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Inside Information

by Chico Holton, 2002

Downtown Nashville
Downtown Nashville

"Before I get too old, there's a place I gotta see
Climb aboard a Greyhound, go to Tennessee"

The opening lines of a song I wrote a couple of years back titled 'Gotta Get to Memphis' and one of the reasons I'm boarding a plane at Chicago O'Hare Airport for Nashville.

Before I get too old I've decided to realise two of my dreams. The first to visit the Sun Studios in Memphis and the second to perform at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. So here I am with suitcase and guitar on what I hope to be the trip of a lifetime on my first visit to the USA.

I find my seat has been taken by a woman who apologises and asks me to join her. Seeing me board with my guitar she wanted to know how I had managed to bring it on as hand luggage as she had always had to travel with her guitar in the hold which as all owners of cherished instruments know and often to their cost is not the best way. Her name was Jan Maier and was visiting Nashville to lecture at the Vanderbilt University for a couple of days. She was also a musician and singer from the Boston area who writes, performs, has a great love of arranging for choirs and has recorded a CD. The seventy five minute flight seems like ten minutes as we are engrossed in conversation about music, guitars, live gigs etc etc. We part at the airport taxi rank but agree to meet the following evening to continue the conversation and swap CDs.

Next morning being Sunday I take a cab to Broadway in downtown Nashville. Eleven am and I couldn't believe it, Nashville, the state capitol of Tennessee was devoid of traffic AND people. My cabbie explains "We are in the Bible belt, nothing opens until morning service has finished".

Tootsies Orchid Lounge
Tootsies Orchid Lounge

A little after midday and downtown starts to buzz and fill with people. I head to where I knew the first beer I have in Nashville had to be, Tootsies Orchid Lounge. This is around the corner from The Ryman Auditorium, home for many years to The Grand Ole Opry. This bar has been used by all the great Opry stars and musicians throughout it's stay in downtown as the place to have a couple of medicinal pre- show drinks to loosen up the nerves and to unwind after.

I have a couple of beers and absorb the atmosphere. The walls are covered in signed photos, memorabilia and dollar bills and live, real deal honky tonk country music. There is a whole load of these bars around this area, Legends Corner and the home to BR549, Roberts Western World to name but two which are great live country music venues all day until 2am If you need a continuous fix of country, this is the place for you. Enjoying the beer and music in Roberts, I'm amazed when the band start auctioning items to help pay for someones funeral. Outside the streets are filling up with cowboys, farmboys and pickup trucks. It hits me then that this is modern day life, not a museum. A city it may be, but it has a very small town feel to it.

I meet Jan at 6.30 as arranged for a meal and continue yesterday's conversation. She conveys her enthusiasm of music with passion and I'm sure her love of passing this on to younsters has drawn many into the world of music making. She is indeed a charming person. We agree to stay in touch and I look forward to playing her CD "Mountain Skyes" (PO Box 1141, Waltham, MA02454-1141 or email

Next day I mail all of my post cards hoping they arrive back in the U.K. before I do then head for the George Gruhn guitar shop to dribble over all the new and very collectable vintage instruments. Suffering from hunger pains I head for the Hard Rock Café. Exhibits here include a smashed Pete Townsend Gibson SG, Dylan clothing, an Elvis hat and cape but best of all for me, the Gibson ES295 used and signed by Scotty Moore, Elvis' guitarist on all those groundbraking original Sun recordings in Memphis during 1954. It was great to see 'the one' as my own electric guitar is a 1990 re-issue.

The Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird Cafe

Then it was upon me. One of the reasons for being here. The world famous Bluebird Café, home to all the great Nashville songwriters hosts an open stage night every Monday between 6 and 9 pm where you must sing original compositions, no covers allowed. The doors open at 5.30 with a rush to get a seat. You sign up by putting your name on a piece of paper which is then put into a basket. Twenty five names are drawn and that's who gets to perform. If you are drawn first, you sing first etc etc. Looking around I'm surprised how small the place is. A tiny stage, compact seating area with tables, stools along the bar and on past to the loos. There is a great buzz to the place and everyone is on tenterhooks, anticipating the draw. I was seated with two guys, Todd and Kevin who were knocked out when I told them I'd travelled 4,500 miles just to sing there. A chap on the next table heard our conversation shook my hand and wished me all the best but said he thought I was probably a bit crazy. He came from Detroit and it was his final try to get drawn before he had to move on. Unfortunately he didn't, neither did Kevin but Todd got spot number 7 and I got number 24. My instant feeling was relief which swiftly turned to fear. What was the standard like? How receptive are the audience? What if I'm not up to scratch? Etc etc.

