Searchin' the globe for great music!

Travels

Neon Nashville Rocks!

Lower Broad

                         Lower Broad

If and when you ever visit Nashville, Tennessee, you must check out Broadway (especially “Lower Broad,” which is what the locals call the hapnin’ part of this street) and hit the honky tonks! Talk about a music lovers haven! Be warned, though, that it is also a tourist haven. No matter, it’s a must see, as it is all about live bands, entertainment and a place to see and be seen. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the hoards of neon signs! It’s a cross between big city “Broadways” and “Bourbon Street” in New Orleans, bordering on cool and nostalgic, and just plain tacky! It’s your call, but I personally love the look of neon, because it melds the historical past with the high-tech present.
If you’ve done your homework, or paid attention, you’ll have heard of one of the biggies, Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge in Nashville. Tacky and purple painted as it is, it’s just an old honky tonk that has been the spot where loads of country musicians have come to play. The walls are covered with framed pictures of every country star (and more) that you could dream of! It’s a rustic, old dive, but it’s got history, personality, and plain old fame!

Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge

      Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge

Another very fun place – and my personal favorite – is just a few doors down, called “Robert’s Western World.” Resembling an old western apparel store, because it actually once was one, Robert’s is home to my favorite local band (so far,) called the Don Kelley Band. This foursome consists of lead man, Don Kelley (guitar & vocals,) Slick Joe Fick (upright bass & vocals,) Artie Alinikoff (drums & vocals,) and the most amazing, young (and I mean, young!) guitar player I’ve ever witnessed, Daniel Donato! He just turned 20 (April 6, 2015,) doesn’t look like a razor has ever touched his smooth face, and this kid SHREDS on his guitar like I’ve never seen! And, I’ve seen a whole lotta guitar players in my day!! Check out his website: www.danieldonato.com, or on Youtube tearing it up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko0Uze4Vd3g. This kid’s fingers are faster than lightening!!
Whereas, Daniel’s talented guitar playing takes center stage much of the time, Joe Fick brings the personality! His animated facial expressions, while he rocks his upright bass, is a show in itself. He is a humorous character who makes faces at his instrument, spins it, seems to have conversations with it, and even jumps and stands on the bloody thing! He loves what he does and obviously has a blast doing it! This guy is a kick, I tell ya! More on Joe here: http://www.slickjoefick.com 

Slick Joe Fick!!

                             Slick Joe Fick

Robert's Western World

Robert’s Western World

Meanwhile, the other two, Don and Artie, hold down the fort, while Don is clearly the headmaster, and Artie, the heartbeat. Altogether, they compliment each other as a cast of very different characters, and an upbeat, fun-loving, crazy good band! A must-see when you come to Nashville!! Don’t miss them!!


“Give Cheese a Chance!”

***Back in March, on my first day at South By Southwest, I snatched up every bit of informative paraphernalia I could get my hands on in order to pack my brain with as much knowledge as possible for this event. I wasn’t about to miss out on anything Austin, so when I finally found a few minutes to read the 2012 Local Music Issue magazine I grabbed of a nearby rack, I was ready to devour every bit of info I could find about this town. Boy, did I feel stupid when I started reading about all the musical hot spots in San Diego! San De-freakin-eigo? Why was I in Texas reading a magazine about a city in California? I didn’t just fly four hours to read about music in my home state? Yep, stupid me had actually taken the San Diego City Beat magazine, (http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/) that for some godforsaken reason was planted in the Austin Convention Center during South By Southwest! Okay people, now that made a lot of sense…not! But, when I cracked it open, I was in the middle of sipping on a Mexican Margarita at an outdoor table at the Hard Rock, so I decided to see what this mag had to offer. Who knows, maybe I’d discover some fun spots to go if I’m ever in San Diego.

Flipping thru the pages, an article quickly caught my eye, titled: ‘All we are saying, is give cheese a chance’ by Edwin Decker. First reason, is the takeoff on John Lennon’s song; and secondly, I adore cheese! Both John and cheese rate very high in my books, so….how could I not read this article?

