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Have guitar will travel

Nashville

As a guitarist there were always two places I wanted to visit; LA, which I did when I was arguably too young (I was 20), and Nashville, Tennessee. I’m happy to say at the ripe old age of 40 that I’ve been to Nashville twice, playing on one of those occasions (albeit to about five people… but it was still Nashville).

The ‘Country’ genre still gets a bad name, associated with drunken Uncles at Glasgow weddings and a rather morose form of predictable storytelling. Actually, those two things are not mutually exclusive. The truth is that aspect does exist, but has been superseded over the last 10 years by a far more sophisticated, articulate form of music with its roots in celtic storytelling. Story has is that if you stop to ‘buy Gas’ on the way into Nashville, and the guy on the pump plays better guitar than you, then turn around. I probably should have turned around.

Honky Tonk row, or Broadway as it is rather confusingly called, contains about 30 bars, 15 or so on one side, the same on the other. Every night of the week there will be bands and musicians playing in those bars who will be among the best you will ever see. It seems like a lot of professional and touring musicians, not just country musicians, live in Nashville because of the number of recording studios in the area. As a result these guys play in local bands on the Row when off tour to ‘keep their chops in’. Much to my wife’s annoyance, I would head to the row at 2pm and watch bands and singer/songwriters all afternoon that had come from all over America to try and make it. So, as the song goes; ‘God bless the boys who make the noise on 16th avenue’…

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