Saturday, November 29, 2014


Sewanee: The town. The school. The gig.

It's a small town -- really more of a village -- sharing a mountain top with an illustrious college. The mountain is Monteagle, and the school, often called Sewanee, is officially named The University of the South.  

Sewanee is an odd combination of country village and college town. It's more interesting and sophisticated than other small towns, but more relaxed and rustic than other college towns like Athens or Chapel Hill.

The WannaBeatles played there on September 26 at the 4th annual Angel Fest, which occurs in the newly constructed Angel Park. 

This is the poster they printed up to advertise our appearance. We saw it displayed around town, in the windows of restaurants and galleries across the street from the park. 

The Angel Fest is a community event that connects many people, businesses, and activities. An animal shelter was featured among the booths on the street.
The music stage is small but charming, with large beams forming a large A-shaped shelter over a geometric slab. 
We had Ricky Armentrout running sound for us, an old friend from Puckett's.
Ricky brought his daughter Vera to help out. We can remember when she was about 6 years old, back when Ricky did our sound at Puckett's Grocery in Lieper's Fork.
A view of Nathan from sound board
It was great to see a dancing toddler at our soundcheck
 And here's another one getting into the music

The grassy area in front of the stage was used for the first annual Canine Musical Sit, which is like musical chairs for dogs. Each dog walks with his owner around the circle, and when the music stops, the dogs sit. Last one to sit is eliminated, and on to the next round.

Conestants in position with their obedient dogs

The winner of the dog sit was a young girl with plenty of enthusiasm. 

Sewanee was very hospitable to us. We were given a room to change clothes across University Avenue at Locals Gallery, where we discovered the architectural skills of John Goodson. He had remodelled the gallery, installing beautiful craftsman style woodwork, and also designed the distinctive lighting along the periphery of the Angel Park. 

Right next door to Locals gallery was The Blue Chair Cafe & Tavern, where we were treated to a variety of craft beers and fine local burgers. Our host Jimmy offered us a taster's board of several different ales and stouts.
Checking out the beer variety with Jimmy at The Blue Chair

The show started at 7:30, with people sitting in folding chairs. The brick area in front of the stage gradually filled up with dancers, and the evening ended like a large fraternity party, with the crowd throbbing to the music and having a great time.

After the show, we returned to The Blue Chair, where we were treated to home made pies and ice cream. We had our picture taken with the woman who made the pies, along with her daughters. 
Here we are with the nice folks at The Blue Chair

Thanks Sewanee for a wonderful time!

Bloggin' Bryan 29Nov2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TPAC and Cool Springs Pt. 2

Our evening gig on Sept. 18 was a party for the Endodontic Associates, at their Cool Springs location. 

They had erected a huge tent over their parking lot, and set up tables with record album covers as decorations. They had even installed a chandelier decorated with vinyl albums.

It was a small stage, but we made it work. 

Technical note: it's not your eyes making the photo appear blurry. It's Bloggin' Bryan not yet having learned to hold the cell phone absolutely still while taking a photo. 

We had Allan Waugh, our favorite sound man, there to set up the PA.
Allan setting kick drum mic)

David, Allan and Nathan setting up

We knew from the decorations and the hippie costumes that we were dealing with people in the mood to hear the music and have a good time.

But we didn't know that they also had planned to bring The Love Bus to the party.
Big crowd at Love Bus in the parking lot

Big Love Bus is an imaginative company, operating in Nashville and Knoxville, that has bought, refurbished and painted some old school buses, turning each one into a "party bus" with a distinctly 60's theme. 

We got to pose in front of it.

And we got to go inside the bus, and hang out a while.
We were so comfortable inside the bus that we turned it into a mobile studio. Dennis used his portable micro recorder to rehearse and record the four of us reciting a promotional spot for Hippie Radio's upcoming "Groovin' and Cruisin'" party.

On board the bus, we met Glenn, our driver. We learned that he is not only an official school bus driver but also an elected City Commissioner for Kingston Springs, TN. 

Glenn's story includes living in school buses growing up on The Farm in Summertown, which is mentioned in an article about Glenn and the Big Love Bus that was published by The Tennessean. 

Here's the link to that article:

We made plans to connect with the Love Bus again. We invited them into our plans to celebrate Paul McCartney's return to Nashville. We set up an afternoon show at Rippy's rooftop, across the street from the Bridgestone Arena, on Oct. 16, the night of McCartney's show. We invited the Love Bus to bring nearly two dozen dancers from Belmont to the Arena as a "flash mob" on the street responding to our music coming from the rooftop. We had to set up a parking spot on 5th Avenue in front of Rippy's explicitly for the Love Bus.

But that's another blog.

Meanwhile, we had a good time playing for the Endodontic Associates as they pretended to be hippies for an evening. And after a day that included playing earlier at TPAC with Richard Courtney, we knew the wheels on the bus had gone round and round for The WannaBeatles - one more day unlike any other, making music, making friends, and having fun. 

Bloggin' Bryan 11November 2014

TPAC and Cool Springs Pt. 1

On September 18, The WannaBeatles played two gigs in one day.

The first was at TPAC, an event co-sponsored by Vanderbilt called Inside Out of the Lunch Box, a monthly program designed to connect TPAC to the community. They hand out 300 box lunches to first 300 people to respond. Students and other visitors arrive at 11:30, then the show runs from noon till 1 pm.

The TPAC show gave us a chance to collaborate with our friend Richard Courtney, Beatles fan supreme and co-author of "Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles." 
Richard with Kristin Horsley in the wings before the show

Our show consisted of Richard at a podium, introducing us, and then giving mini-lectures between songs, each anecdote providing an insight about a particular song or personality trait of the Beatles, which we would then demonstrate in a live performance of the song.

It turned out to be a delightful combination of fascinating lecture and music concert, more interesting than either would have been without the other.

Working at TPAC meant dealing with high levels of professionalism, with all the fine staff and equipment of the Polk Theater, which seats over a thousand people. 

Here's a shot David took from his drum kit during our sound check:

Here's David in our dressing room.

And the four box lunches they left for us in the dressing room:

It was a fun gig, made even more memorable by the photographs taken by Steve Green, a Beatles fan officially employed by Vanderbilt. Here are some shots taken by Steve that capture that day at TPAC.
We had access to the full video capability at Polk Theater, maximizing our synchronized version of the songs The Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan.
Here Comes The Sun
Nathan rocking
Nashville's favorite singing drummer
Dennis really rockin'
The WannaBeatles horn section
(It looks like Dennis is playing a guitar, 
but his amplifier produces the sound of a trumpet.)
Nathan on keyboard
A serious WannaBeatle at the drums
Guitar heroes
 Onstage with video

Richard tells another Fab Four story
Dennis on acoustic

David and drum set in red light
The audience at TPAC
Wireless WannaBeatle out in the audience
Panorama stage shot
Gail Carr Williams of TPAC

There was no time to waste after that show. We gathered out in the lobby, signing CDs and meeting new friends. Then we packed up to drive down to Cool Springs to play at a private party.

Stay tuned for the followup blog about that afternoon, and our first encounter with The Love Bus.

Thanks to Steve Green for the wonderful photography (not the blurry ones), Richard Courtney for partnering on a unique show at TPAC, and to Kristin and Gail at TPAC for helping everything run smoothly.

Bloggin' Bryan, 11November 2014