Nashville Skyline Full Circle

A week late blogging this but some things are worth capturing even if late.

Sylvia and I went to Nashville last weekend – 4th July, Independence day on the Friday. We booked into a cheap motel 8 miles, a cab ride, out of town off I40, so as not to have to worry about drink and/or driving or driving back in the small hours to Huntsville.

So Friday evening we got a cab into the east side of Nashville, just in time to watch the fireworks from the grassed area alongside LP Stadium, across the water from Riverside Park, “behind” but very close to the main display, with the Nashville skyline as a backdrop. Excellent spectacle in four main parts – almost too much going on at once to take it all in at times – from the ground and from the air. Find those starbursts that put out the shaped coloured patterns – cubes, smileys, U’s, S’s & A’s quite surreal amongst the chaotic blitz of light, colour and noise. Breath-taking, and visceral.

We walked with the dispersing thousands through East Nashville to “The 5 Spot” – the reason we’d come to Nashville this particular evening – to see “Wess Floyd and the Daisycutters” – for the third time in my case, the first in Sylvia’s. Blogged before that I’d liked them on first encounter, but didn’t blog about the second time, which turned out to be a wash-out with only 3 of the band and precious few more punters at the gig. What that did mean was that I’d spent half an hour talking to Wess, Andy and Nathan at the bar, and bought a couple of their CD’s, before they agreed with the management to call the whole thing off, after having attempting a partial first set. Sad, but different.

To be fair with three bands on at The 5 Spot gig, complete with hangers-on, it wasn’t a big crowd this night in Nashville either. But with a cover to get in everyone was there to experience the performances – quality beats quantity. With The Daisycutters, of course you can’t get enough guitars, 4 plus the bass is their line-up.

They were as good as I’d remembered, even better with enough fans there to participate physically and enough who knew their songs to sing along, quite unlike the first encounter. And Sylvia loved them too. They were very friendly before and after and engaging during their set, all too brief since they were second on the bill. Amongst the fans was Heath Haynes, who also got up to Jam on their closing number.

The opening act had been excellent too. “Johnny Nobody” from Buffalo, NY. Simple well executed 3 piece with strong rhythms bags of energy and a little attitude, just enough not to alienate an audience. Sylvia and I both liked them, like the Vines she suggested. Bought their CD “What it Feels Like Broke” – we’ve been playing it to death in the car and in the home too.

Headlining were “Harrison Hudson”, another original three piece. More stylised image, a little too clever material for their ability to pull it off – three-pieces have to be really good or really simple to work, in my experience, not much margin for error. Not quite to our taste anyway.

So, why full circle ? Well the reason we came across the Daisycutters in the first place was through the their gigging with the Victrolas, and their connection to the Nashville-based Tommy Womack. With Heath Haynes having been in the Daisycutters’ crowd, we went across to Lower Broadway after the gig and finished the night in The Full Moon with Josh Hedley (Heath Hayne’s fiddle player) performing with The Travis Mann Band. Anyway after such a good Friday night we decided to stay up for the Saturday too – to see Heath Haynes at Layla’s. So glad we did. All of the Daisycutters in the crowd, and another great set from HH – all covers, as always on Lower Broad, but what a range of blues from country to rock – Roy Orbison to The Ramones. You just have to get up and dance.  Last time we went to see HH at Layla’s, with Robbie, HH was absent and Josh was fronting. No Rich Gilbert or Aaron Oliva this time either, but the coolest bassist we’ve seen in a while standing in for Aaron. Visceral quality.

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