I got a quick kick outta this guy Edwin, who admitted to being an OMS (Original Music Snob,) that was transformed into a OMG (Open-minded Music Guy) when he was asked to judge an annual cover-music/tribute band contest in San Diego circa 1985. He went into the challenge with a ‘Great Wall of Snobbery,’ that was to his surprise, obliterated almost instantly. During his judging experience, Decker explains the feud going on between the little OMS on one shoulder vs. the OMG on the other. He also came to the conclusion (against all previous beliefs) that ‘it takes an enormous amount of talent and hard work to re-create the nuances and capture the essence of other bands’ and ‘that it’s more difficult to be in a cover band, because a cover band has to sound like – nay, become – another band.’ And, when a band can pull this off, he claims ‘it’s a goddamn miracle!’

The Ultimate Stones-a tribute to you know who!

Because I have been razzed in the past for supporting and frequenting shows featuring some awesome local tribute bands, I appreciated this article like no other. My excuse for enjoying this type of entertainment is that 1) I don’t want to wait for years to see my favorite bands 2) I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to see them, and then be seated far back 3) many of these great old bands are defunct with few of the members still alive. So, if I can hear live music from my faves, even if it is recreated by impersonators, then I’m one happy camper! It sure beats the alternative…

If you want to read more about the cheesy enjoyment of cover/tribute bands, I recommend Decker’s article in the March 7, 2012 San Diego City Beat magazine. (http://npaper-wehaa.com/sdcitybeat/2011/04/26#2012/03/07/?article=1538456)

All we are saying is, “Give cheese a chance!!” And, I second that emotion!


Good Night, Nashville!

       Blake Shelton

Last night I was completely entertained by Mrs. Blake Shelton, so I was looking very forward to tonight’s performance by her other half, Mr. Miranda Lambert! Both nights I was hoping to see one join the other on stage for a little extra special sumthin’ on the probably rare occasion when both Mr. and Mrs. are in the house at the same time! But no….apparently Miranda had to fly out after her show to resume  the tour she’s in the midst of at the moment. Bummer for me…but, this whole experience was a wonderful thing, nonetheless. Blake Shelton made his debut in country music in 2001 and has been on the top of the charts ever since. He’s had numerous awards, gold certified albums, platinum singles, and is currently starring as a mentor on the television show, “The Voice.” Tonight he hit the stage decked out in a stylin’ gray shirt with rolled up sleeves that showed a nice tattoo on his left forearm. He belted out his hits “God Gave Me You,” “Drink On It,” as well as “All About Tonight” and his new single, “Over.” He had Gwen Sebastian joining him on backup vocals, which was a nice touch since he was instrumental in kickstarting her career. Beach balls were being bounced off the hands and heads of the audience during his performance and the crowd was in full party mode. This good ol’ Oklahoma boy rocked the stadium with his fun party song, “All About Tonight” and the place was jumpin’ until his last song, “Honey Bee,” to which he asked the audience to join him in singing every word along with him…which they happily obliged. Thanks, Blake for a fun show!

        A patriotic Carrie Underwood

After Mississippi native, Randy Houser (http://www.randyhouser.com/about) sang a few on the acoustic stage, the time came for tonight’s headliner, Carrie Underwood. Honest as I am, I admit I am not a Carrie fan. And, even more honestly, I think I’m less of one now. But, I must say that it probably wasn’t her that caused me to walk out before the show was over, but her sound guy, about who I spouted “should be shot!” while leaving my seat. Carrie screams while she sings. At least, she did this night. When the sound system is turned up full blast, it is not a good combination. Even with earplugs, the vibrations in my head were unbearable. Apparently, I wasn’t the only unhappy concert goer, as I had lots of company in the exit aisles on the way out. But, back to Carrie’s show: She was introduced by Perry sister, Kimberly to a roaring welcome. She looked gorgeous in sequined jeans shorts and a patriotic tank-top decorated with the American flag. She stormed the stage – all thin and fit, long blonde hair, and many a cowboy’s dream – her first song outta the gate being her current hit, “Good Girl.” Her upbeat energy infected her fans, and this Oklahoma girl was happily on fire entertaining the masses this night. With gazillions of kudos already in her collection – winner of 2005’s American Idol, multiple music awards (Billboard, Country, People’s Choice, etc,) this girl undoubtedly has a long future of fame ahead of her.  In between songs, she told the audience (as did Miranda Lambert the night before) that she had come to the CMA Festival as a young girl and experienced the show from the audience. Being on stage now as a performer is such an honor for her and she was thankful for it and to all her supporters. She then went into more songs, “All-American Girl,” “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Blown Away” and showed her vocal range and long-lasting note holding. Carrie strutted her stuff from one end of the stage to the other for her entire show. It seems she didn’t stop parading back and forth until her final song, “Before He Cheats,” when she skipped happily off the stage to end the night! No wonder she’s so skinny!!

