Custer State Park in South Dakota

Custer State Park in South Dakota
We saw a LOT of these guys at Custer State Park in South Dakota!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Concert Memories: Curnutte and Maher, Berea, KY

Curnutte and Maher were kind of a country rock duo that toured mostly college campuses back in the mid 90s.  I remember them coming through Berea a few times while I was there.  They are probably mostly known for having one of their songs covered by the country band, River Road.  That band had their only top 40 hit, "Nickajack", thanks to Curnutte and Maher.

These two guys could really make a lot of music for a duo.  I still play them a lot on my ipod, and MANY of my fellow Berea Alumni still talk about how fun their shows were.

They have a very special place in my personal memory....  as the first time that me and my future wife hung out together (before we started dating) was at one of their shows.  Curnutte and Maher came through town again, after I started dating the girl I would eventually marry.  She and I were talking to Steve Curnutte for a while after that show, and we told him that story.  I was telling him how much we enjoyed the duo's 2 CDs we had.  Well, there was 1 CD of their's we didn't have, and he gave it to us before we left for the night!  It was a very sweet gesture.

We really hoped they would make it big.  They didn't, but like I said, a lot of my college friends still love their music.  There are still some Bereans (my wife and I included) that consider these guys legends.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Concert Memories: Survivor and the Byrds, Executive Inn Owensboro, KY, 05/29/1993

Survivor and the Byrds at the Executive Inn in Owensboro, 1993.  This was one of the more odd shows I remember going to.

My grandma used to live walking distance from the Big E.  My buddy Vernon used to work pretty close too, so I would park at my grandma's house, and me and Vernon would walk to shows at the Executive Inn together.

Seeing shows at the Executive Inn always had an odd, formal feel to me.  Your party would get to the main entrance, and then someone would take you to a seat at a large table with other people.  Cocktail waitresses would take your drink order.  Actually, it was a more pleasant experience than at other venues.

This was just a strange combination....  The Byrds and Survivor.  AND, this was a later fake-Byrds band.  They had ONE OF the drummers from the vintage band.  Of course there was no McGuinn or Crosby.  They played the old songs, but they were different.  I remember the guitar player playing a solo with his mouth.

Survivor sounded great, and played all of their hits.

This is one of those shows that I am really glad I got to go to because of the its oddness, and because I got to see that short lived "Byrds" lineup.

Also, I remember reading in a record magazine, that there was an Italian import (bootleg) featuring this line up of the Byrds.  If anyone has any info on that CD, I would love to hear about it.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Concert Memories: REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar and Fleetwood Mac 08/15/1995 in Nashville TN

REO Speedwagon, headlining with Fleetwood Mac and Pat Benetar at Starwood in Nashville....  I remember enjoying this concert, but not really remembering a lot about it.

It was my buddy John's birthday.  I remember buying his ticket to this show for him as a gift.  By the way, check out the price on that one.  $12.50!  Even back then I think we were pretty pleased with the value of this show.  I am sure we were ticked off by ticket master though, who surely added a $3-$4 charge on to the price somehow.

I was excited about seeing Fleetwood Mac.  AND, this was one of their non-classic line up shows.  No Stevie and no Lindsey.  They did have the very youthful Bekka Bramlett singing.  They also had Billy Burnette and Dave Mason on guitars.

I kinda felt like getting to see Dave Mason with them was a bonus.  I've always liked him.

Still, my favorite member of Fleetwood Mac is Lindsey Buckingham, and it is just odd having FM without him.

I remember Pat Benetar and REO Speedwagon doing their hits.  I also remember a fight breaking out at the beginning of Fleetwood Mac's set near where we were standing in the lawn area.  It went on for a while, and I was getting concerned that security didn't get there immediately to break it up.  They got there, but it took a little while.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Concert Memories: Jackson Browne and John Hiatt, Nashville, TN. 8/16/1994

Seeing Jackson Browne with John Hiatt in Nashville back in 1994 was easily one of my favorite shows I got to go to when I was younger.

