Monday, November 9, 2009

Nashville's Walk of Fame

Across the street (Demonbreun St.) from the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum -- also across the street (Fourth Ave. S.) from the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall -- is the Walk of Fame Park. On the sidewalks of this park are stars which represent well-known folk -- many but not all of them country music artists -- who have been significant to Nashville.

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) the third induction of new stars into this Walk since I moved here. It was also the third time I've attended, and the FIRST induction with "chamber-of-commerce weather"! Indeed, last November I went to my first induction only because Martina McBride and Randy Travis were among the five being inducted.

This time around the inductees were Dolly Parton. Charlie Daniels, the late Ernest Tubb, the late Tootsie Bess and Kid Rock. The last-named was controversial, but at least we got him over with & outta the way first. The last inductee (first on my list) was introduced by the Governor himself, Phil Bredesen. Seems Hizzoner and Dolly have done some photo shoots together for some ad, which involved our Governor "cutting the rug". I think I'd like to see this!

It was fun to be there for the induction ceremony, with Bill Cody hosting and various folks introducing each inductee before the inductee (or a family member for the deceased) spoke.When E.T. was introduced by Little Jimmie Dickens and his star accepted by his son E.T. Jr., I remembered how E.T. was the one of the so-called "Four Pillars of the Opry" with whom I was familiar before I attended my first Opry show back in the early Eighties. I can still remember that evening, when my Lambda Chi Alpha Brothers (who were at Opryland Hotel for our General Assembly) and wives or girl friends sat there and enjoyed the oldest live radio show. I remember that when E.T. had other artists performing during his half hour of the show he'd gesture with his outstretched hand for the audience to applaud and applaud louder for the stars. Probably E.T.'s biggest enduring contribution to Nashville is the Ernest Tubb Record Shop -- the original on lower Broadway near the Ryman (and near the Walk of Fame) and a branch out in Music Valley.

Probably about that time I first learned about Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and its role as a sort of "green room" for the Ryman Auditorium across the alley during those years that the Grand Ole Opry played in the Ryman. And since I moved here in '08 I've learned how many a singer or songwriter sort of got a first step up thanks to the honky-tonk and its owner Tootsie Bess. So her influence on the music-life of Music City is quite evident!

Charlie Daniels and Dolly Parton both came from elsewhere to Nashville, to make a name in Country music, and have lived near the city and contributed to it in many ways. Therefore, as they received their stars they got much applause. And lots of the audience wanted to get photos or autographs from them; I doubt few succeeded, but I didn't stick around to see.

You see, this being the Second Sunday of the month I wanted to go to Vine Street Christian Church for its monthly Second Sunday evening program. This is a potluck supper at five, followed by an alternative worship. This time for worship we didn't even go to the sanctuary upstairs above the fellowship hall. Rather, KK Wiseman, who leads these Second Sunday worships, took us into the adjacent kitchen. There the bulk of the service involved taking the raw ingredients for making bread, mixing them, kneading them and baking the resultant loaf. During the process, KK repeatedly read verses from the fourth chapter of Philippians; she also drew out lessons from the process. And once the bread was baked, we had the Lord's Supper, which is always an element in these Second Sunday evening alternative worship services. I felt blessed, and that I'd really learned something!

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