             Carrie entertains the crowd

Each night after the show, as we traipsed over the bridge while leaving the concert, a fireworks show was on display overhead. The brightly lit, colorful sky above, was a festive nightcap to each wonderful night of talent, with the delighted crowd heading home recapping the shows, content and satisfied.

Although there are two more nights left to this festival, our time is over, due to other commitments. My cohort and I were so thoroughly thrilled by our experience, that we have decided to do it again next year, committing to all four nights! Well, wishful thinking, anyway…Good night, Nashville! Thanks for a memorable experience!! http://www.cmaworld.com/cma-music-festival/tickets/

Coming up: Moving on to Memphis!


A HOT Nashville Night!!

When Jake Owen hit the stage, I started wondering how all these talented young country singers could be so darned good looking, too! I’m almost convinced that the pre-requisite these days involves rockin’ bods and hot looks, as well as musical and vocal talent…not to mention great songwriting and performance ability! It’s almost as if these guys (and gals) were dropped down from Country Music Heaven to appeal to all the audiences’ senses.

                         Jake woos the crowd!!

Not that I could really see, but I hear that Jake was barefoot, which is appropriate, considering his big hit, “Barefoot Bluejean Night.” He immediately engaged the audience in a sing along, arms waving back and forth in the air in unison, chanting “Whoa-0-0-0h!” throughout the entire stadium. What a sight to see! Jake really engaged the crowd, and jumped in and joined the front few rows by forging out onto the security barrier and getting up close and personal with them. He shook hands, slapped fives, and sang amongst his fans. He also did a little crowd surfing, no doubt getting caught up in the frenetic passion of the night. The crowd was already bursting with enthusiastic country music love, but it was Jake who electrified the energy to a higher level. Go Jake!!

Slowing things down, a fairly unknown newcomer, Gwen Sebastian sang to us from the acoustic stage at center field. Between songs, she mentioned that she had been on “Team Blake” on the reality show, “The Voice.” She added how thankful she was to Blake Shelton and the show for all they have done for her, her singing career, and for Country Music, in general. She later returned to the main stage to join Blake and his band as a backup singer. Good going, Gwen!

                              The Band Perry

Next up was The Band Perry– two brothers and their sister, who were 2011’s CMA New Artist of the Year winners. They started with, not their own song, but the new hit by Fun, “We Are Young,” then went into Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls.” An interesting start to a country music set, but it worked. These attractive siblings expressed their appreciation to their fans when sister Kimberly shared that “You may not know this, but you’ve changed the lives of my brothers and me!” She then invited the crowd to “sing it if you know it” while they performed their hit songs, “All Your Life” and “If I Die Young.” Watching this trio, I couldn’t help but think how proud their parents must be. What it would be like to have such talented and successful children? As unimaginable it is to me (tho, I love my kids, who are successful in their own individual ways) I decided that, in my next life, not only will my kids be like the Perrys, but I will be the next Miranda Lambert, hot, gorgeous and talented!! *sheepish grin*

                  One electrified audience!!


Second Night of CMA Fest, Baby!!

On the second day of  CMA Fest (not necessarily sung to the tune of ‘Partridge in a Pear Tree, but….can be) the festival brought to us…pause…the National Anthem sung by the Oak Ridge Boys! I forgot to mention that each night of the festival is begun with the “Star Spangled Banner,” just like a ball game, or any good All-American celebration. (Though, I have yet to see it happen at the beginning of any rock concert I’ve been to.) Then, there was a short patriotic display of fireworks to kick off the show. But, before they left the stage, the emcee reminded the audience of the Oak Ridge Boys’ big hit, “Elvira” which promoted them to perform it for us. It was a pleasant surprise for those of us who were around in their hey-day.

