There’s nothing more fun than a road trip – well, except maybe a road trip where you sing.
We drove. And drove. And drove. From Austin to Dallas, from Dallas to Little Rock to Memphis, and finally, Nashville. We chose Nashville for our 2009 tour because it is a center for not just country music, but for recording, songwriting, and all music. The point of tour is to get to know a new town, to meet a cappella groups at local universities, and play all kinds of gigs that we can find in the town.
While in Nashville, we met all kinds of incredible singers. Be it a dive karaoke bar or a big club on Broadway, this is where the singer comes to make it. So, naturally, finding gigs on our voices alone was difficult, since even karaoke night on Tuesday becomes an outlet for discovery.
Through a friend of a friend, we met Avi and Joie, a couple that lived at the heart of the songwriting industry in Nashville. On this, the first day of tour, I experienced Doke’s Third Thursday Barbeque. Doke is a people person, to say the least, and he invites songwriters and musicians around Nashville to come to his house to eat and play their music. All kinds of writers were there: starry-eyed new arrivals to town, jaded veterans who had written singles and number one hits, the boisterous characters like Marc Alan Barnette, and everyone in between. It was a magical experience for me, because everyone there was there because of their passion for music and desire to write great songs. It was like a big composer gathering, except no one was competing; it was all about sharing.
Through the rest of the trip, we met a cappella groups at Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, made friends with karaoke bar starlets, ate dinner at Joie and Avi’s pad with Marc and Doke, sang at a dive bar, hiked in the Smokey Mountains, ate at a terrible Mexican restaurant in Knoxville, and recorded in a studio, to name a few great things. Tour was fantastic, and, though Nashville was amazing, made me appreciate UT for what it is even more. There is so much music in Nashville, that it began to oversaturate me. Austin is a very interdisciplinary town, full of opportunity in many fields; I think that’s what draws many to this city, and certainly what draws me.