This was another one of those day trip/come back at 3 am shows I did in Nashville.  Lots of fun back then, but I am too old for that sort of thing now.

John Hiatt had just put out his "Perfectly Good Guitar" album, which is one of my all time favorites.  It is a great, solid album, and even at that time, I had really worn out my CD copy.  Its good stuff.  I especially like the song, "Buffalo River Home" on that one.  Hiatt played a lot of songs from that album that night, and he was easily one of my all time favorite opening acts.

Oddly, this has been the only time I have ever been able to catch Browne.  Most of my other favorites (Don Henley, 10,000 Maniacs, and Equation) I have been able to catch multiple times.

AND Jackson Browne is simply one of my all time favorites.  Probably my all time favorite, depending on which day you ask me.  I was so excited about seeing Jackson, and I really enjoyed seeing him live.  He had just put out his "I'm Alive" album, which was great too.

I remember "discovering" Jackson Browne's music in my teens.  I would hear him a lot on the classic rock stations, and ask my friends who came up in the 70s who it was.  "Jackson Browne" was starting to become a pretty common answer.

Back during my college days, Best Buy became the place to go for CDs.  They were well stocked, and you could find a lot of cool older stuff.  Anytime I had a few extra bucks, I would go to Best Buy and buy one of Jacksons CDs that I didn't already have.  I knew whichever one it was, it was going to be good.  His album "The Pretender" is probably my all time favorite album.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Concert Memories: Steve Miller Band, Nashville, TN 7/15/1993

Me and my old buddy Charlie drove down to Nashville in July of 1993 to catch the Steve Miller Band.

I think this was simply a standard, pleasant concert road trip.  Of course, in the days before GPS and mapquest, we used an actual physical map, and I know we ended up stopping at a visitor center for help with directions.  A very nice lady drew out a little map to get us to Starwood Amphitheatre.

Paul Rodgers was supposed to open, but, instead, Highway 101 ended up being the opening act.  I do recall some fans being a bit upset about this one....  which I understood.  Steve Miller/Paul Rodgers is a heck of a rock concert.  Steve Miller/Highway 101 is a rock legend.... and a country band.  I remember one guy who had probably already had a few beers VERY VOCALLY letting Highway 101 know that he did not appreciate them.

Steve Miller sounded great, and they did all of their hits.  It was a good show.

The traffic getting out of Starwood was rough.  IT was pretty bad most of the time, but for some reason, getting out of the parking lot this night was just terrible.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Oliver the Crow at Willie's Locally Known in Lexington

This might be a bit of a long post, as it involves several diverse things that all kinda come together.....

First off, after our wonderful trip to Vermont I found out about a radio show on Vermont Public Radio called "All the Traditions".  Host Robert Resnik (my personal music guru these days) plays some exceptionally interesting folk and world music each week, mostly with some sort of Vermont connection.  Robert Resnik is the main reason that I had to get Shazam.  In fact, he is playing some stuff so off of the mainstream radar, a lot of times Shazam can't identify the tune.  Luckily, Robert loves to help music fans identify what he plays.  If you drop him an email with a tad bit of information on a song you heard him play, he can help you identify it.

AND the good people at Vermont Public Radio loop his show, so you can listen to it online anytime!  It is looped in the "VPR Replay All The Traditions" stream with the rock history show, "My Place".  My Place is an equally interesting show, and if you appreciate classic rock trivia and obscure songs from the 50s and 60s that were overlooked (but still great) then this is a show for you too!

But back to "All The Traditions"....  Robert has recently played a couple of great songs that immediately got my attention by a Nashville duo called Oliver the Crow.  The songs were melodic and moody, and featured just vocals, violin, and cello.  He mentioned playing them because they recorded their debut album in Vermont.

So....  I saw that Oliver the Crow would be performing at one of my favorite local BBQ joints, Willie's Locally Known here in Lexington!  I was pretty psyched to be able to catch these guys at a local venue!

