After we went to Snooze for breakfast; loving the food there, the service, and the vintage décor, we headed to Broadway! Honky Tonk Central.
It was about 9:15 am, gray, cool, raining on and off.
Broadway is one long street with tall bars on every floor, many with rooftops. The buildings stand like linebackers, some are flashy, some are more humble, but they are all huddled together, keeping a watchful eye on the drinkers, the dancers, the homeless people with their funny signs (I need money for a hooker. Let's go Brandon. I need money for weed. I need money for a penis transplant, FK Joe Biden!). Watching as the singers walk around with guitars strapped on their backs, as band members roll amps and drums on wheeled carts. They watched as men unloaded beer from long trucks and disappeared into the Honky Tonks with case after case after case.
John and I had the whole street to ourselves, practically. My body was shot through with adrenaline. I'm here! We made it! If I die now, I die happy! (Well, okay, I'd have liked to listen to a band or two, but that was going to happen soon enough!)
The rain was now heavier, and John and I dipped under a closed bar with an awning. Several homeless men were wandering around, muttering to themselves. We live near Philly, so this is nothing new. If anything, these homeless people were more polite, much quieter. And later, once Broadway started filling up, they would whip out the entertaining signs.
Tootsies was supposed to open at 9:30. It didn't. So we ventured into a gift shop looking for an umbrella. They only have the very tall kind, like you'd use on a golf course. Or maybe in a back alley as a weapon.
We were surprised how actually SMALL the area was that we were in. The Ryman was merely yards away, and the Predator arena was across the street.
We wandered down the street, toward The Stage and John Rich's place, then crossed the street to Kid Rock, Luke Bryans, and Jason Aldeans. (Fun Fact, they are all owned by one corporation). There were cameras set up on the sidewalk in front of Aldeans. People huddled under the roof/awning. People scurrying about carrying microphones.
I ducked in and tried to blend into the small crowd.
"What are you doing?!" John is a rule follower.
"Just trying to figure it out. Maybe we'll see a famous singer!"
I pressed up against the brick wall, and about an arms length away from me was a short guy wearing a backwards baseball cap.
Ok. There are many guys walking around baseball caps in Nashville...but this guy...
"I think that's Dustin Lynch." I told John.
Remember, John isn't a Country fan. He'd know Toby Keith, Blake, Morgan Wallen, Hardy, Ern, Miranda, Carrie, and of course, Dolly.
I had to pull up photos of Dustin Lynch on Google.
"I don't think it's him." John said.
"It could be him."
"Go tell him you're his biggest fan and see what he says."
But I'm not his biggest fan, and at the moment, every song he sang escaped me.
So, it wasn't until they started "rolling" the cameras that we found it, indeed, it was Dustin Lynch!
After we found out who he was, we left, headed to Tootsies. The sun started to come out, but I stopped at another gift store to inquire about small umbrellas.
Behind the counter were three lanky young guys.
"Dustin Lynch is right next door!" I told them.
"Who?" None of them knew Dustin Lynch.
None of them even liked Country Music.
I couldn't imagine working in a store, in a town like that. It would be like me working at a gift store at a Soccer stadium, where the only music they played was a mixture of Punk Rock and Tool.
Anyway, they only had large umbrellas, so off we went.
We were only a few feet away when a woman chased us down. She had remembered seeing a box of small umbrellas in the stock room. I picked out a red one, and away we went. I was touched by the gracious customer service. And the rest of the day, we saw those little red and blue umbrellas everywhere we went. So her good deed, also paid off in sales for the store!
Almost 10 am now, had only been in town for 3 hours, and I'd had the best Bloody Mary ever (Snooze), had a celebrity "run in", found a small umbrella (thanks to great Southern Hospitality customer service) and now we were heading back to Tootsies - the tall lavender building that would bet the first official "Honky Tonk" to start off our day.
“Nashville is wicked. It’s like a proper music community, but it’s also quintessentially american. You bump into people there with cowboy hats that spit in jars and call you ‘boy.’ I just love that.” – Ed Sheeran