Nashville: Good music and hot chicken

Nashville: Good music and hot chicken
Ferguson and San Francisco musician Gregory play at Rippy’s

Music City is moving in a positive direction.

The 11 p.m. curfew for bars instituted by Mayor John Cooper has been pushed back to midnight, allowing an extra hour for musicians and bartenders to make some extra cash.

My roommate, longtime friend and drummer Jesse Hyatt and I have been reaching out to venues all around Davidson County and are following up on a couple leads we received via email.

The “mild” chicken at Bolton’s in Nashville.

In addition, Jesse and I were on stage once again at Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk for his 25th birthday back on Jan. 23. We anticipate a similar experience coming up this Saturday for my own birthday.

I’ve been filling in on daytime acoustic shifts a couple times a week at Rippy’s and Honky Tonk Central, both popular establishments on Broadway.

One of the exciting challenges is that they always pair with you different musicians whom I have never played with before or even met. Yes, it is scary in some respects, as Jesse and I have developed a very comfortable live chemistry playing together since we were 12 years old.

However, this act of throwing you in the lion’s den just simply demands better musicianship out of you. Every musician is different, plays differently, has a different catalog of songs and even behaves differently on stage. This keeps the shows fresh and exciting, forcing you out of your comfort zone and, for me personally, introduces me to new material I never thought to play and improves universal skills necessary for sitting in with any musician.

Also, it is a great way to meet musicians from all over the country and even the world. My last gig at Rippy’s, I played with a musician named Gregory from San Francisco. Just like me, most working musicians are not originally from Nashville but move to town to perform there.

While country music is the main gig, requests can be all over the place, but if you can play what they want, you’ll almost surely get paid for it in tips.

While Nashville may be known as “Music City,” there is much more to see outside of Broadway and the honky-tonks.

We had the chance to visit some of the city’s attractions including Centennial Park, which contains a to-scale replica of the Parthenon. There is a museum located inside but we decided to explore it further on a different date.

Also, you may have heard the phrase “Nashville Hot Chicken,” but I assure you that “hot” is an understatement.

Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish is known for its signature hot grub. I opted to go for the mild hot chicken tenders while my other roommate Lauren went with medium.

Let’s just say it took a lot of ranch and milk to get through my meal. Medium was off the charts to the point where Lauren took one bite and was finished, and even spicy connoisseur Jesse couldn’t handle the heat.

I recommend it for anyone who fancies spicy food. I suppose that is why Bolton’s boasts that they have the “hottest chicken in town.”

PJ Ferguson is a local musician from Dresden and former reporter for The Whitehall Times. He recently moved to Nashville and is sending regular dispatches from Music City. All photos courtesy of Ferguson.