We got there a little early and had a nice dinner.  I had a brisket sandwich, fries and greens.  Good stuff as always.

There were two great local opening acts.  A duo called the Sway opened and they reminded me a lot of Shawn Colvin.  I will have to try to catch them again.  Their set was short and I wanted to hear more.

Then, Brandon S. Bowker took the stage, another local.  Brandon is an amazing talent, and I wish I had heard about him sooner.  Great guitar playing, and a great voice.  He is easily one of my new favorite musicians.

Oliver the Crow played last (top photo) and they were just as interesting as I expected.  There was playful banter between songs (they joked about visiting a bourbon distillery the next day....  with everyone at the concert this night).  They explained that their band name came from an actual crow named Oliver at the Nashville Zoo.  And they played music.

You can tell that Oliver the Crow's two members are each talented, disciplined musicians.  There is a lot of music coming from these two; they seem to both be singing and playing pretty constantly, with the exception of a couple of instrumentals.  Their talent is established too- I read that Kaitlyn has a masters degree in classical cello while Ben won a JUNO award with another band!

This isn't loud guitars and drums played by a garage band.  These two are really doing something unique and different.  This is a band for people who like to go see live music and to listen to them carefully.

I did buy their CD after the show and I have had it spinning non-stop.  There are some fun originals and an interesting cover of Regina Spektor's Samson.

This is easily one of my new favorite bands and I hope I can check them out live again soon!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Concert Memories: 10,000 Maniacs Nashville, TN 06/22/1993

Back in 1993, my favorite band was 10,000 Maniacs.  These guys defined cool for me.  Their folk rock music was so different.  While all of my buddies were watching aggressive heavy metal videos on MTV, I was watching the angelic Natalie Merchant singing about helping old people, and riding on the "Peace Train."

They were really at the top of their game in 1993.  They were putting out some great music.  Natalie would leave the band shortly after this, and she has had a successful solo career.  She would be replaced in the band by Mary Ramsey (a singer I enjoy just as much as Natalie), but I think 1993 was possibly the biggest year for everyone associated with the Maniacs.

A high school friend and I got tickets to catch their show at Starwood in Nashville back in '93.  We were both super excited about this one, as we probably knew every word to every song on all of their albums. 

We talked to a nice fellow at a Green Peace table set up inside of Starwood.  He told us to make sure we stayed for the whole show (duh), because there might be a cool surprise towards the end.

I remember having a great time at this concert, and just really enjoying the music.  At one point during the show, Natalie stopped to take an injured bug to the side of the stage so he would be out of harms way.  I remember Jimmie Dale Gilmore coming out to sing a couple of songs with them.  I remember Natalie letting a fan sing the Michael Stipe part of "A Camp Fire Song".  Speaking of Michael Stipe, they would bring him out on stage later to do some songs with the band and to close the show.  Even back then, Stipe was a VERY big deal, and the place went nuts.  This was just a great show.

Some side notes.....  This would be the first of MANY Maniacs and Natalie shows I would attend.  This is still one of my all time favorite bands.

In my opinion, their late guitar player, Rob Buck, is probably one of the most underrated guitarists ever.  He played some WEIRD, BIZZARRE solos.  This was still some mellow music, but when he got going, he exploded with some crazy solo out of left field.  He was a true original.

Concerning this specific concert...  I remember thinking some time ago that I wish I had caught World Party in concert at some point.  They had a few songs I liked back in the day.  Well, while looking through some scrap books, I found this ticket stub and realized that, I had in fact seen them open for 10,000 Maniacs.  I bring this up just because, I have forgotten seeing some bands live after going to a ton of shows.  Also, we were so psyched to see 10,000 Maniacs, any opening act would have been forgettable to us.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Concert Memories: Don Henley, Nashville TN 7/28/1991

There was a time that Don Henley was absolutely my hero.  I had a couple of HUGE black and white promo posters for a couple of his albums up in my room.  I thought he was simply brilliant and could do no wrong.

