A quick hello. I’m still here

Kim and I are still driving around the country. And I thought I’d share a few shots with you all. (A reminder that I’m not doing the show anymore but I’m in reruns and you can find past shows here.)

Since Lafayette, we’ve been to Mobile, Tampa, Savannah, Atlanta, Asheville, Nashville, Memphis and we are now headed back home.

My favorite music experience to date has been at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta where we heard and saw Lulu the Giant. First, the attic is a great place to see music. A genuine listening room with a back patio with a video feed for the loud partiers and talkers. Second, Rachael Shaner delivers her original music with an amazing voice. Third, she has excellent taste in band members, especially Daniel Malone who is not only a fun personality, but a drummer with a unique style. They are based in Savannah. Check them out and you will thank me.

Rachael Shaner, leads Lulu the Giant who often works with the entertaining Daniel Malone.

Asheville is a wonderful music town but I don’t think I quite hit it at the right time. Still, we were able to see several live acts on the street and in no-cover venues such as the S&W Market and we saw Ash & Eric at the Isis Theater upstairs loft.

Later, we cruised the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at the music center to catch their daily performances in the center’s breezeway. I liked the exhibits at the center too.

At the Blue Ridge Music Center

Nashville was a bit overwhelming particularly downtown. But we got up into Midtown and found a few neighborhood bars, most notably Bobby’s Idle Hour where we were pleasantly surprised to see and meet Annie Ford who has lived and performed in New Orleans and Seattle. We caught a review of songwriters at Third and Lindsley and fell in love with Ray Stephenson and Byron Hill, particularly when they performed together.

Ray Stephenson (left) and Byron Hill at Third and Lindsley (Backstage Nashville)
Annie Ford backing up Tommy Luke at Bobby’s Idle Hour in Nashville.

Of course we toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and did the RCA Studio A tour and then rolled to Memphis and immediately stopped at the Stax Records Museum. We hit Memphis on a Sunday and Monday so music was a bit light. Beale Street was actually pretty tame which was nice. Memphis reminds me of Olympia, just bigger. Lots of potential with some great steps forwards but still struggling with empty storefronts. The Civil Rights museum consumed most of our day but we did have a nice evening at B.B. King’s Club on Beale Street.

But we had to keep moving and it was in Ste. Genevieve, the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri, that we stumbled into our Rockwell moment. After the urban experience of Nashville and Memphis, walking about an historic, rural town on a slow night was quite pleasant, despite the banker hours of the shops. I did find a collectible shop open whose owner had his radio tuned loudly to KDHX St. Louis. A big blast community radio station that was like a hybrid between Seattle’s KEXP and Olympia’s KAOS. Professional (but volunteer) deejays dish up a great variety of tasty music. That station carried us almost to Kansas City the next day.

After dinner while looking for a tavern, our ears led us to a community band playing in the parking lot of the local school at sunset, performing music by W.C. Handy and others. They even had a cart selling snoballs. The fireflies sparking up around us, dancing to the music was pure lagniappe.

Apparently during the summer, this is an every Thursday evening event in Ste. Germaine.