Sunday, July 31, 2016

Greenwood SC

Our summer season started in earnest with a weekend trip to two Southern towns, Greenwood, SC, and Gadsden, Alabama. 

Our Greenwood show, subject of this blog, was scheduled for Thursday June 2, as part of the town’s 49th annual Festival of Flowers.  

Our travel began Wednesday afternoon June 1, at the home of WannaBeatle David. David's house in Nolensville is conveniently located for heading south on I-24, which led us through Atlanta and into South Carolina.

Backing a trailer down David’s driveway is a challenge. It helps to have a rear camera in the back of the 4Runner.
Nathan's capable hand on wheel 
with screen showing trailer behind the 4Runner

Four WannaBeatles, pausing before the trip in the driveway,
with loaded trailer, at David’s house

Nathan's new vehicle (featured first in our blog 
about Tellico, available at this link: 
was bought after extensive research into technical requirements for pulling a trailer. 


The WannaBeatles are four musicians who have formed a business that requires us to fill many roles, from travel agents and publicists to roadies and stage hands, all in one coordinated organism. The more we do it, the more we learn how to do it. So the increasing efficiency of our teamwork is worth mentioning even as we go through mundane tasks like loading a trailer and leaving town.

So I'm writing a blog, but we wouldn't have a gig to blog about without Dennis's efforts, and we wouldn't have a 4Runner without Nathan's decision to support the band by buying that particular vehicle, and Nathan wouldn't be confident he'd made the right choice without the input from David's practical knowledge of vehicles.

So, it was a pleasant Southern summer day for travel, but even more pleasant knowing that our own efforts to work as a team made the whole thing easier, even fun.
WannaBeatles David, Dennis and Nathan 
walking across parking lot at rest area

And walking back to the van

We finally stopped for dinner at not just any fast food joint, but the one that's closed on Sundays. Part of our loyalty to Chick-fil-A is based on Dennis working at several Chick-fil-A stores in Nashville, entertaining children. 
Dennis and Nathan at Chick-fil-A

As The WannaBeatles travel together, we often listen to music, appreciating the wide variety of items available online.
Listening to old records is both a personal pleasure and a professional assignment, since we are continually working up more songs for our repertoire, beyond The Beatles. 


This particular trip we enjoyed exploring 60's vocal pop music, from "Never My Love" by The Association, "I Saw Her Again" by The Mamas and The Papas, and "You Were On My Mind" by We Five.

Enjoying these songs helps us appreciate how important vocals are, for many of these old songs, for The Beatles, and in our own sound. Another indicator of our teamwork is our getting familiar with each other's singing ranges, sounds, and styles, so that we can be more adept arranging vocal parts to suit our particular capabilities.


Greenwood is a small town, nearly an hour from the interstate, as we drove through the dark across the sparse countryside. 

It was around 11 pm when we finally arrived at our destination, Inn on the Square, the name inscribed on the awning leading to the entry doors. We parked in their parking lot, bringing in our basic luggage for a good night's sleep. 

We opted for the security of clamping a lock over the wheel of the trailer, but could sense that Greenwood, being small, relatively quiet, even quaint, was devoid of most of the dangers of big city living.

The next morning, we discovered that Inn On The Square is different from typical motels. Instead of eating the typical free breakfast, waiting in line with other hotel guests at food dispensers, we sat down at a dining room table with silverware, a linen tablecloth, and a friendly local waitress. It was enjoyable, personal, delicious and memorable. 

And thanks to Dennis's negotiating skills, it was free, included in our trip. 

Creative Shrubbery

Our hostess Lara Hudson made us feel right at home, giving us pertinent facts about Greenwood. 

For one thing, it's the location for American headquarters of FujiFilm Manufacturing, which celebrated its local identity, and Asian culture with this large camera, topped by panda bears.

Greenwood is home to Lander University, whose mascot the bearcat was represented in this towering shrub.

