This Road Of Music

By Alan Rhody

Although I was home when Nashville and the world suffered the immense loss of Tammy Wynette, whose voice I'll never tire of, I have somehow managed to be on the road whenever natural disasters have struck Nashville. I was gone when the great ice storm of '94 hit. I was gone last month when the two, yes, two tornadoes touched down, to the tune of over a hundred million in damage to downtown Nashville and East Nashville, just across the Cumberland River. East Nashville is actually where downtown started years ago but gradually the heart of town moved across the bridges. I was however, right in the middle of Hurricane Opal down on the Gulf Coast of Florida a couple years ago. Just lucky, I guess.

The annual Tin Pan South song-writers celebration was hit pretty hard as far as turn-out went. The first two nights, which included the Legends of Songwriting concert at the Ryman aditorium, went great, but the third night Thursday, April 16 was a night nobody in Nashville will forget.

According to the Nashville Songwriters Association's Erika Wallem, only the shows at the Bluebird Cafe, The Sutler and Douglas Corner happened on Thursday. Things were a little closer to normal by Friday, with all the venues participating except the four downtown clubs, some of which suffered serious damage, particularly Wolfy's and the Radio Cafe, East Nashville's only listening room.

Also scheduled for Thursday was the Hall Of Fame Songwriters Show at the Exit/In. Although it didn't happen, Erika said they are hoping to reschedule that show, which was to be taped for the Nashville Songwriters Foundation. The lineup was indeed impressive and included Sonny Curtis ("I Fought The Law" and the "Mary Tyler Moore Theme"); Danny Dill ("Long Black Veil"); Dallas Frazier, who was on the Legends show, and "Cowboy" Jack Clement, who was responsible for much of Johnny Cash's and Charlie Pride's early careers.

By Saturday all was up and running again, except the two damaged clubs. The highligh of Saturday had to be Carole King at the Bluebird. Tin Pan South has become the premier songwriter gathering in the country and we're all glad it kept running in spite of the incredible damage. The current rebuilding process will be going on in Music City for some time. Miraculously, no one died in the tornadoes of '98.

I'll close by inviting everyone to the Twice Told Coffee House on Friday , May 29, when I'll be having a one-man showing of paintings, prints and drawings, my first in Louisville since 1968. I can hardly believe it myself. I'm very excited! Following a reception from 7-9 p.m. I'll be performing, so come on down, everybody.

Singer/songwriter/painter Alan Rhody is a Louisville native who has lived in Nashville, TN since 1977. He can be reached at P.0. Box 121231 Nashville, TN 37212 or on the web at