Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Music City USA

I'm in Nashville.... speaking tomorrow at the International Country Music Conference hosted at Belmont University. My topic: "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys - Country Music and Wild Western Spaces in Europe."

It's my first time here, unless you count the brief stop during a 1969 cross-country drive, when we passed through some time late at night, a carload of hippies, making calls from a gas station. (If I remember correctly...)

The plane from Philadelphia was packed. One woman wore a spangly red-which-and-blue flag shirt, making me think of Abbie Hoffman and how times have changed. When we got to the airport, there was someone at the baggage check with ablack and yellow sign reading "Elvis Forever."

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at the Country Music Foundation/Hall of Fame. I unfortunately had to rush through the museum -- lots of good visuals, video, sounds. Impressed by the posters. Also simply by the look of country singers in old film clips. A fascinating range of faces not looking at all like any stereotype of twang: Tennessee Ernie Ford, Buck Owen, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. Then of course Dolly Parton, in all her changes.

Later -- Ernest Tubb record store; souvenirland. Last night -- the Bluebird Cafe for acoustic music, inspiration of the Bluebird Cafe set up at the Country Music Messe in Berlin. So far, I've eaten fried okra, flat (fried) cornbread, sweet potato fries; taco salad....

No comments: