A Few Thoughts From Dante Bonutto

17th February, 2019

Exciting occurrences down on the (Snake)farm!

Not only have a number of iconic artists & acts been added to the list of those we’re proud to align with for the UK, but I’ve also recently made my first ever trip to Nashville Rock City…

To be honest, this expedition was long overdue, given the amount of connections I now have with this rapidly expanding hub of all things related to music & tech; add to this the direct British Airways flights which now make the trip so much easier (I was able to re-watch ‘Anchorman’ from the comfort of my aisle seat, always a worthwhile experience), and I just kept asking myself why I hadn’t embarked on this important ‘pilgrimage’ sooner. Much sooner.

If you’ve already visited Nashville, and have multiple pairs of cowboy boots to prove it (Boot Barn were doing a ‘Buy 1 Get 2 Free’ deal when I was there!), then you’ll know just what a memorable place this is, whether your interests hang towards business or pleasure. And if you haven’t yet been, then my advice would be to book that direct flight now – and not just to enjoy ‘Anchorman’, classic though it be (is there another non-wildlife film that references a ‘whale’s vagina’?!).

Whilst I was there, I managed to catch up with old friends and new acquaintances, take in three shows (two from Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and one from the fast-rising cuss-machine that is Wheeler Walker Jr.), visit the studios of renowned producers Dave Cobb & Jay Joyce, knock back a brew or two at Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse on Broadway, hear some great new music (including fresh recordings from A Thousand Horses), indulge in some excellent Southern ‘eats’, visit Georgetown Masters (thanks to Andrew Mendelson for his above-and-beyond hospitality), and generally try to adopt the persona of a seasoned Nashvillian with a hefty set of wheels. (Having seen the latest Ram Trucks commercial featuring hot-out-of-the-studio Dave Cobb-produced music from A Thousand Horses, I’ve now decided that only a big, fat-tyred, four-wheel-drive, f**k-off Ram will do! Bring on that muddy road!).

Over the last few years, I’ve heard much talk about the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the ‘Mother Church of Country Music’. I knew that the venue (a genuine tabernacle complete with stained-glass windows and wooden pews) was of historical importance, and I knew that for any band, especially one born & raised in Nashville, playing there was something truly special – a triumph to be swilled around the palate like a fine single malt. It seemed only right and proper, therefore, to buy a ticket for the venue tour, which included an entertaining, well-crafted introductory film. For those, like myself, with only partial knowledge of the Ryman’s history, it answered most of my immediate questions and made me wonder how there could ever have been talk of pulling the whole place down…

I’ve already seen that happen to cherished venues in my hometown of London, so well done to the good folk of Nashville for appreciating, protecting and restoring the Ryman, now a National Historic Landmark. As with country music itself, this is sacred turf.

At a time when the world seems to be shifting minute by minute and change is automatically linked with ‘progress’, it’s reassuring to know that words such as ‘tradition’, ‘legacy’, ‘authenticity’ & ‘quality’ still have a place centre-stage. In the spotlight.