December 10, my wife and I attended a private concert by Eric Church. We were invited a few weeks earlier and are thrilled that we had this opportunity. We saw him perform at Bridgestone Arena, but this was completely different. On the big stage, he covers himself in sunglasses and a cap. He also performs with a chip on his shoulder. This show did not involve all of that. It was him sitting on a stool with a guitar and telling personal stories about the songs.

It was a great way to end a cool week in December.

My iPod Has Issues – Way Too Much Food

24 Nov

Man, Thanksgiving was rough. Food, food and more food. Sitting around trying to get over all of that, I decided to look into the mind, or stomach, of my iPod to see if it is hungry.

“Stoned Soul Picnic” by The Fifth Dimension

“I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl” by Nina Simone

“Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Jimmy Buffett

“Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s

“Catfish Blues” by Big Jack Johnson

“I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow

“Sugar Foot Rag” by Merle Haggard

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

“Old Turkey Buzzard” by Jose Feliciano

“T-Bone Shuffle” by B.B. King

“Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones

“Money Honey” by The Drifters

“Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back” by Meat Loaf

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles

“Green Onions” by Booker T and the MG’s

“Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine” by Tom T. Hall

“Candyman” by Cornershop

“Orange Blossom Special” by Benny Martin

“Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino

“Lady Marmalade” by Labelle