Last week was a great week for me. I had three wonderful musical “excursions”: the Eagles on Sunday evening at the Grand Ole Opry House and Sheryl Crow on Thursday at the Ryman Auditorium followed on Saturday by a TPAC Broadway performance of An American in Paris. I grew into adulthood in the 1970’s listening to the Eagles and have always enjoyed almost all genres of music including Broadway shows. I was a quick fan when Sheryl Crow broke onto the scene in the early 1990’s enjoying both her country and acoustic sides.
I admit I’m spoiled living in Nashville with such incredible live music virtually every night. With hundreds of venues I have a wide selection of mature touring bands or up-and-coming songwriters. Nashville is a smorgasbord of music.
If music makes Nashville was it is (The “It City”), Nashville also makes music what it is.
I struck up a conversation with a lady from Tempe, Arizona in the line for the restroom during intermission of the Sheryl Crow concert. It was her first visit and she couldn’t believe that she was here for the concert! She’d already toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum and was scheduled for a Ryman Tour the next morning. She’d heard that Sheryl Crow lived “around Nashville” and I confirmed that she did, in fact, “We have a lot of musical stars that live here in Middle Tennessee”.
She confirmed again how lucky I am, but not just about the music. She remarked how friendly everyone is that she has met. Everyone spoke cordially, seemed to be genuinely interested in striking up a conversation and couldn’t wait to help. It isn’t just native Nashvillians either. People who have just moved here seem to get caught in the “Nashville fever” combining extraordinary talents with a warm, welcoming feel.
Even a weekend of fear and hate fizzled out in Tennessee a few weekends ago as chronicled in the New York Times when a “White Lives’ Matters” rally was met with such love and passive resistance that the white nationalists scattered, one group heading to a sports bar and restaurant. It’s hard to be angry at a group that only loves you back.
Sheryl Crow told some stories before intermission but she said out loud what I was thinking. “Here we are, all enjoying a night of music. We are all different in our ideologies like whether we believe in big or small government, but we’ve all come together to have a good time and sing some songs about relationships and our purpose in the world.”
Sheryl challenged us to think : “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could be like it is here in Nashville? We may disagree but we still can have a conversation with respect and dignity and put our differences aside to be people to each other.”
Maybe it is time for a revolution of civility. Come to Nashville for a visit or to live; it is the center of where the healing starts.