Monday, June 9, 2014

Nashville and the overload

I AM STILL trying to comprehend the spectacle of Nashville after our whirlwind trip last Thursday/Friday.

First of all, the Avenue Beat girls were fantastic. They played at the Silver Dollar Saloon as part of the Nashville Universe CMA Music Festival party. They got 40 minutes (nobody else got more than 10 or 15) and turned a lot of heads. Sam, Sami and Savana are going back to Nashville in a month and they get more and more confident every time they play.
The gals, the old guy and the waitress from Quincy!

I played with them. Well, really, I just stayed out of their way. They liked it and said it was "good ju-ju" and want me to hang out with them again. They are playing at Turner Hall in a few weeks and at the MidSummer Arts Faire, and I'm telling you, Q-Town, you better come see them while you still can, because they are destined for big things.

We arrived at 1 a.m. after the seven-hour drive and walked downtown about half a mile. Imagine this - there is a bar or venue on every block. Actually, there are six or seven places on every block. Every one has a band. Every place is packed. The music just soars and bounces around and there are thousands of people rubbing shoulders.

Fine. Nashville at night during the CMA Music Festival. I get that. But here's the rub - it was exactly the same at 2 in the afternoon the next day. I asked one of the Nashville Universe guys if it was like this all time and he just sort of cocked his head and said, "Of course!"

The girls learned a lot. They learned to be nice to the sound guy, because he can make you sound really good, even after he's had two hours of sleep. They learned direct boxes are worth their weight in gold. They learned hearing themselves on stage is a beautiful thing.

I learned they are just as good as anybody down in Nashville. There are fantastic singers and players everywhere, and they are all dime a dozen in a music-fueled rocketship. Avenue Beat just needs to play and get better at the performance part.

Nashville is a tiered-town. You have the elite performers playing huge stages. You have the up and coming performers, and the ones who have done it. Then you have 99 percent of everybody else.

We stayed at the Nashville Universe event for a few hours. The best group we saw was Phoenix Drive. A couple of the gal singers were average. The house band was amazing. Oh, and take note, all you guitar players who think you have to have a massive rig - I saw guitar players plugging in direct from a modeler, and the biggest amp I saw was maybe 100 watts with a single 12-inch speaker. It's about tone, not volume.

Thank you to the gals and to their parents, Greg and Kiki Backoff, Lisa Bearden, and Trish Santos. They are just about to set sail on the adventure of a lifetime. Enjoy it now and don't blink!

On the way back, Sam Backoff said, "I know it's a million to one that we make it." That may be true and it's actually a healthy attitude, but I think their chances are better. Luck, good songs and the right place at the right time is the key.

And the key is that they are actually doing it. They are trying. You can't succeed unless you try.

Let's go back again, soon!

1 comment:

  1. It was so much fun having you there and so very helpful. Thanks to you and Cheryl. Maybe next time Cheryl can go too. Thank you for your kind words. You rock, literally!