Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week Thirty-Eight

Event:  Girls trip to Nashville

Nashville.  "Music City." "Athens of the South."  "Buckle of the Bible Belt."  And the temporary home of 5 city girls about to dig down deep, find their inner-cowgirl and tear up the town!

Last weekend 4 of my best friends from college and I decided to take a trip to the shit kicker capital of the world.  Many of us have not been on a vacation in a while, so this was no doubt going to be one memorable trip.

The first day we were there it was hot.  Africa hot.  And I was really glad that I wore an orange shirt that didn't breathe while we walked a country mile.  Make that about three country miles.  I also thought it'd be a good idea to buy a new pair of (rascal) flats for my trip.  I'm not sure which part of me was more attractive that day - the 6 band-aids covering both feet (no wait, there were seven...where'd that other one go...gross) or the fact that I looked like a construction worker - literally sweating through my shirt.  As we toured around the suburbs of Nashville and Music Row, at least the shopping and the eating made the trek worth it.

Bellies full and shirts dried, we decided to walk some more to see the Parthenon.  Parthenon?  In Nashville?  I must have been under a rock because I had no idea the Parthenon was in Nashville.  That's when I learned the city built this exact replica in the late 1800's as a symbol of the city's reputation for being the "Athens of the South".  Rumor has it they got that reputation because of the Greek Gods like Kenny, Tim and Keith.  Just kidding.  I made that up but I still don't get it.  Anyway, we walked about 47 miles to stand in front of this really tall building only to discover they were getting ready for a concert that night and out in front of the Parthenon was a disco ball the size of planet Jupiter.  I'm not kidding.  It seriously blocked the entire entrance of the Parthenon.  I'm not good at history, but I seriously doubt Athens would have ever done this. 

Finally making our way back to the hotel, we rested our legs, bandaged our feet and prepared for a night out on Nashville's most famous street - Broadway.  The five of us decided to have a quick burger at Rippy's down on the main drag, where, after just a couple of drinks (ok, more like 5), I decided it was time for me to be discovered.  Liquid courage + my favorite Miranda Lambert song = jump up on stage with the band and grab a microphone.  That's literally what I did.  Before I knew it, I was whaling away signing like I was with the band.  The lead singer didn't seem to mind, as she and her band mates kept strumming along as I stumbled over most of the words.  The moment was gone in an instant, but I'm pretty sure all 7 people in the bar clapped and cheered.  In fact, a little old man came over and said to me, "You were amazing!" The lead singer even told me when she makes it big, I can tour with her.  She then asked if I studied music.  I laughed my butt off and got her autograph...just in case.  (Thanks Kinsey Rose!)

After my Nashville singing debut, this party of 5 crossed the street to the World Famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge.  The former home of songwriters Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, we squeezed into this little bar and found ourselves surrounded by a bachelor party, 15 guys deep.  Sweet home Alabama I was in Heaven.  We soon made friends with each of them and before I knew it, I was exchanging numbers with one in particular.  Not sure if it was his 5 o'clock shadow or his t-shirt that read "Hank Jr." on the front and "Original Bad Ass" on the back.  It didn't matter.  This was Nashville.  Rhinestone cowboy, take me away.

Over the next few hours, our new friends became permanent members of our group.  Where we went, they went.  And vice versa.  We eventually landed at a bar called the Full Moon Saloon.  The band there wasn't very good so when they took a 5 minute break, something named Coors Light took over my body and threw me up on stage, once again, trying to get discovered.  Within seconds, the lead singer hopped up and reminded me that I was holding (and fake-playing) a $2,000 guitar.  He then turned my microphone off.  Dream crusher. 

The next day the 5 of us girls got to do something not many "outsiders" get to do - we got a private tour of the recording studio owned and operated by Martina McBride and her husband.  It's the largest recording studio in Nashville and it was amazing.  The studio, a state-of-the-art facility, has been the studio of choice for artists like Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts.  None of whom were there to greet us.  Jerks!  Hoping maybe our tour guide would see in me what the old man in the bar saw in me, I waited for my opportunity to jump into a studio and let 'er rip.  I'm still waiting. 

For our last night in Nashville, we wanted to take in a little piece of history so we bought tickets to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry.  Unfortunately, the Grand Ole Opry was temporarily closed due to the flood.  Therefore, they were doing shows at the original home of the Grand Ole Opry - the Ryman Auditorium.  Excited about experiencing a concert at Nashville's most famous historic attraction, our excitement quickly turned to dismay when we were greeted by Minnie Pearl and realized everyone around us was over the age of 70.  Surely the concert will be good.  Surely.  Unfortunately for us, the concert was a cross between The Lawrence Welk Show and the Prairie Home Companion.  It was like an AARP convention with square dancers.  Old time country singers (and I mean some of the originals!) came out and sang a couple of songs, then they would take a commercial break (the show was sponsored by Dollar General if that tells you anything) then another golden oldie would come out with a walker, sing a couple of songs and walk off.  Thanks to God, the sun, the moon and the stars they sold beer.

After the sweatin' to the oldies concert wrapped up, we once again met up with the Boys of Fall and had another knee-slapping, boot stomping, yee haw hollerin' good time. 

Nashville's a drinkin' town with a music problem.  And while I didn't get discovered, it sure was fun trying.  Yee Haw!

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