Story and Photos By Wil Crews
When I visited Nashville, Tennessee, for a concert last summer, I didn’t expect to return having had one of the best weekends of my life.
The journey began when I traveled down I-85 from LeeCounty, Alabama, crossed over and up I-65 and spent the next five hours manifesting how the ensuing days would rock my “Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk’” world.
Upon my arrival at a friend’s house where I was lucky enough to secure free lodging, there was no time to waste. While I had envisioned a perhaps quiet Friday night, preparing my mind, soul and body for the 24/7 party that is Broadway (the major thoroughfare and entertainment district in downtown Nashville), my friend had other plans.
Almost immediately, we skated out onto the town and traded in the cozy, serene townhouse environment for the chaotic, eyecatching and thrilling strip. The next 36 hours would have made even Hank, Waylon and Willie proud.
The latter two once sang about how Mamas shouldn’t let their babies grow up to be cowboys, but Nashville had me singing “Mama Tried.”
Ever since that trip, my biggest regret is that I didn’t bite the preverbal bullet and purchase the most glorious, rhinestone-encrusted white cowboy hat that just screamed out to me: “I’ll make you a star.” But I digress.
My friend, my girlfriend and I grabbed a quick bite to eat that was two parts grease and one part high-class Southern delicacy.
From there, it was a less-than-leisurely escapade through the seemingly endless road of local dives. We sang, we danced, we lived.
But before long, our tuckered bodies — which were long from a day of traveling — headed home. Friday night, it turns out, was just the hors d’oeuvre section of our five-course tasting experience à la the Music City.
Following a much needed night of rest, our bonded trio got up early Saturday in anticipation of the night’s zenith: the concert.
It seemed as if the entirety of Nashville revolved around banjos instead of clocks as the city boasted a contagious, energetic rhythm.
We grabbed brunch on the east side of town at a chic café called Portland Brews. All I have to say about that is that Johnny Cash may have never gotten his act cleaned up — and been stuck in Folsom Prison — if he had tasted that sinfully delicious breakfast sandwich and cold brew coffee.
We then took a short drive and found parking downtown before strolling through the streets which have been lined with decades of history and greatness. For many who visit Nashville, it’s the libations and music that appeal to them the most. But I’m no die-hard country music fan — although I know my history and always appreciate a stripped-down performance from just an artist and their guitar. And while I do occasionally dabble in curious concoctions, Nashville has plenty to do for the nondrinkers among us, too.