Vinnie and the Oreos

OK my friends, I think the market has recovered to a point where I can take a slight diversion and tell you about a crazy and exciting weekend I just experienced with some great friends in Nashville. Aside from the numerous bachelorette groups partying up like no tomorrow, Nashville is a must stop for country and bluegrass music fans. Let me say a few words about the market and I will get back to the unforgettable weekend.

Last week, with a final surge on Friday following news that the U.S. government would reopen, the Dow squeaked out a weekly gain of 0.1%, running the streak to five consecutive weeks of advancing prices. This is the longest win streak since August and because I brought it up may be the last for a while (just kidding). The week ahead is full of important quarterly earnings including Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon along with the now monthly Federal Reserve meeting featuring Jerome Powell and his gang of Fed governors. The market does not expect any changes from the Chairman’s recent commentary of ‘wait and see’ toward future rate hikes. I would imagine that some of these big earnings reports will be the swing factor up or down for the week ahead. Let’s see what happens.

Back to Nashville for a few thoughts. Obviously, you go to Nashville to listen to good music and have a good time. Our friends Don and Loraine set up a fantastic three day weekend of music, food, and maybe a little drinking. We arrive on Thursday and go to the cathedral of country music the Ryman Auditorium to see Aaron Watson. We have great seats by the stage and listen to a great concert by Watson along with a small group of songwriters that play their songs before the big show. If you know George Strait and Little Big Town music you have heard their songs like “I saw God today” and “Girl Crush” by Rodney Clawson and Liz Rose. Excellent show all around and a great first night.

If you have been to Nashville everybody knows you have to go down to Broadway which is a strip of honkytonk bars that blast country music out their doors trying to get patrons to stop in for beer, music, and sometimes a little two steppin. We did the bar scene for a few hours popping in and out of several joints before going to a great spot called the Listening Room Café where we heard three more songwriters and some really talented folks. The great thing about these small listening lounges is that the songwriters tell their stories either about how song ideas came to them and/or the tough life of every songwriter. Really cool stuff that allows you to relate to the performers.

The icing on the cake was the last stop on Friday before heading back to the hotel. Don and I decided we wanted to stop in and try this small venue bluegrass bar around the corner called The Station Inn. So, we get there before the 9:00 pm show and again have great seats next to the stage. To appreciate this place picture a room that holds about 60 people, small laminated tables from the ‘70s and folding metal chairs serving beer, popcorn, and yes sleeves of Oreo cookies. So, we are talking to our new friends at the next table, drinking pitchers of beer, and eating Oreos and one of the girls leans over and said ‘Oh my gosh’ I just got a text or tweet that Vince Gill is coming to this bar to pitch in for a band member who couldn’t make it. We all go crazy and the next thirty minutes is spent looking behind us toward the back door of this small bar looking for Vince to walk in. Before I forget, the bluegrass band leader was Jeff White who is renowned in Nashville as a bluegrass pioneer appearing with Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, The Chieftains, Lyle Lovett, and Tim O’Brien over the years. Anyway, about 40 minutes into the show Jeff in his no-big-deal demeanor said Vince Gill is going to drop in soon to help us out and the crowd goes wild. So, quietly we see Vince walk through the back door and the table talk is buzzing. The show is great with fantastic musicians playing banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Vince did his harmonizing thing but you could tell he didn’t want to upstage his buddies so he just stayed in the background and cut in a few times before Jeff once said ‘take it Vinnie’. I love the fact that these were just good friends having a good time playing classic bluegrass songs. Truly an unforgettable night.

Finally, on Saturday we go to another listening lounge of songwriters called 3rd and Lindsley and hear four great songwriters and get really drawn in by their stories and beginning writing years. The final songwriter/performer is a lady I promise could be the female version of Chris Stapleton. Her name is Leslie Satcher and she has written songs for Willie Nelson, Martina McBride, and Bonnie Raitt. She knocks it out of the park with her big guitar and great personality. And, she just finished a record with her band the Electric Honey Badgers-2Days in Muscle Shoals that is a must own for any country music fan. I am certainly not a music critic but I believe you will see her up on stage before long, strumming that big guitar, singing those soulful songs of hers.

Thanks for my little diversion, I promise to return to market related topics next week but I thought a few of my music buddies out there would appreciate the weekend review.

Have a great week,

Roger N. Steed

January 28, 2019

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