Nashville changed its name to Draftsville as the NFL draft got into full swing. Broadway was completely packed out with music ringing from every bar and stage as the crowd worked themselves into a frenzy yelling “The Pick is In”. You couldn’t hear yourself think – never mind navigate your way back to that Boot store to find the all essential bootjack. No point having new boots if you can’t yank them off your feet – unless you do it the American way and “just leave ’em on”?
We took in the atmosphere for a few minutes and then headed to a more peaceful area and spent the rest of morning walking in soft sunshine through the Tennessee State Capitol Building and the war memorials in its beautifully laid out grounds. You can see the stage where a reformed Merle Haggard (of I’d rather be an “Okie from Muskogee” fame) performed his last song. The revolving globe standing next to the solemn row of monuments describing the progress of the World War 2 was poignant – thank goodness, the allies were victorious and the world kept right on turning. A beautiful snake of fountains depicted the importance of the Mississipi River here – the quote from Ian Menard particularly took my eye “I am the river – sit and listen to my wisdom.”
We walked all the way down to the Farmer’s Market exploring the many interesting sights on the way – a really nice way to spend a fine morning and also – free. We finished the walk at the Carillon and waited patiently for the noon chimes. It didn’t disappoint – and there was no-one else there, which was special for us. As we walked away, the bells started chiming out “Old Man River” – and we sang along to it. It always amazes me how many song lyrics you can hold in your head – even when you can’t remember the name of the restaurant you just visited?!
Lunch: The Capitol Grill, the Hermitage Hotel. Excellent – as is everything else about this hotel.
We were booked into the Grand Ole Opry for the evening show. It was a $20 taxi ride to the Opry from Downtown – we took an Uber. The app works just fine out here – amazing! We took the backstage tour which was fascinating and well worth the extra $20.. It was a real thrill to be able too stand behind the curtain and watch the audience emerge as the curtain rose – just like a performer would! The show was great fun – the time passed very quickly, which is always a good sign. John Conlee sang “In my Eyes” – guaranteed to make you reach for your tissues – he has been married to his wife for the same number of years that we have. Lindsay Ell strutted her stuff in a little black glittery mini dress and a made her guitar really sing. The grand finale was Wynønna Judd, who skilfully belted out “Love can build a bridge”, getting the audience to sing along with her. She built up the mood from a soft start, chided us to get our act together half way through (“it’s not perfect until it’s perfect”) and built up to a roaring crescendo. The stops were all fully pulled out and any inhibitions dumped firmly in the trash. Everyone was on their feet, clapping their hands and singing their hearts out. I have never seen so many stomping cowboy boots and bobbing hats in one room – everyone was on top of the world! It was a standing ovation and a really great finale to this wonderful trip. Videos aren’t allowed – but you can get a feel for it all on the links below.
The Capitol Grill at the Hermitage was still open by the time we got back and served a great club sandwich, washed down with local beer.
Wished I had seen:
The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
The Ryman Auditorium
RCA Studio B Tour
The Woolworth store – scene of the sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement. It is now a restaurant – the counter has been carefully preserved. We only saw it from the outside.
The Listening Room – where for a cover you can hear some great music. This is where new talent is most likely to be discovered as it is where the publishers hand out and relax.
There is so much to do here – we wished we could have stayed at least another day.
A Bloody Mary at the excellent Capitol Grill in the Hermitage Hotel – a great accompaniment to Sunday brunch – our last meal before the long flight home and there couldn’t be a better place to be.