The next few days on the road would be itinerant, travelling from one music city to another with persistence to reach my destination and encounter friends in Austin, TX. There’d be a vicissitude of country music on the radio: classic, contemporary, outlaw, pop, etc… which I’d listen to the whole ride from Cincinnati because, well… I was heading to Nashville! Where the sun would be shining brightly and even the birds were singing.
Some aspects incorporated within my travels must be productive as far as my personal projects go. Here, I’d meet with my financial advisor and explore two properties we’ve been working on developing. It is predicted that the population of Nashville will double within 5 years and interestingly, the first house is located in East Nashville, where the over-pouring of a city center is evident. Homes are being remade and adhere to the Arts & Craft style; little bungalows with low pitched roofs, a broad porch and dormer windows. We’re thinking it’ll be an Air BnB proponent. To predicate the change in a landscape and participate in discerning the future of such sense of place is pretty wild to me, but as long as the productivity’s positive, all seems good. The second home is set in Franklin and was bought from the George Jones estate after his death. We’d sit on the front porch exchanging ideas, watch the sun set over the rolling hills (an expansive view, that in my opinion is the house’s greatest attribute) and notice that Spring had set in.
How ironic that I would struggle to find music of my liking this night on Broadway where sounds abound. I suppose it was kind of a been there done that; a street that I didn’t have to be reacquainted with so soon kind of an experience. Content to feel the sunshine on my face, I sat outside and listened the street musicians playing a guitar, bells tied to their legs and a Peruvian cajón. I’d eventually gravitate towards Robert’s Western with its honky-tonk characteristics, low neon lights, country memorabilia and the twangy sounds of a fiddle, stand up bass, steel guitar and woman wailing country classics. At Paradise Park it’d be eyes of a handsome Italian guitarist I’d catch and who’s smile I’d enjoy while ambling along the Cumberland River. All water is so gorgeous at night with its sparkling city lights, come to find that in the morning it’s littered with trash and brush. The enormous Downtown Nashville hostel was a great place to eventually rest my head for a mere 4 hours. Before heading out on the next day’s adventures, a Nashville regional indulgence of a biscuits and sausage-gravy breakfast was very necessary from the vintage and fantastic Hermitage cafe.
And onto Memphis… Where my first memories exist only from old photographs from when my parents were still together when I was probably 3 years old. I’d met friends instantly on Beale St. over cheap beers at King’s Palace outdoor stage where this adorably soulful black man sang Otis Reading’s Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. He smirked as he attempted, yet just couldn’t muster whistling when the song required.
Making it far enough South, brass instruments appeared in bands such as “the Intergalactic Soul-Shaking Funky-Blues-Makin’ Ghost Man Band” in Rum Boogie Cafe. Flynn’s touches your soul with their sinfully seasoned hickory smoked whole chicken wings served with a sweet chili sauce along with the singing and sweetest smile of Blues singer Christopher Gales. I enjoyed Memphis immensely, musically it just resonated a little more deeply than Nashville this time around. Along with the dirt washed from my night’s blackened hands the music was indeed the kind that clears the dust off of everyday life, that brings about euphoric waves and the beauty that brings one to dance.
With no intentions to stay in Memphis, I was reminded of why when I looked at the stretch of driving that now lay ahead of me on my map. There’s no aid to your alertness while crossing terrain as drab as Arkansas; you’re left to your own defenses. On a Spring side note, trees are flowering in Texarkana. I sometimes wish that I could morph into the form of a Hindu deity with a gemstone in my forehead and 6 arms to complete tasks such as braiding my hair, eating my left over pad thai and planning routes with maps safely while driving. Digging around for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park is contemplated, but I stay true to the route, stopping only at a gas station to wash my hair 3 hours out, allowing adequate time to dry with windows down. As it begins to grow dark and traffic slows I grow seriously weary until being awakened by an old friend, the Austin city skyline.