Nashville and Memphis
We got up on Saturday morning and checked out, and then drove back downtown to see some more of the city before leaving for Memphis. It was still raining, so we figured we’d get done with the indoors activities first, and hope for the weather to get better in the meantime. So we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and museum - a Nashville institution if there ever was one.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville
We walked around according to the prearranged route, and was taken through the history of Country music, with lots of musical samples and country memorabilia - from way back and up until the country stars of today. At the moment they also have an exhibit of the life and music of Ray Charles - honoring his contribution to the country genre. Neither of us are country freaks, but it was an interesting presentation of the different influences that created and honed the country music genre.
Ray Charles exhibit at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The actual Hall of Fame was a weird display, located in a rotunda in one end of the museum. Each artist was honored with a plaque, displaying their name, date of entry to the Hall of fame, and a portrait. But we didn’t see one single portrait that resembled the said artist, so I wouldn’t bet that the sculptor made it to a hall of fame himself.
Just as we’d planned, the rain had stopped when we got back out, and the sun was shining again. We walked up and down Broadway, stopping by a few stores - and Louis picked up another hat.
Then we hit the road, and aimed for Memphis - a three hour drive without much to see along the road. We got there around six, and Kitty lead us to our hotel - about three miles outside of downtown Memphis. We checked in, drove down into the parking garage, gathered all our bags and went to take the elevator up to our room on the fifth floor. Selma was keeping the elevator door open while Louis locked up the car, and boom! All the lights went off, and it got dead silent. It was pitch dark, so Selma had to fire up her lighter to help Louis find the way over to the elevator. Which was not, of course, working. And we were SO happy that we weren’t caught inside it! But there was no way we’d walk up seven flights of stairs with all our luggage, so we just dragged it all up two floors to the lobby, and waited there until the power got back. We later found out that someone had driven into a light pole, resulting in a power outage for the entire block.
We don’t have a photo of the blackout, ’cause it was.. well, dark. But here’s another one from the Country Music Hall of Fame:
When the lights finally went back on, we locked our luggage into the room and got a cab downtown. We knew the Beale Street Music Festival was going on, but we had not expected the massive attendance! The festival was taking place in a closed area down by the Mississippi riverfront, but the streets outside the area was filled with people - and music - as well. We bought tickets ($30 each, not bad!) and started walking through the festival area. It had four stages, and it was probably about 2 miles from the first to the last. We stopped for a while at the second stage, where a youngster punk band was belting out some aggressive tunes. then returned to the first stage for some swingin’ blues by a guy/band called the Taj Mahal (strange name for a blues band..). It was really hot, and even after the sun went down (into the Mississippi, which was a great experience in itself) it was well into the upper eighties.
From the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis (we weren’t allowed to bring our pro cams..)
After a while, we went back to the second stage to see Wolfmother, one of Louis’ current favorites. This is really not Selma’s kind of music, but she tried to enjoy the hot summer night and watching the crowds. When Wolfmother was almost done, we walked down to the fourth stage to see the opening show of Steely Dan’s tour. None of us are familiar with this music, but we’re familiar with the name and figured it was worth checking out. The band playing before Steely Dan went on for ever and ever, so by the time Steely D got on stage, we were pretty tired. We left after two songs, and hoped to find a cab before the hoardes started venturing home.
Party people and preachers in Beale Street
We walked a mile or so towards Beale without seeing any cabs, not even occupied ones. But there were people everywhere. We walked through part of Beale street, just to feel the pulse, and it was like walking through a sea of people. Partying people. And - a few bible thumpers, causing a stir amongst those most eager to fight for their right to part-ey! We still didn’t see any cabs, so we just kept walking in what we hoped was the direction of our hotel. There were people everywhere, traffic both in and out of downtown was packed - and there were NO cabs around. Finally, after walking for about an hour, we managed to pull over a taxi and get back to the hotel.
At the hotel, people were partying in the lobby and in the halls, but we shut the door and got to bed - and with the calming (well, actually annoying) sound of the air condition distracting us from the parties around us, we eventually managed to sleep.