So I got home and slept and was quite ready for day 2 of this already huge event and I was running right on time that is until I got to the Opryland Hotel. I parked behind the Nashville Palace for free and walked up there, and that lead me to my first negative thing to say…parking was EXPENSIVE. I did park in the hotel lot Saturday because I was running late and it was worth 25 bucks to get to see Don Maddox on time. Of course it’s going to be expensive, it’s a given for that area.
I got to the hotel and they gave me a map, WOW what a huge place. I have been there before but I never really walked around in it before. I have walked in the gardens and stores before the great flood but they made it bigger and better now. So here I am wandering around trying to find the side bar that features my first act I covered for the day. I finally found someone who helped me find the Jack Daniel’s Bar which was close to the main ballroom where the major part of the festival took place. Now the next day I DID have a problem with the Jack Daniels Bar and I almost didn’t get to cover the Saturday acts in it, I’ll touch on that later.
Another of the downside of things at the hotel was the food, now I knew it would be expensive and honestly when I’m covering festivals I anticipate it to not be cheap. But my major gripe was the CHOICES of food that was offered..I do not eat a lot of what was offered. I like simple plain food and most of it was to fancy for my liking, however I did get a GOOD Philly Cheese Steak sandwich at a place called Fuse but even that was almost 30 bucks.
The first act was my friend from Wisconsin JP Cyr And The Radio Wranglers which ended up being one of my TOP 3 ACTS of the entire festival. This whole band just completely blew my mind. I have talked with Mr. JP and never met him, but we had a mutual admiration for one another because we are both REAL Country Music nerds. I mean this guy knows who Autry Inman was and Gid Tanner. He is a true lover of this precious genre like I am and for our age I think we got this whole thing licked.
This band dresses the talk and walks the walk and when they start playing they take you on a journey to the early days of country music. They are a very disciplined band and a well oiled machine of Country Music history and from their first song “Mean Mistreater” I could easily tell I found a jackpot here. Like I said before they were my third top pick of the whole festival. By far simply due to the fact they played “Walking The Floor” so well I think even Ernest Tubb would have said…Thanks…Thanks A Lot.
Their second song was ‘Southbound Train” before they played E.T. and another by the Delmore Brothers. Seriously are you kidding me? Alton and Rabone Delmore does NOT come out of the mouth of many guys my age let alone their amplifiers…SOLD..Fan for life! If I was thrown Ambrose Gaines like the Glade City Rounders did in 2014 I would have dropped my 30 dollar sandwich. This was like finding a 100 dollar lottery ticket in your britches pocket you never knew about. They also played an original called “Here In This Honky Tonk” which I enjoyed and HAD to buy their album. I feel like I stole it for 5 bucks, my GOD it’s worth 20 guys who on earth are you fooling?
You know I say this a lot..Country Music has three main staples of it’s greatness, those being the producer the songwriter and the steel guitarist. You have all three you have a classic album like Red Headed Stranger which in my opinion IS THE GREATEST album of all time, but doing a Leon McCauliffe song is close too! He was prominent for many steel guitar solos from his tenure with the Texas Playboys who backed the mighty Bob Wills.
They continued with “Chinatown my Chinatown” and another called “One Week Later” before going into a Ray Price tune called “Invitation To The Blues” that Roger Miller wrote and they closed their set with “I hear you talking”.As I sat there wanting more I had to be denied more of them as they made ready for this next feature.
Molly Sue Gonzalez And The Mean Mean Men is a bnad I have had my eye on for some time now and I finally got to see them live. They have a really wonderful guitarist and had a good stage presence up there. I’m really glad I finally got to see them perform, and their first song was called “Tongue Tied” followed by “Don’t Do Me No wrong”.
“Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” was a really good original song they played before going into a Chuck Berry song “Maybelline”. This time the little bar was filling up fast with people and there was only standing room left. I’m glad there was a good turnout for the acts not playing in the main ballroom because they were just as good as the featured acts on the big stage. No “smaller acts” performed at this festival in any way.
“Only The Lonely” was followed by “Sweet Nothings” and that was my favorite song in her whole set of the night. She did a Wanda Jackson song called “Fugiyama Mama” and then went into a slow song called ‘Right Or Wrong”. I will say this out of all the acts the vocals were really good at the Jack Daniels Bar the whole weekend. I had no problems hearing ANY of the acts I saw there.
Another great original song was “Bad Example” and she followed that with a Bill Hailey song and a song called “Save Me”. She played a song just bare bones acoustic called “Crazy” which Willie Nelson scored his first cut with from Patsy Cline. She closed her set with a song called “Mean Mean Men” which is the name of her backup band. All together I truthfully enjoyed both of these acts but I WAS ready to check out the main ballroom for the big stage hosted that evening by my buddy Jeremiah Cline whom has been featured on this website many times.
I was also ready to witness yet another Rockabilly and Country Music Legend…Art Adams. He is most famous for his band from 1955 The Kentucky Drifters and after that band he formed the Rhythm Knights. He opened his set with “Rocky Road Blues” and went into “Ubangi Stomp”.
“Let It Rock” was next followed by “Canadian Lady” and my personal favorite song was “Juke Joint Johnny” which I’m pretty sure I have heard Wayne Hancock sing before at shows. “Honey Girl” and “She Don’t Live Here No More” were ones I remember growing up with. He also played “Paradise” (or Mulhenberg County) by John Prine, he is from Carrollton Kentucky which lies along the Ohio river near Prestonville.
“Down In Tennessee” was a great song he played in his set followed by “A Memphis Dream”. Folks these Legends were all over the place this weekend greeting fans and walking around the venue like crazy, and I was going nuts listening to their stories and learning their mannerisms and how they played. One of my favorite songs he did was next “Indian Joe”. He then went into a large medley of songs lie “Dancing Doll” and “Rock Crazy Baby” followed
by “Shadows Of Love”. And left the audience wanting more of his songs and as he walked off stage I was just floored how these great Legends are still loved today by others that are like me. I was so glad to see people love Don Maddox like they did which I shall touch on later.