He put out most of his solo stuff when I was in school....  just starting to appreciate music.  The Eagles back then were before my time.  When people talked about an Eagles reunion, I hoped it wouldn't happen.  I preferred my Don Henley Frey and Walshless.

As I got older, I would discover that the Eagles were actually GREAT, and I would develop a love for them that was kinda separate from my love of Don Henley.

I would end up going to a LOT of shows at Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville, but this was my first one there.  It was only a 2 hour drive from Owensboro, which was close enough to drive home AFTER a show.  We would get home very late, but it was doable.

Starwood was, in my opinion, a great venue too.  It was torn down in 2007, and, from what I understand, it is still undeveloped.

My cousin Matt and I made the trip to Nashville to Starwood Amphitheatre to see Don.  We stayed in a crappy hotel (I think this was the only time I stayed at a hotel after a Starwood show).  I can't remember much about it, other than there were bars on some windows.  It was the kind of place I wouldn't stay at now, but we were fine with it at the time (honestly, I think we were impressed with it at the time...  we had nothing to compare it to).

For the concert, we had lawn seats, and we were happy with that.

Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles opened the show, and I remember her being great.  She did some Bangles songs, and solo stuff.  I think she had a big solo hit at that time.

There was an intermission after Hoffs' set, and after 15 or 20 minutes, ALL of the lights went out.  I remember thinking that there was some sort of electric problem and we would not be able to see Don Henley.  That would be just my luck.  BUT THEN, you heard the first few opening chords of "Dirty Laundry" and right when the drums kicked in, ALL of the lights came back on.  It was a cool effect.

Henley did a lot of songs form his three (at the time) solo albums, and he did some Eagles songs.  I loved it when, doing the Eagles material, he played drums and sang, just like during his days with the Eagles.  I probably don't have to say it, but he closed with "Desperado".

I bought a concert shirt that night.  It's one of my all time favorite concert souvenirs, and I still occasionally wear it even now (that shirt is over 25 years old!).  It's a nice, thick black material with Don's face on it.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Random Thoughts On Friday

As I am winding down posting about my latest adventures in Nashville, it hit me that I saw several concerts in that great town in the 90s.  I started looking through my old tickets in my scrapbook, and it hit me that I could post here and there about some of the concerts I went to way back!  I don't have any photos from most of them....  back before camera cell phones (heck, before cell phones and even affordable digital cameras) but I kept MOST of my tickets.  Anyway, just to do something new....  I will be posting about my concert memories here and there.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Monell's at the Manor in Nashville, TN

Our Nashville friend took us out to dinner.  We had no idea where we were going.  He ended up taking us to Monell's at the Manor.

You will have to forgive me for not having more photos, but the place has a policy about no phone use in their dining room.  Actually, I think that is a great policy...  though I do wish I had some photos of their great food and dining area to show you.

Since this was our first time there, we did not know what to expect.  We went in, and we were quickly seated beside an older group of people.  AND, when I say that we were seated by them, I mean that literally.  I sat at a table with a total stranger in the seat next to me.

We weren't strangers very long though.  He and his party started to interact with our small group of three.  Some chicken and bread were passed to us, along with some sweet tea, and within seconds we were enjoying the Monell's experience.

We quickly started talking music and things to see in Nashville with our new friends.  They were all from Nashville, and they enjoyed talking local politics with our friend who has lived there for some time now.

Monell's is family style, and they kept the food coming.  I tried some catfish, ribs, biscuits and gravy, green beans and other foods I can't remember now. 

This is a great place to stop by to eat great food, and to take in the friendly Nashville vibe!  We will be back!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tempered Cafe & Chocolate- Nashville, TN

Our friend who lives in Nashville now insisted that we visit Tempered Café and Chocolate while in town.

Well, we went in, and actually felt a bit out of place.  There was a green light on, and some odd music playing.  There was a very odd vibe going on too.  We would find out that we arrived at the "Green Hour" a later time when Tempered seves absinthe and tries to recreate an earlier time atmosphere, like what you might have experienced in Paris a century ago.  We are not drinkers, but that sounds kinda cool.

