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Mimosa’s are MARENdatory on #SundayFunday – CMA Fest 2019 Part 6

Sunday and day 4 of CMA Fest 2019 was greeted by my throat feeling as rough as a junkies carpet and my voice sounding ultra husky from a mixture of drinking too much, singing too loud and maybe smoking a little bit excessively but we knew the joy that was awaiting our tummies (I am assuming that this is a word that even through the improper use of our beautiful language that occurs in North America is understood? If not it is a word generally used by very young children to represent their stomach or belly!) for brunch.

Before we headed to The Gulch we went to grab coffee back inside Music City Centre where we got to catch the only festival stage performance outside of the Nissan we saw during day 4 of the festival on Sunday Funday. I mentioned that I liked the acoustic setting of the Radio Disney Country Stage and the whole laid back vibe of the artists having a chat on stage after their set then doing a meet and greet just made it really friendly and welcoming. I had been aware of Jessie James as an artist before she married Eric and added the Decker to her name so it was great to finally catch her live and see her beyond the realms of social media. There is something really likeable about her in every respect: she has a nice voice, great personality, is very believable and honest in the way that she speaks and she is very passionate about doing music the way she feels is both true to herself and her fans.

Then we headed off to eat! Somehow I had stupidly managed to switch off mobile data on my phone without realising so I thought that I had blitzed through all my data in less than 10 days (when I hadn’t even used a quarter of it) and like Emma was at the mercy of WiFi only. We knew roughly how to get to the restaurant as we had been there the year before and by the point we resorted to asking for directions that we were close. Now there is a reason you generally don’t ask people for directions and that is you are virtually guaranteed to get the worst person possible – in our case I had tried to ring my mum back at home to look on Google Maps but she was out so I got stuck with speaking to my father which proved more hassle than it was worth to realise we literally needed to take the crossing and where we were going was another 100 yards on the left.

If you take one recommendation from reading any of these posts, this should be the one to take note of! Adeles in The Gulch (1210 McGavock Street) for brunch on a Sunday categorically should be your number 1 priority to visit and eat at. Brunch is served 10:30 to 15:00 and the availability of fresh, clean food that is not just fried is so nice and truly unreal. The hot food and the carving station is incredible, I have even come around to American bacon now in that it’s kind of like quorn in that it’s not quite right but I still kind of like it. Also I love biscuits and gravy but was also so glad to have fresh fruit and yogurt too. There is also a dessert station which our friend’s 11 year old daughter can vouch for how good the brownies are and the best part are the brunch cocktails as our mimosa’s were amazing and I may have enjoyed them a little too much. I cannot stress enough how awesome it is here and how well you are looked after at this place so check out more info HERE and make sure you book if you are heading to Nashville anytime soon!

Before heading back downtown we called in at Two Old Hippies (at 401 12th South) which is the must visit store in Nashville for anything cool, trendy, boutique or a bit retro and does have some of the best souvenirs you can bring back too! We headed back to our apartment to get sorted for the evening but I just ended up lying down for about an hour before we turned to the magical, mystic powers of Crystal Light and headed back out. Emma had been craving fish tacos since we arrived in the States and FGL House was her favourite place to get them from so just in case we hadn’t eaten enough already on Sunday we had a snack at the bar to accompany the pre-drinks before heading to the Nissan. This was actually the only time we headed to FGL on this trip, when last year we were pretty much in there every night. It’s a really cool bar that does good food, has a big dance floor upstairs along with probably our favourite rooftop downtown and is definitely my favourite of the celebrity bars in Nashville.

Now Crystal Light (other flavours of water enhancer are available) is the best discovery I have ever made. If you have seen the small Squash’d products that are produced by Robinsons in the UK it is basically the same in that it is a flavouring except it is essentially is a liquid form of Berocca mixed with Pro Plus and it works big time! We were fascinated to try it as we became more curious about the best way to mix it with alcohol as talked about in the opening line of “All My Favourite People” which is highly fitting to talk about a Maren Morris song as the prelude to seeing her that evening. DISCLAIMER: Crystal Light and similar products do have a warning on the side of the bottle NOT to mix with alcohol so as much as many of my decisions may be seen as irresponsible, I probably should not try and influence you in this way in going against the manufacturers guidance but let’s just say it didn’t disappoint us and thanks Maren for the heads up! Also this is my personal experience so for some legal ass covering the official Think Country stance is NOT recommending that you do this but as grown adults you make your own decisions! It’s like a big red button with a sign saying “DO NOT PRESS” purely because something says NOT to do something, curiosity does start to creep in.  The intended use works like an absolute treat for a mid afternoon pick up and I may have brought quite a lot of it home with me (for the way it is designed obviously)

