Monday, November 30, 2015

Berea, Kentucky

Those who read music may recognize a melody by Leonard Bernstein. It's one way to help The WannaBeatles remember how to pronounce a place where we'd never been before.

Berea, Kentucky is an interesting town. It's small, but loaded with energy. It's a college town (Berea College, founded in 1855 as the first interracial and coeducational college in the south), with an active local arts scene. 

Their annual Spoonbread Festival includes hot air balloon rides, a 5K run, a motorcycle rally, and a spoonbread eating contest. 

The historic Boone Tavern in Berea, built in 1909, has hosted such luminaties as Henry Ford and the Dalai Lama.

And now, at last, Bereans can say they've heard The WannaBeatles.

We drove up there Saturday, September 19. We were greeted by friendly staff who organized various portions of the Festival.
Greeted by Sandy upon arrival, getting oriented
Dennis and David with Phillip, our master of ceremonies,
who allowed us to use his RV as a dressing room, 
which was parked conveniently right behind the stage.

Another local guy, Chad Hembree, helped us set up our table next to the tent where Spotlight Playhouse and Acting School, his company, was promoting their upcoming season.
Chad helps Dennis set up table

Who knew that a musical had been written 
around a two dimensional cartoon character?

We met our eastern Kentucky friend Skip Benton, wearing his WannaBeatles tee shirt, who helped us at the merch table.
Skip helps Dennis at the merch table
Dennis, David, and Nathan on the grounds

We wandered around the festival, tasting Spoonbread (a delicious warm bread pudding type of treat) and other festival foods. We began to suspect that "Fried" is one of the major food groups.

We had plenty of time before our 7:00 pm show. Other bands were on the stage, so we couldn't set up. We actually took some time to lie down and rest in the RV behind the stage while other bands played.

The Missing Trousers

After the last band played, we had limited time to set up.
Then, just about 40 minutes before the show, we encountered a big problem: Bloggin' Bryan had forgotten his black pants. 

The "civilian" trousers I had on were light green. If I had been wearing black jeans, it would have been a passable alternative, but this was totally unacceptable to our uniform director, WannaBeatle Dennis, who does his best to keep us looking and acting professional.

The funny part is that this goof up was a repeat of an almost identical goof up in another small town a few summers ago, when I had to drive Dennis's car to a local store to find some black pants in my size, buy them, return to the dressing room, put them on, and go onstage, all in less than twenty minutes.

This time I had over twice that much time for the emergency errand. So a local friend (Skip's wife) drove me to Wal-Mart, where I found a pair of black pants (for $12), returned to the RV, and got onstage in time for the downbeat of our show.

Not all of my equipment was in full working order when Phillip announced us. So the first song was a blur, my mind on autopilot, like a traumatized soldier in combat when time stands still - I remember fumbling with my cords and switches rather than singing and playing, aware of precious seconds ticking by as the band performed without me, as I desparately attended to technical details so that I would have the cornet up to my lips in time for the crucial part at the end of "Magical Mystery Tour."

But after that shaky opening song, we hit our stride and delivered a fine show to an appreciative crowd under that big tent.

And we had a great time.

Here's one photo from that show taken by a local fan who posted it on facebook:

Thanks Berea, for all your hospitality, fine fried food, and one timely trip to the local Wal-Mart.

-Bloggin' Bryan, 30November2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gallatin 2015

On September 17, The WannaBeatles returned to Gallatin, TN to do their monthly 3rd Thursday concert on the courthouse square.

It was a beautiful afternoon.
WannaBeatle Dennis sets up harmonica holder
WannaBeatle Nathan adjusts his mic
WannaBeatle David, with new haircut, checks his drums

Over the years, The WannaBeatles have developed some history with Gallatin. We played many times at The Whippoorwill, located right on the square, a restaurant/music venue which sadly is no longer there. 

Within a block of downtown is also the historic Palace Theater, where we filmed our "We Wanna Meet Paul" video, which has now surpassed 20,000 views.
The Palace Theater also contains an administrative office, which became a hospitality suite for us. 
WannaBeatles on the poster for 3rd Thursday series

It was a return to a familiar landmark to visit the Palace Theater again, and use their lobby rest room as our dressing room. They also provided us with a nice supper of barbecue.

Dennis changing into stage clothes
David all dressed, hanging out in lobby

We had our old friend Larry doing the sound for us, who had been at the Whippoorwill many times, and does lots of local shows.
Stage with banner before show
The lovely Miss Leslie displaying our merchandise
Cool dancer before the show
The Sumner County Courthouse, as viewed from the stage

As usual, we have photos from before the show, but none during the show, since Bloggin' Bryan is too busy during the show to take pictures.

