I love Nashville. There's something about this city that may be the same in others, but surely not most. The overall musical talent level is so high here that one can walk into just about any bar on any night and hear for a $5 cover, if any cover at all, talent that would easily be able to charge $20 or more almost anywhere else. One night, maybe fifteen years ago, I wandered into Nashville's Douglas Corner Cafe, expecting a beer or two and, at worst, some passable singer-songwriter stuff. Playing instead was music I was aware of but had never really heard. The famous Nashville Jug Band was on stage and their playing pretty much knocked me on my ass. Whatever the talent level was (and it was pretty high), the sense of fun that exuded from those players and their instruments was impossible to chart.
In the coming weeks and months, I'd go to Douglas Corner each and every time they'd play. Sadly, being pretty busy musicians on their own, and I guess doing this more as a hobby than anything else, they didn't play often. So many years have gone by and I'd pretty much forgotten about them and the whole experience.
Fast forward to tonight.
It was a long and slow night at the hotel. Hardly anyone was checking in and, if given the chance to go home early, I would have jumped at it. Thirty minutes before the end of my shift, I was lucky to help a wonderfully nice couple with their luggage. And the beauty of conversation turned my dull night into a beautifully memorable one. I would have talked with them for hours if I could. They're retired photographers for the local paper. (I'm far from any pro, but I love taking pictures.) He's really, really into music. (Me, too.) He's a Blues archivist and plays in a band called the Jake Leg Stompers. I've listened to a couple of cuts on their site and I'm in awe. As he said to me earlier tonight in what wasn't quite self-deprecating as it may sound: "We don't let good talent get in the way of good fun." Or something like that. Bottom line -- the talent is great, but the sense of fun is even better.
It made my night to talk music and iPods, and photography and the archiving of photos with a wonderfully awesome couple of people tonight. I hope they have a wonderful night.
The Jake Leg Stompers, playing "pre-war roots music," will be playing live at The Station Inn on Saturday, December 22. Ten bucks gets you in. Care to join me?