Thursday, December 23, 2010

Music of the season in Music City

Still strong in my memory is my introduction to the concept of a radio station sending out exclusively Christmas or holiday music over the airwaves in December. It was station WENO - AM 760, right here in Nashville in 1990. A few months later WENO -- first Music City station to broadcast only Country Music (and not WSM!) -- introduced me to Southern Gospel Music. (Alas! like most AM stations it's fallen to the "talk radio" format.)

While I lived in San Antonio I looked forward every year to listening to Mix 96 (KXXM) airing Christmas music. And now that I'm back here in Nashville I've been greatly enjoying the cheerful holiday tunes, on Mix 92 (FM 92.9, WJXA) and on "The Fish" 94 FM. An interesting detail about the latter station is that it's contemporary Christian music, but the December playlist has been as much a mix of secular and sacred songs as the former station broadcasts.

So, well, I've heard several times such cherished classics of the season as "Joy to the World" by Mannheim Steamroller and "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO's hit has a fascinating story behind it, set in war-torn Sarajevo, and was on the playlist for "Holiday in the Park" in Fiesta Texas theme park (S.A.). The instrumentation and rhythm so affected yours truly that I came up with a sort of choreographed conducting set of movements, as tho' I were actually directing TSO. Probably I got plenty of weird looks from Fiesta Texas guests whenever I'd do this!

One other song I learned at Fiesta Texas that alas! I've only heard once (maybe twice) is Amy Grant's "Welcome to Our World". But on the other hand, "How Many Kings" serves a a nice substitute. And there's always Karen Carpenter sweetly singing "Merry Christmas Darling" or another song of the season.

A couple of "new" (to me) Christmas songs have blessed my listening ears. One is a duet medley by Bing Crosby and David Bowie titled "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth". Now THERE's a duo one wouldn't expect, dear reader, the old king of big-band crooners and a rock star! But it's a beautiful song! The other newby is "O Holy Night" recorded by Martina McBride. She sings the song BEAUTIFULLY!

Thru Yahoo I've accessed an on-line list of the top thirty holiday songs, culled by a Paul Green from a Nielson Soundscan list of 200 most popular.

Dear reader, enjoy the music of this season! And have a blessed time as the old year ends & the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven commences!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jimmy Kelly's is lost -- or I am!

Last night (Thursday, 2 December) the Nashville Area LCA Alumni had our monthly meeting, at a place called Jimmy Kelly's. As is typical of our Alum-Brotherhood functions, the food was delicious and the fellowship terrific.

Once I found the place.

The name was known to me from my previous residence in Music City, 1984-91. I had a picture in my memory of it being somewhere close to the intersection of 25th Ave. No, with Elliston Pl. and West End. Very near Centennial Park.

The e-mail invitation I'd received gave the address as 217 Louise Ave. A glance at Google indicated that it wasn't exactly where my memory was telling me, but not terribly distant. Nor terribly distant from where I was -- a library on the Vanderbilt campus -- as the time approached.

So I left the stacks (actually the terminals, as I was working on-line), got in my "new" Integra (new to me, but year 1995) and drove to the area between West End and Church near Baptist Hospital. I searched and searched the night-darkened streets in vain.

And then I remembered that it was supposedly off Elliston Place, not Church! So west I drove, and made a guess as to where Louise was. Over a half hour later and a stop at a drugstore for directions (but nobody knew) I finally found Jimmy Kelly's! I realized that I'd actually passed by it earlier, because there was no lighted or well-lit sing.

So it was after 7:00 when I sat down with my Brothers in the Bond. But from then on it was a wonderful evening. A few of the alumni even brought their wives with them -- lately our get-togethers have generally been open to "significant others".

We were seated upstairs, in an elegant room that had a fireplace (unused, alas), some large formal portraits on the wall -- including the best known painting of Commodore Vanderbilt himself -- and white cloth tablecloths and black cloth napkins. Apparently Jimmy Kelly's free appetizers are dollar-size pancakes (or pones) -- and these were de-e-e-e-elicious!

I think I could have made a meal out of just eating those little cakes. But that would have been dull, you know. I did have baked salmon along with a salad and baked potato. Yum, yum!

So what threatened to turn into a disaster of an evening jaunt turned out okay in the end. And NOW I know exactly where Jimmy Kelly's is!