The first artist was a young lad complete with hat who obviously wanted to be a country star and he was warmly received. I think that's what is so nice about open stages, everyone is in the same boat and everyone roots for each other. The standard varies, some superb, some not so good and the ages vary. Youngsters singing of making it big in Nashville whilst other much older artists just there to sing their songs for the love of it. Thankfully the music styles are varied. Country, folk, blues, pop, jazz and even downright odd. Two guys completely knocked me out. The older one, the singer had a great voice and the guitarist, only a younster had an amazing playing style of picking, strumming, tapping and great fingerboard acrobatics. He reminded me of Tuck Andress. They were a great act with great songs. As they passed me on leaving the stage I grabbed the young guitarist and said they'd been worth the trip from England. He shook my hand and thanked me as did his partner later when he came over to check out my compliment. The singer's nephew came and thanked me much later. The warmth of the welcome here was greatly appreciated. It seems that everyone is performing great epics tonight and pushing their maximum 8 minutes time to the limit. Number 21, 22, 23 and …. "OK folks, it's nine-o-clock, that's it for this week, you all be early for next weeks show". The final words from Barbara Cloyd who presents the open stage nights. I retrieve my piece of paper from the basket which has now been stamped which means I can put it in the second try basket next week. My new buddies came up and said they were sorry I didn't get to play but they'd be back next week.

The Bluebird has two shows every night so for a $7 cover charge I stay on to see Mike Henderson, a guitarist I have admired for years. He is an electric blues guitarist whose music and videos I enjoyed when we were lucky enough to have CMT over here. There is an hour or so break whilst the stage is set up and the place fills to capacity. A huge guy with beard to match takes my money. He reminds me of a grizzly bear but I didn't think I'd mention it. The show gets under way and Mike is a dazzling player and singer. His band consists of upright bass, drums and Jerry Lee Lewis lookalike and soundalike piano player. Mike says "There are two rules at a Mike Henderson show. Number one. No drinking during the gospel songs. Number two. There are no gospel songs." During the break I head for the loo and I see the great Kevin Welch sat at the bar, not surprising I suppose as they are buddies on the same Dead Reckoning Label. As I pass them I stop and say what a pleasure it is to see both artists in the flesh, how much I have enjoyed their music and that I had friends back in England who would give their right arm to be stood where I was at that moment. Mike said "Tell them to come over" but I said it would be better for them to come to England. During all the handshaking Mike bought me a drink while Kevin told me about his last gig at the Borderline in London. Both artists just so friendly and thought my trip to play the Bluebird was awesome. Another story I can relate now …. "Hey did I tell you when Mike Henderson bought me a drink …" I leave on cloud nine. The cabbie says we are now passing through a rich suburb. "How do you know" I said. "Because they have electricity and running water" he replied.

I decide to move hotels to cut down on taxi fares and I move to the Best Western Downtown Music Row on Division Street. This is nicely positioned for Music Row itself and an easy 20 minute stroll into downtown. Leave my case and guitar in my room and take the lift to the lobby. Several guys with guitars about so feel at home right away. Outside I ask directions from a chap sat in a pickup. He points me in the right direction and I set off. Within a couple of minutes I hear beep beep and "Hey buddy, jump in, it's too cold to be walking" It's the guy in the pickup and I'm sure he went out of his way to drop me in Broadway.

Street Sign on Music Row
Street sign on Music Row

I go into the Ernest Tubb Record shop. If there's anything country you want, this is the place to go. If they ain't got it, nobody has. I browse for ages and buy, what else but a Chet Atkins CD. I'm a member of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society and he was my great hero. Whilst I'm in Nashville I intend to find anything that was connected to Chet as he lived and worked here. I had the great honour and pleasure of meeting and hearing him play live when he came to England in 1994 and did a concert in Bristol, which was something I thought I'd never do. I also take a photo of the Duane Eddy CD section to send to the Duane Eddy Circle as I'm also a member of that. I pop into Wolfys Restaurant where the waitress says "I served Vince Gill right at that table there sir".I bet she says that to all the customers. Buy some gifts in Charlie Daniels shop and head back to the hotel.

