"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.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Horses, Titans, Lillies and the Boys of Summer

We put a few more memorable events under our belts over the last week or so that are worth noting:
Hello again, new friends.

Farewell, old friend.
Friday, August 17, 2012 - Rarely do we go to a music show just to see the opener(s) but that's just what we did tonight as we caught a local Nashville-based band we have seen before (also as an opener) and really liked.  A Thousand Horses were at 12th & Porter opening for The Jompson Brothers.  They were spot-on and sound better every time we see them.  Thanks to our friends, Danny and Brenda, for also checking them out with us.  Another Nashville-based band we like, The Cadillac Black, were also playing, but we had to miss their set due to conflicting plans.  Beforehand,  the four of us had dinner at one of favorite independent restaurants in town, Rumba, which is sadly closing its doors at the end of September on West End Avenue after 10 years in business.  Ashlee and I parted ways after the music show with me going with Danny to catch a late showing of "The Bourne Legacy" along with his and Brenda's youngest son, Kyle; while Ashlee and Brenda headed over to The Belcourt Theater for a midnight showing of that goofy musical movie classic, "Xanadu."  Women...?

The North End Zone Titantron
Thursday, August 23, 2012 - Our friend, Wayne, invited us to a Tennessee Titans preseason game vs. the Arizona Cardinals tonight.  While we are not the biggest fans of football games that don't count, it was a chance to check out the vast new improvements at LP Field including the two huge "Titantrons" looming over each end zone with incredible high-def TV projection (the screens are almost too big and too perfect, making it  very hard to watch the actual game on the field!), express elevators to the top level (super fast!) and a booming new sound system (super loud!).  We had dinner beforehand at the always great Drifters BBQ over in East Nashville.  Thanks to Wayne for the tickets and the fun times (which always count in our opinion).  And yes, for those of you keeping score of preseason games (but why?), the Titans did "win."

18 years and growing
Saturday, August 25, 2012 - We headed back down to Chattanooga for the weekend and another attendance of the Southern Brewers Festival in Chattanooga.  We were excited to see that one of our favorite regional bands, The Black Lillies, who we just saw in Bristol recently, were on slate of bands playing during the day-long festival. 

We were fortunate enough to stay right beside the festival held downtown on the Tennessee River on the beautiful boat owned by our friends, Tiff and Brenda.  Another highlight of the day was watching the team from Goodlettsville, TN, in the American Championship Game of the Little League World Series on TV.  The Tennessee boys won in extra innings in a crazy see-saw of a game over another team from California.  Thanks to our friend, Mike, for joining us for the game viewing and the beer festival. 

Our lodging for the night.  Thanks Capt. Tiff and 1st Mate Brenda!
The Black Lillies opened the day of music on the beautiful
 Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.
Our view of the Little League World Series from the outdoor seating
at the Blue Plate Bar in downtown Chattanooga.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bristol Stopover

We attended our second brand new music festival of the year(Bunbury in Cincinnati being the first) this past weekend hosted by none other than our favorite new band on the music scene in the last few years, Mumford & Sons.  Their day-long music festival is called "The Gentlemen of the Road" tour and the closest of the mere four "stop overs" it was making in the U.S. this summer was in Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee, so we grabbed tickets when they went on sale before it SOLD OUT in a brief amount of time and planned a long weekend up to the northeast corner of our state.

Friday, August 10, 2012:  We hopped in our new black 2012 Honda Accord and proceeded to take it on its first real road trip
as we headed eastward.  We stopped for a late lunch in Knoxville to use a Groupon we had bought for a beer and cheese flight at Cafe 11,  a newly-opened European-style coffee house (that also serves beer, hence the European influence) on Gay Street in the city's historically restored downtown area.
The place was really quiet for a Friday afternoon as the school year at nearby UTK doesn't start until next week.  We became fast friends with the owner, Mustafa, since we were the only ones in the place at times and he was gracious enough to whip us up a cheese board even though the Groupon was meant to only be used after 5 P.M.  We grabbed three craft beers as well and had a nice relaxing break from the 4-hour drive to Bristol from our home.  We bid Mustafa farewell and wished him the best on his new endeavor, hoping it does well enough for us to visit him again sometime

Maybe so, but definitely a good place to visit.

As part of the Mumford & Sons weekend, the city was putting on some
pre-festival activities as well including a classic car show up and down
State Street.  Many of the quaint downtown shops were open as well
and the art galleries were giving out free wine samples!

Saturday, August 11:  The music festival didn't start until 2 PM, so we lazily slept in and relaxed around the Doubletree hotel room over in nearby Johnson City.  We had about a 20-minute drive back to Bristol and we headed out a little after noon to grab some lunch before the fun started. 

We strolled back down State Street and decided to eat at  the famous (or infamous - it seems it's the last place Hank Williams was seen alive??) Burger Bar.  The place is tiny and we were lucky enough to grab a couple seats at the bar itself and have a couple of delicious made-when-you-order-it cheeseburgers combos.

