Exploring Middle Tennessee: civil rights murals, cross-county lines, Jerry Douglas & his dobro

Tennessee. So much history in terms of music and civil rights. The last time I’d been through was about 8 years ago as my sister and I drove cross-country, only staying in Nashville one night. This past weekend, I was in Middle Tennessee for a long weekend to explore some great music and explore the culture and history of the area. I not only roamed Nashville, but also spent some time in historic Franklin, part of Williamson County, which is about 30 minutes from Nashville.

On Saturday, I had dinner at a cute Irish Pub called McCreary’s with my new friend Leah who lives in Franklin. Leah is not only an amazingly creative and compassionate person, but a fabulous writer. She writes a poetic and inspiring blog you should follow called Edges Like Sea Glass where she shares her perspective on life and creativity. She also is a contributor to the Women You Should Know website, which is a collection of women’s writings on all interesting topics that matter to women.

Later we headed off to the main event of the evening, “Cross-County Lines,” a show put on by The Americana Music Association, hosted by Jerry Douglas and Alison Krauss in Franklin’s Liberty Theater at The Factory, featuring a ridiculously skilled all-star house band and a series of rotating übertalented guests including Amos Lee, Sarah Jarosz, Shawn Colvin, Teddy Thompson, and Angel Snow. The house band included Gabe Dixon on keys, Viktor Krauss on upright bass, Bryan Sutton on guitar, Andy Leftwich on fiddle and mandolin, and Shannon Forrest on drums. Look up any one of these artists and expect musical perfection.

Jerry Douglas and Gabe Dixon at Cross-County Lines on Sat. June 1
Jerry Douglas and Gabe Dixon at Cross-County Lines on Sat. June 1
Alison Krauss on fiddle at Cross-County Lines on Sat. June 1
Alison Krauss on fiddle at Cross-County Lines on Sat. June 1

Jerry Douglas is an ambassador of Americana, Country, and Roots Rock music as he hosts a BBC Scotland show called “Transatlantic Sessions,” which format he used to model Saturday evening’s show after. While I don’t have any video from Saturday’s show, here is a video clip from the BBC show with a few of the same artists who played in Franklin, Tennessee including Amos Lee, Sara Jarosz, Alison Krauss:

Jerry Douglas has performed on more than 1200 recordings and released 12 records of his own and played with everyone you can think of. He plays the resonator guitar known also by the most famous brand of resonator, the Dobro, and his skills playing slide guitar style put him on my list of favorite Southern guitar players up there with Sonny Landreth, Derek Trucks, and Duane Allman. I am seriously in love with slide guitar. Anyhow. Here is a video of Jerry Douglas and his mad skills:

The show on Saturday was a benefit concert to fund an annual Americana music festival in Franklin starting in June of 2014. Definitely keep your eye out for that. Here is a link to a short description of the show on grammy.com.

I also took this opportunity to explore some different sections of Nashville and saw some interesting murals. I’m a huge fan of street art so I always take pictures anytime I see any. This mural was particularly poignant for me as it chronicles the history of the civil rights movement. The freeway sign above it just nails it. The road to Memphis indeed.

Road to Memphis: Jefferson Street in North Nashville
Road to Memphis: Jefferson Street in North Nashville

The photo below is a wide view of “The Gateway to Heritage” mural which explores African-American history in Nashville. Below that are some close-ups of the different sections.

Gateway to Heritage: Jefferson Street underpass mural in North Nashville
Gateway to Heritage: Jefferson Street underpass mural in North Nashville
Gateway to Heritage: Jefferson Street underpass mural in North Nashville
Gateway to Heritage: Jefferson Street underpass mural in North Nashville
Gateway to Heritage: Jefferson Street underpass mural in North Nashville
Gateway to Heritage: Jefferson Street underpass mural in North Nashville

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