The hotel bar just happens to be a songwriters venue called The Hall of Fame. Every night they have writers singing in the round which is a big thing here. A known writer will gather 1, 2 or 3 more writers or co-writers on stage and take it in turns to sing their compositions going 'round two or three times. These will be followed on stage by another round and so on and on. It's similar to a singaround in an English folk club. The difference being it is done on stage and nearly all the participants are established writers. The music played here is mainly country. The twang of the guitar matches the twang in the voice.There is a term used among the Nashville writers. He's had a cut or she's had a cut. This means the writer has had a song recorded and most of these writers have.

The sun is shining as I stroll into the Visitor Centre which is housed in the impressive Gaylord Centre, slap bang in the heart of Broadway. I'm met by Bill, a very friendly chap who works here one day a week to keep himself active during his retirement. He booked a seat for me at the early performance of The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday and also arranges the shuttle bus to pick me up at my hotel. We chat for ages about the Bluebird Café, local music and Chet Atkins. He wished me a great stay and hoped the next time we met I'd be able to tell him I'd been successful at the Bluebird.

Leaving Bill, I head for the Ryman Auditorium, which was home to The Opry between 1943 and 1974. It was built in 1892 by Nashville businessman and steamboat captain Thomas Ryman as a tabernacle for the Rev Samuel Jones. It has been used over the years for religious meetings, political debates, boxing and opera (hence the name Opry). I had my photo taken on stage and was very humbled to be where Chets casket and guitar stood during a memorial tribute to him with some of the Nashville greats taking part.

Monday to Friday there is a trolley service between 11 am and 2 pm which brings office workers into downtown for lunch from the commercial district. All the trolleys are named after a famous country artist. I saw the Ray Stevens, Marty Stewart, Charlie Pride and taking me completely by surprise, the Chet Atkins Trolley which I frantically chase taking photographs. I pop back into the Information Centre and was spotted by Bill who calls me by name and hoped I'd had a good day. It must have been a full six hours since we met. I was so impressed, what a memory and such genuine goodwill. As I pass the Greyhound Bus Depot I go in and buy a return ticket to Memphis on a worrying 6.15 am departure the next morning.

I beat the 5 am alarm, probably through excitement or possibly fear of missing the bus. I arrive at the bus depot 25 minutes before departure time to see a fair sized assortment of passengers. Rural Tennessee is very rural. Lots of trees, streams, rivers, very rocky hills with the occassional farm complete with swing on the porch. The landscape doesn't really open out until we are halfway down Highway 40 towards Jackson where Carl Perkins lived. The bus depot has a real retro 50's look to it which feels just perfect.

Hallowed Ground! - The Sun Studios, Memphis
Hallowed Ground! - The Sun Studios, Memphis

Arriving in Memphis I am ready to burst with excitement and anticipation. Memphis which has been the subject of so many songs. Home to so much great music and musicians. I head straight for the Sun Studio which is a hurried 25 minute walk along Union Avenue. I get to Marshall Street and there it is. The most important place in the history of Rock 'n' Roll and all the music that followed. This is where it was born. I take some photos of the exterior before entering the Sun Café to get my tour ticket. I buy a tee shirt and a coffee, in that order and move to the window. Here was a chap with an original 50's Gibson ES295. This model is synonymous with this studio (there is a huge replica hung on the wall outside). I ask him it's year and immediately we are in deep conversation. It originally was a total wreck but he had rebuilt and refinished it to it's now beautiful condition. I assumed he was trying to sell it or had worked on it for the studio as an exhibit as it was spot on for the era. We part as great buddies as the tour is about to start. I thought the café was pure 50's but Marion Keiskers front office is even more so. She was Sam Phillips' secretary who played such a huge part in the discovery of Elvis Presley. We pass on into the studio which again is a working studio so there is a mix of old and new instruments and equipment. I got the feeling the tour guide was doing it for love rather than money, that was until he said that tips would be appreciated. To me this is hallowed ground. To enter this room is one of the great moments of my life. This is what the word awesome was created for. The walls are covered in black and white photos of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Howlin' Wolf and many more. To see the floor tiles laid by Sam himself, the old foam insulation tiles and listening to the music recorded in this very room nearly fifty years ago which so changed my life brings me out in goosebumps. Sam has loaned or gifted back the actual microphone used by Elvis. I photograph it and I run my had over it. What feelings. It is like touching a religious artefact. I linger, but all too soon it is over and I am back in the Café.