Tiny Bristol was an obvious place for their  music festival for music lovers like Mumford & Sons given the long history in music here including the fact that it, not Nashville, is the true birthplace of country music.

The crowds were big with a SOLD OUT maximum of 17,500 tickets sold.

The first set of the day on the smaller of two stages, was one of the best performances of the festival in our opinion, and a great new musical discovery for us, was Simone Felice (far right) and his outstanding  band, joined here with "Big" Mike Harris of Nashville's own, Apache Relay, who played the bigger stage later in the day.  At another show at this same stage with the band, Haim, we had a personal thrill of seeing and meeting, James Trimble, lead singer of one of our favorite regional bands, The Dirty Guv'nahs who was taking in the music festival with his fiancee'.

The "big stage" was just that.  The weather couldn't have been much better.  The line-up was great all day with a few bands we had seen before and like (The Apache Relay, Dawes and, of course, Mumford & Sons ) and a few acts we've been wanting to see play live like Justin Townes Earles on stage in the photo above.

Mumford & Sons were awesome, as usual.  Several of their new songs off their upcoming and long-awaited sophomore album called "Babel" sounded great live.  They finished their encore by bringing all the artists who had played throughout the day up on stage for a raucous cover of Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel."
There was even a free after party show at the Mural Stage just off State Street by another band we are growing fond of called The Black Lillies, a dandy groove-grass band out of Knoxville that we've seen a few times.
Sunday, August 12, 2012 - We had nowhere to be but home today, so we slept in again and headed out around noon heading back southwest toward Knoxville.  Our only real destination was a late lunch at Pizza Palace, an East Knoxville tradition for over 50 years.  Yes, Italian's in their name, but onion rings are also their game and served with a spaghetti-sauce dipping cup - delicious!  Thanks again to the wonderful Food Network TV show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for scouting this place out for us that we would probably have never stopped at otherwise.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Music in "The Woods" and more "Dirty Birds"

We attended a couple good, albeit brief (for different reasons), shows this past week that are worth noting:

Sunday, August 5 - We took our first quick trip up into the White's Creek area just a little northwest of downtown Nashville to the The Woods Amphitheatre at The Fontanel Mansion (former home of Barbara Mandrell) to catch a couple of our favorite musical acts:  one of our all-time faves, and the band we've seen play live the most times, Train,  along with Nashville-based singer-songwriter, Mat Kearney opening for them.  Opening for both of these acts was young, Andy Grammer, who did a nice set as well.  The Woods Amphitheatre was a pleasant surprise for us.  The acoustics and sight-lines are very good.  The venue is not named for somebody with the last name Woods, it got its name because it's literally built in "the woods."  Surrounded by trees and facing east, the stage makes for a beautiful setting with the sun going down behind it.  Thanks to our friends Wayne, John and Monique for attending the show with us and doing a little tail-gating beforehand.

We took folding chairs in and watched most of the show from well back in the general
admission area, but we moved up to catch a closer view of Mat Kearney do his
thing.  Unfortunately, his set was shortened by an impending threat of bad weather in the
area, but he was able to play some of ours and the crowds' favorite at least.
Train played as long as they could before the bad weather to the west was too close for comfort.
We made it back to the car just before the rain clouds opened up and the lightning was
upon us.  It was a good show despite the shortened length of about an hour.
Despite the weather woes, we will definitely be back to "The Woods."
It's nice to have a permanent outdoor concert venue in Nashville again since
the old Starwood Amphitheatre closed several years ago.
Wednesday, August 8 - We attended a free concert hosted by Budweiser downtown tonight.  While not being fans of domestic, mass-produced beer, two things drew us in:  the fact that the show was at The War Memorial (a great little music venue) and that one of the three acts playing was Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, one of our favorite new-to-us bands discovered at Bonnaroo this year. 

Well, we have to give it to Budweiser.  This corporate giant certainly knows how to throw a party!  They call in the "Made in America Tour" and they are traveling all around the country to different cities with the following: unlimited free Budweiser beer, free customized event T-shirts, free local food, free live music from up-and-coming bands, and even free party favors.  The place was amazingly uncrowded despite the free admission and..hello??... FREE BEER??? So we were able to up close to the stage for all three acts.  First up was a bluesy band called Rosco Bandana who were OK.  Granted the sound engineering throughout the show was not the best, but, hey, it's a free concert.  Sister Sparrow and here eight compadres were up next and we got up close to the stage and the sound improved somewhat.  The band was full of energy and soul as we had seen before and we really enjoyed their 45-minute set.  The final band was Mountain Heart who were weren't going to stay for since we hadn't heard of them before and the fact that it was a "school night," but we stayed a little longer and caught some of their show and it was actually very good.  They are a young, jacked-up country rock/bluegrass band that includes some very talented musicians.

Sister Sparrow& the Dirty Birds rocking the Made in Nashville Budweiser party
Front row for Jim Van Cleve of Mountain Heart sawing away on his fiddle