The mission today was a well planned visit to Muscle Shoals, Alabama. We had done our research and knew we had to be at the legendary Fame Studios by 9am as the opening hours are over by 10am. I had contacted Bonnie from the nearby Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and teed up to meet at around 10 and then there was the Alabama Music Hall of Fame to visit. The drive from Nashville to Muscle Shoals is 2 and a quarter hours in light traffic, so it would take us considerably longer given the volume of commuter traffic we would no doubt encounter this working day. Also, we all had commitments in Nashville that night which complicated matters further. So we agreed to be in the car by 6.30am.
And we were in the car by the appointed time, ready to go until…
The car wouldn’t start. The push button ignition Nissan Maxima has turned into a Minima.
I called the roadside assistance number and eventually the gentleman pictured above from “Auto Rescue” arrived, clamped the terminals of the car battery for one second and the car blast into action, opining about the faulty batteries these days. Alas, by this stage it was almost 8am and any plans for Muscle Shoals had to be shelved.
Plan B was invoked, a leisurely breakfast, blending into a coffee and then a shopping trip to Opry Mills.
Sandra and Trish were going to see Tom Petty at the Bridgestone Arena tonight and I had been tempted to join them, but it was also the night of The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry is only on Tuesday nights and I was determined to go for the first time, given this was my fourth visit to Nashville.
The drive to the Grand Ole Opry is usually about 15 minutes from downtown. Tonight it took almost an hour as the I-40 was packed with commuter traffic. By the time I arrived, found a car park and walked, there was little time to soak up the atmosphere. I took my seat which was second row from the front.
The Opry has been around since 1925, moving into this purpose-built and larger (it holds 4,400) facility after decades at the Ryman Auditorium. The Opry is in fact a live radio show, broadcast on WSM and tonight it is a celebration of St Jude’s which helps out children’s cancer patients. The show moved quickly and has quaint advertisements throughout from the night’s announcer between sets, all of which are limited to two or three songs each.
The line-up tonight is:
(Whispering) Bill Anderson
Maddie & Tae
Charlie Daniels Band
Randy Owen (front man of the group Alabama)
Fans of the TV series Nashville will recognise two performers – Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley and Sam Palladio – Gunnar Scott
The show was fun, extremely well-lit and the acoustics were a treat. Highlights for me were Charlie Daniels livening up proceedings (a frenzied “The Devil Came Down To Georgia”), Jonathan Jackson doing an interesting cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Washing Of The Water”, Sam Palladio’s “Wake Me Up In The Nashville” and Colin Linden’s slide guitar playing (with Palladio). A great experience.