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On the way to Lexington we stopped in Nashville. It seems like every time we play Nashville, it's February and two degrees outside and raining. I've been through the city several times, but have never been down the main drag. This time I finally got to see Nashville!

Oh wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Before exploring the strip, we had a wonderful dinner at Whiskey Kitchen! We'd been here earlier this year and the food was AMAZING. Today it was just as good! We started off with calamari. This isn't freezer squid, it's squid steaks cut into thick slices, hand-battered, and fried alongside spicy pickles. Tender and delicious. Best fried calamari ever.

Jameson got seared tuna (I should have taken a pic because it was beautiful) while I went the unhealthy route and got hot chicken and chipotle mac n cheese! The chicken was tender and hot enough to make me sweat. The mac n cheese killed the flames nicely. Thanks again Whiskey Kitchen for the above-and-beyond eats!

THEN we went to the strip, to walk our dinner off. One of our first stops was a record store that had been full of all kinds of vintage vinyl the last time Jameson had been there. Unfortunately now it's been cleaned out, and mostly houses country CDs and vinyl box sets. What a shame. As we continued down the street we noticed that although there weren't a lot of people out, there was a LOT of live music, so much that in the street it just sounded like a wash of sound. Pretty much every bar had a live band. In some ways that's awesome, and in other ways it might show how competitive it is to be a musician in Nashville.

Before going to our hotel, Jameson drove me down the REAL "music row", where all of the recording studio offices are. We saw the offices of RCA, Warner, BMG, and many others. But many of the buildings were for lease or sale, and new condos were springing up in this historic place where musicians used to go to be made or broken. It was amazing to see, and kind of sad, because the music industry just doesn't work that way any more.

Anyway, I was very happy to finally see Nashville :)
That night we stayed at Hotel Preston, a unique hotel that Jameson found outside the city. The decor was really cool! It was a funky change from the normal chain hotels. We had a great stay here...look for this hotel if you're in the area!

The next day we reached Lexington. We had a little time to kill before the train arrived, so we went to the gym and had a nice dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. By then the train was spotted, so we got groceries and went home. I love this train yard...it's one of the nicer yards that we get to stay in. It's right in the parking lot of the arena we play, and it's very clean. It also has a very special history. RJ Corman LLC offers a huge variety of services, most of which are maintenance-based, some of which deal with natural disasters or aviation. T
he man who built this multi-million dollar company from scratch was Rick Corman. The dude graduated high school, bought a backhoe, and used it to repair local railroad crossings, and from there went on to become a self-made millionaire whose company serves North America's seven largest railroads. In case that's not cool enough for you, he then taught himself how to fly a helicopter, traveled the country living in a shipping container (before it was trendy) AND he could do a bunch of crazy tricks with a backhoe. A diagnosis of multiple myeloma didn't hold him back; he spent TWELVE more years kicking butt and taking names, appearing in Fortune Magazine and using the specialized resources at his disposal to respond to almost every major natural disaster the US has faced over the past decade.

I am not a railfan, but who cares. I am a BIG fan of this awesome gentleman and all that he stood for. It's an honor to stay in one of his yards :)

We had two whole days to enjoy on the train. On one of those days I drove all the way to Ohio for a regular checkup (one of the joys of tour life is not being able to go to primary care right down the street) and also managed to book another appointment ahead of time in Kansas City. I spent some of my time thrifting, because there are several antique and thrift shops within walking distance of the train. In one antique shop I found a big case of katanas. Wow!...I thought to myself. REAL katanas! But when I went home and did some research, turns out that, no, they were fake. Darn :P

During this time I heard from my former roommates, Jeremy and Charlie, whom I'd lived with for two years in North Carolina while attending grad school. They called to let me know that they were going to be taking Mylo, their boxer mix, to be put down. He's very old and his quality of life had been going down, so my roommates decided that it was time to let him go. I helped to take care of Mylo for two years. He was a wonderful dog, friendly but also very timid, and he only ever barked when someone was at the door. I only ever heard him growl once. Rest in peace Mylo...we'll miss you.

Friday was opening day and we only had one show. It was nice to be able to walk to and from the train rather than waiting for the bus or driving.

Saturday was the usual three shows. I tried to go to the Animal Open House, but when I stepped outside a huge storm was moving in and animal crew was hustling to shelter the animals. Oh well!

But seemingly to make up for that, for the last show of the evening, Robert Stipka (camel and horse trainer) did the entire camel act without guides, whips, or any other instruments. Just verbal commands and his hands for the whole act. I can't think of a better way to showcase how well the camels are trained, and how well Mr. Stipka understands and communicates with his animals. Very cool! (CLICK HERE to watch tonight's camel act with NO physical cues from the trainer. Thanks to Ryan Henning for recording this!)

On Sunday we only had one show in the afternoon. We had wonderful crowds for all of our shows here in Lexington :) Afterward I drove Jameson to the airport...he's flying home for a memorial service for a friend who passed away. I'll be driving his car overland to Kansas City.

Other stuff:

An article about circus school appearing on the Ringling website (CLICK HERE).

A local Lexington news station paid the animals a visit! CLICK HERE to see the Red Unit's wonderful performing animals.

Cool photo of a some track switching points, taken by Chris K. while riding the train into Lexington.

This little dude hopped up onto my music on Saturday. I spent about three acts trying to keep him from jumping onto someone's head and also not being able to turn my pages. Hope he enjoyed the show!

Lovely sunset after a storm :)

(photo courtesy Stacey T.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2016 12:37 pm (UTC)
That mac 'n cheese looks amazing.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )