Country Kudos

Sunday November 6th, 2011 – Nashville, TN

More Nashville history today. If I’m going to be stuck here for the week, I might as well soak up as much of the atmosphere as I can. I don’t know when I’ll be back this way, if at all. I do have quite a few friends in town, but professionally I’m not sure if I have a niche.

It’s fine either way. The comedy crowds here are just not my favorite. As a rule, they’ve been drunk, loud, indifferent and flat out stupid. Oh, and judgmental too. I’ll do stuff I’ve done everywhere else, but here they’ll turn up their noses or groan. I’ve lost my patience.

Even Caroline Rhea was frustrated last night, and she’s a name act with all kinds of TV credits who has been coming here for years. She’s very funny, but the late night audience insisted on talking through her set and someone was even texting. How rude can you get?

I don’t know what it is, but it is. Maybe it’s because they can see Loretta Lynn or Faith Hill shopping at a Kroger, so they’re unimpressed with anyone of lesser notoriety. I don’t know, and I’m to the point I don’t want to know. I’ve never been able to rock this town.

It surprised me about Caroline Rhea though. She said she loves it here, and always has. I was very impressed with her onstage and off, and we got along extremely well. She’s a real person, and made herself accessible to anyone who wanted to meet her after shows.

She also talked about how she’s not thrilled with the road anymore either. She’s a mom and wants to spend time with her three year old daughter. What’s wrong with that? It was very fun to work with her, and when she had to struggle to get their attention I’ll admit it made me feel relieved. It wasn’t just me after all. We all had to fight to get them to listen.

It is what it is, and it didn’t get in the way of having fun and learning stuff off stage this week. I went back downtown this afternoon to take in the induction ceremony in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. There’s a walk of fame like Hollywood, and today they held a free event open to the public to induct several people, including guitarist Les Paul.

I’d never been to a Hall of Fame induction ceremony of any kind, so I made it a point to attend. Les Paul is from Waukesha, WI so I had to support that alone. I got way more than I expected though, and was glad I went. There must have been about a thousand people.

Dr. Bobby Jones was inducted, and I’d heard of him for years. He has a gospel show on CMT I believe, and it’s been on since 1980. He’s the host and executive producer, and he has won all kinds of Emmys and Grammy awards. He was a dynamic speaker, and it was worth going just to see him. That wasn’t all though. There were several more inductees.

Alan Jackson was there, and he was great too. I didn’t realize how prolific a writer he’s been, and it blew me away. He’s had thirty-five number one hits if I heard correctly, and he’s written or co-written over twenty. I’ve heard if a person writes three hit records, that person is financially set for life. I would think Mr. Jackson has been able to squeak by.

Kix Brooks was also on the bill, and I didn’t realize how much success he’s had either. I’d heard of Brooks And Dunn, but apparently they’ve sold more records than almost any other act in recorded music history. Wow. They were rattling off statistics as they brought him up to get his award, and I lost track. He was the headliner, and was introduced last.

There was another lady inducted I’d never heard of named Dottie Rambo. Great name. I must admit I’d never heard of her before, but she was a child prodigy who wrote all kinds of hit songs for all kinds of people from Dolly Parton to Whitney Houston. I was amazed as they read off her impressive credits, just as I was with Alan Jackson and Kix Brooks.

These people are all major successes, and I respect every one of them even if they’re not on my personal favorites radar. I have to admit I’ve never owned a single Alan Jackson or Brooks And Dunn CD, but they’ve done quite well without my help. They’re both huge.

I was impressed even more when I heard them speak. Each one of those guys was about as humble as I could ever imagine someone being with all they’ve accomplished, yet both made reference to how they felt like they didn’t deserve to be included with the big stars.

They absolutely did, as did everyone who was inducted. Bobby Jones is very impressive as well. His publisher was his presenter, and made the point that even though Bobby grew up in Paris, TN his records were being sold in Paris, France. I’m sure he’s done well also.

By all accounts, Les Paul was not only an innovator and creative genius but also a super person who everyone loved. His son was there to present him, and told of how well loved his father was. What a sincere tribute. I can only hope someone remembers me like that.

I stayed for the entire ceremony, and enjoyed every bit of it. I learned a lot, and have the utmost respect for the accomplishments of everyone there. Not only did they deserve their recognition, they all seemed like outstanding people as well. I want to model myself after people like these, even if I wasn’t a direct consumer of their music. They’re great people.

Afterward, I took the tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame. I can’t believe I’d never seen it before in all the times I‘ve been to Nashville, but I hadn’t. It cost $19.99, but there was a $2 AAA discount so that was all I needed to hear. I knew I needed to check it out.

I try to always make a point to check out places like this on the road, especially Halls of Fame. I’ve been to the football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH and baseball in Cooperstown, NY. I’ve also seen the bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis. This was right up there with the best tourist attractions I’ve ever seen. It was worth every penny, and I enjoyed everything.

I’d only heard of Chet Atkins, but again wasn’t familiar with a lot of his work. I’m now going to make it a point to check out more of it, as well as Hank Williams too. There was a whole exhibit for each of them, and I see why. They were monster talents, and deserve a place in entertainment history. Seeing this part of Nashville was awe inspiring, even if my shows weren’t fun this week. I’m a student of the game, and this week had many lessons.


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