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Michelles Nashville Diary

June 06

Wednesday, June 7th

We just arrived from Mexico. After spending three and a half weeks travelling Brazil and Mexico, taking canoes through the Amazon and visiting the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Trent and I were glad to be met at the airport by Jordan – a Nashvillian that we had become friends with while studying in Sydney. It was really something to stay with some locals and not to be stuck in a hotel or hostel for a change!
That afternoon was spent with the guitar in hand and the chord charts out preparing for performances ahead.

Thursday, June 8th

That morning we met up with Allan and Barb Tomkins. Earlier in the year Allan had asked me to come along to his guitar showcases at the Sheraton Hotel after I had told him I was making the trek to Nashville. Allan custom builds beautiful electric guitars from Australian hardwoods and supplies them to the cream of country music in Australia and the USA. The showcases ran every day from the 8th ‘til the 11th of June and apart from showing the yanks what kind of talent Australia has to offer, Allan discussed and demonstrated how he goes about building his guitars.
It was fantastic to play Tomkins guitars (Santa can you please put one in my stocking for Christmas!) and to play with some really good musicians. Guitarist Jake Nickolai(AUS), Drummer Greg Williams (AUS) and singer Kirsty Akers (AUS) all performed, and of course Allan played bass guitar.
After the showcase Trent and I wandered down Broadway and took in the sights. We went to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, which is where all the stars such as Patsy Cline (my idol) would go after a gig at the Grand Ole Opry when it was at the Ryman Auditorium.
In the evening we headed to a songwriters night at the Commodore Sports Bar, Vanderbilt. This was just up the road from where we were staying so Jordan, Kate and Ben (my Nashville fan club) came along to cheer me on. Debbie Champion ran the night and I played in a round with two songwriters from Nashville. I sang my song “Stay”, “On the Inside” and “Rose in the Desert”.
It was a fantastic night and all up a great day for my Nashville debut!

Friday, June 9th

Again we were up early for the Tomkins Showcases at the Sheraton Hotel and then later that night I had another songwriters gig. This time it was at The French Quarter Café run by Jack Scott. As you can probably guess from the name, it was set up in a really cool New Orleans Madis Grass style. I performed two songs here, “Stay” and “In Dreams” and made some more friends that I hope to catch up with if I ever make it to L.A.
After the gig, Kate, another friend from university, decided to take us out. We listened to some great music at some huge live music clubs, restaurants and ended up at BB Kings Blues Bar. What a life!

Saturday, June 10th

Today at the Tomkins Showcase we met some German country musicians and some Aussies that were enjoying Fan Fair 2006. We also had a surprise visit from legendary guitarist Jody Maphis (USA) who has played with just about every country star in the USA.
Next we went to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame. This is an amazing place and if you ever get the chance to visit Nashville you mustn’t miss this huge collection of music memorabilia. We even got to see Elvis Presley’s gold plated piano!
Tonight we were treated to an American style BBQ or “grill out” at our friend Kate’s house. We met some more Nashville musicians and took the opportunity to relax by the pool for the night.

Sunday, June 11th

Well it was the last of the Tomkins Showcases and it was a little sad that our Nashville trip was almost over. We still had some fun though, with the Germans, Dirk and Sonya, coming back to perform and everyone just chilling out to the music.
Seeing as though it was our second last night, our hosts, Jordan and Ben decided to take us to a real “country’ bar. It was called Silverado’s and it was exactly what I’d pictured the bars in this part of the world to be. In the middle of the hall was a huge dance floor for line dancing and in every corner was a pool table. A lot of the men wore western shirts and I wondered if I was at a bar or a rodeo with all the boots and wrangler jeans that were about. The icing on the cake though was that the DJ played country music and everyone line danced all night. It was great!

Monday, June 12th

Monday night was my last night in Nashville and the night I was to play the famous Blue Bird Café. The Blue Bird is renowned for being a platform for great songwriters to perform their material and catch a break.
In the past the likes of Garth Brooks, Jonie Mitchell, Faith Hill and our own Troy Cassar-Daley have played their songs here and that is just to name a few of the great songwriters who have played on this stage.
Being a Monday night, the tiny place was full of songwriters.
It gets so busy that if you don’t get to perform the first time you come along you get a second time ticket,. There were so many people that no one on their first time got to play on this particular night… except me!
Luckily I’d contacted Barbara Cloyde (the organiser) before we left Australia and let her know I was coming, so everything was ok.
I have to say as I waited my turn and looked around at all of the famous faces plastered to the walls I was beginning to get a little nervous.
I decided to perform “Don’t Hold Hands” and “In Dreams” and although I was a bit nervy I got a really good reception and lots of fantastic feed back. Everyone who performed was really good and we heard some great songs that night.

Well that was my first trip to Nashville and hopefully it will not be my last!

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