Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oct. 4-8 Memphis, TN

From Nashville we headed to Memphis. We only went 10 feet when I knew we had a problem. Our coach has a "air ride" suspension. However, the front end would not rise and a big "hissing" sound came from the front right side. We drove - slowly - to a Freightliner repair shop (our chassie is made by them) and discovered we "blew out our air bag" on the right side. Now, let me make it very clear, we did not blow it out -- the highways of America blew it out. We hit some really bad "pot holes" and on a couple, I thought we would fall apart. Turns out we damaged our air bag. That was a one day delay in getting to Memphis and the new air bag, of all places, was shipped from Memphis. Luck was on our side that this happened in a major city.

We finally made it to Graceland and the RV park right behind the HeartBreak Hotel (yes that is for real). A great park and walking distance to Graceland. Prior to that, we decided to go into Memphis and visit the Sun Studio, the place that was the start for Elvis (not to mention Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash). When you stand in the recording studio and look at the microphone (see photo to right) that was used by these guys in the mid 50's you get goosebumps. Then they played some of the "out takes" of Elvis and these others during their famous recordings - it is as if you are there at that time.

All these year we had heard that "That's all right (Mama)" was the first song Elvis recorded at Sun Studio and he did it for his mom -- not true - you will have to go there to find out the real first song (that he did to for his mom). And "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash - that drum that stands out in the background - not a drum at all - that too, you will have to visit Sun Studio for the answer.

The next day we went to Graceland. How many times have you heard on the news that there was an "Elvis sighting?" So we get to Graceland and guess what -- Elvis is dead. Damn what a disappointment. Oh well, after you go to Graceland you will almost believe that he is still alive, until you come to his grave sight.

We could not begin to describe what it is like going through Graceland in this Blog. If you ever get the chance to make to Memphis, take the time to see Graceland. Many people do each year as they make 57 million a year on tourist going to Graceland.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sept. 28 - Oct. 3rd.

Our week in Jackson Springs, NC was very relaxing. Jerry worked on his book, Mary worked on her business. Then it was off to Charlotte, NC. to see an old friend of 40 years. We had a great evening at her home and another chance to catch-up on families since we last saw her over 15 years ago.
Then it was off to Nashville, TN. and the Grand Ole Opry. We had tickets to the 9:30 pm show. We had a great time and would love to come back again. With one exception. While they call it the Grand Ole Opry, for our night they needed to change that "e" in Ole to a "d." We did not grow up listening to "country, bluegrass, Nashville sound" music. Thus, unless a singer really hit the big time and crossed over to rock & roll or pop chart music (like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Marty Robbins, etc.), we really don't know much about them. Today, artists like Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw and the many other big names, if they make it big in country music, their music also hits other charts and we most likely have heard them.
Our night at the Opry (see big picture down below), well it was full of a lot of 50's & 60's one (or two) hit wonders that are still hanging on and showing up at the Opry. Two hours of oldies we never heard. The good news is we always love live music and that is what we got. So it was great fun.
We did get to hear an up-and-coming new star (to country) that in time we are sure will make all the charts. His name is Josh Turner (in fact he may already be "up" we just never heard of him before) and this guy had a great voice. Very powerful and dynamic. This guy will go far.
We heard that "sometimes big stars make a surprise appearance." That didn't happen at our show.
What did happen was the first appearance at the Opry by a new singer. Write this name down as she will make it "big time" in country music and will cross over to the big charts. Her name is Ashton Shepherd and what a voice. When you think of what a female country singer should sound like - this girl has it. On a scale of 1-10 her voice was a 12. The whole audience went wild after she sang her songs. She was a little of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and June Carter Cash all rolled into one. Watch out for this kid. Her performance alone made it a great time at the Grand Ole Opry.
We are here until Wednesday (still more to see) and then it is off to see Elvis in Memphis.