Hank – First up today was the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I was very impressed with the place, so much so that I liked it better than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The museum has a lot of depth, covering musicians going back to the early 1900s. There are many who some may think deserve more display space due to their stardom but in doing so the museum would be forced to leave out lesser known musicians who still made significant contributions. So I would visit with an expectation of learning about musicians you may not be familiar with.
After taking an early afternoon break we went to the Johnny Cash Museum. Now there’s a comprehensive display of his entire life. Cash’s musical accomplishments top practically every star of every genre.
I was not aware he was born J.R. Cash. When he joined the Air Force in 1950 he was told he could not use his given initials as his first name. So he requested a new birth certificate with the first name of John on it. Years later he started using Johnny.
Back in 1982, when I was a Law Enforcement Security Policeman in the Air Force, I visited the AF Security Police Museum at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. I remember there was a photo of Johnny Cash on the wall. There was some text stating that “I Walk The Line” was inspired by his time as a security policeman guarding aircraft. It’s a perfectly believable but untrue story and I hope they’ve removed that. Cash wasn’t in the security police. He was in the security services as a radio operator intercepting and transcribing radio transmissions. And now I know.
After soaking in Cash we took a walk over the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, a 3100+ foot bridge that crosses the Cumberland River next to downtown Nashville. The bridge was built in the 1920s. It was closed to vehicle traffic in 1998 and refurbished for pedestrian and bicycle traffic only.
We had heard about a fancy men’s bathroom at the Hermitage Hotel so we walked there to check it out. It’s such a tourist thing that they allow women to go in. It’s very unique and it’s awesome if you like lime green.
After dinner we walked to The Station Inn. It’s a small place that has live bluegrass music every night. Seating is limited so it’s first come first serve and they open at 7:00. We arrived around a quarter til. There was an older gentleman sitting on a bench outside. I asked if this was the line. He laughed. We struck up a conversation and I learned he was from Norway. He visits the U.S. every one or two years to explore music. This trip was a gift from his wife and sons, none whom like country music. He’s been driving around the South for five weeks now. He flies home on Wednesday. He said his name is Helge. Then he pulls his driver’s license out and says his last name is a little more difficult. I looked at the name and took a guess at how to pronounce Bleikvassfors and to his and my amazement I got it right. He told us this was a great place for music. He’s been here before.
Right before the doors opened we saw a sign that disappointed us. They open at 7:00 but the music doesn’t start until 9:00. Basically you drink beer until the show starts. We have an early start planned for tomorrow so we skipped it. Maybe tomorrow night.
We walked back downtown and grabbed a table at the Margaritaville bar where we had a couple of drinks and listened to Lexi Lew, who put on a good show. That young lady had a bank of effects pedals that she skillfully used to create loops and build each song. The sound was great especially since she was doing pop songs. I prefer the person and their instrument for a more personal feel but I still enjoyed her show.
Kathy – We got a ton of walking in today as began exploring Nashville, Tennessee. The Country Music Hall of Fame did a fantastic job of showing the entire continuum of country music artists up until now. I enjoyed learning lots of interesting facts about the different musicians. It was wonderful to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame but (unlike Hank) I still thought the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio was better. Don’t get me wrong, both are really excellent museums and if you have a chance be sure to visit them.
The Johnny Cash Museum was outstanding. They displayed a beautiful tribute to this man. He grew up with little due to family poverty. Playing musical instruments and singing was a huge part of his early years. They discussed his young adult years as he rose to stardom and his many bouts with drug and alcohol abuse.
I didn’t realize Johnny Cash’s first marriage was to a gal he met in San Antonio, Texas while in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. They wrote many letters during his time in the military and they married just after Johnny was discharged from the Air Force. They had four girls and eventually divorced due to Johnny being on the road touring all the time and his addiction to drugs and alcohol. For some reason I thought June Carter was his only wife.
Johnny Cash and June Carter were both musicians who met at the Grand Ole Opry. They got together after his divorce. June was the one to help him with his many stents in rehab and to eventually recover from his drug and alcohol abuse. Johnny always felt she was his soul mate. After marrying they had one daughter together. They were married for 35 years until June passed away. Johnny felt he had nothing left to live for once June passed and he subsequently died four months later. There are lots of other interesting facts about Johnny Cash’s life at the museum. If you ever get a chance be sure to check this one out.
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge was pretty cool. It sits up high over the water and you have great views of the city. We walked to the Hermitage Hotel because online they said there was one of the most famous and spectacular bathrooms in the world there. Well, don’t believe everything you read online. It was not that fancy. 😏
We got a couple more miles of walking in when we went to the Station Inn to listen to bluegrass music. Too bad they didn’t start to play till 9pm. We must be oldies now because that was too late for us today.
Another note, those electric scooters that you can rent are everywhere here. I have never seen so many in one place. People are constantly zooming in and out of traffic and on the sidewalks. Also, some of the folks on these scooters have been drinking (a lot) and others just are not good at steering them. I’m sure they have a fair number of scooter accidents in this town. We were constantly watching out for them as we walked our ten miles today. Happy we didn’t get hit by one.
Hank and I made a pact while in Canada seeing Niagara Falls last August. We went to the Margaritaville restaurant there and met Michael and Lee-Ann. We really had a good time with them and everyone else there, so we said anytime we see a Margaritaville restaurant we have to stop and visit it. Well Nashville has one here…and that’s were we ended up. I think this is our fourth one visiting since we were in Canada. We had a relaxing evening listening to a couple of wonderful musicians.
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