Pilgrimage to Nashville

Robert's Western World

In mid-April, I made a pilgrimage to Nashville. The city is just beautiful, with clubs lining Broadway, the main drag. Live music begins at 10:00 am and continues unabated until 3:00 am, with musicians working in four-hour shifts.

This place is steeped in history. Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson used to live above Tootsie's. Rumor has it SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN was written during that period. Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, and other country greats have graced the stage at Robert's Western World and other honkey tonks. It's not unusual to see today's stars walking down the street. Buddy Jewell caused quite a stir on Broadway one night.

Mike Slusser

Mike Slusser, who used to live in central Pennsylvania, is making a living in Nashville playing on the street (busking) and playing in the clubs. He was kind enough to let me join him by playing outside, and playing inside at Robert's Western World. I am also grateful to friends of his, Dave Foley and Rich Holbrook, for getting me up during one of their jobs at Robert's.

Here are some more pictures:

Robert's against the dark Nashville sky. On Broadway there's no better place to be.

You can't find Elvis in the building? It's because he's on Broadway!

Broadway at night. Mike and I played next to the soda machine.

Solo at Robert's.

Karen with Rich Holbrook at Robert's. This was a real treat for me as I had never played with an upright bass before. Rich sang really nice harmonies.

Karen with Dave and Rich at Robert's Western World. Dave Foley and Rich Holbrook had the 10 am - 2 pm slot and were kind enough to get me up.

Karen onstage at Robert's with Mike. Mike has been known to play triples in the clubs on Broadway, three four-hour slots back to back.

Mike and me. Mike has been in Nashville for five years. He's originally from Newville, PA and used to host some of the open mics I played years ago.

Busking with Mike on Broadway. This was the most fun I've ever had playing. The asphalt is the stage. The audience moves, but you don't.

Mike's mandolin has been signed by the best of them: Bela Fleck, John Cowan, Pat Flynn, and Sam Bush, just to name a few.

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