Comes a time for me to appreciate Neil Young. You see, I have never been a big Neil Young fan. In fact, besides hearing friends play his music or whatever I came across on the radio, the most time I had ever spent with Neil Young was watching The Last Waltz countless times. Until tonight.
I knew Neil Young was talented and too many people whose musical taste I share hold him in such high regard. I knew I needed to get to know him better and that once I did, I would understand who he is but the time had never seemed right. I was a little intimidated maybe. His music doesn’t pull me in. It seems more like an acquired taste that takes time and I just hadn’t really wanted to put the time in yet. Until tonight.
Tonight, Neil Young played the Ryman Auditorium, one of my very favorite places in the whole wide world. I felt a little guilty getting to go without being a huge fan although, Grant is and has seen him six times and I knew if I was going to finally get to know Neil Young, the Ryman was the perfect place. Tickets were pricey. I joked all night about spending our summer vacation at the Ryman! But, I have to say that it was well worth every cent.
Neil was a one man band with 2 Martin guitars- one a small bodied with a mahogany top and one full bodied with a spruce top, a black Les Paul, one of my favorite guitars- a Gretsch White Falcon, a piano, a grand piano, his famous pump organ, and a harmonica. He spoke very little but still acknowledged us, his audience, with a quiet disposition. He reminded me of my Uncle Les who seemed on the surface to be a grumpy old cus but every once in awhile, he’d say something and I’d see a twinkle in his eye and get a genuine, warm feeling that he really liked me. Neil went from instrument to instrument and played what he wanted- some acoustic, some full on distortion and it all felt familiar, like we had all been there before. He seemed very comfortable. This was a perfect first meeting.
Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed, so I tried really hard to remember every moment. I had my tiny camera but could not disrespect the Ryman or Neil (oh, and there was also the fear of being kicked out as they threatened). The rainbow pictured above did appear in the sky just as we were walking to the Ryman. I’ve also included various photos of The Mother Church of Country Music herself, past and present.
And luckily, I have many photos of our most recent adventures in Normandy, Tennessee. Our friends Nikki & Mike, brother and sister team extraordinaire, opened their new restaurant last weekend and we were fortunate to be a part of it. We drove down Sunday and spent the day- I helped take orders and Grant tended the smoker with Mike.
Normandy is a tiny town in Bedford County, about an hour outside of Nashville, that sits on the Duck River which is known for its pristine waters. The little main street, around the corner from George Dickel’s distillery, was previously abandoned until Nikki found this building and decided to make her dream become a reality. This is the beginning of something amazing, let me tell you! They decided to go ahead and open Saturdays and Sundays as they finish the remodeling and expand the menu and their ideas. For now, you can get some of the best smoked meats in Tennessee and delicious sides- they post a chalkboard menu out front.
June has just begun- many family and friend visits, yummy summer veggies, and tons of music (including this year’s first Red Barn Round-Up!!!) to come.
What a great post! So glad you finally *got* Neil, and now Normandy is on my list!
” grumpy old cus.” That is some solid stuff. Wish I could have been there with you guys, it’s been too long.
Great post, missy!! I have always had a soft spot for Neil, and have run the gamut of styles/incarnations of Neil live from acoustic to grungy, but can only imagine that the Ryman would be THE perfect place for a Neil meeting! I have gotten away from him the last 15 years or so – with this reminder, I may need to do some revisiting myself!
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