Thursday, June 30, 2016


In July 2015, we played for the folks at Tellico Village Baptist Church in Loudon, Tennessee.

We were delighted by hundreds of fans who had a great time listening and dancing, and we were impressed by the energy and generosity of the pastor and his wife, Charlie and Teresa Barnard.

We love Charlie and Teresa. Their ebullient sense of adventure is captured by this photo of them on their Yamaha motorcycle.

If you want to read the story of our first visit there click on this link:

Because of Charlie and Teresa's energy, and the enthusiastic response we received, we were asked back this year, for two shows on Saturday night, April 30.

This time we were heading out in WannaBeatle Nathan's new 4Runner, while our sound man Allen Waugh carried most of our gear, along with his sound system, in his Ford Transit.

We also carried with us a young intern, an audio student from MTSU named Jeffrey Jenkins. He rode in the van with Allen, which we believed would be an educational experience for him. 

We headed east on I-40, stopping for road food along the way.
Nathan, Allen and Jeffrey at Subway

Nathan's new 4Runner, this time without a trailer,
thanks to Allen's large van with room for most of our gear

When we arrived, we were greeted by Charlie and several other church members ready to help us unload.
Charlie, Allen, David, Nathan and Jeffrey at work
Working as a team
WannaBeatle Dennis strategizes the load-in

With a little help from our friends

We faced a time crunch, with a first show at 5 pm. We were playing in the same fellowship hall we had played in last year, which holds over 500 people. The entire hall had to be filled, emptied and filled again for the second show. And they got to see us for free - the church used their ministry budget to offer this concert as a community service. 

We moved quickly as possible to set up, sound check and get dressed in time to play. It was close.

But everyone did their part, and the shows went well.

David setting up drums
Jeffrey learning his way among Allen's equipment
Allen demonstrating how his job requires, 
and develops, muscular strength
Allen and Jeffrey in position beside stage

One big surprise was the appearance of a full-size Chick-fil-A mascot, the famous cow in the promotional red jersey, who came out to dance in front of the stage during "I Should Have Known Better." This became an opportunity for Bloggin' Bryan to pick up his camera and document the moment, even if that meant a few guitar notes would go missing.
Surprise appearance by The Chick-fil-A promotional cow

The cow and I actually danced together in front of the stage during a guitar solo. You'll have to take my word for it.

A rare shot of us onstage, taken from the stage

We were very happy to gather after the show to meet people.
Merch table activity between shows
Nathan and David after the show, in greet mode

Because Charlie and Teresa had been so nice to us, we enjoyed every minute, and hated to say good bye.
Charlie and Teresa, after helping load the van, 
with Dennis, Allen and Nathan, saying goodbye

Charlie and Teresa, thanks so much for making our return visit to Tellico such a joy!

-Bloggin' Bryan 30jun16

Monday, June 27, 2016

Nolensville 2016

WannaBeatle David lives in Nolensville, which has led to some home-town gigs for The WannaBeatles. It started last January, with a show at the Historic Nolensville School building, as documented in the "Nolensville" blog. 
(For those interested in the whole story, here's the link: 

On that first Nolensville gig, after setting up and doing our sound check at the Historic Nolensville School building, we walked across a parking lot to eat supper at what was then a relatively new restaurant called Nolen's Place. We enjoyed the food, and the atmosphere, as the owner, Lou Leiker, came to talk with us at our table. 

Nolensville, we discovered, was named for William Nolen, who was traveling through the area in 1797 when his wagon wheel broke. Finding the area rich in natural resources, he decided to settle there with his wife Sarah. It has grown since then, but remains a place where people like to live. 

Our connection to the town, and the historic building, has continued into 2016, with another show we did April 23.
Here's an encouraging comparison, indicating that The WannaBeatles have made progress over the last year, at least in terms of ticket prices.
January 2015: WannaBeatles for $5 and $10
April 2016: WannaBeatles for $10

Local legend David showing up for the gig

We had the same sound system, operated by Wayne, who has maintained a classic array of vintage microphones and cables in perfect condition.
Wayne connecting a cable, 
with a vintage AKG mic in the foreground

We received the same hospitality at the same kitchen next the the auditorium, where they served us supper before the show. 

Perhaps the most vivid indicator of our rising status in Nolensville was the placement of a yellow poster over the urinal in the men's bathroom.
The close-up shot
The contextual shot

WannaBeatle Dennis was impressed with the level of publicity, and insisted on getting a photo.

