Lower Broad Strokes
Little Chick and I traveled to Nashville this weekend to visit my parents and see some of my high school friends — not to mention do some hard-hitting research for my honky tonk book project. One of the things I rarely do when home in Nashville is venture down to famed Lower Broadway where all the tourists crawl from bar to bar and, hopefully, learn about this hotbed neighborhood of country music history. So I decided Lower Broad was my focus this visit and I recruited my girlfriends to join me! It was a whirlwind, action-packed trip and I am barely recovering so pardon this high-level post. Here is a broad brush stroke account of our fabulous time in Music City.
I could not have been more excited to land this interview for the book. On Friday I met with legendary country music journalist Robert K. Oermann. I have watched him on TV since I was in high school as he is the expert that speaks on just about every single country music documentary ever made. He has written countless books on country music and was a wealth of information for me. He really brought some clarity/inspiration to several sections of my outline. Some of yall may even remember him as a judge on the American Idol spinoff show called ‘Nashville Star.’
On Saturday afternoon I met up with my girlfriends at the legendary Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry and often called The Mother Church of country music.
How much do we love a Port Wagoner Nudie suit?
After our backstage tour we posed for a photo op on the actual stage of the Ryman. Pretty wild to be up there right where the likes of Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn used to sing.
After the Ryman, we walked around the corner to grab a beer at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge just as countless Opry stars before us have done. But at 4pm Tootsie’s was already filled to the brim with tourists and we couldn’t push our way in.
The view of Lower Broadway just around the corner from The Ryman.
I love love love The Ernest Tubb Record Shop. After the Opry, Ernest Tubb used to walk across the street to his record shop and host a late show with fellow Opry stars. Perhaps one of my favorite historic spots in Nashville. We managed to find a table at a BBQ joint a few doors down where we caught up on each other’s busy mom lives over a few buckets of beer.
As the afternoon faded into early evening we retreated to our downtown hotel room to gussy up for the evening. We had a FUN & DELICIOUS sushi meal at Virago. Then, we ventured to my absolute favorite night spot in all of Nashville: Robert’s Western World.
Robert’s used to be the site Sho-Bud, the famous steel guitar company. A man named Robert bought it and turned it into a western wear store where he would serve food and beer and have his musician buddies play music. Because Robert was also one-time owner of legendary Tootsie’s which was three doors down, the name of the western store eventually changed to Robert’s 3 Doors Down. I first started going to Robert’s back in the early 90’s when BR-549 was the house band. Good times.
There are still shelves of cowboy boots lining one wall of this cozy honky tonk.
Later, Robert would sell it to Jesse Lee Jones who changed the name to Robert’s Western World. Jones fronts the current house band which is called Brazilbilly and plays all the old honky tonk standards that you can’t hear any where else in the Nashville Country scene. Which basically makes Robert’s my happiest place on earth in Nashville Tennessee.
Brazilbilly plays nothing but the good stuff. Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Webb Pierce. I was over the moon…
My friend Margaret is convinced this guy is Nick Saban’s twin. Do you see it? After the PBR kicked in, I was starting to…
I’d like to give a big HANK YOU to my parents, my girlfriends, Robert K Oermann, Robert’s Western World and Brazilbilly for making it such a great Nashville visit. Catch you all on the flipside!
(Copyright 2013 by Christine Warren)
I requested Webb Pierce and Brazilbilly was kind enough to play ‘”There Stands the Glass.” What old country song would you request? You don’t even have to put money in the tip jar to throw an idea out here on FFC, just shout it out in a comment. Who knows, maybe we’ll create Brazilbilly’s new set list.