             Oak Ridge Boys sing our Anthem
                         Photo by Ed Rode

Tonight’s legendary opening artist was Ronnie Milsap, who dazzled from behind his piano in a black shirt adorned with what looked like palm trees and silver studs. With a full head of black, wavy hair and dark sunglasses, he treated us to some of his biggest hits – “Stranger in My House,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World,” It Was Almost Like a Song,” “Pure Love,” “No Gettin’ Over Me,” and then threw in one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs, “Honky Tonk Woman.” It was a pleasure seeing Ronnie at work, and sweet to watch him escorted off stage by a young woman, with a big smile on his face.

                    Ronnie Milsap

Next up was a newcomer by the name of Brantley Gilbert, who has a few songs playing on my radio these days. Another talented Georgia boy, he blazed the stage dressed in black, accessorized in silver chains, dog tags, tattoos, the works.* With his black guitar, and band mate in white, Brantley laid out songs like “My Kinda Party” and “Country Must Be Country Wide”

            Brantley in black

with a voice that sounds like it was born on a tractor in the middle of a dirt field. He grinds out a true Southern sound, with a smooth sexual quality. He’s a young country rocker whose songs make mention of those that came before him – Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Strait, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, etc. A few more years, and a few more hits, and this guy will make his mark in country music forever.

 

*Jumping off the concert review for a sec, I wanted to make mention of all the ‘bling’ these musicians were sporting. Most of it was provided by a company called “King Baby,” who specializes in ‘rocker/outlaw-chic handmade jewelry, accessories, and apparel.’ This Santa Monica-based company has become popular with West Coast rock stars and is now hoping to add the country music crowd. They had a big Grand Opening launch party in Nashville on June 5, complete with cocktails, wine and appetizers. They showcased their pieces, which were influenced by cool past rockers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead. Check out their stuff at: www.kingbabystudio.com

Coming up: Jake Owen, The Band Perry, Blake Shelton & Carrie Underwood


A Memorable Ending to Night One!!

Being directed again to the raised stage in center field, we were serenaded by a teenager who was also introduced to many of us as a runner-up in American Idol – Lauren Alaina. Just a teenager, at seventeen she already has a well-known song riding the radio waves, “Georgia Peaches.” I am continually amazed at the amount of talent that comes from the state of Georgia – Zac Brown, Ray Charles, Billy Currington, Amy Grant, Alan Jackson, Gladys Night, Otis Redding, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, and the list goes on. Wearing a black sequined top, young Lauren dazzled the crowd in a short, but sweet set.

           Brad rocks the house!!

And, for the grand finale on this first night of the CMA Fest – – – BRAD PAISLEY – – – the cherry on top of a great night!! And yep, was he impressive! Not only does this guy have the gift of great vocals, he can shred a guitar like the best of ‘em! I love what he said tonight about country music: “It’s real music for real people. It has the ability to make you forget what you want to forget!” Whereas, I may agree with the ‘real’ part, I don’t believe it makes you forget anything. The thing that I have found about country music is that the lyrics are so tender, and the songs so heartfelt, that it can make you REMEMBER what you want to forget!! I know that if I’m in any sort of downer, I can not listen to country, unless I want to fall apart and sink to a new low. It’s just that emotional…but, I still love it!

I don’t know many of Brad’s songs, but it didn’t matter – he is an entertainer, a talented musician who put on a rockin’ good show! He is someone I will see again, if not for his collection of cool looking guitars (paint splattered, silver glittered paisley, etc,) but for his likeability factor. With a black shirt and a white cowboy hat, he was in tune with his audience – even autographing a fan’s guitar – and coming out into the crowd to play amongst them. He brought us songs like “Camouflage,” “American Saturday Night,” and “Mud on the Tires” before he surprised a happy audience with his guest musical mentor, Hank Williams, Jr., to join him in singing “I’m Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams!” Needless to say, the crowd went crazy!

            Legendary HANK!!

