June 16, 2024

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Very Continental!

Beam me up, Scotty.

Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame

Ryman Auditorium

The best trouble is Good Trouble. Thank you, John Lewis!

If you want to know the primary reason why I chose Tennessee for this year’s road trip, I have one name for you: ELVIS. I would not call myself a major fan, but a deep appreciator. The velvety voice, the charisma, the looks (I mean, seriously, so handsome), a body can’t help but be intrigued.

This is R.C.A. Studio B, where he recorded the vast majority of his work. It has been refurbished to look like it did at the beginning of his career, and the Steinway is THE piano he played both to warm up and record.

Dolly Parton also recorded here. Hallowed ground, my friends.

In addition to touring R.C.A. Studio B, our country music stint included the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It is a treasure trove of memorabilia! Most everything I photographed probably seriously dates me; I am 53, after all; including THE car from Smokey and the Bandit. I regret to report the film has not aged as well as my love for 1970s and 80s era Trans Ams. Oh, but, to hear Burt Reynolds laugh!

Willie Nelson’s hat and sneakers

Steve Young wrote the Seven Bridges Road, popularized by The Eagles, whose fab windbreaker is pictured below.

The Eagles!

Two of the Flying Burrito Brothers Nudie Suits. So freaking fabulous! Of course, Gram Parsons is the one covered in drugs. Not during his era (R.I.P. Gram), but this is my favorite song by the band. I doubt it will be a surprise to anyone.

The FIRST modern solid body guitar!

This beauty belonged to Elvis, of course. A 1960 Series 75 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine, which, thanks to 24-karat gold plate highlights and trim, was called his “Solid Gold” car. Customized by North Hollywood’s Baris Kustom City for a reported $65,000, it is covered in 40 coats of paint, called “diamond dust pearl,” that is made of crushed diamonds and fish scales. It did sparkle!

Webb Pierce’s 1962 Pontiac Bonneville, complete with guns, horse heads, a saddle, and 150 silver dollars, as embellished by Nudie Cohen of the Flying Burrito Brothers suits above. The man knew how to add flash.

Roy Rogers!

Minnie Pearl!

Next stop Chattanooga…Choo! Choo!