Ronald Kidd ~ April 2018

Just Another Week in Nashville

I love Nashville. It’s funky, challenging, diverse, and a great place to live. I was going along last week, enjoying events around town, when it occurred to me how varied and uniquely Nashville my activities were. Here’s a glimpse of what I did last week.

Our Civil Rights Movement

The Frist Art Museum opened its new exhibit, “We Shall Overcome: Civil Rights and the Nashville Press, 1957-1968,” depicting in news photos our rich Civil Rights history. Most people, even Nashvillians, are unaware that our city was ground zero for the American Civil Rights movement.

College students including Diane Nash and John Lewis received training in nonviolence from Rev. James Lawson, then staged lunch counter sit-ins, organized and deployed the Freedom Riders, and fanned out across the South to lead the Civil Rights movement.

This photo from the Frist exhibit was taken on April 19, 1960, after the home of defense attorney Z. Alexander Looby was bombed in response to the sit-ins. The photo shows the students and 2500 other protesters marching on City Hall, where Nash confronted Mayor Ben West with this question: “Do you feel it is wrong to discriminate against a person solely on the basis of their race or color?” West, choosing conscience over politics, said yes. Following that day, Nashville became the first Southern city to begin peacefully integrating its businesses.

To launch this fine exhibit, the Frist hosted a panel discussion that I attended, “Voices from the Front Lines,” led by Tennessee State University history professor Linda Wynn and including former students who participated in Nashville's Civil Rights movement.

Go, Preds!

At the opening of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Nashville hockey fans once again proved themselves to be the loudest and craziest in the NHL. They flooded the streets, haunted the honky tonks, shouted rude chants, and showered affection on the Predators, who eventually won a six-game series against the Colorado Avalanche. Next up: the Winnepeg Jets!

Don Schlitz at the
Country Music Hall of Fame

When my wife Yvonne and I first moved to Nashville, we hung out at the Bluebird Café, the famous songwriter club. In those days our favorite writer was Don Schlitz.

Twenty-five years later Schlitz was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and last week we attended his solo concert at the Hall. Heaven is Don Schlitz with a guitar, telling stories and singing his classic, heartfelt songs such as “The Gambler,” “When You Say Nothing at All,” and “Forever and Ever Amen.” Randy Travis, who made some of those songs famous, was in the audience, along with half the Nashville songwriting community.

Elgar's Enigma Variations

Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center is acoustically one of the world's finest halls, and we are lucky enough to have season tickets. Last week, violinist Pinchas Zukerman played Bach and Mozart, then conducted the Nashville Symphony in one of my favorite pieces, Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.”

Each variation depicts a different friend of Elgar’s, and the composer left the audience to guess which friend was which. But that wasn’t the enigma. The enigma was that Elgar’s main theme sounds like a countermelody, and for years audiences and critics have tried, unsuccessfully, to guess the melody he was countering.

An Invitation

Virtually any week of the year, Nashville has events as varied and inspiring as the ones I enjoyed last week. Come join us!

New, Recent, and Upcoming

  • New: Room of Shadows 
    Edgar Allan Poe returns and gets the glorious death he deserved. 
  • Recently published: Dreambender 
    In a dystopian future, dreams are controlled and the world is a better place. Or is it?
  • Fall 2018: Lord of the Mountain 
    The “big bang” of country music in 1927 at Bristol, Tennessee
Learn about my books, plays, and music at
Download a sampler of chapters from my three latest books.

Copyright © 2018 Ronald Kidd, All rights reserved.

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