"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.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Frenetic Fortnight: Reggae, NPR Nerd Worship, Hockey & Soccer

Over the last couple weeks, we have attended several events, some of which we have done before, but all of which are worth a mention:

Wednesday, March 15:
We attended a show by the unique musical artist, Trevor Hall, at Exit/In in  Nashville tonight.  We learned about Trevor last year on one of the music cruises that we did.  The surprisingly-powerful voice and reggae-influenced songs coming out this small-framed Caucasian are hard to forget.   There was a surprisingly large crowd at the venue given that it was mid-week show and the fact that Trevor's music isn't widely known (we thought).  The shows we saw by Trevor on the cruise were acoustic, but this plugged-in performance was very good, and our vantage point at the front left-side of the stage gave us an up-close look at Trevor's amazing lead guitarist, Aaron Dugan, as he performed some real magic with his instrument (see video below for some brief proof).  There was also a good opener named Cas Haley.  He also has a nice reggae sound for a "white guy" but he's a total opposite of Trevor since he's a rather large-framed dude.

Monday, March 19: 
We got to see one of our favorite National Public Radio hosts and public television star, Rick Steves, tonight talking about his and one our favorite subjects -travel - over at Vanderbilt University.  The two-hour lecture was entitled "Travel as a Political Act" of which Steves has a new book out of the same title.  There was a large crowd in attendance for the free lecture which turned out to be very interesting, entertaining (we weren't expecting the soft-spoken NPR host to use such terms as "balls" and "horny" in his lecture) and informative.  Thanks to our friend, Caroline, for joining us for the lecture and for going to dinner with us before at the always-great Bosco's.  EDITOR'S NOTE: (5/28/12).  We bought a copy of the book at the lecture and I got a chance to read it on a recent trip we took to Europe.  It was great and actually pretty informative in helping with our visit to Amsterdam.

Tuesday, March 20:
We attended the pro hockey game of the Nashville Predators vs. the Edmonton Oilers tonight with awesome seats on the glass.  We had done this for the first time back in January with four of our friends and loved it.   These were the same seats, but this time we attended with our friends, Chris and Tarryn, who missed out on the chance to get seats the last time we bought them since only six seats are available from the ticket broker we use: Ticketsnow.com.  Another one of the six seats came open and our friend, Wayne, joined us again also.  For future reference, these seats are Section 106, Aisle CC, Seats 15 - 20.  We had a great time as before with the action so close to us and the opponent's penalty box right in front of our seats.  I had brought some funny signs to put up when an Edmonton player was in the box and the best response was a hearty laugh by their center and captain, Shawn Horcoff, when he read the sign "Never Heard of You???"  Unfortunately, as back in January when we had these seats, the Preds were again soundly defeated by a score of 6-3.  Chris says good-naturedly that  I am bad luck to the team since they have only one once when I am in attendance of a game (that is true) and I am starting to believe him!!
Monday, March 26:
Tonight we attended the U.S. Under-23 Men's Soccer Team game vs. El Salvador at LP Field in Nashville.  This was actually the third of three Olympic-qualifying tournament games for the U.S.team here that I saw, but the first for Ashlee since she was out of town on business during the first two games the previous week vs.Cuba (a 6-0 throttling by the U.S.) and Canada (a tough 0-2 loss).  With one win and one loss, this game became very pivotal in the chances of the U.S. moving on to qualify for the Olympics this summer in London, since only the top 2 teams from this tournament advance to the next round.  It came down to a gut-wrenching 3-3 tie that knocked the U.S. out of contention.  The hardest thing to accept was the 3-2 U.S. lead that was blown in the fourth minute of stoppage time (i.e. there was only about 30 seconds left in the game).  Still, it was a beautiful night for a game and it was a thrilling contest from start to finish.  There was a large contingent of fans for El Salvador in attendance and they couldn't have been more gracious in the jubilation of the win.  Thanks to our friends, John and Monique, for attending the game with us, as well as meeting for an excellent dinner beforehand at The Yellow Porch Restaurant over in the Berry Hill community.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music City Saturday

Saturday, March 10, 2011 - We spent a beautiful spring afternoon and evening in one of our favorite (and closest) cities today, good ol' Nashville, TN, doing a few things that we had not done before.

We stopped in for a quick visit to the tiny and historic Hatch Show Print Store on Broadway. 
We are big fans of these guys who produce one-of-a-kind, letter-press posters by hand. 
We added a couple more prints to our growing collection included a "Hatch Cats" poster
commemorating the store and its residents felines, as well as, one that points the way for
party-goers that we hope to use as a yearly Christmas decoration.

Next up, we bought tickets for a late afternoon Backstage Tour of the Ryman Auditorium. 
This quick 30-minute tour is quite interesting and kind of cool since each "stop"
is in the performer dressing rooms used in this beautiful, historic building. 
We also got to step briefly on to the stage where we just saw the
amazing Mumford & Sons show earlier in the week
as well as many more great shows over the years.

We capped the day off with dinner and a show at 3rd & Lindsley
The headliners were The Wood Brothers
who we had not really seen or heard of before, but judging by the packed house,
 it was obvious they are popular.  Now, granted, the brothers aren't much to look at,
but they sure can play the blues.  The opening act,
Seth Walker, was pretty good too.  Thanks to our friends,
Ryan and Dawn, for the invitation.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mumford & Sons

Wednesday, March 7, 2012:  We attended the 2nd night of a historic, 3-night stand of SOLD OUT shows at The Ryman Auditorium by the amazing English folk-rock group, Mumford & Sons.  We felt lucky to attend since tickets sold out in a reported record time of under 10 minutes to all three shows.

The historic Hatch Show Print Company had a limited edition run of show prints made
 for the occasion.  We snagged the yellow one on the right to add to our collection.
photo courtesy of mumfordandsonsblog.com

The North London quartet took stage around 9:30 after two impressive opening acts. 
The Nashville-based band The Apache Relay was first up and we really enjoyed their energy and
sound.  The band,  Dawes, followed with a solid set.  We had seen them before when they opened
for Brett Dennen at The Cannery last year.  In the video below we got an additional treat when Jerry
Douglas and his dobro(who we had just missed at Bluegrass Underground - see previous blog
entry) joined the boys on stage for an excellent cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" as well as
 M&S's own beautiful song "Awake My Soul."

This was easily agreed upon by us to be one of the best-sounding shows we have ever
seen at The Ryman (and there have been plenty).  The crowd was enthusiastic and
appreciative of not only the songs they all knew by heart off the band's brilliant debut
album, Sigh No More, but also of several new songs that will hopefully make it onto
their much anticipated second album.  Some of which is probably being recorded here
 in Nashville.  Our folding-chair seats behind the last row in  the balcony were a
perfect vantage point.  Photo copyright Steve Lowy 2011