Later that week, Brad was surprised with the CMA International Artist Achievement Award, which is given to an artist who is an outstanding ambassador for Country Music. Brad is an ‘American based artist who contributes to the awareness and development of Country Music outside the United States.’ Way to go, Brad…and thanks for a rippin’ ending to a memorable night!

          A crowd friendly Brad Paisley!!

Tomorrow night, June 8th, will be filled with more terrific music by Ronnie Milsap, The Band Perry, Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, and Carrie Underwood!! As much as I know it’s going to be another awesome night, I can’t imagine anything topping tonight. But, I’m ready for the adventure!!


Country Rocks!!

        Kellie Pickler on the acoustic stage

There was a secondary, much smaller, elevated ‘stage’ out in the middle of the stadium, which I was wondering about. Only when Kellie Pickler came on and sang from it did I realize it was actually a stage, and not just some lighting/sound/technical platform. Acutally, it was probably both, but who cares? Kellie became known on ‘American Idol’ back in 2006, came in sixth place and has now successfully spun herself into fame. She did a short acoustic set, consisting of only three songs (none of which were familiar to me) but she was very good. She seems to have that entertainer quality and a strong desire for success, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

And then came Jason!! Having friends from Georgia (this man’s home state) who are big fans, I was looking very forward to seeing Jason Aldean in concert. I had heard a lot about him since he seems to be on top of the country music world right now. I had begun listening to him a bit, and now was ready to see him in action. And, action it was! He exploded onto the stage with sheer force, and kept it going for his full 40 minute set. (Yes, this festival gives you a sampling of each artist at their best. They have 40 minutes to come out and prove themselves to their audience.) Jason rocked the house with power, and had the crowd around us (who were obviously BIG Jason fans!) singing every word to every one of his songs. I was very impressed, thinking I must have been sitting in the Georgia section of the stadium. Songs he sang that I recognized from the radio, were “Hicktown,” “Fly Over States,” and “She’s Country,” and he informed the crowd that he was about to release a new album. He was also very grateful to his fans (note: anyone who knows his story, knows that he was one gig from giving up his musical career before he was discovered.) He put on a terrific show, and this won’t be the last we hear of Jason Aldean, I can guarantee it!!

                            Jason Aldean

When it was time for the next act, Lady Antebellum, the crowd was buzzing. Jason left us energized, and Lady A turned the meter down by entering slowly, then building the momentum. First on the stage, strolled Hillary Scott singing “Need You Now,” the band’s huge hit. She was soon joined by Charles Kelley, who walked on stage from the opposite side, joining her in song. The third member, guitarist Dave Haywood came in somewhere, but I only noticed him after the other two, when the song really got going. Not being a big Lady A fan, I didn’t really recognize much of their music, but my partner-in-crime knew them all. They were very good and entertaining, but I don’t necessarily need to see them again.

The next artist on the bill was someone I was curious about, but not sitting on the edge of my seat to see. However, after his performance, he skyrocketed to the top of my country music list! Why? For three reasons: 1) He has a fiddler who showed his stuff by playing Charlie Daniels infamous “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,”  and who I will never forget seeing perform this song back at SF’s Winterland in the 1970s; 2) He made a tribute to our military, and asked those that were in the audience to stand up so we could honor them. We also remembered those who had made the ultimate sacrifice, and looked up to the heavens with thanks; 3) He sang “America the Beautiful,” then ended with his big hit, “Chicken Fried.” (See him singing it at this year’s Jazz Fest: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKvb6mVuwIw) His performance was unique to me because of his Southern, and American pride. If you listen to the words to “Chicken Fried” you will hear, and feel, the love he has for his home, his woman, his family, his country, his God, and of course, music, fried chicken and beer! But, the most heartfelt to me was to hear these words, knowing they were written by a young man who is not afraid to give the world a glimpse of what’s inside his heart:

“I thank God for my life

And for the stars and stripes

May freedom forever fly

Let it ring…

Salute the ones who died

The ones that give their lives

So we don’t have to sacrifice

All the things we love.”

The audience was on fire for this band and personally, I was sorry to see them go. I wanted an encore, but this apparently isn’t the place for that. I came away from this experience knowing that I will definitely see these guys again!!