Anyway, we were able to score some CRAZY GOOD chocolate truffles, and we devoured them.  They were great, and there were some interesting varieties.  It was later at night, we had had a long day, but I quickly found myself on a sugar high.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Merchant's Restaurant in Nashville, TN

A friend said that Merchant's was a restaurant we had to eat at while in Nashville!

It was a short walk from our hotel, and it is right in the middle of everything on Broadway.

This ended up being a great place for a nice, satisfying lunch, with some healthier options.  AND, though many people come to Nashville to hear music, there are no mediocre cover bands playing loudly during lunch at Merchant's.  You can find them anywhere else though.  The atmosphere here was more relaxing to us.

They bring out a small cup of seasoned popcorn before your meal.  I thought this was odd at first, but it quickly grew on me.

My wife, who eats like a rabbit this days, found some very tasty and satisfying salads available.  Plus, they were able to do some reasonable substitutions for her.

I had what was probably the best French dip sandwiches I have ever had.  Check out the photo.

Whenever we get back to downtown Nashville, we will have to swing by Merchant's again!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Capitol Hotel in Nashville TN

Across the street from the Capitol in Nashville, is the Capitol Hotel.  This hotel occupies some of the same ground where former president James K. Polk used to live.  Polk and his wife were buried here for 2 years, before being reburied at the Capitol.

Oddly, it wasn't the first time Polk's burial site was moved.... and it may not be the last, as there has been talk of moving him to his home in Columbia TN.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville

We wanted to add the Tennessee State Capitol to the list of Capitols we have visited, so we stopped by while we were in Nashville.  It was a pleasant walk from our hotel.

There was an event going on on the grounds while we were there, and there were security and others walking around.

This is Tennessee though, and everyone was pleasant and helpful.  I asked a guy in a suite about touring the Capitol.  He very politely pointed to an officer who he said could help me with that.

That officer pointed out an entrance and another officer.  He also advised me to "smack the hat" off of the other officer at the Capitol entrance.  I assured him that I would.  The other officer asked me if the first officer told me to smack his hat off.  I told him that the first officer did suggest that I do that, but I assured the second officer that I would not have dreamed of doing it.  It was great seeing the officers having a good time at their job.

There was a brief security process with a metal detector and all, it took less than a minute.  The officer here was very friendly too.  We actually had a great time talking and joking with the officers and other security at the Capitol.

The Capitol is pretty open and accessible.  There are free self guided tour guide books at a help desk.  It did not seem that a tour would be going out immediately when we arrived, so we did our own tour.  We did piggy back onto a couple of other tours at times to hear a bit more about some of the rooms and history.

I found myself most interested in some busts we saw, all of significant Tennesseans.  BOTH sides of the Civil War were represented here by Naval legend David Farragut and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. 

The Forrest bust was literally roped off.  I asked a staff person here about this and they told me the rope is for Bedford's own protection; it is there to discourage vandals.

One of the more interesting features of the Capitol, is the fact that James K. Polk, President #11 is buried on the grounds, along with his wife Sarah.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hatch Show Print, Nashville, TN

Hatch Show Print has moved into the same building as the Country Music Hall of Fame since the last time I was there.

There are still making posters the old way....  and you can watch them as they work!

They sell lots of cool posters and branded items...  they even have a cool $5 poster section!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville TN

Here are a few photos I took while we toured the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville!

This was my first time actually taking the tour.  I have walked by here before, and even stopped by the gift shop, but this was my first time ever going through.

I was personally most impressed with a small display on John Prine, and I enjoyed seeing one of Gram Parson's stage outfits.

We did spend a lot of time here, as there is a lot to see, and the place is big.

A couple of very sweet young girls at the help desk took some time drawing us a map and explaining how to get to Third Man Records which was very helpful and appreciated!