"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back-to-Back SOLD OUT Shows

Sunday, October 31, 2010
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals - Live Tonight! - SOLD OUT
We spent Halloween night being treated by the tricks of one of our favorite live bands, the up-and-coming Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at the legendary Exit/In near Vanderbilt University. In honor of the occasion the entire band dressed as Nashville country music legends with Grace herself making a splendid Dolly Parton while the Nocturnals turned themselves into Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Billy Ray Cyrus. Even going beyond the visual homage, the band also did a song from each star's repertoire throughout their nearly 2-hour set. A rockin' cover of "Jolene" was first, followed by a soulful Patsy Cline number, then it was off to "Luckenbach, Texas" for Waylon and Willie followed with an encore performance of the always-goofy "Achy-Breaky Heart." One other cover of "Take My Breath Away" was allowed in honor of an onstage marriage proposal (she said yes). The rest of the time was filled with great GPN originals. As always, the band gave it their all and we enjoyed it greatly. Thanks to our friend, Sharon, for coming along with us.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Mumford & Sons - Live Tonight! - SOLD OUT
It was back to Nashville again tonight to the downtown venue of the War Memorial Auditorium to catch the quickly sold-out performance of the London folk-rock band, Mumford & Sons. We caught most of a set from these guys at Bonnaroo this past summer and were blown away by their music. This time around was no different. An absolutely amazing show. It easily jumps into our Top 5 performances of all time. The show started with the first of two opening acts: an unusual gent who calls himself King Charles. This guy is truly a gifted musician and vocalist, but unfortunately it was hard to focus on his music given the fact that this obviously well-endowed dude was wearing silk pants and not a sign of underpants! Holy hog-leg, Batman!! We kept feeling like we were in a Saturday Night Live skit or on an episode of Punk'd. Despite the distraction, the guy, again, was a pretty talented musician. His updated version of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" was pretty cool. Next up was Cadillac Sky, an American alt-bluegrass/folk rock band whose current hometown is here in Nashville. These guys were great (and dressed appropriately!) with a lot of enthusiasm on stage and spot-on musicianship. Their music is hard to define since they swing back and forth from amped-up bluegrass to quirky folk rock from song to song and even inside the same tune. A really perfect opener for M&S.

The Brits took the stage around 10 PM and proceeded to play every song off their excellent debut album, Sigh No More. The mixing and sound was pitch perfect and we were once again very impressed with this venue and sure hope they continue to book great music here. The guys mixed in a couple of new songs as well that sounded great. They seemed very humbled and appreciative of the sold-out status of the venue and a much-appreciative audience in a town that is legendary for great music. Their encore was a collaborative effort with King Charles (with dark pants on now...thank goodness) and the members of Cadillac Sky. Just when we thought it was over (and the stage couldn't be anymore crowded) out comes the members of Old Crow Medicine Show (a big influence on M&S) and the crowd went nuts. This newly-formed supergroup finished the show with three songs including OCMS's biggest hit, "Wagon Wheel", and M&S's newest single, "Roll Away Your Stone." A truly amazing evening of music. We feel lucky and privileged to have been a small part of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

At Last.....Up, Up and Away!!

After several months of waiting through bad-weather postponements including a 3-hour wait on-site earlier this month (previous blog) that led to a last-minute cancellation due to gusty winds, we finally got to take our hot air balloon ride today. It was well worth the wait! The weather was stunningly sunny and mild, visibility was amazing at around 80 miles according to our pilot, Richard, and the fall colors, albeit less than stellar in terms of previous years, were in full process.
After helping prep the balloon (photo above), we took off around 4 PM from the grounds of The People's Church in Franklin, TN. The launch was smooth and effortless (somewhat blurry video below - sorry about that). We drifted east over I-65 reaching a max altitude of 3,000 feet from which we could see downtown Nashville to the north, Murfreesboro to the southeast and Pilot Mountain due east. Once over the interstate, we descended down to just over tree-top level into a more rural part of Williamson County. The ride was so quiet and smooth we could hear shouts of "Hello" from down below by onlookers. We even crept up on a small herd of deer in a pasture who never knew we were there until Richard hit the propane burners to give us a bit more altitude. After a half-hour or so flight, we landed in a farm field about 15 miles from our launch site. Richard's chase vehicle picked us up and we were delivered back to our car by around 6 PM. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday afternoon!
We highly recommend trying a flight if you are so inclined. Richard's outfit is Dream Flights Inc. and they serve the Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta areas: http://www.dreamflightsusa.com/ We hope to fly again someday perhaps in a different part of the country such as Las Vegas or Albuquerque.
Afterwards, we had dinner in downtown Franklin at one of our favorite Irish pubs in the area, McCreary's. The food was delicious as usual.
Finally, we headed downtown to meet our friend, Rick, who was driving up from Chattanooga to catch Big Sandy & His Fly-Ryte Boys and Los Straightjackets at one of our favorite music venues in Nashville, The Mercy Lounge. Rick is into rockabilly music and swing-dancing, and although it's not particularly our favorite genre of music, both bands were very entertaining and musically top-notch. Big Sandy, as the name might imply, is a large fella with an Elvis-like crooning voice and a beaming personality. Los Straightjackets is a four-man instrumental group formed in Nashville and led by legendary guitarist, Eddie Angel. Their schtick, besides being great musicians, is that they all wear elaborate Mexican wrestling masks while on-stage and introduce many of their songs with a goofy recording in Spanish. A little strange, but, again, quite enjoyable.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Franti-C at the Ryman