                         Zac Brown


Old & Young Country…

Yeehaw…here we go, off to the first night of the CMA Festival! Following the style of the scene, we decked out in skirts and cowgirl boots, parked as close as we could, then hoofed it over the Korean War Veterans Memorial (Pedestrian) Bridge (http://www.flickr.com/photos/matt-bna/2806976802/) with hundreds of other concert goers. LP Field (Home of the Tennessee Titans) here we come!

The show started off on a great note with classic country crooner, Glen Campbell! He looked and sounded good, though I was a little worried for him being able to put on a good show in his altered mental state. And, he got off to a shaky start, seeming

Mr. Glen Campbell

confused and angry (with his guitar) at first. But, soon he fell into a comfortable mode. Sure, he forgot a few lines (when he walked too far away from his prompter,) and he thought every song was his last, but once cued, he continued into the next song with a smile. A few times, a band member had to lead him back to his mic and let him know he had another song to play. He would strap his guitar back on and say with a chuckle, “Oh….I guess I’m doing another song. I thought I was done!” After that, the band wasted no time going right into the next song, which cued Glen immediately and he was right there along with them, not missing a beat. He played well, sang well, and didn’t disappoint. He played many of his hits, including ‘Galveston,’ ‘Gentle on My Mind,’ ‘Witcita Lineman,’ and ‘Rhinestone Cowboy,’ where he got a very long standing ovation. I was so happy to have had this opportunity to see Glen perform, as this is his “Goodbye Tour,” thanks to Alzheimer’s. It saddens me that the stars that I grew up listening to, watching on TV, etc, are aging, becoming ill, and leaving this world. Having known of them in their prime, it’s tough to see nature take it’s course and slow them down, weaken them, and then take them from us. So, seeing Glen smile his way through his show, deliver his beloved familiar tunes, and get cheers and praise from so many fans, was very moving and heartwarming! Thank you, Glen for all you brought to the world of music! You are loved!!

Next up was Miranda Lambert, 2012’s ACM’s ‘Female Vocalist of the Year,’ whose songs “Baggage Claim” and “Over You” have stood out amongst the rest on my radio lately. And now that I have seen her perform, she stands out as someone I will definitely see again! First off, she stormed the stage with sassy confidence in a black bustier, black skirt and very cool taupe colored fringed cowgirl boots! With her pink guitar and long blonde hair, she was stunning, singing into her pink microphone! And, she was on fire, starting her show with her hit “Baggage Claim,” then moving into “Fastest Girl in Town.” I was intrigued not only by her performance, but also the fact that she has one of those classic country girl voices, naturally high and sweet, like Dolly Parton and Wanda Jackson. But, she’s an anomaly – cute, sugar sweet vocals, very feminine, yet tough, self-assured, and independent,

Sweet & Sassy Miranda Lambert

commanding the stage with authority. She slowed things down with her touching ballad, “Over You, ” which brought some obvious emotional pain to her, having been written by her and husband, Blake Shelton in memory of his deceased brother. It was a touching performance, causing her to choke up a little. But then, she was back with an attitude when she introduced her new tough chick, honky-tonk girl band, the Pistol Annies, who came out and joined her for a few of their songs, “Hell on Heels” and “Takin’ Pills.” All in all, Miranda ‘brang it!’ She delivered a raunchy set with a feminine touch! She is one beautiful bad-ass rockin’ country girl! You gotta go see her some time!


These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ to the CMA Fest!

Nashville’s Country Music Festival

Today, June 7th, I ventured over to the street festival on Broad, where music was permeating from numerous clubs. There were country bands everywhere, noticeably a lot of women singers and performers. The streets and sidewalks were filled with girls dressed in shorts, dresses, and skirts with cowboy boots, and plenty of cowboys, too! There was every style, shape, color, design, size of boot you could imagine. Because my first, and main mission on this day was to find me a killer pair ‘o boots, I was already ‘shopping’ by checking out the feet of everyone walking in my vicinity.

There were boot shops a-plenty, and I ducked in and out of every one of them. I have never seen such an inventory of cowboy boots, and couldn’t decide on what I wanted. These puppies weren’t cheap, so I needed the exact right pair to call my own. I wasn’t worried, though, because the way I operate is simple. The boot will choose me, make itself obvious, and jump out at me. This is exactly what happened to me with my totally bitchin’ cowgirl hat, and I never looked back. Once it’s a done deal, I’m a happy cowgirl!