We all headed into the stadium for the last night of the festival in time for Chris Janson who was the only act I saw on the main stage in the Nissan that I had seen before and along with Kane Brown the exceptions to artists that have not yet toured the UK. The stadium show is as much a promotional vehicle for the artists as they play for free so there is a TV special recorded where you would see one song from each artist when broadcast so we were also lucky enough to see the legend that is Trisha Yearwood for the first time performing her new single “Every Girl in This Town” on a smaller stage in the crowd. Old Dominion followed and have been regular visitors to the UK and always bring an absolute party where this was no exception and the perfect warm up to the girl that had united two friends from opposite sides of the world to bring them back together to meet up in Nashville!

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Through one reason or another I have really bad luck with trying to see her and have NEVER managed to get to an actual Maren Morris show as I missed the Borderline, Shepherds Bush Empire, Omeara and Royal Albert Hall shows then we were out of town on the Monday night before CMA when she played the show at Marathon Music Works but this was the third time I had seen her at a festival (the other 2 were both times she played at C2C in London) and it doesn’t detract from the fact that I’m a mega fan of her more than anyone else in any genre of music right now. She is more than a beacon of hope or light for everyone and particularly women in the music industry, she is literally revolutionising it! After our new found obsession with Crystal Light we were really hoping to hear All My Favourite People but seeing Brandi Carlile come out and do Common was something we were not expecting and how awesome a surprise was that? Then I think if anyone wasn’t already over excited about the forthcoming Highwomen project with Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby this really wet your appetite! Hearing The Bones, Girl and The Middle live for the first time was awesome and to see Rich, My Church and ICUALS in the States where we singing along with everything we had, stood next to one of the most special people I have ever met, when we have travelled from London and Perth in Australia to meet up again in Nashville was just unforgettable. What I think makes watching Maren so special as a performer is she brings a sense of magic to every person there to see them that they feel special and a part of the experience, the only 2 other people I have ever seen with this ability are Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift! Yes I know this may read a bit gushy, but what people need to remember is that people that cover music are really passionate about what we are writing about because we are fans too, why would we bother if we were not? There are times you just have to remember that it is totally fine to just be an out and out fan getting to have those nights the same as everyone else!

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Australia is obviously really proud of their country music superstar and Keith Urban’s show at The Forum this year will long go down as one of the best shows London has seen which was so worth the wait we had for it. He always delivers and the stadium set was again unreal and without question the loudest noise from the crowd from anyone that was playing in the stadium with EVERYONE on their feet! We headed out after his set and celebrated the last night in town for some of our friends in Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar on Broadway. This was the first time we had been in here and had an absolute blast, there is a huge dancefloor on the level below the rooftop and yes there was a lot of vodka consumed by all of us on this last night (and remember these ain’t your 25ml or 35ml UK measures we are talking about) This wraps up the official CMA Fest part of the trip but we had a few more days in town where we had even more fun. I don’t really want to dip into one of my later posts prematurely but in essence CMA Fest is a lot of fun and it allows you a lot of access to see a lot of artists in close proximity but may not necessarily reflect the real Nashville and what you may have dreamed of if you haven’t visited before, but like I said I will throw my 2 cents on this in the coming days because all in all we seriously did have the best trip you can imagine!

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Jamie Gardam
Without trying to write something that belongs in a Tinder profile, I’m Jamie: sometimes seen as a bit of a rogue potentially even notorious but all in all I am just an Essex boy that loves iced latte’s and colourful hair accessories with a tendency to continually cause disappointment to my mother and a worry to my therapist as I drink too much! It took me far too long to visit and fall in love with the world’s ultimate pub crawl that is Nashville, TN but prior to my next visit I make the most of the sights and sounds of London’s emerging country music scene.
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