We love Nashville
When you grow up in the southern states you rarely have a chance to brag about cool things happening. Until now.
Let’s start with a little backstory. I’ve said it before, but it must be said again: I really love music. There’s a famous Benjamin Franklin quote that basically says that the existence of beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Well, music and movies would be my beer.
I went to meet a friend for dinner Saturday night here in Nashville at his house. Before we left, one of his roommates told us that a house party in Green Hills would be taking place with the band Apache Relay. There were some rumors floating about that one of my favorite bands was in town and would be playing at this house party and there’d be some movie star folks in attendance. I thought little of it and we headed off to dinner. I sent my sister a text about how I would be kicking it with a heartthrob actor and she was furious with me. I told her I was kidding. About two hours later, another friend sent out a tweet saying that the party was real, the band was real, the movie star was real and that we should head over.
We dropped a car off at his house and headed to the house party where he found a few folks standing outside the home with some very familiar music coming from the basement. We made our way down the back steps and found a room filled to the absolute maximum with people, all staring toward to back wall intently. We squeezed in as a few folks came outside and listened for about 2 minutes while the band finished the song, and the place went nuts as the band made their way outside. As they walked out, I caught their faces through the crowd and it was plain as day; Mumford & Sons had just finished a concert in a literal basement in Nashville, TN. I was about an hour too late to see them play their music, but I heard a little music and saw the looks on their faces.
As everyone cleared out of the basement, I found a few friends that had sent out photos of the band playing via twitter. They had obviously been very close from the quality of their photos. As we walked outside one of them said he’d been sitting next to Jake Gyllenhaal. Oh, so he was there. As the guys that lived in the house attempted to kick everyone out, we walked back to our cars across from the house and determined where we would go next. Before we could make the decision, another text brought us back to the home as the bands mixed together and played another set of music. This room on the main floor may have been 400 sq. ft. but it housed more than 80 people dancing and singing along to the sound. You can see some pictures and video here.
I turned to greet a friend and was met by the bass player, Ted, from M&S. We introduced ourselves and discussed why he was in town with the band and stepped outside to go find some beers to share. We headed back down to the basement and chatted for about 20 minutes about Nashville, London, their music, our lives in the small southern town and why they’d chosen Nashville as the place to begin choosing songs for their second album. As we spoke, I became aware that others had joined us. One was Ben, the pianist for M&S, but I didn’t recognize him right off. I did recognize his friend though. Carey Mulligan.
I don’t fawn over female actresses very often. In fact, I find that very few are any good. But ever since I saw “An Education” a few years ago I have really been a fan. She’s beautiful. Classically so, like Audrey Hepburn. I also don’t get star-struck, but I was in that moment. Painfully so.
After I apologized for my gaping jaw, we stood and spoke for 30 minutes while people moved around us laughing, drinking, smoking and singing. We shared beers and cigarettes (sorry mom) and talked about her first visit to the city and how much she loved City House (it is really a great place to eat). At some point, I let my friend Adam know she was there via a text message, and when he came downstairs he hadn’t seen it. It was the best feeling to tell him one of our favorite actresses was standing only feet away and she was super cool. As the night went on, Jake Gyllenhaal made his way into the basement, and for a few minutes, we were surrounded by a grammy nominated band from London and two Oscar-nominated actors, just enjoying conversation and spending time together with new friends. It wasn’t pretentious. At some point I was introduced to M&S lead singer, Marcus, and he remembered my name the rest of the night. It wasn’t an ego boost or anything like that. It was just a sincere Nashville moment for those people in the basement.
At the end of the night, the two bands took photos together on a makeshift stage with makeshift lighting.
We said our goodbyes and I reminded one of the M&S guys to “lock it down” with his girlfriend who he said he loved dearly. All things told, it will go down as the single most unexpected night of my life. What makes it all seem so great is that the band and the actors shared the same sentiments about Nashville, “we love this city.” One of the M&S guys had been living here for 2 months. Jake had been to visit last fall and really liked the city. Carey hadn’t been before, but was ready to come back and see the city. Jake mentioned thinking about moving. I think it was a joke, but who knows.
So, when you hear people talk about how great Nashville is, it’s moments like these they are talking about. And, in the words of the folks that visited that Green Hills basement last Saturday night, “We love Nashville.”