FRIDAY was our day to catch up with Aussie singer-songwriter Matt Scullion, who’s been living in Nashville for the past 15 months.
He’s here on a three-year work visa and is shopping for a publishing contract. He’s had several meetings but as yet nothing set in concrete.
After the three years is up Matt plans to renew his working visa, but he’s missing home, so will certainly not be cutting any ties with the land of his birth.
He picked us up and took us to lunch at Goodlettsville to a friend’s restaurant, The Star Café.
His good friend, Sally Findley, owns the place and is the chief cook (and possibly bottle-washer). Holy cow.
What a cook – real home-style southern cuisine, served promptly and efficiently by Sally’s wait staff.
We met some other friends of Matt’s there, including Casey, a bloke he’s been doing some co-writing with, and Casey’s beautiful three-year-old daughter.
It’s a great little spot for lunch and has a permanent stage set up, complete with guitar, for those inclined to have a play.
Matt didn’t take the stage, just the guitar, and sat around the table singing us some of his most recent songs.
He’s totally focused on his goals over here and I really hope he succeeds.
As it is, he’s not doing too badly back home in Australia, getting cuts on some of our prominent country artists’ latest releases.
Matt will be back home for Christmas to celebrate the festive season with his family near Ulladulla, and will return to Tamworth for his annual Scullion Sessions upstairs at the Tudor Hotel.
Mark those gigs down in your diary as he’s been writing some fantastic stuff since he’s been over here.
AFTER lunch we ventured a few hundred metres down the road and called in on Goodlettsville Fire and Rescue, one of the largest brigades outside Nashville.
Angela Daly, who’s an inspector with the Rural Fire Service based in Moree, made firm friends with the crew.
She was warmly welcomed by Captain Dean Birdwell and his team of Shane Toll, Ben McCoy and Jamie Cohea.
They showed her through the station house and looked over the equipment on the fire trucks, discussing the similarities between firefighting in Australia and the US.
They were astounded at the size of the district compared to their own patch.
It was a terrific experience for her and a great goodwill exchange between firies from opposite sides of the world.
Before she left they presented her with a T-shirt and fire marshall’s cap.
It sure put a smile on our Aussie girl’s face, not to mention those on the faces of the boys she left behind at the Goodlettsville brigade.
FRIDAY is a special day for a group of industry folk in Nashville who meet about 4pm each week at Dan McGuinness’s Irish Pub.
People like John Lomax III and his lovely wife Melanie, Bob Saporiti, Denise Fussell, Steve Haggard, Garry Jackson, Becky Meagher and a host of others catch up for a drink, a meal and a chat.
The group sometimes numbers more than 20 as various others drop in throughout the afternoon and early evening.
Matt drove us in there and we introduced him to the group, some of whom he had already met, and others he hadn’t come across.
We met Terry Widlake and his wife Margaret.
Terry was Roy Orbison’s tour manager for two decades and fondly recalled touring Australia with the legendary artist.
Dave Pomeroy, who’s a great bass player and is also president of the Nashville Musicians Union, was another very interesting bloke to talk to.
They were more than happy to welcome four Aussies into their circle of friends.
After the group dispersed, we had dinner at the pub and then ventured downtown for a stroll, but it had been a big day, so we called a cab and headed for our motel to prepare for the next day’s adventures in Music City USA.
ON SATURDAY, Marie had a rest and recovery day in preparation for her album recording which was to start on Tuesday. She spent the day at the motel going over songs and getting some well-earned rest.
Angela and I visited the Parthenon, a fantastic monument in Centennial Park, Nashville, based on the one in ancient Greece.
It only cost $6 to tour the facility and it was well worth it to see the detail that had gone into its construction.
We then set the Magellan for 1300 Clinton St, Nashville – the Antique Archaeology store founded by American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz.
It was lots of fun poking around the shop and seeing their latest finds. It’s a big tourist destination these days and bus loads turn up to wander through the store to get their pick of the picks.
After our big day out exploring, we all had a quiet evening in (for once) and went to bed relatively early, by Nashville standards, which was probably about midnight.
WE HAD booked a cruise on the General Jackson paddle steamer, which has lunchtime and evening cruises, with a show.
Before our cruise, we took what we thought would be a quick look around the Gaylord Opryland Resort. My goodness me. What a place. You’ve never seen anything like it in your life!
There’s a river that winds through the hotel with a dozen or so people at a time peering at the rocky outcrops with lush, green vegetation lining the sides of the waterway.
The rooms all have balconies which overlook the scene below, which has a small shopping village and eateries at the heart of the hotel.
Weddings, functions, competitions, pageants, business meetings and more are held daily at the complex, which really does have to be seen to be believed.
I’ll tell you all about the General Jackson cruise in the next column.