This time we had our snappy stand up banner to add to the stage setup.
WannaBeatles Dennis and David setting up for the show

And this time, Bloggin' Bryan took a brief walking tour of the rest of the building, which has been converted into a museum of local treasures and memories.
Exploring the rest of the building
Nineteenth century kitchen artifacts
(Little House on the Prairie?)
Trophies and banners from past sports victories, etc.
Reproduction of school classroom,
complete with wooden desks and 
portrait of George Washington on the wall

As is often the case, the usual disclaimer applies, where the gig we played has no photos of the show, since the photographer was busy onstage attending to his musical duties. 

But suffice it to say that we had a good time, and so did the people of Nolensville who came to see us. There were several generations of fans, some wearing WannaBeatles tee shirts, and dancing in front of the stage.

But perhaps the most memorable sign of our making a splash, so to speak, in Nolensville might be that poster over the urinal.

The WannaBeatles have another show in Nolensville coming up this weekend, for their Fourth of July celebration.

We're always happy to play there, in WannaBeatle David's home town.

-Blogging Bryan 27June2016

Monday, June 13, 2016


On Friday April 8, The WannaBeatles played a special event for Aquinas College. 

Located on a small campus it shares with its sister schools St. Cecilia Academy and Overbrook School on Harding Rd. about five miles from downtown, Aquinas has been sponsoring a dinner & dance called Convivium each spring for three years as a fund raiser for scholarships and new construction at the school.

The event was held under a large tent over their parking lot, decorated with fancy lights, large tables, a stage and dance floor, some delicious food, and items being offered for silent auction. 
The Convivium banner in the tent

WannaBeatle Dennis, as usual, assumed responsibility for the stage details, like locating the staircase that would be convenient for WannaBeatle Bryan to use for leaving the stage during a guitar solo. 

WannaBeatle Dennis selects stairway location 
Negotiating details for set times and dinner for musicians

We temporarily hung our stage clothes on portions of the tent, while assembling our equipment onstage.
Dennis and Nathan ponder stage layout
WannaBeatle David ponders drum setup
Soundman Allan sets up monitor

The school provided a comfortable classroom for us inside the school as a dressing room, complete with snacks and water bottles. 

Our main contact at the school was Mario Martinez, whose official title is Director of Donor Relations & Strategic Events. Mario made sure everything about the evening ran smoothly. He was the right guy to know.

The Jazz Set

One feature that set this gig apart from other WannaBeatles shows was the addition of a jazz trio that played before us, to provide dinner music, before the presumably louder music we would play for the dance portion of the evening.

I was delighted to discover that the jazz trio Dennis hired happened to be three of my favorite musicians in Nashville, Jeff Lisenby on piano, Mel Deal on guitar, and John Vogt on bass. They assumed positions onstage, using our equipment to minimize the logistical complications for equipment. It was quite a pleasure for me to catch up with my pals.
Mel Deal on guitar
John Vogt on upright bass
A slightly fuzzy photo of John and Jeff, 
using WannaBeatles gear

During the dinner set, the jazz trio was playing the type of jazz standards that seemed to be calling for a sax solo, and since my saxophone was sitting there waiting to be used, I stepped over the line of strict assignments and joined them for a few tunes, being careful not to play too loud or too exciting.

It's amazing how easily jazz fits into an evening, making the atmosphere more pleasant without demanding too much attention.

It's also good to know that music can be played strictly for pleasure, even in a "professional" situation. Even though these guys had been hired to play, they were just as ready to have a good time as they were to do their job and get paid for doing what they do so well. 
The Jazz Trio, plus WannaBeatle Bryan in the background

I was already there as a WannaBeatle, so playing sax with the jazz trio was totally optional, and I was glad for the opportunity. I stood next to Mel, so we could enjoy the changes we played together, then we got to talk about his very cool hand-made jazz guitar, which he had custom built.

The audience was mostly people who could afford the $110 a plate fund-raiser price, with only a few younger students in the audience. But the energy was enthusiastic, and the music went over well, and we were appreciated by Aquinas College.

Most blogs cite the standard Bloggin' Bryan disclaimer: no photos of the band, or the audience during the show, because the photographer was busy playing onstage. 

But in this case, our friend Mario provided us some great shots that portray the fun the audience had that night dancing in front of the stage.

A fun table near the stage
Shakin' it with the Donor Dance
Fun on the dance floor
Under a beautiful tent
More fun on the dance floor
Girls having fun
View from Nathan's keyboard
Jazz Hands!
The WannaBeatles as viewed from the dance floor

Here's what Mario wrote about us in his letter afterward: 
The performance of The WannaBeatles was nothing short of spectacular! I have heard nothing but praise from my administration and our constituents. Thank you for joining us for this festive event and we were more than pleased to have booked you.

It was a treat to play at Aquinas. Thanks, Mario, for all the pictures, and everybody else at the school for making us feel welcome at such a fun evening. Hope to see you again!

-Bloggin' Bryan 13June2016