Another Nashville Story

My earlier post on a conversation about
country music after church reminded me of this Nashville experience that I’ve
not written about until now. More than a year ago we were at the Station Inn, a
small, nondescript, cement block building in a re-gentrifying part of Nashville
known as “the Ga…

My earlier post on a conversation about country music after church reminded me of this Nashville experience that I’ve not written about until now.

More than a year ago we were at the Station Inn, a small, nondescript, cement block building in a re-gentrifying part of Nashville known as “the Gap.” Doyle Lawson and his band, Quicksilver, were playing. The Station Inn, despite its humble facade and interior, is to bluegrass music what the Ryman Auditorium is to country, a homeplace, if not the mother church. Lawson and Quicksilver are superb bluegrass musicians.

The stage seems only one step above the wood floor around which people can sit within touching distance of the band. It’s an intimate setting. Fixtures include mismatched chairs and tables, including a few theater-type seats lining the back wall. The point is, people come for the music, not high-tone ambience.

On this night I was surprised when Doyle introduced Tom T. Hall and his spouse Dixie, sitting in those seats along the back wall. For those who don’t follow country music, Tom T. Hall is a poet-songwriter who has given us some of the most poignant and pleasing storytelling songs ever. He’s one of my long-time heroes. When he was introduced, I reverted from mature adult to simple fan. I was excited. I didn’t have the nerve to go up to him and introduce myself because I knew I’d say something goofy or stumble over the words and end up embarrassing myself, so I just looked at him from across the room. It was enough.

Later I went to get us soft drinks and bumped against someone. No, it wasn’t Tom T., but it was someone vaguely familiar. With his baseball cap on backwards, dressed in jeans and a knit shirt, we excused ourselves and went on with our respective orders. I returned to my party thinking, ‘I know that guy from somewhere.”

Later, When Doyle said a friend and special guest was joining the band for a few songs and introduced Vince Gill, I realized who I had elbowed in the line at the drink stand.

Bumping into Vince Gill, seeing Tom T. Hall and hearing Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. If you’re a country music or bluegrass fan, it doesn’t get much better.

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