Chico with Chet Atkins Statue
Chico with Chet Atkins Statue

I take the free Sun Studio shuttle to Gracelands and do the complete Platinum Tour, then catch the shuttle back to downtown. I walk up and down Beale Street, home to the blues, W C Handy, Muddy Waters and B B King. The music blares out of all the clubs, bars and restaurants in one big cacophany of blues and zydeco. After dark this must be a hustling, bustling heaven. I go into a restaurant where the sound system is playing some great music and I savour the tastiest southern fried chicken, french fries and mustard ever.

BB King's Club & Beale Street, Memphis
BB King's Club & Beale Street, Memphis

My bus doesn't leave until 6.30 so I decide to check out the Gibson factory retail shop. I saw a Lucille signed by B B King and was told that he and Scotty Moore had played there in the past month. The residents of Memphis and Nashville are spoilt with great live music. Nothing worse than going into a guitar shop with no money so leave just with photographs. The 6.30 bus eventually leaves at 8.50 among scenes of pandemonium but I get on and arrive back in Nashville at 12.35 am What a day.

Another busy day planned. Ten in the morning and I arrive at The Country Music Hall of Fame. This is a very impressive, newly custom built building in downtown Nashville. The front façade represents the black and white keys on a piano in the vertical position. This place is a must visit for any country music fan. It is laid out on three floors. One for Nashville and Tennessee. One for Austin and Texas which really are the two great centres of country music. The ground floor houses a record shop, merchandising area and restaurant. There are many interactive displays and I spent well over four hours here. It's a shame you are not allowed to take photographs. Many of the exhibits are light sensitive, so it is understandable.There was a whole display of Chet's guitars and his plaque in the Hall of Fame which I would have loved to photograph. A nice touch I thought was Waylon Jennings plaque which was draped in black ribbon and yellow roses as he had died recently. Return back to the hotel to shower and change. Tonight it's the Opry.

This is out of town in Music Valley and is a $9 return shuttle trip and well worth the hassle free trip as the car parking is horrendous. The Opry is big, big business. It is surrounded by Opry Mills which is a massive retail and entertainment complex. The Opry House itself is huge and impressive. The show actually is a live radio broadcast with each half hour having different sponsors. It was strange to see all the advertising jingles and slogans being performed live onstage. It gave a real feel of 50's radio broadcasting authenticity. It was a strange combination of ultra modern surroundings and technology with old fashioned down home programming.

Chico on the Grand Ole Opry Stage at the Ryman Auditorium
Chico on the Grand Ole Opry Stage at the Ryman Auditorium

To appear on the Opry stage you have to be an Opry member and this is by invitation only. The purity of your music and your morality has a bearing on your suitability which is strange as some of the lifestyles of some of these good christian people has been colourful to say the least. Artists in tonights show include a young squaredance troupe, a country comedian, veteran rhinestoned artist Porter Wagoner, singing legend George Jones, young rising star Brad Paisley and the superb Trisha Yearwood. If you visit Nashville, you must visit the Opry.

My hotel is situated next to Music Row. This is the music business area packed with recording studios, record company offices, publishing companies, writing houses and the BMI and ASCAP offices. This is the last great Tin Pan Alley on earth and the reason this city got the name Nashville, Music City USA I try to find Chet's old office here but fail.

I pop into the Ryman Auditorium to book a seat for a show this coming Saturday and was immediately recognised after my visit there last week. I've become a familiar figure around the downtown area and I am welcomed everywhere with such warmth. I contact Ralph Murphy at the ASCAP offices hoping to fix a meeting to see if he can help to get my songs heard. He was out of town last week but was due back in the office today. Sadly, Harlan Howard, one of Nashvilles great writers died over the week end. He penned great classics like 'Walking after Midnight' and 'I Fall to Pieces'. He and Ralph were great buddies so it has fallen to him to make the funeral arrangements but he leaves me a message saying we will meet later before I leave. It being Monday, the time has come to try my luck at the Bluebird again. Arriving in the hotel lobby I'm greeted by another guitar carrying guy. "How ya doing" he enquires. "Fine" I reply. "Where ya going" he continued, "The Bluebird" said I. "So am I. I've got a van in the car park come on with me". I didn't need to be asked twice and we shake hands and introduce ourselves. His name is Doug and he's from Indiana. He tells me he comes here fairly often to try his luck at the Bluebird and tells me about some of his previous trips. We talk guitars and songwriters talk all the way. A small queue has formed by the time we arrive all frozen to the spot in a cold biting wind.

