"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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

One Night in NOLA

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ashlee and I were invited by her old boss and friend, Stacey, and her husband, Gary, and her old co-worker and friend, Chris, and his significant other, Shane, to join them for a long weekend in New Orleans.  I was already committed to a weekend guys-trip to Atlanta to see the Titans take on the Falcons, but thanks to some low airfare down to New Orleans (and then back to Atlanta for me), I was able to join Ashlee and the gang for at least one night in The Big Easy.

This is a view of the heated saltwater pool (which I tried out - it was excellent) and some of the beautiful surrounding courtyard from our room's balcony at the lovely Hotel le Marais just a block off Bourbon Street in The French Quarter.  This elegant small hotel was a great find and highly recommended for convenience, but also solitude once you are done with N'awlins and just need some sleep.

We spent a large part of the day and night on the one and only Bourbon Street doing our best Big Easy Crawl.

There are always some "interesting" characters on Bourbon Street.  In the photo above one of those characters poses with (L to R) Chris, Gary and Ashlee.

We had a late dinner in the quirky Clover Grill where their famous hamburgers are cooked under hubcaps (okay?).  This little hole-in-the-wall was featured in the Brad Pitt movie, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

One of our guilty pleasures are piano bars, especially dueling piano bars, and Howl at the Moon on Bourbon Street is one of the best.  I mean where else do they set the pianos on fire during during JLL's "Great Balls of Fire."

This was our first time back in New Orleans together since before Hurricane Katrina.  It was good to get back and see this unique and amazing city bouncing back from such devastation, even if only for one crazy night.  We are already vowing to come back together and spend more time in The Big Easy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nat in Nash

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We got our first experience inside the beautiful, new Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville tonight as we had second-row orchestra-level tickets to see singer/songwriter, Natalie Merchant,  joined by The Nashville Symphony.  Since no photograpy is allowed inside, the photo above is a balcony view of the symphony center  from their website.  Probably the most amazing thing about the experience is the fact that this exquisite building was practically decimated by the 1000-year flood back in May 2010 when 24 feet of water filled the basement and bottom floors.  Nice recovery!

We hadn't seen Natalie Merchant since her "Motherland" tour way back in 2001 at a show at The Ryman.  As she nears 50 years in age now, gone is her girlish figure, and her mane of dark, full hair is graying fast, but her powerful, signature voice remains, and it sounded pitch perfect in the symphony hall.  Her music has drifted away somewhat from the alternative light rock that drew us to her and her masterful 1995 album, Tigerlily.  Her newest endeavor is Leave Your Sleep (album cover photo above), a compilation of 19th- and 20th-century poem intepretations and lullabies inspired by her childhood and from conversations with her own daughter as she was growing up.  While we had hoped for a few more of our favorites to be played by Merchant, the true stars of  the night were The Nashville Symphony and the Schermerhorn itself which made all the songs soar to their full potential.

We appreciate our friend, Wayne, meeting us for dinner at the always-yummy, Urban Flats, in The Gulch before the show.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Play it again, Mat....and Bear and Bo et. al....and Casey et. al

Inside a recent 3-week period, we saw three shows from artists we have seen before and love:

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - The Cannery - Nashville

SOLD OUT SHOW!  Nashville resident, Mat Kearney, returned home to The Cannery and  performed all his fan favorites, plus lots of songs off his new album, Young Love, the cover of which is pictured above.  He also did a surprisingly good cover version of a fairly new song "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People.
Friday, October 28, 2011 - Track 29 - Chattanooga

We attended the more than SOLD OUT SHOW for NEEDTOBREATHE at Track 29 in Chattanooga tonight.   There were 1.700 people in attendance once they had pushed back the stage and added 200 more tickets to the sold out show.  This was our first time at this fairly new live music venue located in the back of the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo property, and we were very impressed.   It is large in size with good sight lines and great acoustics.  Nashville singer/songwriter,  Ben Rector, opened with a good set that included a band member breaking out the always-funky "keytar" on their last song of the night.  We haven't seen that since Stevie Wonder played at Bonnaroo.  NTB were excellent as the headliner.  Led by lead singer and big brother, Bear Rinehart, and little brother, Bo, on lead guitar,  they played a lot of stuff off their new album The Reckoning  plus many of their older tunes including some of our favs off their previous album, The Outsiders, whose cover is shown above.  This is our third time seeing them and I swear they get better as a band every time we do.  Keep up the good work, guys!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - Exit/In - Nashville

.We were back at the Exit/In in Nashville tonight to catch a show by one of our favorite new-to-us live artists, Alpha Rev, out of Austin, Texas.  We first saw them on the VH1 Best Cruise Ever earlier this year and they completely blew us away.  This was supposed to be a co-headline show with the band, Carbon Leaf, but they pulled out of this date for some reason.  Filling in were openers, Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes from here in Nashville  followed by Atlanta, GA, artist, Nic Cowan.  Both of these acts were great and we really enjoyed their sets.  Alpha Rev took the stage a bit stripped down from the usual line-up.  Their cello player did not make the trip and they were minus their great fiddle player, Brian Batch, who has temporarily - we hope - left the band. Despite the two missing members and instruments, the remaining quintet blazed through an hour and half set that was still fantastic.   They played several new songs and some select cuts from their masterful 2010 album,  New Morning, the cover of which is shown above.   The crowd was much smaller than the previous two shows we attended, but this didn't deter the band from putting on a great performance.  And, we were able to see it all from the front row! 

After the show we picked up the band's latest EP, City Farm: Roots, which was produced entirely from fan donations since they currently don't have a record label. We were able to chat with bassist, Alex Dunlap,  for a few minutes.  He informed us that the reason Carbon Leaf couldn't make this leg of the tour was because their lead singer had won a role in a new Daniel Day-Lewis movie about Abraham Lincoln.  Pretty cool.  We also got to say hello to lead singer/songwriter and founder of Alpha Rev, Casey McPherson, who was kind enough to have his picture taken with Ashlee (above).