I saw in the paper earlier this week that Reba showed up down at the Station Inn and woodshedded a little bit with The Time Jumpers. I was kinda surprised that ol Reeb went there. Reba’s not the kinda gal we tend to see showing up at places like that, although my pal Larry says he saw her one time at the O’Charley’s in Gallatin. The only time I’ve ever seen her in public was in 1986 when we were on the same airplane from Dallas to Los Angeles. I see lots of celebrity types, too.
Reba got so into her star trip. I miss the cross-eyed Reba, pre-capped teeth, pre-plastic surgery that wore the big, rodeo belt buckle and could twang with the best of them. I bet you money she doesn’t even remember the words to “Today All Over Again”, which happens to be my very favorite Reba song ever! Yes, I think she sold out and has made some crappy records. Not a thing distinctive about anything she’s cut in the last ten years. Then again, good for her because she’s done well. As long as I don’t EVER have to hear her do her nauseating, vomit-inducing, accapella version of “Sweet Dreams” again, I will be just fine, thank you.
Anyway, my point with this post is about the Station Inn. As we saw the other night with The Reeb showing up, you never know who is going to show up there. If you’ve never been to the Station Inn on 12th Avenue South in Downtown Nashville, it would behoove you to do so. Even if you say to yourself “I don’t like bluegrass”, still, if you want to experience all that Nashville has to offer, you’d be remiss to not go down there some night and soak up the atmosphere and see some incredible musicians do their thing.
For me, the Station Inn was a life changing thing. Why? Well, had I not ever gone to the Station Inn, you would not be talking to “Sista Smiff”. I might’ve been Sista Jones or Sista Brown and it just wouldn’t have been the same, now would it? Thank the good Lord and Bill Monroe I didn’t end up being Sista Parrish. Someday I’ll have to blog about that.)
Yes, friends, it was at the Station Inn where I first laid eyes on the tawl drinka wawta, sometimes known as Mr. Smiff. I’ve had moments I’ve wondered if maybe I should’ve just stayed home that first time I went (especially when the Smiff Kids fuss and fight) but through that little dive on 12th Avenue, not only was the course of my life altered, but, I’ve witnessed some wonderful musical moments.
I can remember about 1989 going to see that teenaged girl named Alison….leaving the Homecoming football game to hurry down to get a good seat to hear the amazing Nashville Bluegrass Band, with Alan O’Bryant (who later became my cousin-in-law) sing into his banjo head….John Hartford singing his classic “Gentle On My Mind” and the late Gene Wooten doing “Montana Cowboy”….I even saw that retard Bill Boner have the balls to get up on the stage and play that stupid harmonica of his….I’ll never forget one night, a big crowd of people all crammed to see somebody (who, I can’t remember) and turning to my left and Don Everly was practically sitting in my chair, we were crammed so close….Songwriters like the great Larry Cordle, Harley Allen, Shawn Camp (who I saw perform the very first night he moved to Nashville in January of 1987, became a friend and have sat back and been totally amazed at the writer he has evolved into. ) Vince Gill; Emmylou; I’ve seen legends like Mac Wiseman, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks…The Cluster Pluckers, Mark O’Connor; The Sidemen held court on Tuesday nights there for many a year and the New Year’s Eve parties are legendary.
Mr. Smiff has been part of the Station Inn since it began with its original home and owners when he was about 14 years old. I think his most memorable famous person he met was a few years back when William Shatner came down and he was introduced to Captain Kirk in the backroom!
Since I’ve had kids, I don’t get down there very often anymore. Still, the little dive on 12th Avenue South is almost sacred to me. J. T. Gray has kept this beautiful ship sailing all these years….his helper, my good friend Lin Barber, keeps everybody in line, serving up pizza and nachos and beer (no likka there, just beer) and ringing the bell when the music gets especially hot.
If you like music at all…just go. Just to say you went. You will be so glad you did.