©Bert Gildart: Here in Nashville, Tennessee, along Broadway and Second – or Third – everyone, regardless of age, is young. But there’s more. Here, as boots, jeans, miniskirts, low-cut blouses attest — everyone is sexy, cool and self assured.
Mostly it’s because of Country Music, and for the day, we’re part of the in-crowd though our dress remains conservative. Music tastes, however, are eclectic and we adhere to Phil Vassar’s philosophy, a performer who believes that [music is the] “true Barometer of a Person’s Soul.
But there’s yet more: this is all about Country Music, which has been further defined by Harlan Howard as “Three chords of music – and the truth.”
In all probability there are millions who have made the pilgrimage to Nashville at some time in their life to “learn the truth.” After all “Stars” have truly influenced the lives of many. They’ve added meaning, and the group of devotees is diverse and includes representatives from all walks. But what most in the group share in common is that few are strangers to Hee-Haw (longest running TV Show), or to musicians such as Slim Whitman, Merle Haggard, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Lefty Frizzell, Cowboy Copas, Webb Pierce or Kitty Wells. These performers have helped to fashion barometers of the faithful.
L to R: Elvis Presley’s gold cadillac; 11 a.m. at Tootsie’s, who’s owner once provided upstairs rental rooms to both Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard.
Music is also a mood setters for us, but this morning it’s augmented by a self-walking tour with short a.m. stops at several bars along Broadway. (10:30 at Trixie’s, 10:45 at the Legend, and 11 at Dick’s Last Resort.) All are full and the comradery of the crowd is an inducement to stay, but we’re on a mission, so we limit our intake. But others don’t. They imbibe sinful amounts, something city fathers must have anticipated long ago for Nashville boasts 700-plus churches. (Little wonder gospel music is so popular.)
For us, the day-time mood setters was basically confined to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which we entered about 11:30. We take almost four hours to walk the immense layout of this legendary shrine. TV screens are everywhere and on one Cousin Many Pearl is proclaiming that [she is] “…just so proud to be here.”
On another Carl Perkins is singing and dancing to his Blue Suede Shoes, while on yet another Hank Williams Sr. is crooning “We’ll Go Honky Talkin’.
L to R: April 23rd performance of Opry Country Classics included Larry Gatlin, TG Sheppard, The Whites and Craig Morgan. It was an incredible venue. Johnny Cash, one of 124 (2014 count) members of the Hall of Fame; exterior of Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 and served as home to Grand Ole’ Opry from 1943 to 1974, when it was moved to Opry Land on outskirts of Nashville.
But displays in the museum are often heroic – but almost always genuine. They include music instruments, costume dress – and Elvis’s Gold Cadillac. Look at the mirrors and handles but also at his gold piano.
That night we make the short walk from Main Street to attend the “Opry Country Classics.” at the Ryman. The lineup is great and includes Larry Gatlin as MC. Later in the program he’s joined by his brothers to sing “All the Gold In California.” It was great and fans could not contain themselves, joining the Brothers in the refrain: “All the Gold in California is in a bank in Beverly Hills in Somebody else’s name.”
We will, and for a long time yet to come, for country music continues to influence us.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy