Welcome back true be-loggers. I am not going to waste space and bullshit, lets get right into part two (If you didn’t read part one, you can do it here:
To finish off the story of day one, Allison and I took a nap and then ventured to the Bluebird Cafe. The cafe is semi-famous in the music scene as a variety of musical veterans, newcomers, song-writers, famous, and non-famous artists come to try out new material and collaborate with friends. My friend Amber deLaurentis had played there last summer when she did a mini-tour of the area last summer and I made a mental note to check it out and I was sure glad I did.
The place was MUCH smaller than I had expected and the musicians basically sit in the center of the room in a circle and play. I guess there was a bit of a comedy theme last night as musicians Kacey Jones, Bill Floweree, Jesse Goldberg and Jon Mark Stone busted out some very funny jams (it was a unique take on the whole bastard/bitch husband/wife combo). The menu at the Bluebird had asurprising amount of greek influenced dishes which I did not expect, but as I roamed around today, I noticed more similarities. While the menu may have had greek influence, I am going to be honest and say that the meal was not mind blowing. It was solid, but nothing crazy, but honestly, we weren’t there for the food.
After the two hour set, I had to call the taxi to come and get us and they were very prompt, so I didn’t get a chance to chat with the performers (who apparently stay after to try to sell CDs and bullshit with the crowd – most of whom they already know). The taxi brings me to a little Nashville Travel Tip: Rent a car if you visit. The taxi cost $35.00 one way. Add the $25.00 to get from the airport to the hotel and you are at $100.00 for one day. To compare, we rented a car for the rest of the trip for $120.00 total (including insurance). After getting raped so badly by the taxi service, I went back to the hotel and fell asleep.
After I got up this morning, worked out, and showered, Allison and I decided we needed to get a rental car. After we walked a couple of blocks to the rental place we decided to do lunch at the Pancake Pantry. I have been reading about this place for weeks, and I will admit I was concerned that it was going to be all hype. I am happy to report that the food was outstanding. I got sweet potato pancakes and Allison got blueberry. We split an order of “The Grill Cook’s Medley” which washash browns, ham, peppers, eggs, and all kinds of goodness.
Fully stuffed, we walked around Vanderbilt University campus shops, bought some books, and then hopped back into the car to go see…
[The Grand Ole’ Opry]
Thanks to the Blackberry’s GPS system we easily figured out how to get to the Opry Building. One thing about Nashville, you have to take exits to stay on the highway you are on, which is annoying and confusing. That being said, we got there without issue. Before going into the Opry, I had heard Gibson Guitars had an outlet store in the plaza. Well, I was sad to discover it wasn’t an outlet so much as it was their “Premire Retail Location”… bottom line – I wasn’t saving any money if I wanted to buy a guitar, but I could get free, tax free shipping (which I can do any time). So after wasting time on some excellent 6-strings and watching a mandolin being built, we headed to the Opry. We decided to do another tour against better judgement, but had to kill about 15 minutes, so we took a free tour of the museum. It was pretty good for what it was, and you got an idea of the history involved with the production.
Fifteen minutes later, we started our tour. Similar to the Ryman we looked at alot of freaking dressing rooms, but in this tour we got to see one of the Opry acts practicing for tonight’s show and also seeing some of the minor stars going into the building. Overall I got a better vibe from this tour and it was easy to see that there is a community element. One thing I don’t like is that the tour guides make it seem like big stars like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson come in and hang out with everybody, and you know that isn’t happening, but I guess it makes people think they can run into them at one of the several gift shops.
I don’t mean to sound negative, as I actually liked tour and would recommend it, but it sure seems like there are alot of malls, shops, and “retail outlets” swarming around Nashville’s history.
Ok, I have to get ready to go to “The Big Bang” dueling piano bar… more to come on that later. Check out some pictures!