Day 3: November 24, 2007
Why It's Called`Music City
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When I stopped at the Midway Motel, I was told that they were completely booked but that I could check back after 6:00 to see if there were some no-shows. The place isn't that great but I guess word is getting out. I decided to take a look at a motel down the street whose neon sign had previously caught my eye. The Drake is probably about the same distance from a five-star rating as the Midway and I checked in (after checking out a room). I got a shot of the neon in action last night and a daylight shot this morning. Take a look inside here. I guess most of the stars that stay here were gone for the weekend because I didn't see any.

I had two places, both known for breakfast, on my "to eat" list. I chose the farthest of the two for today since I'll be heading home after breakfast tomorrow. I've been to the Loveless Cafe before and have personal experience with the lines that can form there. I headed there early in hopes of avoiding a huge crowd. I was successful beyond my wildest dreams. In fact, the parking lot was so empty I feared they might not be open. But the door opened to my tentative pull and I could make out one other customer seated at a table inside. I was given my own room and was soon working on a "Southern Sampler".

There were others in the room before I left and the lot was no longer barren. They must open at eight, I thought since I had noted the car clock reading 8:01 when I pulled in. But now, aided by ample amounts of coffee, I realized that it had been 8:01 in Cincinnati. Apparently the Loveless opens at seven. How did that other guy beat me?

The Loveless Cafe is about 0.1 miles from the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway and, of course, I couldn't just ignore it. I slipped on just long enough to get to the first exit. I stopped for pictures at the south end of the bridge at Birdsong Hollow and again at the end of the exit ramp.

In Franklin, I stopped to stroll around the town square. The fellow atop the Confederate monument in its center seems to have had some hat problems. An unusual design, and accidental break, or a drive-under shooting? There must be a story there.

On the way back to the motel, I passed by Greer Stadium, home of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.

After a break and a website update from the motel, I moved to the heart of Nashville on Broadway. The familiar places are still there but there are some new signs mixed in with the old. The Cadillac Ranch seems like a nice enough place but it will never be called a Honky Tonk. I'm not a fan of the gentrification of Broadway symbolized by places like the Cadillac Ranch and the Hard Rock Cafe. I guess the semi-upscale Big River Brewery is in that group too but I'm willing to give it some slack. After all, it is a brewery.

Going from place to place on Broadway isn't so much bar hopping as it is stage hopping. The two places pictured are Robert's Western World and The Bluegrass Inn. Hot pants and bright colored hose almost always work as attention getters but these three sisters back up their looks with their music. Of course, I'm fond of the sound of twin fiddles, anyway. They go by the name Jypsey and that usually includes a brother on guitar. He wasn't around today but a very capable substitite had been found.

I eventually made my way to the Ryman for the early show and was in my pew well before show time. As the big moment neared, a Minnie Pearl impersonator (They aren't as common as Elvis impersonators but should be.) got the crowd's attention. By then, those empty seats were pretty much covered.

The early show has five half-hour segments with a different "host" for each. Tonight the hosts were Jeannie Seely, George Hamilton IV, Riders in the Sky, Jimmy C. Newman, and Ricky Skaggs. Each performed a tune or two in addition to introducing the other performers in their segment. It's a two and a half hour musical showcase.

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