Nashville Five

Nashville Five /// American Songwriter’s Caine O’Rear

American Songwriter's Editor-in-Chief shares his local haunts, from which Kroger he prefers to where he drinks, on the eve of the magazine's thirtieth anniversary party at City Winery.

new-posterCory Branan, Cale Tyson, Andrew Combs, Alanna Royale, Jason Isbell, Jim Lauderdale, Steelism and Elizabeth Cook all in one night? Who could assemble such a lineup? Well, American Songwriter, for one, which just happens to be celebrating their 30th anniversary on Thursday at City Winery with this stellar roster.

American Songwriter is a national magazine, but it’s part of the essential fiber of Nashville’s musical culture – take Cale, for one, who was once an intern at the publication before striking out on his own journey, as evidenced in this piece.  Andrew Combs was an intern, too  – we don’t know if he was good at making copies and collating, but he can write one hell of a song. One of the first stories I wrote as a new Nashvillian myself was for AS, on, quite appropriately, Todd Snider. We talked about Drifters and weed and punk music, and I though, “well, this feels right.”

To herald the occasion of their anniversary, we asked Editor-in-Chief Caine O’Rear to list his favorite local spots. If you don’t know Caine, you’ve surely seen him around town  – running Shelby Bottoms, hitting multiple shows in one night or ordering up a beer at Fran’s. Read on for more, and grab your tickets to the shindig here. 

Nashville Five, by Caine O’Rear ::: 

head shotShelby Bottoms Greenway — This is my favorite spot, and the reason I live in East Nashville. When you jog there in the very early morning it is not unlikely to see thirty or so deer high-tailing it with you along the trail. Recently I stumbled upon a massive 8-point buck. He came out of the woods as I was running and stood just a few feet away from me, totally un-phased by my presence. Rather than have the grace to enjoy the moment for what it was I tried to grab a pic for Instagram. A true sin. It is also fun to bike the trail, which extends over the Cumberland River and then into Donelson as it winds its way to Percy Priest Dam. You pass a skateboard park, a golf course, and some pretty legitimate cow country, where, for a brief spell, it’s easy to forget you are in Music City. I also love the elevated train track that runs over the entrance to the park.

Fran’s — Located catty-corner from the Family Wash, Fran’s is one of the last vestiges of true local charm in my neighborhood. I know I don’t belong there, but I still go. Kristina, the pillar behind the bar, knows just what I like. “Can I get you a Budweiser, baby boy?” she asks. You would never hear that at Patterson House. This joint is cash only and there is no ATM. I once met a guyFran's there who said he had killed seven men and none of them in combat.

The Belcourt — The best movie I saw there this year was Ida, a black and white Polish film set in the years after WWII. I’m glad I can see films like that on the big screen. A small complaint: One of the gentleman who works the concession stand is convinced my I.D. is fraudulent because he’ll examine it for what seems like forever, then look me up and down, up and down, as if to match the photo to the person. It freaks me out.

Cumberland greenwayCumberland River Greenway — Whenever there’s too much fresh air in my lungs, I’ll jog along the Cumberland River Greenway, a trail that runs through a heavily industrial section of town that reeks of sulfur and chemicals of all variety. I usually start at LP Field, cross the pedestrian bridge and then roll past lower Broadway as I make my way toward Germantown, with Darkness On The Edge of Town pumping on the headphones. Parts of the trail sport some pretty cool graffiti, much of it signed by someone called “avid.” I like to think that “avid” is actually the work of Taylor Swift, and the walls are the “Blank Space” where, in the dead of night, she has written her lover’s name.

Inglewood Kroger – For years I was a patriot of the Eastland Kroger. No más. I defected from this locale after one too many trips in search of garlic, only to come up empty-handed. I now drive the extra miles to Inglewood. I feel like a carpetbagger each time I walk through those sliding doors, but I feel assured knowing there are cloves of garlic stocked and ready for purchase.

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