However, some music buddies visiting from Brazil happened to catch our show, and they included a clip of our performance in their recently posted youtube video. Here's a screenshot of that moment:

Our live action occurs, as the photo indicates, at timing mark 2:27. The entire video can be viewed at this link:

We were happy to meet with fans after the show. 

We encountered a couple who made us aware that there is such a thing as a Topo Gigio tee shirt.

Since The WannaBeatles include an Ed Sullivan impersonation in our show, the name "Topo Gigio" is almost as familiar to us as "Magical Mystery Tour."
The Topo Gigio tee shirt

It's impossible to anticipate every level of cultural enrichment that comes our way as a result of this unique destiny of being The WannaBeatles. All we can do is enjoy it as it comes along.

-Bloggin' Bryan 18 November 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Clifton, Tennessee

On Saturday September 12, The WannaBeatles went to Clifton, Tennessee, a lovely little town on the banks of the Cumberland River.

We were playing at their annual Riverbend Festival, on the Main Street stage.
Unloading by the river
(Notice wrought iron railings on upper balcony -
a small touch of New Orleans style)
The other view: unloading backstage, 
with a stage hand in a hurry
WannaBealte Dennis cheerful at river view

We had some extra time before our sound check, so Nathan and I took a stroll down Main Street.
A view of the stage from behind the sound booth

WannaBeatle Nathan on Main street

There were other bands playing the same stage, through the entire day.
Another band onstage

I took a photo of the monkey sticker on my guitar, a reminder of my granddaughter Ella, with a view of the river. 
Ella's monkey

We had friendly local folks helping us with our merch table. 

WannaBeatles Nathan and Dennis explain the square

We tried setting up our new banner, but it was too windy.
Dennis setting up banner

We were treated hospitably at a downtown restaurant called The Pirate's Lair, where they served all their performers a large classic Southern meal. 
Onstage for sound check
sound check cont'd
A pile of instruments ready to go onstage
Dennis and David checking gear before show
Mr. Cool WannaBeatle David ready to go onstage

We played, the crowd enjoyed it, and, because Bloggin' Bryan was busy playing the show, we have no photos to prove it.

After the show, we returned to The Pirate's Lair for more food, to hang out with our new local friends who were helping serve the food and manage our merch table, and to change back into civilian clothes.

Before leaving, we posed for a photo with the pirate.
A fond farewell to The Pirate's Lair and Clifton, Tennessee

Then we drove back home to Nashville, tired but grateful for such a fun way to earn a living.

Bloggin' Bryan 11November2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Nashville Library 2015

After a five day trip at the end of August, The WannaBeatles' first gig in September was one of our favorites, the downtown Library. We've been doing this outdoor lunchtime show for years, and we always enjoy it.

The Nashville Library has a concert series each year, August through October, in their upstairs courtyard. It's a beautiful setting, with trees and tables with umbrellas circling a large fountain. 

The concerts attract people who work downtown, but also families with kids.
Kids enjoy playing in the fountain

Our sound man, Matt Coxey, at the board, with Travis Ball. 

We saw lots of familiar faces.
Nathan with Gary and Carol before the show
 Our loyal fans Jeff and Joanne Seligman 
in their new tee shirts
Matt notices our new banner
Nathan testing mic
Dennis testing acoustic guitar upside down
Four of us before show

As with previous years, we had photographer Ray Jones taking pictures, and they tell a great story.

Crowd on a sunny day
The stage and the crowd before the show
Tari introducing us
 Opening the show

Ray caught a variety of angles and instruments, songs and moods.
David playing and singing
Nathan rocking' on Hofner
Dennis on bass
David singing
Dennis and Bryan guitar duo
Dennis does Ed

Dennis still doing Ed, David grinning

 Hello Dolly

Dancer with Cardboard Paul onstage

Dennis singing to Paul
WannaBeatle Bryan steps out
Nathan on mic, with his Hofner

David amid the action
Bryan and Nathan on mic
Elaine Wood and the ticket drawing
Drawing the winning ticket
And back to business: WannaBeatle Bryan up on the wall
Rear view of Lady Madonna
Rockin' out
Waving goodbye
Our friend Leslie, posing with us after show

We had a great time. It's always fun at the Library. Thanks to Elaine for inviting us, Matt and Travis for a great job with the sound, thanks to fans Jeff and Joanne, Carol and Gary, and Leslie, and thanks to Ray Jones for lots of fine photos.

We'll be back, and looking forward to it!

-Bloggin' Bryan 1November2015