“How Do You Do It?”: A Nashville Story

“How do you do it?!?” my hostel roommates asked me yesterday morning.

After getting home from the Bluebird the night before around midnight, I had grabbed my laptop and gone back down to the common area to catch up on some blogging. My roommates were already sleeping. I was in bed after 1 AM and downstairs blogging the next morning again before they were awake. When they finally woke up, we had a few minutes to chat during which they expressed how aghast they were at how I’ve been out and about all the time. It’s actually been pretty funny – I leave in the morning before they’re awake, come home in the afternoon and stumble into the room while they are napping, then crawl into bed long after they are already asleep for the night. I noticed. They noticed. We all think it’s funny. Unfortunately they left today so I’ve got new roommates now, but I’m leaving tomorrow anyhow so I’m not too worried about it.

I perhaps have been pushing myself a little hard the last couple days. It’s just that I want to experience so darn much of Nashville during the short time I am here. And I have to say, I really have done that, though this day that I am currently discussing did become a bit of a write-off because I just couldn’t do it.

I took my time getting moving in the morning, and once I was ready to go, I headed up and caught the free bus over towards the Nashville Farmer’s Market. It was lovely outside, so despite the fact that I realize that it is winter, I still felt like it was worth a bit of a wander in that direction. It turns out that I was right and there wasn’t much happening at the market, but I was still able to grab an early lunch at the trendy food court.

Farmer's Market Collage

I then decided that I would walk back towards the downtown area instead of catching the bus since it was such a lovely day and I really had nowhere to be. While wandering along one of the streets, I spied Frothy Monkey Coffee. It looked fun and trendy so I went inside – if you know me, you know I love a good cup of coffee. Turns out this place was just lovely, and delicious to boot. This is totally how I would decorate a coffee shop if I was running one. It is just so perfectly Nashville.

Frothy Monkey Collage

After some coffee and blogging, I continued my walk over to Broadway. Now, something I don’t think I’ve mentioned at all yet is that Nashville has become “Swimville” for the next couple days. There is some sort of fan festival involving the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition models. I haven’t really looked into it too much, but it does mean that a few blocks of Broadway are closed down to vehicles. This doesn’t make much difference to me on foot, but it means that there are lots of people around for sure. I stopped to wander through the street and take a couple photos.

There is also live music, and I found out that there are a couple acts I wouldn’t mind seeing! I will have to keep that on my radar.

Swimsuit Photo

After wandering around the downtown area a little more, stopping in at the Hatch Print Shop and a couple other stores, I made my way back to the hostel. I took a bit of downtime in the common area before heading out for coffee again late in the afternoon, and later stumbling across some sort of Swimville red carpet. Not sure what was up with it really, but there wasn’t too much of a crowd so it can’t have been that cool.

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That evening, I decided to attend a show that I had been invited to the day before. If you recall from my previous post, I had a few lovely conversations while wandering around stores the other day. One such conversation (actually, the best conversation) was with a girl named Skye. She had moved to Nashville from New York a few years previously, and she gave me all sorts of recommendations about the city. She had told me about a show she was playing on Wednesday night at a place called the Dawg House. She gave other recommendations for the evening as well, for if I wanted to stick closer to home (home being the hostel – yes, that’s how I think of it now). Since I didn’t have anything else booked for the evening, I figured it would be worth getting away from touristy Broadway and checking out something with a more singer-songwriter vibe.

I looked up directions to the Dawg House Saloon, and it was a bit far and through areas I hadn’t walked before. It seemed pretty direct, though, so I decided I could probably do it on foot. I have to say, maybe I’m crazy, but I just feel incredibly safe in Nashville. Safer than I normally feel walking around Edmonton at night, in fact. I came across a few people on my walk, but they all just said “Hello” or “Good evening” in a friendly fashion and kept walking. It was actually quite a nice walk, and ended up being even shorter than I thought.

I arrived at the Dawg House Saloon early for the show, but I had read online that their food was affordable, so planned to have a late dinner there. I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the evening when my gourmet hot dog and two beers came to a grand total of $9! I sat at the bar and ate and drank and waited. Before long, I could see the stage being readied for performances, and shortly after that, I noticed Skye a few bar stools over. I went to say hi and she remembered me and introduced me to the other half of her act, Kristen. They were really sweet – we chatted for a couple minutes before I returned to my stool.

The show turned out to be a bit of a showcase of several singer-songwriter types. I found the first couple acts quite forgettable, but was actually blown away when Skye and Kristen took the stage. I hadn’t really known what to expect.

Their duo is called Whiskey Rose and I highly recommend checking them out. Their songs were catchy, polished, and a lot of fun. I can see myself listening to a few of their tracks over and over. They have a new EP coming out in March and I am very excited to hear it.   If you want more information on them or their music, check out their website or Youtube channel. My personal favourite song was “Too Pretty to go to Jail”.

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After Whiskey Rose, another duo took the stage. This time, it was a pair of men, and they were called Double Barrel. From the first note I was enjoying myself. One of their songs in particular struck me as absolutely amazing. I have no idea what the song title was, but my guess would be something along the lines of “She’s Stronger”. I think they mentioned that this was a new one. I can tell you, I would most definitely pay to be able to listen to that whenever I wanted. You can check these guys out on Twitter (I can’t find an actual website). The final song they played was also pretty stellar. It’s called “I’ll Drink to That”, and it is an excellent country drinking song which they actually spent the day filming the music video for.

The last act I saw was called Trailer Choir. Honestly, from the look of them I was prepared for their set to be a joke. But I was so completely, pleasantly surprised by them from the very first song. Everything was catchy and clever, and they were a ton of fun to watch. Even this morning, I have found myself replaying their song “Backpack” in my head. When I got home, I actually looked these guys up on the internet and I was even more impressed. They’ve actually had a charting hit or two, and were signed to Toby Keith’s label in 2007 after Toby himself saw them play and pulled them aside. I haven’t had time to look into their whole story yet, but it is just amazing that you can find acts like this at any casual bar on any casual night in Nashville. You can check out the Trailer Choir on  FacebookTwitter, or even on Wikipedia or CMT.com.

When this act finished, I decided it was time to head out due to the walk I had to take home. I went over to chat the Whiskey Rose girls before leaving, and they assured me that I should be able to purchase their EP in Canada – I can’t wait for that! Skye also offered to drive me back to the hostel, which was incredibly nice. I took her up on it. Even though walking all that way was fine around 8 PM, you just never know what things are like at midnight.

Skye and I chatted as she drove me back towards the river. I really enjoyed meeting her and am excited to keep up with her music career. After she dropped me off, I went upstairs to grab my laptop and headed down to the common area to research the acts I had just seen. I wasn’t down there for too long before it felt like it was time to head to bed.

This was a lovely way to spend my last night in Nashville.

Love KG

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