Locals love their Predators. They swoop to iconic, rowdy South Broadway for pregame libations at Tootsies and the Tin Roof, frenzied by a pounding, impromptu honky-tonk pep rally before streaming into the Bridgestone for their weekly battle on the ice equipped with hockey sticks and fueled by copious quantities of beer and Jack Daniels. Hence, the fan name for their arena, Smashville. They leave us tourists to navigate the snaking line into the Ryman for a live, radio show full of campy commercials, old-time country music, Hee-Haw like, as well as live performances by new artists testing their chops in front of a supportive, mostly older audience. We were lucky enough to hear Kelsea Ballerini perform hits from her recently released Unapolegetically after her somewhat controversially performance earlier this week, just down the street at the CMAs. I guess she was a little too pop for the hard-core country crowd?
The next day we spent several hours exploring the galleries of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with its windows depicting black piano keys with an overhang fashioned in the shape of a bass clef. Currently on exhibition is Outlaws and Armadillos exploring country’s roaring 70’s including footage of the Outlaws, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. I fell in love with the graphic art on display, primarily created by Hatch Show Print.
Hatch Show Print, formed in 1879, first started printing handbills using hand carved wood blocks to later, single press, large posters promoting the various country music stars to marketing carnivals and ministal shows with posters so big they covered the side of barns and buildings throughout the south. They hit their heyday in the 1950’s but today they still run a working print shop inside the museum building with a great little gift shop with a vast array of their printed products. For three bucks, they will roll your selections in a sturdy tube for your plane ride home.
We ubered, all six of us, squeezed inside a too small van, to Antiques Archeology, home to the hosts of the television show, American Pickers. We didn’t find much merchandise to pick there but we did enjoy the assembly of old factory machinery from Nashville’s only, long-abandoned manufacturer of automobiles, Marathon Motor Works, on display inside the building, now housed by local artisans and shops as well as the business owned by the famous pickers.
Later, we noshed, Nashville-style at Adele’s, one of the restaurants of Jonathan Waxman’s food couture. JW’s half, roasted chicken, rosemary, fried potatoes and the cauliflower salad were the biggest hits. We had an excellent waiter who guided us throughout our, nearly three-hour dining experience, in such a lovely space. Formerly, a mechanics shop, it is now open and airy with large windows and white accents. The only drawback to the otherwise pleasant ambiance, was the giant, yellow McDonald’s sign outside casting a glow over our table near the window.
A brisk walk back, bellies full, warm with libation, with my dear family, over the bridge that spans a large train yard that locals call, The Gulch, to our hotels. We all agreed it was a day well-played. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families large and small. Safe travels and happy trails.