Music, Personal

Nashville: Why I Love Music City

Nashville – a place which has firmly taken up a huge space in my heart. Ever since I heard my first country song, or the unmistakable sound of a fiddle’s strings above the notes of a steel pedal guitar, Nashville has always been right where I truly wanted to be. Forget London. Forget Paris. I’d always dreamed about music city for as long as I can remember, never really thinking I’d ever in my life actually get to go. Nashville is over 4,000 miles away. How on earth was I going to get there if I was terrified of planes and defiant in my belief that if went on a boat across the Atlantic, it would surely sink?

But I took a leap of faith. If I was going to die, at least I was going to die trying!

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With my bags packed and a suitcase half empty just so I could fill it up with cowboy boots, I hopped on that plane and, last year, I finally made it to Nashville. I couldn’t believe I was right there, walking the streets, feeling that fresh southern breeze glide across my face, and taking in the sweet, heady heat of the vibrant music city amid the galore of cowboy boot stores, rooftop bars, and live music venues open all day long. I was in country music heaven. What was there not to love about this?

But it’s hardly just the music. I love the history too. From the bloody battlefield of the American Civil War, where thousands died, right up to the thriving modern city it is today, Nashville is steeped in history with vibrant stories laying open and ready to tell. During my stay, I visited a house that sits on a more unforgiving side of history: Belle Meade Plantation. Previously home to a wealthy confederate supporter, this rich family once boasted the largest slave holding in Nashville. And, astonishingly, almost as rich and powerful as it was over 150 years ago, Belle Meade is still a distinct area for homes belonging to the rich and famous. Needless to say, from a historical, political, and personal point of view, it was fascinating to drive around these stunning homes, many of them proudly flying their American flag high for all to see.

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Belle Meade Mansion

On a less miserable note, I think what I love most about Nashville is the fact that everybody is so welcoming out there. When I visited the Loveless Café with some new-found friends, a famous venue for ‘real southern food’, we had a busy table of over twenty people. When we apologised for being so loud, the waitress simply came back with, ‘Honey, I love a hoopla!’ The people there are full of southern charm and it was a quality I was surprised to notice in everyone, not just in the friendly Boot Barn sales attendant called Tyler (who called me Miss Emily), or the taxi driver who drove us everywhere, or even the pilot on our flight who braved a ferocious thunder and lightning storm, all while keeping us safe up in the air. (Not going to lie, I was terrified!) Of all the cities in this big wide world, there’s just something about this one which screams, ‘Welcome!’ It’s right there in people’s smiles, in their hello’s and even in their general mannerisms. Sadly, I can’t say the same about Chicago. That was a city that instilled all kinds of fear in me.

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Whilst spending time in Nashville, I learned that this sparkling city is the true ‘Hollywood’ of country music, where stars can walk right down the street next to you, or you can bump into them at a local restaurant devouring their favourite dish. This city has so much to offer, with bars, museums, stadiums, and filming locations dotting the famous Broadway boulevard alone.

To end, I’ve always believed that Nashville, for me, is another home from home. I just couldn’t believe my luck that, when I got there, I still felt the same. All throughout my stay, the air was balmy and the food was full of flavour like I’ve never tasted. The smell of the street on Broadway as you’re walking past open doored bars, star studded restaurants and the guzzle of petrol and diesel engines as you’re trying to get to your next music fix, was all incredible. Despite the full-on security of (still friendly) officials checking there wasn’t a gun tucked away in your purse somewhere, I was sorely sad to go home. There was still so much to see.

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A bustling hub of talented songwriters, powerful music and, most of all, endless inspiration, Nashville is an incredible place in this world and – surprise, surprise – I have every intention of going back.

 

Hobbies

Country Music, Writing Goals, and Camp NaNoWriMo

Today I spent some time shopping. Surprisingly, no – I didn’t buy any books! Instead, I bought some clothes and – wait for it – a Blake Shelton CD. Because no shopping trip is complete without a little country music.

I legitimately can’t seem to go into a HMV store without buying country music nowadays. I think I have a problem, but the ACM’s are only a week away so I consider it preparation, not that I really need it. Country music is always on my brain. I love it so much it’s a part of my dissertation and I’ve lost count how many books I’ve got stacked up against my desk on the subject.

Okay, maybe I do have a problem.