We immediately get into conversation with the guy in front who is a local writer called Bob. We grab a table and although we are strangers to one another, we talk easily together like old friends. We drink coffee, firstly to warm up then to soothe throats ready for the upcoming task. Doug and Bob put their names in the first try basket and I get to put my stamped ticket in the second try one. Barbara Cloyd arrives on stage and recites the rules and announces the names and order of tonight's lucky writers. Sadly my two compadres are not drawn but I'm drawn number 20. Last week I was on a high just to be there but tonight I feel a bit nervous, probably because quite a few people from last week have arrived to see if I get on and to hear me.

I relax myself when I climb onto the stool with a bit of intro chat. I say I have travelled over 4,000 miles to realise my dream. To walk through that door, step on this stage under the neon bluebird and sing some of my songs. Their appreciation of that is shown with whoops and yells which settles me and I launch into 'Move On Down'. That finished, I thank them for sharing my dream and finish with 'I Can't Let Go'. This song has always drawn people into it and thankfully tonight is no exception. The audience seem to hang onto the lyric and gentle guitar strum and pick. Before I know it, it's over. Leaving the stage I'm met with backslapping and handshakes from people I may probably never see again. Doug shakes my hand when I get back to the table. He took a fair few photos with my camera and hoped that at least one will be usable. So do I. Doug and I stay on for the second show. Again it was Mike Henderson and again he was just great.

My local radio station, BBC Wiltshire Sound were aware of my trip and they rang me 6.30 am local time, 12.30 pm UK time and interviewed me live on air and invited me to go into the studio on my return. That evening I go to the Station Inn, the home of bluegrass in Nashville. Tonight it's Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time. He was a CMA award winner for his hit 'Murder on Music Row'. This was a very political and controversial song about the inclusion of drums and rock and roll guitars into country music to get radio airplay and the almighty dollar.

The doors open at seven and the show starts at nine so being the new kid in town I arrive at 7.15 to beat the crowds. When I enter I find … Lin the barmaid arranging the seating and generally getting sorted for the evening. No one really arrives until well after eight. For once I didn't bother to bring my camera which I was beginning to regret because the interior of this place is amazing. The walls are covered in posters, neon beer signs shining out of the gloom and a sea of tables with not one matching chair. I have to take some photos of this place so as it's close to my hotel I decide to go back and get my camera. I explain to the woman on the door and ask if it's OK to leave briefly. "Sure honey, I won't forget ya, you go right ahead" she said in a gorgeous warm Tennessee drawl.

Chico on stage at The Bluebird Cafe
Chico on stage at The Bluebird Cafe

The place fills up quickly as start time approaches and the music is phenomenal. Larry Cordle plays a sweet sounding Martin dreadnaught and the line up is female fiddle and harmony vocals, string bass player who had the most fabulous high harmony and sometimes lead vocals and banjo and harmony vocal. The lead flatpickers technique was jawdropping. He played a Santa Cruz dreadnaught which just spat out notes in his fiery solos which drew intermittent applause from the knowledgeable audience.
During the break who should walk in and sit down quite close was Bob, the guy I met at the Bluebird last Monday. I tap him on the shoulder and his face lights up when he turns around. He introduces me to his girlfriend, Louisa as "this is the English guy I was telling you about". They insist I join them and it turns out she is, surprise, surprise a songwriter from Texas and has been in town about 3 months. At the end of the show, they insist on giving me a lift back to the hotel even though I tell them it's very close. We swap CD's and part with warm handshakes and good wishes.

Chico with superb songwriter Bob Spanburgh at the Station Inn, home to Bluegrass in Nashville
Chico with superb songwriter Bob Spanburgh at the Station Inn, home to Bluegrass in Nashville

Next day I pick up a copy of Rage. This is a free weekly booklet of gig listings and a comprehensive whats on. I see in the music list that Bob is doing a gig on Monday. I also see that he has been hiding his light under a bushel as he was awarded artist and song of the year in 2000 at Tin Pan South which is an annual festival of songwriting. I also see that Tony Joe White is doing a gig tomorrow night which starts at 10 pm in a bar called Third and Lindsley.

