Going South Tour: Recap of My Trip to Nashville and Beyond

I just got back from a great trip down South with my friends, the band, Girls Guns and Glory (GGG). We started in New York City at the Rodeo Bar – a honky tonk in Manhattan! After that, the guys hit the road and I took to the air.

I flew down to Nashville where my parents live, then drove with them to the Muscle Shoals, Alabama area where they were raised.  My mom set up a house concert for me there. Thanks, mom! Some of my her family that I hadn’t seen for years came out as well as her friends from high school and others that we have a long history with. I moved around a lot as a kid, and the Shoals area was the one place that always felt like home to me. My grandfather passed away two years ago and my grandma moved to Nashville. Their house, which served as a refuge for me for so many years, was sold and I haven’t been back since. Coming back to do a show there was incredibly special for me and for my parents too.

The next day, it was back to Nashville where we meet up with the GGG guys who had arrived at my parent’s place in the middle of the night. I said hi, then headed right into town to meet with a few possible producers for my next CD. More on that another time.

That night’s show was pretty HUGE! I played Nashville’s famous songwriter spot, the Bluebird Café for the first time and LOVED it. The house was packed. The crowd gives you 100% of their attention for two full hours. I swear, no one got up to go to the bathroom. My butt was asleep at the end of the show. It’s an “in the round” set up, so you sit all night across from the other artists playing. I was there with Ward Hayden, lead singer for GGG, Rod Picott and Amanda Shires. There were a lot of good stories told and laughter in between songs and everyone sounded great. Can’t wait to go back. What a cool place.

We had Wednesday off and I took the guys to chow down on biscuits at the LOVELESS CAFE. Lots and lot of biscuits. Yum! Then we headed downtown to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see the Patsy Cline exhibit. Just as we walked up the steps to enter, and I said, “I’m so excited! I’ve never been!” the attendant shut the door and locked it. Bummer! We didn’t realize that it closed at 5. But it did give us plenty of time to try on cowboy boots on Broadway. We did that for about an hour. No one bought anything, but we took some great photos! Paul Dilley (bass player for GGG) was pretty sad to leave a pair of purple boots behind. $300 was a little steep.

On Thursday, the guys headed way the heck down in Georgia without me. I wasn’t feeling great and decided to stay behind and skip the 16-hour drive (round trip). I missed some quality time in the van, but we made up for it later. It gave me a chance to record all the songs I have for the next album and send them to a producer. And I got to hang with my 88-year-old Grandma and my parents. Time well spent!

The guys got back on Friday, just in time to meet me down in Nashville for our show on lower Broadway at the National Underground. We had a fun night! I had fans who first heard me all the way up in Maine come to the show as well as my mom’s 80-year-old neighbor , a high school friend I hadn’t seen since I was 15, plus some other Nashville fans. The guy’s set ended a little earlier than planned, but that gave us time to head over to the Athens Family Restaurant (a diner really) and have a late night meal.  I gave up on eating dinner by 8 pm on this trip. And I didn’t eat one salad. Thank goodness for my mom’s green smoothies!

Friday morning, with smoothies in hand, we said goodbye to my parents (who were wonderful hosts) and their cute little pup, Ozzie, and hit the road in the GGG van heading to Chattanooga. The guys are great to travel with. Good conversation. Lots of laughs. We got to town just in time to set up for a show that was in a small arts-and-crafts-style church in a neighborhood. The turnout was small, but the audience was enthusiastic.

Starved after the show, we found yet another 24-hour dinner that was highly recommended, chowed down with some friends who came out for the show and then spent the night in style at the Comfort Inn. I was informed upon check in that the TV in my room didn’t work. No biggie. But when I got up to the room, I found an open soap and a used towel on the sink. I texted Ward a photo and he suggested that I make sure that no one was in the closet. What? Freaky! I opened the door to the hall wide before checking the closet in case I needed to make a run for it down to the guy’s room. Luckily, there was no one in the closet, under the beds or on the balcony. Yes, I checked.

Getting up at 9:30 the next morning was a little tough after going to bed at 3, but I managed and so did Ward. We headed back to the church we played at the night before to perform a few songs at the service for folks that one member described as a “bunch of old hippies.” Ward did a Woody Guthrie song, which the crowd loved, and I did a few of my new originals, one called “A Little Kindness” and the other, “Another Sunday.” I got to tell a few stories as well. The guest speaker was from Muscle Shoals! It was a definite experience. A bit new age.  Kind of like being at yoga class. I think I want to preach next time. I bet they’d let me speak on the doctrine of kindness.

We got the guys and then were on our way to the last show we were doing together at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia. I love Eddie’s. It was only my second time playing there and GGG’s first. We had a great night entertaining those who came out. And then, you guessed, we passed a 24-hour diner and couldn’t resist. We’ve decided the next time we tour together, it’s going to be a diner tour. Pancakes every night!

After a good night’s sleep for all of us at a family friend’s house, we headed out for one last journey together to the Atlanta airport where the guys dropped me off and started to make their way back home.

I couldn’t have asked for a better week on the road. I was with my family, saw old friends, reminisced, connected with my fans, played music, laughed a lot and got to know a great group of guys. Can’t wait to do it again!

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