With the second day of travel in Nashville I found myself reconnecting with all my past experiences. Firstly, I needed to reconnect with one Tammy Firebaugh at True Vintage Clothing in East Nashville. I made my way through the maze of on and off ramps which lead me to the front door of her vintage brick building adorned with the Muddy Roots handed painted mural of the signature hog playing the banjo. As I arrived I noticed the ever present sign “Hippies Use Side Door” – I quietly approached the front door and opened it quietly thinking I was going to find a place to hide to surprise Tammy; rather unexpectedly she surprised me. She was laying horizontally behind her till and arose to her vertical base with ease and poise. Her eyes lit up and there were many hugs and welcome backs given about the room. With her friends in attendance we exchanged odd stories of “Canadia” of travelling through the border with bloodied and sordid weapons used for skinning recently acquired roadkill – yep! I can tell you it felt natural.
Soon enough Geoff Firebaugh rolled up on his new bike, with a nice custom blue flame paint job and red glitter helmet adorned with the always watchful eyes of the late Lowlife himself Nick Curran, Geoff arrived and the grouping began to take shape and form before the trip to Muddy Roots. As the afternoon wore on we moved ourselves up the street to the local Mexican Taco joint and consumed a feast between us all – and when I tell you nothing beats an authentic Mexican Coca Cola in the bottle, believe me – it doesn’t. We soon parted for the evening knowing – the best of course was yet to come.
The following day I awoke and connected with the one and only Roger Tann the Horrorgician also known as Dr. Gore. I picked the good Dr. up at his hotel in Nashville and we chartered a course for the always emotional journey to Hendersonville, TN to pay our respects to Johnny and June Cash. I’ve always felt a real calling to come here each year – I find as I’ve written in the past that this visit separates me from chaos and provides grounding and stability prior to the coming days. As I picked up the good Dr, we carried off toward Hendersonville – now when I tell you the Dr. is somewhat away from conventional believe this as well. Picture a tall 6’5 bald, rather razor sharp witted lumberjack pseudo death metal fan crossed with a magician who has a pension for the odd and modestly bloody – in a nutshell you have Dr. Gore.
Arriving in Hendersonville at the Memorial Gardens the Dr. and I went to the graves on the hill, standing solemnly as has always been the case – the light fading slightly and the world going on about it’s business; the Doctor in a very abrupt and tangible moment of seriousness asked if in 20 years people would remember Johnny Cash and if so, why ? This was such a prolific statement and question, it gave me the opportunity to think of Muddy Roots and consider what we do is in a way a mark of archival preservation to ensure those artists of today are not washed away when the tides of tomorrow come to shore. Legacies are not forever and though legacies may be strong and seem impervious to the erosion of time, soon as with all things we including our legacies will return to dust. There was no magic here – no act, no smoke and mirrors or illusion; the Dr. had just hit a chord very deep within me to consider what will happen if we fail to take active steps today as a group to preserve the memories we build.
To cap off the day we visited the ceremonial Waffle House in Hendersonville and then made our way to the airport to pick up Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss. With moments to spare we arrived at the airport, amidst the blurry eyed weary travelers awaiting taxis and rental cars stood the stoic examples of road hardened pioneers in Sean and Zander. Always the unconventional in any crowd Sean in his black vest and pants and ‘Opryland’ trucker hat and Zander in his earthen suit and well worn cowboy boots – they ambled toward the awaiting chariot and we loaded in the guitar and bazooki into the rear with their packs and headed Eastward to the Muddy Roots grounds for the second pre party in the field we love so dear. With each seat full and our memory banks empty we were prepared for it to begin.
With an open road ahead the memories were ours to make and forever to enjoy. . .