Friday night is warm and as I stroll through downtown and the area is packed. People and music spill out of the bars and restaurants and the atmosphere is electric. The venue is packed but I squeeze through to the bar and get a beer. I join a couple who had the last vacant chair in the place at their table. Joe and his wife Candy immediately welcome me with the usual "Hey where ya from?" when they hear my accent and reply with the standard "Welcome to Nashville". We talk about our lives and music, we buy each other beer and they even invite me back to their home for Sunday lunch. Our conversation is interupted by a Louisiana growl of "Let's swamp it up a little". An apt intro as I've ever heard. He starts the evening solo with acoustic guitar, harmonica and that voice and joined later by his bass player who just happens to be a buddy of Joe and his drummer called Boom Boom. The place boogies and erupts when he sings 'Polk Salad Annie' and 'A Rainy Night In Georgia' is just electrifying. At the end of the night I buy a CD from Tony's sister and ask if he'll sign it. "Sure will honey, you come with me". She takes me by the hand and leads me through the place to a tiny dressing room. While his sister goes off to find a pen we talk for ages about his music, the gig and the possibility of some English gigs. He even shared some of his scotch with me. Wow, another tale to tell. We shake hands and I drift off into the warm night. I've just been in the company of one of the coolest guys on the planet. Again, what a night.

Seven pm, Saturday evening and I'm sat on one of the Rymam Auditorium wooden benches. Tonight I'm at a benefit concert for the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee. The seventeen acts include Mike Henderson, Kevin Welch, Tony Rice, Nickel Creek and Steve Earle so it's gonna be a feast of great music. A surprise guest was bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley. His one song was received with a mixture of awe, respect, reverence and a standing ovation. Old time and bluegrass music seems to be having a resurgence in popularity which in my humble opinion is a good thing for real and roots music. The concert concluded at 12.15 am The $30 ticket price was fabulous value for money. The guy sat next to me said "Well, what did you think of that then, Buddy?". I replied "My head is alive with the music, but my backside was dead from this wooden seat" He laughed and agreed.

I'm met with a bright, sunny, Sunday morning so decide to go and find the venue of Bob's gig tomorrow night when I intend to turn up and surprise him. Five minutes after leaving the hotel, the surprise is on me. A screech of brakes, beep beep and a "Hey Chico, we're going for breakfast, come and join us". It's Bob and Louisa. This is so strange. I tell them I've come to haunt them. Louisa has to work so Bob suggests we hang out and do some picking which we do all afternoon. He drives me around the bits of Nashville I haven't seen and we go into Tootsies to see a buddy of his. He is one of those superb country pickers with the perfect tele and Fender amp sound. Also in the band is a pedal steel player, again a great player, but how all the pedals work was still a mystery to me when we left. Louisa had to work on later so Bob suggested we do some more picking. I say "As we are both writers, why don't we write a song" which is exactly what we did. Bob left saying he would pick me up tomorrow at seven.

Monday, my final day. I get my meeting with Ralph Murphy at ASCAP and find him a charming, softly spoken man. He plays a couple of my songs and enjoyed 'Roll Along'. I leave with my fingers crossed. Bob rings and said he can't get tonight off. Could I do his gig? Panic, the word doesn't even come near, but game? You bet I am. I rehearse an hour set when Bob rings to say everything was OK again for tonight. I think I was relieved. We arrive at the venue, a cosy little restaurant called Guidos and Bob introduces me to Kevin, his regular partner and guitarist. They do a set of mainly covers and I see what a powerful guitarist and singer Bob is and I'm mightily impressed. His name is Bob Spanburgh and if you ever get the chance, go and see him. You will not be disappointed. He calls me up on stage and introduces me as his English buddy and we do our new song which was well received. He left me on stage solo and I perform 'Move On Down', 'Ray Crolls Rag', 'I Can't Let Go' and 'I Nearly Made It'. Just about the perfect end to my stay in Nashville.

I'm pretty OK with my own company and did this trip alone but if wished to visit Nashville you may prefer to go with friends or even organise a group visit. It is the capital of country music but the live music scene there is very varied, so whatever your musical taste buds desire, they will find it here. I was welcomed everywhere with warmth, genuine friendship and great humour. I am currently experiencing withdrawal symptoms so, hopefully, I'll see ya there.

Chico Holton

"This article was first published in the Autumn 2003 edition of Folk on Tap"

Unless otherwise noted all content © 2004 - 2017 Chico Holton



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