But today was a good day. I actually felt fresh for a change. You know that feeling when you don’t get out of the house for days and you just need to get out? I felt like stale pizza – isn’t that a nice image. I just needed OUT, so today helped with that. Some quality time with your sister, new clothes and good music is just the solution.

And because I feel fresh, now I can concentrate on writing for the evening. I promised myself I would write 1,000 words of my novel in prep for Camp NaNoWriMo tonight and – BOOM – in the car earlier I got some inspiration for the next few scenes. I was listening to Luke Bryan, so I’m guessing I’ve got him to thank for that. Word count, here I come!

Thanks, Luke.

I’ve got Cornish Story Magazine stuff to work on later – (like I said in my last post, we are always looking for new submissions on interesting topics, so get in touch if you think you could offer us something!)

It’s looking like a good evening.

Music

Stay Beautiful

Falling in love with her was different and it’s something I can’t expect to ever get back. I’m contemplating a new love, another young female country star, one that’s slowly set to become the future starlet of country music. But she is different, she is older and she, well, she isn’t her. I fell for my first love – the one – when I was young, ripe, on the brink of becoming a wilting, unsteady thirteen year old. To find love that young and to know that it’s a love that has strengthened over years still, that it continues to fills me with happy tears whenever I think of her (apart from when those tears fester into something that burns) is startling and I don’t think I will ever find it again.

I have to face that she is no longer mine, and she no longer belongs to country music – despite whatever invitations and awards she may get credited for by the CMAs. This is sad, I know, but true.

To contemplate another love, a brighter, shinier, newer love seems almost wrong. I can’t seem to break away from the first. I know it’s what needs to be done and it’s what has to be so. Isn’t that what all first loves are like? To keep going back to it is devilishly unhealthy but I’m rooted so deeply and firm that it’s hard to unravel myself, and spin out into the opening arms of somebody else, somebody that will actually have me.

I’ll always remember her, the way she was, and not the way everybody likes her to be now, with her bright red lipstick and permanently straightened hair; her drawling, repetitive songs that bear no country twang whatsoever, and her persistence on looking sexy now just for appearances, instead of wearing Texas made dresses and lush, amazing cowboy boots. Like she used to.

Perhaps it is time to let go. I know everybody tells me so. Some even roll their eyes over the way I will still disintegrate into splinters whenever she makes an appearance on television – British Television instead of American. This may seem unhealthy but for a long time she was the best thing that had ever been mine. Now, she simply belongs to everyone else.

I know, I’m so full of angst.

I won’t ever let go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

education, Hobbies, Music, university, Writing

‘Safe’

As a uni student, we are told to undertake several writing challenges a week which I find incredibly stimulating and love doing it. I feel it lets my creativity out more, as a writer. One task this week was to take three different texts and muddle them together somehow. So, I took the lyrics of one of my favourite songs (Eric Church: Springsteen), a transcript of the diaologue from the new Haribo Starmix advert, and of course a line from one of the best TV shows, Firefly, which I then expanded on and just used the content.

I muddled all these together and came up with taking the form/layout of lyrics, a title ‘Gold Bears’ which the head business woman with a child’s voice squeaks out to her colleague in the Haribo advert, and the content and setting of that particular Firefly episode. I thought I’d put it up on here for other people to read, critique and leave their thoughts on, whether silently or type it away on your keyboard to me. If it’s any matter, here it is:

The character with strong stature and rustic thick brown hair
Wears a maroon shirt covered with lightly coloured braces
His boots say something of menace in his walk
Like a man who knows how to reason with evil folk
When it comes to it

The other, a tall muscular man with ashen, wire-like hair
Stands apart from him, the gloves he wears ones of
Good wear and tear, designed to protect the fleshy hand
From wary destruction of what he’s handling
In this instance: cattle

The cattle roam and they rumble
About the hovercraft that these men of goodwill have captivated them inside
Like shipmen, they boast and they banter about the rickety
Structure that is the first man’s dream and home:
Its name holds up like a beaconed torch of light: Serenity

One wise, and one a mercenary type, they unite as space tradesman
Prattling around the orbits of space with their crew
Both happy, both unhappy
Their lives are located on this ship
And nowhere else

Having landed on a distant rural planet
They get set and ready for the makers they’re about to meet
That is, the makers of their privy fortune
Having not eaten actual food for weeks, they were rather peckish
‘Alas’, they thought, ‘finally some hands on a bit of wealth?!’

