Friday, September 10, 2010

Road Trip: Kali, Aqua and Lyle go to White Castle

Yesterday was a full day, especially considering three hours of it was spent in a car being driven between Memphis and Nashville - and a trip to the airport and back to pick up a third member of our party. There was the Sun Studio tour, the Wanda Jackson/Dex Romweber show at the Mercy Lounge and a whole bunch in between.

Chris Giffy of reviews and illustrates the Wanda Jackson show here, with pictures of Dale Watson as well. He must have left before the Dex Romweber Duo came on stage, so here's a not-very-good cellphone piccie of Mr. Romweber.

This show was a delight to me - I'd heard of his reputation, but hadn't actually heard any of his music. I have no idea why I hadn't been forcibly exposed to it by some obsessed hipster. He inspired me to try to do that to others, for sure. Go out and see them! Dale Watson, the opening act was pure country, with a classic voice, a songwriting flair and a smooth and confident band including a fiddle and a pedal steel. I knew I was in Nashville.

Between the Sun Studio tour and 10 pm when the Mercy Lounge show started, we packed some other stuff in. We went to the Memphis Gibson Guitar factory, a small (for Gibson) manufacturing facility that makes the hollow-bodied and semi-hollow-bodied guitars. I don't know if the one here in Nashville (which makes the solid-bodied guitars) has tours, but either way I'm glad I went to the Memphis place as the process for making a hollow-bodied guitar is more complex. And anyway, I once made my own solid-bodied guitar, so that's old hat.

Once again the tour guide was a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable woman, but in this case one who was capable of bellowing over the sound of sanders, band saws and presses. The construction of the guitars wasn't what I expected - I've never actually picked up this type of guitar and assumed they were put together like a more than usually slim acoustic, and they aren't - they have far more inner structure, with a wooden piece running from a tenon joint with the neck down to the strap-holder. The sound reverberates through this wood, as it does in a solid-body guitar, as well as in the sound box, as in an acoustic. The type of wood makes a difference to the sound, which I guess I knew but hadn't really realized that piece was in there. There's much more to it, which I'm sure you can imagine.

The Civil Rights Museum was a very sobering experience, which we took in slowly, trying to come to terms with the fact that people treated other people that way, not in the distant past, but during my own lifetime. And as the litany of lynchings, beatings, shootings, bombings and burnings unfolded, I remembered with a creepy feeling down the back of my neck that at that very moment some crazy pastor was threatening to burn the Quran, out of some atavistic - at least I hope it's atavistic - urge to other the brown people. Divide and conquer has been the tactic of tyrants for thousands of years. When someone foments hatred and fear of other people, before I fall for it I ask myself who might benefit from it.

It took until the show that evening to fully shake that sober feeling off. But after Dale/Wanda/Dex and Sara, I was a lot less sober in several senses of the word. When the show finally finished around 1:30 am, we went out for snacks and, never having been to a White Castle (even though I have seen the movie) that's where we went, where I ordered, I believe, "A number one sack" or "bag" or something and then we noted to our increasingly hysterical laughter, that the menu included not only Fish Nibblers but also Chicken Rings. "WTF are Chicken Rings?" we wondered. We may never know. Laughter was not extinguished when the driver of the van in front of us at the drive thru staggered back down to the take out window and slurred, "Ahhhhh...ummmmm...What did I just order?"

Today I fancy collard greens. I am, after all, in the south.


KaliDurga said...

You forgot about the guy in front of us at the drive-through who ordered $100 worth of White Castle mini-burgers. That's a lotta sliders!

And even after eating a couple of Chicken Rings the next night, I'm still wondering wtf they are.

Peromyscus said...

I know. I assume that some form of chicken is involved somewhere in their creation, but I wasn't able to figure out where that might have been.

Mind you, my cafeteria at work used to offer chicken fingers, which when you think about it is pretty mysterious in itself.


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