Nashville Cats

Portraits by Marty StuartIn his 1996 book on the Southernization of America entitled Dixie Rising:  How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics, and Culture, former New York Times Atlanta bureau-chief Peter Applebome compares Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee.  Much of Applebome’s thesis was turned on its head with the election of 2008.  But one thing he said has always stuck with me and it came back today as I was traveling to New Orleans.

In comparing the two cities he notes that Nashville is a lot like Charlotte – except that its major industry is music and not banking.  And that difference makes all the difference in the world.

I had a layover today in the Nashville airport.  You have to love a city where the airport has live music (in at least two places, including the food court) AND a photo exhibit by none other than Marty Stuart.  Heck, the musicians could have been employees of the Burger King.  The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Nashville Cats immediately jumped to mind:

Well, there’s thirteen hundred and fifty-two guitar pickers in Nashville…And anyone who unpacks his guitar could play twice as better than I will.

The Stuart photos are quite remarkable (see photo above and click on the Stuart link to see a book of his work).  There’s a great Flatt & Scruggs portrait from 1969, their last year together.  BB King and Little Richard represent other strains of music that go together to make country.  Stuart has funny portraits, strange portraits (Bill Monroe), and haunting portraits (Johnny Cash taken just four days before he died).  All in all, a nice small and surprising exhibition.

I never did find the ATM in the airport, but I didn’t have any trouble finding the music.

More to come…


Partners in Preservation

Lowell's Boat Shop OarsI was in Boston earlier this week for the launch of Partners in Preservation – a terrific $1 million grant program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express.  For the next five weeks, you can join thousands of others who will go online at the PiP website and vote for your favorite Greater Boston landmark.  The winning site in the popular vote is guaranteed to get a grant of up to $100,000, and the remaining funds will be allocated among some of the other 25 sites who are part of the competition.

Tuesday was a beautiful day in Boston and we were in historic Faneuil Hall for the launch event.  Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino were on hand to help us kick off the program (see photo below).  Representatives of the 25 sites were also there – many dressed out in period clothes to depict the historical era of their site.  One of the more innovative schemes came from the Lowell Boat Shop volunteers (see photo above) who brought oars with “Lowell’s” painted on one side and “Vote LBS” on the other.  Unfortunately, security wouldn’t let them bring the oars into the hall, but they were ready with masks of their shop’s founder.  Very clever group these Bostonians.

The Wall Street Journal called Partners in Preservation the “American Idol of historic preservation.”  I encourage you to click on the link above, Gov. Patrick speaks at opening eventget information about the 25 sites, and “pull the lever” once a day for the next few weeks on the site(s) that captures your fancy.  You’ll enjoy finding out more about some well known landmarks as well as some hidden gems.  And the folks in Boston will appreciate your interest in their historic places.

More to come…