The Lander University bearcat in topiary

Wannabeatle Nathan was especially interested in the topiary samples around town, and took quite a few pictures.

 Not just any cow, the Chick-fil-A mascot
 Dennis goes ape with King Kong as Godzilla watches
 An elephant wading in the water
 A full scale Jeep, with actual hubcaps and headlights
 A swan
A roaring tiger

Our venue was the newly constructed Uptown Market, adjacent to a park where children played among fountains. It was a hot day, so this was a delightful diversion.

Here's how it looked in the Greenwood newspaper the next morning, a front page photo of the children playing with our name in the headline:

Front page article in Greenwood newspaper 
the morning after our show

Perhaps the most exciting fact that we learned from our hostess Lara was that Greenwood was the home of The Swinging Medallions. 

For those who don't know, The Swinging Medallions were a classic party band whose hit “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” hit the charts in 1966, alongside hits by The Beatles, Stones, Lovin’ Spoonful, The Association, the Mamas & the Papas, and the Monkees. Their big hit peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, but its cultural significance for those of us in the South was enormous. 

Beach Music

The term "Beach Music" - not to be confused with what came from California - is well known in the Carolinas, (it started in Myrtle Beach,) Virginia Beach, and across the South in towns where college fraternities throw parties. 

Beach Music is rooted in post-war R&B, with bands like The Drifters and The Coasters as famous examples, and regional artists like Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs or The Tams being equally popular in the genre.

The music is identified by a dance called The Shag, a casual cousin to the Jitterbug. Beach Music is what The Swinging Medallions did, and continue to play fifty years later.

Bloggin' Bryan, as the only WannaBeatle who grew up in the South (Miami, as David will attest, doesn't count,) was aware of Beach Music back when The Swinging Medallions first hit the charts. 

Having never been to Greenwood before, I was impressed by the fact that we had landed in the town that had a valid historic claim to being "the home of Beach Music," even if it wasn't near the beach.

Lara also reminded us that the shag was the official dance of South Carolina. 

Setting Up

Our venue, the newly completed Uptown Market
Approaching the stage

Loading in
Our stage, with sound system mostly in place
Nathan onstage with his Hofner
David and Nathan setting up
A family of carts:
Can you tell which cart belongs to which WannaBeatle?
Our banner at the merch table

New Gear

This particular trip coincided with some new equipment for the band. David made a visit to a local music store to get a new Remo head for his snare drum, and Dennis was trying out a new JBL amp for his guitar.

David at his kit presents the new Remo head
Dennis's new amp: sleek, powerful,
and easier to carry than the old one
This cute Irish setter puppy, owned by the sound man, attended our sound check

Our local sound man was playing some tasty music through the system as we set up. We heard some of Donald Fagen's "Nightfly" album, and another band that did hot arrangements of recent Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars tunes. 

That turned out to be a Nashville based group, Tim Akers' Smokin' Section, which plays at 3rd and Lindsley and contains some of the best singers and musicians in town.
We were impressed.

Lara introduced us from the stage.
Right before downbeat
(a rare Bloggin' Bryan photo op)

We posed for a photo with Lara after the show.
David, Dennis, Lara, Bryan and Nathan

Some friends of Nathan’s, Tom and Becky Blackwell, were there, having known Nathan at Belmont Church back in the 90's, and now living in South Carolina. They enjoyed our show and suggested we get in touch with Brevard Music Camp, which hosts an annual summer festival with the Boston Pops. Since The WannaBeatles have been playing with symphony orchestras, that was an exciting suggestion.
Nathan with friend Becky at the merch table
After packing up, we enjoyed a dinner at the restaurant across the street. 

We had a wonderful time in Greenwood. Thanks to Lara for making us feel at home, and Inn on the Square for their Southern hospitality.

Stay tuned for our next day’s departure and travel to Gadsden, Alabama.

-Bloggin’ Bryan 31July2016

1 comment:

  1. What a fun trip! Loved reading about your adventures :)