Thursday, 18 February 2010

USA Tour: Day Twelve

On the road again…

Wrecked this morning when I got up at about 8:15 to shower, pack and get down for a 9am rendezvous with Godfrey, John, Dave, Paul, Woody and Brad. No sign of any of them except John. After five hours sleep I was feeling pretty rough but some cereal and a glass of milk helped. Unfortunately I missed Dave leaving as his cab arrived while I was eating breakfast and he had to go. Sorry Dave if you’re reading this. It’s been an honour and a big ol’ bundle of joy travelling with you! Godfrey turned up having sorted Dave and his cab to the airport. He’d realised that for us to pack all our luggage and the amp, guitar and kick drum and get Dave to the airport for 10am would have made the morning far too manic and could have made him late so being a generous guy he booked and paid for the cab so Dave would be on time.

We said our goodbyes to the Charleston posse (Woody, Paul & Brad) and John who was off home to England and we hit the road for our 483 mile drive to Nashville. Godfrey had got an email the night before saying that the I-40 between Asheville and Knoxville through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was completely closed due to a landslide so we had to take a detour of an extra 60 miles north on the I-26 to Johnson City from Asheville then south-west on the I-81 to Knoxville before picking up the I-40 west to Nashville. The weather was bitterly cold, there was a lot of snow on the ground and ice on the rock faces and it was overcast and tried to snow a few times. I image on a clear day in the summer this would be some of the best scenery you could drive through in America.
 Once we’d got back on track we stopped at about 2:30 for a late lunch at “Cracker Barrel” – the food is always good there although it’s pretty stodgy and I doubt it’s good for your waist-line.

We hit the road and soon crossed into Tennessee and had to move our clocks back one hour to go onto Central Time. Now we were six hours behind the UK instead of five.

The journey into Nashville was pretty uneventful but as we neared the city we had a good time praying over it, praying into the church we’d be visiting and getting ourselves into a right attitude to come and bring blessing to the city and its people.  There was also a stunning sunset ahead of us as we entered the city.

As we were a day early Godfrey checked us into a Marriott hotel near Broadway, the main street where all the bars and live music are. We had a quick meal at brewery cum restaurant he knows, which was delicious, and then headed in the car the 5 minutes to Broadway (it was too cold and we were too tired for a 20 minute walk).

We visited three or four bars, and we were good boys and drank root-beer and orange juice, and saw one exceptional band with a hugely talented young electric guitar player called “JD” who tore the place up with one of the best guitar solos I’ve ever seen. He was stunning - I wish Ethan (my 12 year old son) could have seen him, his jaw would have hit the floor. There was a proper old-timer couple in the western garb of dungarees and cowboy hat who got up and did a thumping two-step dance with solemn faces and without ever looking at each other to a few of the songs. It was quite surreal! Then we went next door to a bar that was virtually deserted – the band wasn’t as good but the guitarist was. He played a polka at tremendous speed switching his left hand from the usual under the neck and up onto the strings grip to over the neck down onto the string at high speed to get different sounds, then the band speeded the whole thing up a lot, twice. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to move their fingers that quickly.  I've only been in Nashville a few hours and I love it already.  I can see why it's one of Godfrey's favourite places.

Once back at the hotel I used $2 to wash and dry some clothes in the guest launderette as I’m running out of t-shirts. You can’t wear them twice when you’re drumming – the songs “Wild Goose” and “Wild Bells” ensure they’re too sweaty for anything but the wash bag! So on that fragrant note I bid you goodnight!

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