I suppose it's only right to give Illinois and Kentucky their due, we did drive through these states en route to Nashville. However, I feel more compelled to break with the naming convention of previous entries (which dryly recited the states encountered on a given day) to focus on the meaty parts of the experience starting and ending with Nashville, Tennessee where tough dudes like me and my boys like to straight chill.
We met up with my brother Pete around lunchtime and convinced him to call it a day at the office and went straight to drinks and cajun food a
t the Mojo Grille in Midtown. From there ambition trickled off into a mighty relaxing afternoon at Pete's pad with his roommate, a bongo circle with all the trappings, fireworks and a Southern grill featuring pork chops, more wine than you could shake a stick at and finished off ever so perfectly with homemade peach cobbler. (Word, Katrina.)
Around, 10:30, just when it looked like red wine had sapped our motivation for good, a second wind arrived and the group somehow managed to pile into a cab bound for the Honky Tonks on Broadway.
This is another world as far as I'm concerned. One block of pure neon and rhinestone where every bar (at least on a Thursday night) features a
skilled but nameless country band singing Keith Urban cover tunes to a positive legion of mostly female fans in varying states of undress and drunk signing along to every single word. In other words, it's overwhelming and irresistible. If you bring someone here and they can't get manage to have a good time, you have cause to be deeply suspicious of either their motives or their authenticity.
So there we were witnessing crisp line dancing and quaffing pobre-chic beer like Old Style from patriotic metal cans. Life was good and things were g
etting groovier by the minute, as we worked up the line from The Stage to Tootsie's, where a curious thing happened.
Now, I'm not a disciple of country music. I enjoy it on occasion and even follow a limited range of artists, but am generally vegetarian when it comes to the rare, bleeding meat of the movement. So it came as some surprise to me when a woman at Tootsie's accused me of being 'that guy from Lady Antebellum.' This was literally the first I'd heard of such nonsense, but my accuser would not be convinced otherwise and even after I showed her my driver's license persisted with the idea that I was a famous country musician on the DL and playing coy.
'That guy from Lady Antebellum' is Charles Kelley, convincingly photoshopped in with me and Blake for comparison, and I appreciate that the sweet beards we both rock may evoke a similarity, but I'm still not totally seeing it. He may have the twangy pipes and million dollar record deals, but I'm way better looking and more fun at a party too.
My brush with a celebrity death crush was enough to convince the group that we'd better get away from the CMA celebrity-obssessed Fatal Attraction types that frequent the Honky Tonks and retire to the more laid-back environs of Midtown, more Old Style and a competitive shuffleboard table.
By 3am we were back at Pete's where we slept through breakfast and roused just before noon and took our wrecked bodies over to Fat Mo's for excellent, grease-bomb burger nourishment - heavy fuel for another day on the road.