After appearances on Jools Holland and supporting George Ezra at the Brits we are looking forward to the jazz, brass, pop fusion of the Hot 8 Brass band in the small room at the Wolf. It’s an eight piece tonight and their energy is infectious as they launch straight into that brass cacophony. It’s a set of covers that they put their own spin on taking in ‘Let’s Stay Together’ and ‘Sexual Healing’ to name a couple.
After the marathon day at the parades the band give an necessary shot of adrenalin and we boogie about saving just enough energy to make our way back to the madness of the French Quarter.
Wednesday 6th March, Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale, US and A, Steve Kolbus and Clarksdale Blues Review. On route to Memphis, we stop off at the hallowed delta blues town, home of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads, Clarksdale and we head off to Morgan Freemans juke joint in town.
It’s a no frills show and just great blues music played by talented players. Big Steve leads the line well but the star of the show is "Barefoot" Walt Busby. Phenomenal guitarist and a great singer too.
Monday 11TH March, Bluebird Café, Nashville, US and A. Mike Henderson Band. Our last stop of the trip is six days at music city. It’s a Monday night at the iconic Bluebird Café as we join the queue for the no ticket show. We are among one of the last to get it before the doors are shut and those left outside are left sadly disappointed.
Henderson prefaces his set advising the crowd that this won’t be the normal Bluebird hushed country gig. It’s a full on blues show and you are encouraged to woop and holla throughout. And woop and holla we do. He is supported by a top notch group of session musicians who have played with everyone worth playing with.
It’s a great show and by the reaction of some in the audience not what they were expecting but for a fan like me it was good to see a legend who is still delivering top class music.
Tuesday 12th March, Jason Aldeans Rooftop Bar, Nashville, US and A. Cassadee Pope. It’s an early afternoon showcase in one of the many honky tonks on Broadway for Pope who was supporting Maren Morris at the Ryman the next day.
It’s a short set with just her and supporting guitarist and we are treated to that beautiful voice and it’s refreshing to see an honest sincere musician who is on the cusp of really hitting the big time. We have already secured our tickets when she comes over to these shores later in the year. It’s a no frills show with just two acoustic guitars, great songs and great voices.
Thursday 14th March, Ryman Auditorium, US and A, Grand Ol Opry Country classics with Wade Hayes, Mike Snider, Jeannie Seely, Elizabeth Cook and Chris Janson. It’s our first time at the mother church of country and it’s like no other venue. It just smells of history and every musician of any note had graced that stage over the last fifty years and more.
Thursday night at the Ryman is when the Opry bring in a bunch of country artists to play the classics. Tonight we have the oldest living member of the Opry Jan Howard who was celebrating her ninetieth birthday tonight along with the current youngest member of the Opry, Chris Janson. It’s still essentially the same radio show format that goes out across the country.
Whilst the performances were all very good it was just the experience of seeing live music at this hallowed venue that was most important for me. Yes there’s not much leg room and the wooden pews are uncomfortable but I wouldn’t change a thing. A great experience that will live long in the memory.
Back in blighty now so till next time keep on country rockin’ y’all.