I saw tons of boots, and many that I really, truly liked. But, nah! I passed them by because they just weren’t THE ONES! But, when I found myself off the main drag, a ways down a side street…BAM! I happened upon Hats Boots Company at 121 3rdAve. S…and there they were…MY boots! They weren’t obvious, at first, being subtle and quiet amongst all the competition. But, once I put them on, they took on a whole new personality. They’re chameleon-like – they’ll go with everything, because of their muted color combination, they change with the light, what you wear, the whole enchilada. They rocked! And, thanks to salesgirl Stacy, who helped, assured, informed, and all I needed to pull the trigger, I now own a killer pair of cowgirl boots from Nashville, Tennesse! Oh, and they gave me a killer discount, so I tossed in an orange cowgirl hat sitting on a sale table near the register. After all, every good country western loving SF Giants fan needs an orange western hat! Yeehaw! And, you can be sure I’ll be sportin’ them to the CMA Fest tonight!

            The boots that found me!

After about an hour of scoping out the street scene (and lugging my new boots around,) I needed to get back to spiff up for tonight’s show at LP Field: Glen Campbell, Miranda Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Lauren Alaina, and last but certainly not least, Brad Paisley. I was looking forward to seeing the legendary, Glen Campbell, especially since I know this will probably be the end of touring for him, thanks to Alzheimer’s. So, I was excited to see him on the bill, knowing that I would be witnessing a little part of history. And, because of my new attraction to country music, I have become a fan of Miranda, Jason and Zac, and was very happy to see that Brad was tonight’s headliner! What a night this was going to be!!

                               Tonight’s Ticket


Journey to Nashville

Suzy Bogguss @ Station Inn

Broadway Street (aka. “Broad”) is the main drag through Nashville’s downtown area. It reminds me of a mini-Bourbon Street, loaded with people, places, and music (oh, and tons of neon signs!) though a lot less tacky. Our first pit-stop was to Station Inn (http://www.stationinn.com/). Here, in this underground basement, was the history of where Bluegrass and Roots Music pickers played “unplugged” way before it was popular. This night we specifically went to see Suzy Bogguss. (http://suzybogguss.com/about.asp) a platinum selling songstress who has a full bookshelf of Grammy and CMA awards. Suzy and her band were smooth and easy to listen to. Her voice is melodious and pleasant, making it very easy to get lost in the songs. She is also a nice little storyteller, filling the audience in on factual tidbits, as well giving us a chuckle or two with her humor. She definitely knows how to entertain an audience in more ways than one.

Next, it was off to see the Don Kelly Band at Robert’s Western World (http://robertswesternworld.com/) on lower Broadway. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was towards the end of the DKB set, so we only caught about 4-5 songs. But, I must say, they were impressively rockin! Apparently, they play here four nights a week, and though this was a Wed. night, the place was hopping! They played familiar (and well loved) classic Country Rock, but they didn’t just deliver them….they nailed them. It was impossible to sit still and/or refrain from dancing. These guys were just too good. Between the lead guitarist’s amazing talent, and the standup bassist who’s unique style was hard to take your eyes off, this band drilled their stuff straight to my bones and got me into what I call “my zone.” (Zone=eyes closed, feeling the music, moving to the groove, in another world, almost drugged.) A close guy friend (ie. my ex-husband) used to say it was like I had just shot up, mainlined music right into my arm. And, he’s kinda right. Music is my drug – it makes me forget my worries and troubles, it puts me in a happy place, and it’s what I call a cheap form of therapy. Tonight was just the start of this stop on my musical quest.

               Robert’s Western World

Tomorrow (June 7) begins the Country Music Festival (http://country.cmaworld.com/cma-music-festival), which is the reason I came to Nashville. (I also have friends living here who may be even crazier music fanatics that me!) And, being new to the Country scene, this will give me a good taste of what this type of music is all about…live and in person, that is. I’ve been listening a-plenty lately, and have become a new fan of a number of these southern artists. But, now is the time to see them perform and show us what they got!!

                   Don Kelly Band @ Robert’s