The first, with his bare and brawny hands, pulled the lever
And warned the second to keep clear of the cattle,
Not to get sorely trampled
The reverse door mechanically opened
Like an old time earth bound garage

The cattle stampeded out of the large gateway
Their clackaty hooves banging down hard on the floor
Out onto the dusty sandpath and into the fenced pen
Ready for them to eat and graze
And eat and graze

The mercenary type, the burly one, held a whip in his strong arms
And smacked each cattle, one by one
Eager to get them off the ship
The stench was by far enough for him

‘Y’know they walk just as easy if you lead ‘em’ the first told him
A sense of quirked amusement in his voice
The second, merely looked back at him, a gleam in his eye
‘I like smackin’ ‘em’ he protested
Whilst the first only rolled his eyes

Finally done, and with the loading deck squandered in cowpat
The two stretched their legs onto unfamiliar planet soil
The braces around the first hung tight
And the heat made him sweat through his shirt
Everything on this planet was burning

With the trade’s cash in mind
The first rotated the field
Looking for the men he desperately wanted to see
So they could give him his money
And get the hell off this planet so he could eat

You may say it falls flat at the end. I know this, but I only had 300-450 words to use up but, hey, if you’re intrigued why not watch the actual episode? This particular one is called ‘SAFE’ – it’s brilliant. You should watch it.
And, if anybody’s slightly confused over the sources I’ve used, I’ve taken the liberty of posting them up here for you just in case. All you have to do is follow the link.

TTFN.x

Cornwall, Fashion, Hobbies, Music

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Recently scouring the depths of eBay, I became hooked on searching through pages and pages of cowboy boots. Being an enthusiastic fan of Texas country music, I tend to do this every few months. Usually, I never buy any though, either because the ones available just don’t look right, or are too expensive. I love them, but I will not spend over £25 on cowboy boots online for the chance that they may not even fit me properly. I have tiny baby feet.

So, you can imagine my delight when I found some that:
a) weren’t too expensive
b) actually looked gorgeous!

I am proud to say I bid on them and am now the grateful and lucky owner of these fine, black leathers:

I have a brown pair, not dissimilar yet I’m sad to say these are slowly falling apart. In this dreadful weather, I’ve had to superglue them from falling apart when I came home with my feet soaking wet and little damp patches on my sad little cat socks!

I was happy, with this pair, yet the next day I got an email from eBay saying that I had also won a fabulous pair of PINK cowboy boots – new – and they were awaiting my payment.

Oops … I had gone a little crazy with the bidding on several items. I never thought I would win an item. I never thought I would win those black ones! I proceeded to the link the email had sent me and, well, fell in love with these pink ones too. I said yes to the payment and they arrived a couple days later. Now, they are sat beneath my desk, with all my other pairs of shoes (largely, yes, boots) and looking damn fine.

What beauties!

 

So far, I have acquired five pairs of cowboy boots:

One Vintage, one brown pair from a store in Plymouth that recently became friends with the superglue, two suede (one pink, one brown), and these fine black ones from this post just recently. I am waiting to be united with them soon by the postman. 

I cannot wait!

Hobbies, Music

Oh, Sweet Musical Buds

I’m so excited about the fact that I’ve been reunited with my musical earbuds! FYI, that loosely translates to headphones.

I have been without music for on average roughly three months – almost four. Upon getting my kitten, Mal, when she was a teeny tot she just loved chewing on anything she could get her tiny padded paws on. And a long line of fiddly headphones with delicious tangly wires seemed to be her favourite thing to demolish.
I cannot count how many she has gone through – and not only just mine. She has chewed through my boyfriend’s earphones approximately three? times (I think) and at least one decrepit, old pair of my roommate’s who lives upstairs. What did I tell you? She loves them.

So, on a fairly indulgent trip to ASDA store this morning before my university essay submission (I even treated myself to a £2.50 mop and bucket) I grabbed a pair of headphones. They are blue, and pummeling country music through my ears as of right now, and I love them. Even better, I looked at them properly when I got home this evening and the description isn’t just blue – it’s none other than peppermint blue.

If you’ve read my other blogposts, you’ll know that I adore peppermint tea. There is just simply no other better tea leaf better on this single standing earth. I think these headphones and I are made for each other; our love is of quality. It makes me love my iTunes after being bored of listening to it aloud through my stale laptop speakers so, so much.

Here’s to appreciating music, whatever the genre. As long as you have shiny new peppermint blue headphones, who cares if it’s god awful ugly music? At least the quality’s good, right?