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Three gigs in Nashville. We start off at Billy Block’s Western Beat at the Exit Inn. Cool place. Big room. Good acts. Billy gives us a great introduction to Nashville, explains to the audience what California country music is and that it exists. Billy is a good friend to the Hawks (see FOOD IN USA). The room sounds good, there’s a nice crowd. Folks dig it. Nashville is surprisingly welcoming to this skeptical band. Everyone is very nice, the band gets lots of praise, people hand us their business cards and shake our hands. Maybe we were wrong about this place all along?

No. We were not wrong. As the week goes along the darkness starts to creep in. Nashville has shattered and terrified so many of the songwriters who have come here. It’s as if this town is the saddest casino on earth and the song writers just sit there at the Toby Keith/Tim McGraw/Faith Hill slot machine, putting years of their lives in the coin slot, waiting for some big artist to record one of their songs. The darkness rubs off on us and is hard to shake. Still, we manage to convert some of the natives. As we stand out in front of The Sutler, a car drives by cranking music. It’s only after several seconds that I recognize it as “Nicotine and Vitamin C.” They wave. Whoa. The gig at Douglas Corner’s with Richard Ferreira is a mixed bag. The room is great, Richard is great, but the crowd has gone somewhere else tonight. Perhaps to see the Hacienda Brothers, or Jim Lauderdale. There’s lots of competition in this town.

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