An RV Music Tour — Just Point Me South
Dreaming of an RV Road Trip:
Written by Rachel Mathews…
The first place I’d head for, when I get my dream RV on the road, is the capital of country music, Nashville, Tennessee.
Then, I’d head just down the road to Memphis, home of the blues continue out of town on Interstate-40, which connects with I-30 and and scoot over to Dallas, which is where I’d take a left turn and continue down to Austin, home of Texas swing music, right in the center of the apex of Texas, defined by Mexico on the west and the Gulf of Mexico on the east.
That’s right, the home of three great U.S. music traditions, country, blues and swing could all be accomplished in the comforts of your mobile RV — and if you wanted to cap it off with a trip over to New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, well who could blame you there.
What do you need? First of all, you need to turn off your expensive satellite radio channel about 30 miles outside of Nashville and tune in to the local radio station of your choice. Flip through the stations until you hear an acoustic guitar and a voice that sounds like it’s being sung outdoors, then you know you;re at the right place. Similarly, when you get to Memphis, you’ll hear electric music that sounds like it’s being sung indoors and when you’re in Austin, the radio will sound like you’re spinning around in circles. Then you know you’re in Austin.
Of course, the great music venues of these cities are world famous. There ain’t nothing with as strong a tradition in traditional music as the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where the famous stage has had shows broadcast on the radio since November 1925. Often called the country’s most famous stage, the performance list is exhausting: Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, the Carter Family, the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Minnie Pearl and anybody who’s anybody from the world of bluegrass.
But behind the legend of the famous stage in the Ryman auditorium is the lesser-known legend of the city’s embrace of its musical heritage. The Johnny Cash Museum is in Nashville, as is the Country Music Hall of Fame and the famous Legends Bar, which comprises part of the underbelly of the Nashville music scene.
Where’s Memphis? It’s just a spit down the road (I-40), and it’s known as the home of the blues. This is where you find Beale Street, Sun Records, and Graceland. Why is that? Because the blues is said to be the soul of rock and roll.
But Memphis is all about Beale Street and Beale Street means blues. Like New Orleans and Bourbon Street, Beale Street is unbuckled, unbridled blues without apology. Stop in at BB King’s Blues Club and catch the greatest of barroom, guitar blues anywhere on the planet or try a long street of restaurant and live music venues that seems to ever end.
Do you like country swing? About 650 miles dead south of Memphis is Austin, Texas, where the difference may be that you can sip a drink and listen to the blues, but down in Austin, the music says “get up and dance!” As the Asleep at the Wheel song goes, “Leave with who brung ya. Swing with who swung ya.”
Of course, Texas swing is not the only style of music you can catch at the famous Austin City Limits venue, but it is still the heart and soul of the heart of Texas. Asleep at the Wheel is only carrying forward a tradition that goes back to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Spade Cooley and his Orchestra and even further back to the Hot Club of Cowtown.
Take it from this old-sawdust shuffler, Austin is where the music of Texas meets the famous backyard cuisine of the Lone Star State in spades. Famous Texas fare can be found at Franklin Barbecue, Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q and Fonda San Miguel for Tex-Mex at its finest.
Of course, you have to get there first and you have to find a place to park, because this is a trip for music junkies not hotel hoppers. So, make your RV ship shape and surf the Internet for some options that help you beat the crowd and the overpriced fees for a bed and breakfast, which you could have on your own dime in an RV. That could be several dimes, but there are many loans that make having a motorhome affordable.
New York to Austin airfares run close to $400 and the average hotel rate in the city of the Texas Two-Step can run $250 and more per night.
While others snicker as they drive by, thinking of the gas bill for an RV and the slow pace going uphill, the RV owners are quietly snickering in turn at the overcrowded family sedans that fail to provide all the comforts of home, including cheap meals, and mean scary hotel bills for the other guys.
Have fun. And keep those happy toes a-tapping.
About Rachel: Rachel Matthews is a freelance writer with a background in business, she enjoys writing about everything green and eco-friendly.