Tough Critic

Last night Nashville hosted the CMA Awards, which is generally an exciting event for a certain portion of the residents. Most of us natives couldn’t care less. And really, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, and being as how hubs is a lifelong Cubs fan, we broke out the good bourbon (2014 Four Roses Limited Edition & EH Taylor Seasoned Wood) and watched hubs’ dreams come true. But I digress…

The hot topic at work this morning for the non-sports fans was how one of our bosses had gotten tickets to stand in the pit at the CMA’s. I’d tried to explain this whole native phenomenon to all my transplant co-workers previously when said boss got pee-herself excited to see Garth Brooks play for free downtown, but it must be an odd thing to hear that not only do I not care even one iota about either of these events but both are relatively unimpressive given that I’ve lived here my entire conscious life.

Things I probably should have added in clarification but would never because again, I’m from here… The first concert I remember was seeing BB King play the Ryman when I was maybe 4. We were backstage and I got to sit in his lap after the show. It’s one of my earliest memories and from a time when I was a little more easily starstruck. When I was 6 or 7 Bela Fleck outed me to my favorite musician at the time, Sam Bush, that I’d named the family dog after him. Sam Bush is a pretty legendary bluegrass mandolin player, and being little in Nashville, I was learning to play it myself. I would shortly thereafter give it up for piano and then violin, where I would end up at age 9 playing with my dad’s good buddy Mark O’Connor and his living room full of grandmasters. By the time I was 12 and my uncle was hanging out with Levon Helm, Dylan and the Stones, who were doing a spot of recording here and Levon spent a good drunken minute writing me a letter with of life lessons in the front of his new book…well, you can imagine stories got a bit less relatable to others and it took a bit more for me to get excited.

So I tried to nod and grin along and not sound like an asshat when I reiterated that I wasn’t all that interested and that yeah, tickets come up if you’re here long enough, and no way would I want to stand for the whole show even if I did go. And all of that was well and good until someone mentioned, “That Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks performance would have been cool to see though.” Excuse me, what?!?

Yeah so, every once in awhile Nashville surprises me with its inner weird coolness. I didn’t realize Dixie Chicks doing the Beyoncé song Daddy Lessons was even a thing, but I remember the same odd feeling when my mom’s country friend came over in his jeans and boots talking about I just got a cut on this song Amazin’ and Aerosmith is recording it. But this is way bigger than that. This is Beyoncé with some badass fiddle playing going on.

It’s rare that I’m sad about missing a show in Nashville. My husband and I both have seen many, many shows here and elsewhere. We love music, but we’re old now and don’t go out nearly enough anyway. This time…I feel like I missed something amazing. I’m a little bit impressed with my city. It’s always been a place with its own vibe, but that performance was a little bit magic! And I wish I had seen it in person.


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