What Makes America Great? The People! (And This Beautiful Land…)

What Makes America Great? The People! (And This Beautiful Land…)

fullsizeoutput_6de8CATCH US AT RADIO CAFE, 7PM THURSDAY 18TH APRIL! We’re just a couple of days away from the halfway point of our adventure, and as we’ve been super busy running all over Nashville and playing music, we’ve decided to spend a couple of days out of the big city. I noticed a big green area with lots of water on my phone maps, so I searched my guide books, kindly donated by Lucy and Sharon back home, read up a bit, and headed out. We’re in a cabin on the water’s edge, but having spent the afternoon exploring nature reserves where elk, deer and bison roam freely (the bison were hiding), we arrived almost in darkness, so we’ll have to wait til the morning for the full experience. It’s been a day of strange coincidences, beauty… and some squabbling! More about this lovely place later…

The view from our cabin in the morning…

Although we were originally drawn here by the music, Nashville residents, whether musicians or not, have been extremely welcoming, so I know it’s going to be hard for us to say goodbye. Last week we were delighted to play a few songs at the Douglas Corner Cafe hosted by Donnie, where we met the gentleman cowboy Sage Cole with a voice like dark melted chocolate and Jordan Ashby who oozes raw talent. But my personal treat of the week was our return to the Bowery Vault, where in addition to playing and streaming a set of our own songs, I first heard the breathtakingly beautiful voice and songs of Michael Conley. There are some links at the bottom of the page but here’s a taste… you’ll find the link to his YouTube video below, and more of Michael’s music on Spotify.

Michael Conley ‘Nothing Risked’ https://youtu.be/zXzUi687gQ0

A high point of the week was to discover a craft beer festival right on our doorstep in lovely East Nashville. We sampled a LOT of delicious local beers and met loads of friendly folks. What’s not to love? Alas, I can’t find everyone’s name – if I ever find my notebook I’ll mention them next time, so I’m just going to say, it was a real pleasure meeting y’all and I hope we meet again 🙂

Neil and I have always shared an affinity with Native American – and American – culture, and know that this area, The Land Between the Lakes,  was once populated by many different tribes. The popular Natchez trail was originally made by them, but they were all pushed out during the settlement of the area. Then, in a twist of fate, John F Kennedy made compulsory purchase orders and turned out the remaining post depression settlers in 1963 and turned the whole region into an enormous nature (p)reserve. Good for him!!

We’ve also discovered that many of the ‘holding areas for local tribes before going on the long march to reservations known as “The Trail of Tears” were nearby. Of 11 camps, 8 of of them were in Tennessee… although, we have just slipped over the border into Kentucky. I’m relieved to report that a local policeman was exceptionally kind to me when I misread the speed limits – why thank you officer! You made my day 🙂IMG_1115 (1) Since arriving – at the risk of sounding like old hippies – we’ve both experienced that hairs on the back of your neck or dejavu feeling that can creep up sometimes unexpectedly. On arrival we were ‘buzzed’ by two enormous eagles who swooped down from on high to startle us and say hello – probably juvenile bald eagles. As we were about to enter the prairie where the reintroduced bison and elk live, our song, “Cowboys and Indians (an early version with Native American flute by Domenic De Cicco all over it) decided to play itself through the rented car bluetooth system. Neither of us have heard it since we made the final single edit months ago – losing most of that flute. If you haven’t paid attention to the lyrics, listen again… https://youtu.be/QMicBs9nJz4  I’ve always harboured notions of being some kind of reincarnated Native American soul, but, if you look at this picture of Neil taken near here, you could be forgiven for thinking he might have once been in uniform on the other side…fullsizeoutput_6db9 Our stay here in Kenlake State Resort deserves a bit more of a description but it will have to wait because it’s late (Neil’s soft snores are already audible from his room), I’m happily tired and ready for sleep, but I’ll go and watch the almost full moon on the water before I sink into my dreams… goodnight xxx  Ps Yes, we finally met the bison! Here’s a windy lakeshore lullaby for you from Neil and I… (sepia tone courtesy of Neil).. new song growing…