I think this photo of me with John Oates earned me more likes than I have ever squeezed out of a Facebook post. I’m kind of mad about the guy from Painted Blind, a local Nashville band who slipped me their cd, photobombing me.
In any case, I spent the final weekend of March in Nashville for Show Choir Nationals. It is one of my favorite things of the year. I have grown to love the competition, the groups and the weekend spent in an amazing city. All three Alabama groups finished in the top five, but the winner, Happiness Inc. was superior. And my third time seeing Clinton’s Attache was equally rad. Here is a video of Happiness Inc. from JFK High School in Illinois. It’s not the performance from this weekend, but it’s the same show.
I thought they were really rad. Embedding is not working on this post, which is why I have delayed posting it, but I encourage you to check out all of the links, as that is my main reason for making the post. Like, right here, it really doesn’t matter what I say. I just want to give you one place with all of the rad video I want you to watch. Booger.
Here I am with Better Than Ezra lead singer Kevin Griffin at the same Tin Pan South performance at Hard Rock Nashville. I’m genuinely a big fan of Better Than Ezra, as uncool as that may be, and moreso, their later material, especially the Closer record and tunes from Before the Robots like “Southern Thing” and Paper Empire like “Absolutely Still.”
I was also really surprised to learn that Griffin helped write “Stuck Like Glue” for Sugarland, a song I’m not sure I had heard originally until his version at the show. I have an uninteresting Jennifer Nettles story. Ask me sometime.
But let me back up. Before this boss night of activity, I checked out a recent Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives joint, Bro’s Cajun Cuisine. Now this has everything I want in a restaurant: bros, cajun food and the Triple D seal of approval.
I met the owner, Mr. Breaux. And I had the waitress-recommended Cajun Catfish plate. We took a photo in front of a giant poster of Guy Fieri.
Before this amazing meal, which on a Birmingham Lunch Club scale, I would award FIVE BROS, I was at the Opry to catch some red hot show choir action with my pal Blairbear. Here we are standing in front of the Opry house.
Now. You’re pretty well caught up. I also stopped at the state line to buy lottery tickets at the Boobie Bungalow exit for the biggest jackpot in U.S. history. I did not win the lottery. But I did get to spend the evening after the Tin Pan South show with a very old friend, Zach Gooch, and his new bride Lisa. And, based on odds, that was probably better.
I also visited one of my three favorite record stores in America (Pegasus, Florence and Charlemagne, across the street, being the others), Grimey’s. I bought two terribly cliche records: The Black Keys - The Big Come Up and Bon Iver – Bon Iver. Whatever. I wanted them both.
The finals were Saturday morning, with Happiness Inc. winning. We also got the performance from the host choir, Clinton, Mississippi’s Attache, which is the gold standard of show choirs. I’ve seen their set three times this year. I continue to be amazed by them. Now, frankly, just us talking with no Blairbear around, I think Happiness Inc. would have given them a run for their money. But, look, I get that Attache is technically more perfect than everyone else. I get it. Lance Bass was in Attache and they made him stand in the back because he was terrible.
Zach and Lisa had invited me to a brewery tour of Blackstone with them the previous evening, which sounded pretty cool. I had planned on my Saturday ending with the Predators or the Grand Ole Opry, but Preds tickets were outrageous. I started with the tour, and allowed myself to see where the evening took me.
And at some point in there, I took a lot of random backstage pictures of the Opry. The mailbox. One of the green rooms. The circle from the original Opry that Hank Williams was kicked off. In no order, here those are:
I ended Saturday with a trip to the Grand Ole Opry, a show that I’m always going to want to see, regardless of lineup. I’m old school in a lot of ways: I like traditional church services, I like my newspaper in print form, I like my coffee black, I like driving ten miles out of the way to see interesting things on the side of the road and I like the Grand Ole Opry. I’m not sure the first and the last are that different. On this night, Ricky Skaggs headlined, with Crystal Gayle and Patty Loveless. But if you have ever watched the Opry, you’ll know names aren’t really important. A gospel group from Ireland called The Geddy’s absolutely blew me away. Here is a shot from my sweet seats:
Before I headed over to America’s oldest radio show, ol’ Blairbear and I went to a sports bar in the Opry hotel to watch some basketball. This place had $13 hot dogs. Again, this place had $13 hot dogs. We shared nachos.
Somewhere in that weekend, I had my first White Castle experience. 29 years I have gone without trying Krystal’s Yankee kin, and I’m not sure I was impressed. I LOVE some Krystal, bros. White Castle was okay, but it didn’t blow me away.
I also made a stop at Jack White’s Third Man Records, where I am now a Vault member. I picked up 7″ records from Alabama’s own Dan Sartain and the Alabama Shakes.
And that’s it! I wish I had done this blog post earlier, but I was hoping to embed. I happened to have time to finish, so I did. It’s not well written or particularly interesting, but I like to share and I haven’t written anything over here in a while. So I hope you like it. Later, I will upload all of these photos and more to the Facebooks with no explanation. I hope you’ll like them.