Day 7: Field Trip to Nashville!

Sundays mark a day off at Wooten Woods, so seven of us got together for a field trip to the music city. The first landmark to hit: Pancake Pantry. We were told by several different sources that it is by far the best place to have breakfast in Nashville, and that became apparent when we came across a line wrapped around the corner outside, at about 90 degrees. When asked, random people polled in line explained that it was worth it and we’d be stupid to go somewhere else. About 20 minutes later, we were sitting down. Georgia peach pancakes. Flavorful sausage. Delicious hash browns. Breakfast was insanely filling and ridiculously delicious.

We have two campers visiting from Russia. We call them the cosmonauts… we spent a good part of the day trying to teach them lame lines to pick up American women. It’s slightly entertaining, but entirely unnerving to hear someone with a thick Russian accent trying to say, “How YOU doing?” and then wink. It was even more unnerving trying to put together a story they could use to impress someone, like “I’m really ex-KGB”. We had them practicing on us a bit, and they did get pretty good: “How YOU doin? Nice shoes. Can you show me around Nashville? I’m kind of a big deal. *wink*”

Having Vic Wooten as a travel resource for Nashville helped us find some of the cool places to hang out. Vic told us to go to Las Paletas for gourmet popsicles. Gourmet what? Yeah, I know… but they were pretty awesome. The next thing Vic gave us to do was to drive down broadway with the windows open so we could hear all the music. We decided to park instead and walk down broadway. Every ten feet, we were surrounded with live music from a local club or bar. It was a euphoric experience being surrounded by so much. We ducked into a number of small shops and clubs until we poked our head into a bar named “The Stage”. The seven of us walked in and listened to the music for a few minutes before the keyboardist, Tim McDonald, asked us if we were a band. We responded that we’re all bass players and gave a shrug as if we half expected him to be confused. Something must have clicked in his head because he somehow knew to ask if we were with Victor’s camp. As it turns out, most of the band studied under Roy Vogt, our improvisational studies instructor. After a few minutes of niceties, the band invited us up on stage to take over the bass and jam with the band. Bennett took the first chance, as he’d gigged with country bands before. He played a solid blues bass line and a simple ditty to a country song. Next up was Spencer, the 19-year old prodigy of the group. The lead singer, Jon Linh, made sure to give him a solo as he rocked out to Mustang Sally and one other. Taking turns between the band’s bassist, A-Train, and the other guys, we spent about an hour cheering on our fellow campers. I think more of us would have liked to get up and jam, but A. we were running out of time to explore the rest of Nashville and B. it was noisy, and not everyone knew the progression. We found out later that the band was feeding the bassists the numbers as they were playing. But watching them did give the rest of us a little more courage to just get up and play when the opportunity arises again. If Victor was there, he’d have been asking us, “why aren’t you ALL up on stage playing?”. As for me, I’ve played in front of plenty of audiences before, so I don’t have stage fright… I still can’t figure out why I didn’t just jump on the opportunity and get my tail up there.

One place we all did get to play, however, was the Nashville Guitar Center, where we all played Jaco Relic basses and some of the other store-bought crap they sell. For a short time, I had a jam going with another camper and we had gotten enough attention to get others to quiet down and watch. But none of us really wanted to play the crappy instruments there, and so we didn’t take the time to get into a full on jam as we had initially thought about.

To top the day off, driving back to the camp grounds, I came across an Armadillo running across the dirt road. I pulled over and used my stalking skills to approach it close enough to snap a very close up photo of him. I had stalked up right next to him, and then stood on top of a branch that was hovering right above his head. Pretty l33t skillz!