Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Day 3 of 9 "Spoons & Tunes": Nashville, Memphis & New Orleans

Today was another fantastic day. It was our second full day in Nashville, and this morning we all started our day with an included breakfast at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The selection of the available foods was vast... and delicious I might add.

We then traveled as a group to the historic site of the RCA Studio B for a private tour. Built in 1957, it was the recording home of music greats such as Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, the Everly Brothers, and many more. In the 20 years this location was in operation (they closed on August 17, 1977 - the day after Elvis died (just a coincidence they say)) over 35,000 songs were recorded there, and they have the claim that more hits were recorded there than any other studio worldwide, and they were only open for 20 years! Hitmakers in RCA Studio B also included Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves, Willie Nelson, and many others. Elvis alone recorded over 240 songs in this exact studio.

This is the actual recording studio room (in the below pictures). The previous lighting in this room were florescent lights and Elvis requested that they were changed to the current lighting (of blue, red, green, & white) where moods could be set much more easily. However, the recording of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" was done in that exact room and the lights were turned completely off so Elvis could focus on singing this song - that supposedly a song that he didn't want to do at all. The producer persuaded him to sing it with the lights off and it was done in just one take! At the end of the song you will here a sound (like a couple of clicks) and that was the sound of Elvis hitting his head on the microphone because the room was completely dark - listen to it and you will hear it. Today they turned off the lights and played that recording for us, and the feeling was overwhelming - us being in the exact same room, under the exact same conditions that Elvis recorded that song... tears came to my eyes. This is a very special place and the folks there made it an experience for us that we will never forget.

The blue X on the floor marks the singer's "sweet spot" - the best place to stand or sit for the best sound in the room.

They even let us record our own version of Elvis's "Good Luck Charm" and Derek with Collette Travel got a copy made for each of us to take home. Very fun and unique, but I don't think we will all quit our day-jobs... not just yet anyway.

Elvis loved this 1942 Steinway piano that is still there today. He recorded many songs with it and would love to get there early before recording sessions to warm up on it. He wanted that piano at Graceland so on many occasions he offered to buy it, but was turned down every time. Our group was offered the chance to sit at this exact same piano - this meant so much to me.

This is a shot of Elvis at this piano, in this studio, in January 1958:

Our Tour Guide for the city of Nashville was Dr. Greg Patterson, who has lived in Nashville his whole life. He filled us in on all the sites to see on Music Row and beyond. He was very informative.

Next up was the Country Music Hall of Fame - the collection of memorabilia and information was incredible.

Many people I have come across in Nashville have told me that I needed to try Nashville "Hot Chicken" while I was here, so for our lunch break I headed a couple blocks up the street to "The Diner" Here you could get this famous Hot Chicken in a few different ways, so I opted for the Hot Chicken Wrap to go - it was delicious!

We headed back to the hotel afterwards where we all had a few hours to unwind and do our own thing. We were able to get all of our guests vouchers for dinner tonight at the hotel, so everyone did this on their own. I chose to visit Wasabi's - the hotel's own sushi restaurant!

Then we headed over to the Grand Ole Opry for our included tickets for the evening performance of Rascal Flatts headlining and six groups opening up for them.

What an amazing time. Almost any live music is great, these performances did not disappoint!
We are all turned in for the night now as we have an early start tomorrow: A couple more attractions in Nashville before our big luxury coach hits the highway for Memphis! Goodnight and stay tuned for more details of our upcoming adventures...


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