“That Was The Week That Was” was the title of a TV show that ran on CBS in the 60’s. We hope they don’t mind us borrowing it to headline this post because it just seemed the most appropriate summary to a week spent with friends, old and new, as we pointed our “A Little More Les” book tour to locations far south of Chicago. It wound up being a week of ups and … not so ups.
Who knew that, before the week was up, we’d be standing on the stage of the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum, in Nashville, holding the very guitar that Les Paul used while recording his Grammy winning album “Chester & Lester” with Chet Atkins.
Steve & Johnnie holding Les Paul’s guitar at the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. So, let’s rewind …
Our week started off with a Monday morning in-studio visit with Chris Lucky on Nashville’s Hippie Radio 94.5. Chris couldn’t have been nicer and it was fun hanging out with him, sharing tales of all of our radio days (or should that be daze:-) as well as spreading the word about “A Little More Les“.
Steve & Johnnie with Chris Lucky at Nashville’s “Hippie Radio 94.5”
Then, it was on to the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum where we met up with an old friend from one of our favorite groups, BR5-49, Jay McDowell.
Along with occasionally still making some great music with BR5-49, Jay is the Multimedia Curator for the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum. What that means is that, among many other responsibilities, Jay gets to pick out all the cool stuff you’ll see at the museum. And, we can absolutely testify, there is a LOT of very cool stuff.
We knew Jay was going to meet us, but we didn’t know that he was going to go out of his way to give us a personal 3 hour tour of the museum. It began with a video introduction from our friend, Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member, Duane Eddy that expertly set the tone for what was to follow. We’re not going to describe all of the things we saw here but, trust us, if you’re ever in Nashville, this is a MUST SEE adventure.
Jay was more than gracious with his time but, just before we were going to leave, he said there was one more thing he wanted us to do. He stepped away, made a phone call, and told us to follow him to the Les Paul exhibit.
The Les Paul exhibit at the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum.
When we got there, he unlocked the glass enclosure and removed the guitar that Les Paul used when recording the legendary “Chester & Lester” album with Chet Atkins. Jay handed the guitar to us and insisted that we have our picture taken with it on the museum’s stage.
So, who were we to refuse….
Steve & Johnnie with Jay McDowell at the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum
We can never thank Jay enough for going out of his way, being incredibly gracious and defining what true “Southern Hospitality” is all about.
After saying our goodbyes to Jay, it was off to meetings with some of our other Nashville contacts and friends. Since he now resides in the “Nashburg” area, we had an almost close encounter of the Spike O’Dell kind but, due to some family commitments, Spike had to settle for a fun phone call and promise that the next time we’ll be in the same place at the same time.
But, the day wasn’t over…
Even with the highlights we’d already experienced, we saved one of the best for last. Although we’re in constant contact with Duane and Deed Eddy, we don’t get to see them nearly enough and since the 4 of us were actually able to be in the same place at the same time, we decided to do just that.
We set the time, the place was Ted’s Montana Grill and, along with a great meal, a great time and conversation with good friends were served up.
Steve & Johnnie with Deed and Duane Eddy.
We got an update on Duane’s upcoming album and some other things that we can’t share, just yet, but, suffice it to say that, you’re going to be hearing and seeing a lot more from Duane Eddy and that’s always a good thing.
Outside the restaurant we, again, thanked Duane for writing the forward to “A Little More Les” and, as Deed took the picture, Duane and Johnnie were smart enough not to cover up the title.
Duane & Johnnie being smart enough to not cover up our books title. This goes on Steve’s perrmanent record.
After one of those long goodbyes that only happens with dear friends, we returned to our hotel room to rest up for Tuesday’s early morning adventure.
Radio geeks know that the rare 3 call letter “heritage” stations have a special place in broadcast history. We’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of our career at one of those stations, WGN. Throughout our careers we’ve both been fans of another of the legendary heritage stations, WSM. The home of the Grand Ole Opry and many of the moments that made country music history just celebrated it’s 90th anniversary, so we were more than proud to be invited to join Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Famer Bill Cody and Charlie Mattos on Coffee, Country & Cody.
To say that Bill and Charlie are the consumate professionals short changes just how good they are. They not only made us feel genuinely welcome in their studio but, immediately, put us at ease with their off air conversation. No egos here, just genuinely nice people setting a standard that you’d expect from “The Legend” WSM.
Along with trading radio stories, on and off the air, and telling some of the behind the scenes stories from “A Little More Les” we shared a little rock & roll trivia and, in general, just had the kind of good time we hope to have the chance to repeat.
Steve & Johnnie with Bill Cody at WSM.
If you’d like to hear our conversation on WSM Radio’s “Coffee, Country & Cody” morning show, the podcast is now available. Just click this link.
Thank you Bill, Charlie, Duane, Deed, Jay, Chris and all of the other old and new friends we met in Nashville. We’ll be back.
And, we have to interject a special “thank you” to one of Music City’s legendary announcers and a man we’re proud to count as a dear friend, Keith Bilbrey, for going out of his way to pave the way for our spending some quality time on 2 of Nashville’s great radio stations.
We started this missive by saying “That Was The Week That Was” and we’ve only covered the first couple of days. Well, that’s because the second half of the week wasn’t nearly as much fun.
Long story short: The first couple of days proved that timing is everything because, by the 3rd day, Steve would not have been able to do the interviews. By the time we arrived in Panama City Beach, a visit to the ER was in order and determined that a stone lodged in one of his salavary glands was the culprit. An outpatient treatment plan is underway and, after a couple of weeks his doctor will determine if surgery is needed to fully fix the problem.
At this point, we’re optimistic, looking forward to being able to fullfill the appearances we have scheduled in a couple of weeks and looking back to some VERY fond memories as the week began.
To paraphrase a movie line “At least we’ll always have Nashville.”