One my favorite places to be on a Monday night around nine p.m. is The Station Inn here in Nashville, Tennessee. On Monday nights for the past year Carl Jackson, along with others, takes center stage. Jackson is a most accomplished musician, song writer and creator of various musical projects.
If you go to the Station Inn I can assure you will not be impressed with the décor of the place. Small stage, unmatched tables and chairs in various arrangements. It looks like they bought everything from a local Goodwill outlet or a collection from an old yard sale. Seating there is where ever you find a place, and often it will be at a table with seven or eight people you don’t know. Just come on in and sit down where ever and with whomever. Some months back I came in alone and noticed there was one spot remaining at a table. “Anybody sitting here?” I asked. “No, no, you are welcome to sit here.”
Most musicians have little sense of time and seldom does a local honky tonky group start on time. Evidently they all just wander on stage and begin. As we waited for the music to begin I struck up a conversation with two young ladies also sitting at the table. “You ladies from here or where?” “Well, we are now, moved here recently from Los Angles.” We carried on some small talk; they were very pleasant and genuinely seemed interested in the exchange of conversation. Finally the music began.
About halfway through Jackson’s first set he said, “Folks we have a young lady with us tonight and I want to ask her to come up on stage to play and sing with us. Her father and I have been the best of friends for many years. She can sing, she can play and she is pretty. Her name is Ashley Campbell. Come on up Ashley.” With that the young lady sitting just to my left at our table, the one I had been in conversation with, got up and headed for the stage. Yes she could sing, play and yes, she was pretty. I had no idea who I had been sitting next to and exchanged conversation with. She certainly had no ego or need to make it known to anyone at our table who she was.
My wife and I recently saw a documentary movie titled "I’ll Be Me.” It is a movie about Campbell on his final farewell tour. A tour that also saw him begin his journey with the awful disease Alzheimer’s. I now have a better appreciation for Campbell after seeing his movie, from what Jackson said that night at the Station Inn and from my meeting his twenty-six year old daughter, Ashley.
Both he and Ashley will ever remain “gentle on my mind.”
October 24, 2014