They Found A Cave

Read our review of Steve Earle at Cumberland Caves 333 feet below

 

…aka…there is a cavern in the town, in the town

USA Music Tour 2015 Day 24

Nashville Tennessee 13 September

Today would be no ordinary day.  It started out like any other.  Well-laid plans were there to be executed perfectly.

We had a decision to make over breakfast.  We had one essential task to do here in Alabama, which would not take long.  We had a must-do in McMinnville tonight and needed to get to our bed in Nashville tonight.  Checking the driving times between all three locations, it turned out that motoring from Tuscumbia to McMinnville via Nashville rather than taking a direct route would involve only an extra 40 minutes.

Going via Nashville would give us the chance to unpack (rather than doing so at midnight), rest and get some important housekeeping duties completed.  So we would proceed this way.  Not all straightforward as it turned out.

First though, we had a short trip to nearby Sheffield (the towns of Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, Florence and Sheffield are all very close together) to 3614 Jackson Highway where the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio lay, a modest building in the middle of suburbia.  It was here that many landmark recordings were made.  The building is under renovations so no visiting today.  But a drive by will suffice when there’s nothing else available.

We had a short-term house rental for our eight night stay in Nashville.  It proved to be more difficult to find due to a plethora of similar-sounding street names in satellite areas and a key exit ramp being closed off.  At one stage we were literally going around in a circle, with our GPS in some sort of ‘this does not compute’ illogical neuron loop.  In the end I had to find some remembered landmarks myself and locate the house without any electronic device.

It was a relief to find it and move in and enjoy a short respite.

Soon enough, we piled back in the car and were ploughing south-east to the town of McMinnville Tennessee.  It was about a two-hour drive and near the town is the Cumberland Cave and the Bluegrass Underground concert.

The car parking was in a field.  A walk up to a reception area to pick up our tickets and line up, then through the hole in a hill and then we followed the trail down and down past the stalactites and stalagmites, two pools of water so pure you’d swear, it was glass.

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

Down further and to a large area, called The Volcano Room, 333 feet below the surface.  The stage was to the left, surrounded by hundreds of seats, shops to the right and even merchandise stalls and restrooms.

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

The Mastersons – photo Jim Jacob

The Mastersons – photo Jim Jacob

Read our review of Steve Earle at Cumberland Caves 333 feet below

Steve Earle introduced the support act The Mastersons (Eleanor Whitmore and Chris Masterson) who also form part of Earle’s backing band The Dukes).  A nice thirty minute set.  The sound was terrific.

I’ve seen Steve Earle many times now.  Maybe tonight was the best.  It could’ve been due to this incredible venue or its pristine acoustics, it might’ve been the enjoyment of playing songs from his new, blues album Terraplane or the fact that the new material simply highlighted how good the band is (and Earle for that matter who moved from harmonica, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and mandolin effortlessly).  Most of the songs from the new album were featured, along with favourites “Guitar Town”, “Someday”, “Copperhead Road” “Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye” (the first song he wrote sober), “Galway Girl” a chilling “Cocaine Cannot Kill My Pain”.  A bruising version of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” tested the walls of The Volcano Room and a three song encore included his new song “Mississippi It’s Time”, denouncing the use of the Confederate flag in the Mississippi State ensign.

Almost a two-hour set, twenty eights songs or so. As well as Masterson and Whitmore, The Dukes featured long-time members Will Rigby on drums and Kelly Looney on bass. A truly memorable night.

Steve Earle and the Dukes – photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

Steve Earle – photo Jim Jacob

The good thing is, I’ll get to see Earle and the band again in Nashville, this Saturday.

Back at the house by midnight.

Tomorrow, we will need to get supplies for our new house, do some serious shopping, go to The Station Inn and see the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at the Ryman Auditorium with many special guests.

 

Read our review of Steve Earle at Cumberland Caves 333 feet below

Read our review of Steve Earle at Cumberland Caves 333 feet below

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Author: Rob Dickens

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1 Comment

  1. Stunning venue guys! Sooooooo envious. xx (A little going on here in politics too).

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