Almanac Travel: Col’s USA Music Trip – Nashville and Chattanooga



We picked up our hire car and headed to check out one of Nashville’s top music stores, Grimey’s. It’s in the ‘burbs and out of the way, an old building with heaps of music inside, very overwhelming with its range of titles.


Brian and Col at the Dose Cafe Nashville for lunch with Anne McCue



Anne McCue


From there we met up with Aussie musician Anne McCue for lunch. Anne has lived and worked  in Nashville for about ten years. She was friendly and really enjoyed chatting with some fellow Aussies. She has been friends with Brian for many years. Check out a photo of my lunch below – curried chickpeas with red capsicum, tomato and lettuce on sourdough bread with crisps on the side. The Yanks have a thing about adding crisps to sandwiches! Check out Anne’s website and playlist.



Col’s lunch


After lunch we hit the road for Chattanooga. The freeways we’ve travelled on so far are long and straight with the occasional long, sweeping curves and a speed limit of 70mph. The weather looked ominous, huge black clouds together with the large white fluffy clouds and thunderstorms forecast. We drove through a brief squall which made visibility difficult at times.


On the road from Nashville to Chattanooga


Hot and humid 85F in Chattanooga when we arrived. Hotel is good, attached to it is a 24-hour dinki-di American diner with booths to sit in, think ‘Happy Days’ TV show. Food is good, serves are large with waitresses continually topping up drinks, at no extra cost! Had to leave half a plate of chips! It is cheaper than other places we have eaten at.  Ate too much but the BBQ’d hamburger was filling and delicious.



The City Cafe Diner Chattanooga where we ate often


We’re in Chattanooga for three days, first impressions suggest it is a very clean and lovely city, very appealing, and has a nice vibe to it. With mostly wide treed  streets  and open spaces it obviously is a well thought out and planned city. From appearances it is a very affluent city, and obviously middle class and white.



Street scene Chattanooga








The weather has been hot and humid. Some heavy rain overnight, overcast during the day with some light misty drizzle at times.






The Moon River Festival is set in Coolidge Park on the Tennessee River.  A couple of impressive bridges cross the river nearby, one a walking bridge which provides excellent views over the city. It is a beautiful site for a festival.









There are two main stages at either end of the park, one is performed upon while the other is being set up for the next act so no bleeding of sound as happens at many festivals when more than one stage is operating. Plenty of food stalls, a huge TV screen set up with  football which attracted a huge crowd as Tennessee was playing. A huge cheer was often heard. Tennessee won. Lots of playgrounds etc for kids to play on etc. Because of the overnight rain the ground was fairly soggy.






Noticed a few interesting fashion trends occurring. The old bib and brace overalls are back in vogue as well as the shorts version.  The fashion is you wear the left side buckle undone! Making a statement that you are a ‘dedicated follower of fashion’ I suppose!


The music was excellent, much of it new to me but I’m now a new fan of some I heard. Natalie Hemby was very good in that female solo vein a la Emmy Lou Harris and that ilk. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbours also were very good, and Zach Bryan with a huge fan base at the festival were the standouts for me. Check them out on Spotify.


We left half way through the last act to beat the crowds. We crossed the river on the walking bridge that provided nice views over the river and towards the city centre . Took an hour to walk back to the hotel. We thought we’d eat at our favourite diner but as there was a queue we would have to wait. As it was already 11.30pm we thought better of it. A big breakfast next morning suggested Brian!








Slept like a log again, very comfy bed and pillows, and woke at 9am. Had a filling breakfast of eggs benedict with potatoes on the side, very nice indeed.


I walked to the Chattanooga Choo Choo at the old railway station for a look. It was about a mile away from the hotel and the walk was a good way to burn off some calories after breakfast.





The first Gold Record awarded for a million copies sold was by Glen Miller in 1941 for a song about a train in Chattanooga!





Second day at the Moon River Festival was a fizzer unfortunately. We were evacuated from the site because of severe and hazardous storms approaching. Finally after four hours the festival was cancelled unfortunately. I was really looking forward to seeing and hearing Charley Crockett but I did meet him with Brian Wise who later interviewed him for his radio show.





Uber back to the hotel with a driver who provided some interesting details about the city. Coffee at our favourite diner and an early night for a change.


Back to Nashville for the Americana Festival tomorrow.



More from Col Ritchie can be read HERE


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. You beat me to it Col.

    I was waiting patiently during the narrative to see if you connected with the Chattanooga Choo Choo. I had my guns ready to fire but, to your credit, you emblazoned same across the yarn. Well done comrade

    Luuuuv Glenn Miller especially when I hear “the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar”. The captivating rhythms and energy are truly tantalising.

    Matter of fact, I’m now going to play aforementioned song and a few more. Hope Mrs RDL doesn’t mind.

    Enjoy your trip mate.


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