We visited the lovely Ryman Auditorium once again in downtown Nashville tonight to catch a couple of acts we have seen before in different venues who we really enjoyed. Opening was Nashville resident, Mat Kearny, who did a nice acoustic set. We saw him before at The Cannery in Nashville for a plugged-in show that was great. The highlight of this short set was his use of a 1970's Samsonite suitcase as a backing percussion instrument. Very inventive! The headliner was Michael Franti & Spearhead, one of our favorite live bands. They are the band who basically saved Bonnaroo for us this year by putting on an incredible live show including coming out into the crowd on more than one occasion including Franti himself performing one song right beside us. We weren't expecting the same kind of experience at this somewhat buttoned-up, assigned-seat venue. But, Franti & Co. would not stand for that. The show was as good or better than the Bonnaroo experience. He and the band came into the crowd numerous times and had the whole crowd dancing and jumping in their pews and aisles with their upbeat and positive music and message. This included Franti himself coming up into the balcony (see video below - he's in the yellow shirt in the center of the balcony) where we had excellent front row seats overlooking the stage. Thanks to our friend, Sharon, for coming along and being blown away as well by MF&S live and unleashed in The Ryman.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bad Guster of a Day, Good Guster of a Band

We have been trying to cross "take a hot-air balloon flight" off our Bucket List for most of this year. And, after missing two previous booked dates to take a ride due to weather, we thought today was our day. Not a cloud in the sky, pleasant temps and a nice, soft breeze....well, not so fast, my friend...it was actually just a bit too breezy to safely take off and land according to our pilot. He and his crew went as far as rolling out the basket and the balloon (photo below) in hopes the winds would die down as sunset approached, but it was to no avail. After about 3 hours of waiting, we were told there would be no flight today. Very disappointing, but we will just have to try again. Our trip west to Franklin for the cancelled flight wasn't a total bust at least. We also had tickets to see the band, Guster (ironic, don't you think?) at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. We headed on into downtown after the bad news from our pilot and had dinner at one our favorite new places, Urban Flats. The flat-bread pizza and salads were great as usual. We made our way over to the War Memorial Auditorium which we had been to once before several years ago to see comedian, Dave Attell. This was our first time seeing a musical act there. It's a beautiful, general-admission venue with great sight lines to the elevated stage. There is standing room in front of the stage and seats upstairs in a large balcony area as well. We arrived in time to hear a few songs from the opening act, Everest, an up-and-coming band that we have seen at Bonnaroo a couple of times and really like. Unfortunately, their sound here was not real great compared to at Bonnaroo, and we weren't sure if it was the venue or the engineering. We were a little worried it was the venue which wouldn't bode well for Guster, who we've never seen live, plus another Mumford & Sons sold-out show coming there soon that we have tickets to as well. Well, it must have been the engineering because Guster sounded great from start to finish of their hour and a half set. Despite not getting a lot of radio play, these guys have been churning out great, melodic and positive music for over a decade with a strong underground following. The place was pretty full and the crowd knew the words to every song other than a few off a new album they have coming out later this month. It's exciting to know Nashville now has another great venue for live music. Let's hope they keep booking great acts like Guster there.