Tuesday, July 1, 2014


We just returned from a three day tour. Actually, it was three shows, but four and a half days of travel, including all the packing and driving.

Since we have plenty of pictures and adventures from each place, we can divide up the blog into separate reports. 

Welcome to the blog about our visit to Jonesborough, "the oldest town in Tennessee."

Since our long weekend required leaving on a Friday morning at 10 am, we decided it would reduce stress to do our packing on Thursday evening. 

Nathan brought the van to Dennis's house, where we loaded up after a brief rehearsal.

                  Nathan's yankee ingenuity at work
                David ponders the loading strategy
             Lori shows off "Patches," their new WannaPuppy

We were scheduled to play at Music On The Square, right on the courthouse steps in the center of Jonesborough. When we arrived, we discovered that the town was founded in 1779, and had been the capital of the state of Franklin. 

Never heard of it? Well, Franklin was proposed as a state, covering five counties west of North Carolina, but it was rejected by the Continental Congress. This was before Tennessee was admitted in 1796.

The monument next to the Washington County Courthouse mentions the State of Franklin 1784-85.
The monument next to the courthouse, commemorating the history of the town and the brief existence of the state of Franklin. 

The courthouse is a famous landmark, and the site of the Music On The Square concert series, which happens every Friday night during the summer.

    Here's our host, Steve Cook, delivering the sound system.

                David and Nathan at the Courthouse 
               David wonders how level the bricks are

Dennis sets up merch table, with help from Lorena Craddock, who brought great friendliness and efficiency to our boutique

Jonesborough - even the spelling of the town has a history. In recent years, the name was shortened to Jonesboro, but then restored again to its original version, with full Anglo-Saxon phonetic impracticality including the unpronounced "ugh" at the end.

Jonesborough is known as the Storytelling Capital of the world. Each October the National Storytelling Festival draws the best raconteurs from all over the world. 
                        Storytelling sign downtown, 
              with pumpkins telling the story of October
             The storytelling center, also downtown

The town has been revived and beautified, the downtown area now a lovely array of restored shops, restaurants, inns, museums, and historic sites.

In fact, Steve has been an active participant in the revival of the town, having moved there 35 years ago, where he and his wife Tava started an art gallery on the square in a building originally constructed in the 18th century.
Here's their story, including the building's appearance in a Disney movie.

Steve has been with Music On The Square since it started 16 years ago. He's been helping find sponsors to fund the event, and he hangs the banner between the columns of the courthouse that mentions their various businesses who contributed. 

The Music on the Square series allows the audience to sit in the street, bringing their own folding chairs. 
  Traffic cones cleared the streets in front of the courthouse
    The street was full of spectators on folding chairs by 7 pm

Nathan had a moment of inspiration. Because we were playing literally on the front steps of the courthouse, he thought we should do a "swearing in." 

After Steve introduced us, and before we played our first song (Sgt. Pepper), Nathan took his black notebook filled with Beatles charts and asked the rest of us to put our hands on it, and said, "Do you promise to play the notes, the whole notes, and nothing but the notes, so help you Yoko?" and we all said "I will."

                            Then the show started.

                  Here's Nathan rockin' while Bryan and Dennis 
                 do their guitar heroics out front - great photo!
         Here we are during "Got To Get You Into My Life"

We were very happy with the gig. The audience was very receptive and enthusiastic. We were especially impressed with our sound woman, Sara Jane. She ran a very efficient sound check, and then mixed the monitor levels so that we could hear ourselves fine and sounded great. She also added effects every now and then, like different types of reverb on "Lucy In The Sky."

Sorry I didn't get a picture of Sara Jane. She lives in nearby Johnson City, where she runs a gym with her husband, and does sound for the fun of it. She got her degree in music and recording arts at U. Of California at Chico.

Dennis holding the harmonica, and the guitar, and singing
A great shot of the whole event from the band's perspective -
with special WannaThanks to photographer Charlie Monk of the Herald & Tribune for the extra photos in this blog

Our own resident Brian Epstein, otherwise known as Dennis, had scored us a very comfortable motel, with four separate rooms, wi-fi and free breakfast, only a block and a half from the center of town.

While riding in the van on the way to Jonesborough, we spoke to Megan, their reporter on the phone. She was very nice. After the show, we had our picture taken with her.

      Here's the article in the Jonesborough newspaper
                       And the photo of us with Megan

Another surprise was seeing Sarah Compton, a musician who had played with us last fall in Knoxville, when we performed at the Bijou Theater. Sarah played violin in the string quartet that joined us onstage. She's from nearby Johnson City, so she came by to say hello.
           WannaBeatles' reunion with Sarah Compton

Among the other sights around Jonesborough are beautiful gardens, colorful signs, and historic buildings, all within a couple of blocks of the center of town.

                               Farmers Market sign
                          A lovely backyard garden

And the lovely B&B connected to it, The Blair-Moore house

                     Andrew Jackson lived here
       Another downtown sign for merchant A.B.Cummings, 
              probably a distant relative of Bloggin' Bryan
And another site shows dramatic divisions within Tennessee, especially during the Civil War, with Memphis at one end representing the deep South plantation economy defending slavery and secession, while Jonesborough at the eastern end of the state represented the opposite view. 

Jonesborough is a lovely town, and we had a wonderful time - and then we had to drive up to Charlottesville, for our next adventure. 

Stay tuned as the WannaWeekend unfolds…

Bloggin' Bryan 1July2014


  1. You guys were great! Thanks for the coverage of our little town ( and by the way, the photographer is Charlie Mauk), hope to see you back next year!

  2. This is the one of the best and informatic blogspot i ever seen.thanks for such a nice and unique content with many tips , ideas and guide to other traveler.Thanks again.

    Taxi fare in Jonesboro Georgia

  3. Thank you, Andrew! Jonesborough is certainly an interesting and charming town. We hope to return, and maybe we'll see you there.