A Life Worth Binge Watching
S2: E8 Just Say Yes
When I first started writing this column, it was my intention to reinvent myself while inspiring you, my loyal readers to do the same. Part of this self evolution required me to have a growth mindset in order to step out of my box, or off my comfy couch. I don’t know about you, but I often get stuck in a rut doing the same old things or not really doing anything much at all. Especially over the last two years of the COVID Conundrum, it’s been easy to just stay at home and play it safe. This year has been all about reclaiming my life. In order to do that, I had to start saying “yes” to opportunities to have a little fun.
A couple weeks ago, my friend Mary reached out to me and said that she had two extra tickets to CMA Fest in Nashville and a free place to stay. The old me might have said “I’m not sure…I have so much work to do….it’s really short notice…blah blah blah.” The new me said, “I will book my flight today!” So off we went!
This was the first CMA Fest that has taken place since 2019, and if you haven’t heard of it, it’s the biggest country music festival in Nashville. Look it up. During the 4 day event, Downtown Nashville is a multi-stage concert venue filled with both new and upcoming artists as well as CMA winning artists. The streets are filled with vendors and tens of thousands of fans all hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite country music star. This is in addition to all of the amazing restaurants/music venues that line Broadway.
My friend Ashley and I arrived on Friday morning and met Mary at the hotel. As soon as we walked down to take part in the action, we ran into our very own home-grown, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. Ironically, he was not there as part of CMA Fest, but to star in his new musical, May We All. If you want an example of someone taking a risk and stepping out of their comfort zone, Brian did just that with his new venture. I heard the show was incredible and I hope to go back to check it out! We decided to grab a bite to eat a block or so away at the FGL House in honor of our Florida boy. What a cool place!
After that, we headed down by the river to where we had the opportunity to see Chris Lane perform. One of the highlights of his show was when Lauren Alaina joined him for “Dancing in the Moonlight.” He also brought his wife on stage when he sang “Big, Big Plans.” Boy, is she a lucky girl! The day concluded with a star-studded evening with performances by Kelsey Ballerini, Thomas Rhett, Lainey Wilson, Cole Swindell, Kane Brown and Carly Pierce with a surprise appearance by Wynonna Judd!
The next day we decided to check out some of the other areas of Nashville that were outside of the festivities. We took an Uber down to the Gulch where we found some trendy boutiques and also the Five Daughters Bakery, home of the 100 layer donut. Guess what? I said yes to the donut, and I am so glad I did! Our next Uber ride was quite pleasant as it included a very cute driver in a very nice Range Rover. He dropped us off at a shop called Uncommon James that is owned by Kristin Cavallari. I purchased the cutest necklace with a steer head charm. After a little more shopping, and of course having my picture taken at the famous What Lifts You wings mural, it was time for more music. We met up with our friend Vaudeen, who lives part time in Nashville, at the concert. The lineup of artists that night was honestly what a country music fan’s dreams are made of – Randy Houser, Brothers Osborne, Mitchell Tenpenny, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood. That show was unbelievable. Let me just tell you that I have a whole new appreciation for Luke Bryan. That man has some very nice dance moves. I definitely said yes to his booty shake! After the show, we found the coolest speakeasy that you can only access through an old-time red telephone booth. I even had to dial the correct phone number to be let in. Sorry, I can’t tell you what it was, it’s a secret!
Our last day was short, as we had to fly back home. We did get a meet and greet with Parmalee where I realized that I was no longer in love with the lead singer. I guess maybe I was more enamored by his persona on stage than in person. Oh well, c’est la vie. It was still cool. We finished the trip with a bit more sightseeing which included checking out the World Famous Tootsies, Miranda Lambert’s bar, Casa Rosa and Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk. Nashville CMA Fest will definitely be on my list to attend next year! Check out my Facebook page @alifeworthbingewatching for photos and videos.
Melodye Lewis is a Friday columnist for Flagler News Weekly giving you something to talk about over lunch. Follow @ALifeWorthBingeWatching on Facebook. #ALifeWorthBingeWatching