__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

That Time Down South

By Urszula Pruchniewska 1

Beats and Fiddlesticks


That Time Down South

By Urszula Pruchniewska


4

That Time Down South


Table of Contents

Introductory Notes....................................................................................6 Beats and Fiddlesticks.............................................................................15 Whiskey, Wimmin and Merrymaking..................................................37 Fancy Facades...........................................................................................53 Southern Innards.....................................................................................73 Icons and Other Notable Mentions.......................................................93 A Moment in Time................................................................................113 Lest We Forget........................................................................................151 Ending Thoughts....................................................................................163


During the summer of 2013, my friend Janet and I went on a road trip down South. I had been living in Philadelphia for almost a year, studying. Janet lived in New Zealand and this was her first time in America. We have both always been drawn to the laid-back mood of the South that we knew from films, books and popular culture. Now we wanted to experience it in real life. We decided to start our adventures in Nashville, then go to Memphis and finish up in New Orleans. Why these three cities in particular? It was the music that drove us to these places – our social knowledge of Nashville as the capital of country, Memphis as the birthplace of The King, and New Orleans as the home of jazz. But while traveling, we discovered that there is another kind of music to the South - a magical, charming, notquite-tangible rhythm that beats subliminally through its humid air. The first thing we learned is that time is a different entity in the South. Maybe because of the heat, much living is done during the night hours. In Nashville, we couldn’t find a place to eat breakfast that opened before 11am. Every night along the strip of street called Lower Broadway, crowds gather at various honky tonk bars and “holler and swallow” (sing loudly and drink heavily). Many swig home-made moonshine from hipflasks. And so everyone sleeps in late the next morning. Nashville is home to so many music greats, showcased splendidly at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. During the Museum’s tour of RCA Studio B, we sat in the room where Elvis recorded many of his records. We even got to play his piano. At one point, the tour guide switched off the lights in the studio and played the record “Are You Lonesome Tonight.” Elvis recorded that song in that very studio, at 4am, with all the lights off, because he felt the song needed that sort of mood. It was an incredible experience. Nashville is unashamedly, delightfully cheesy. Everyone actually wears cowboy boots and cowboy hats, and rhinestones are a girl’s best friend. Neon signs advertise ribs, booze and sing-a-longs. It is so affluent and bouncy, so crisp, so bright. It is also so strikingly white - Nashville was the least racially-diverse city on our Southern trip. Next stop was Memphis. It’s hard to explain the desolate feel of this city. It seems so run-down, so empty, struggling. Even the main tourist drags are lonely. To me, Memphis is a black and white photograph – but not a beautiful, perfect image containing the blackest black and whitest white alongside various shades of gray; rather, it is a world drained of all color. Even the tourist center, with its huge bronze statues of BB King and Elvis, was deserted. Memphis is tired. Yet this desperate weariness somehow has a haunting allure to it. I’m glad we saw it.


Graceland, just eight miles out of Memphis, is everything that Memphis city center is not - an exaggerated explosion of emotion, color and commercialism. I didn’t realize how much I liked Elvis until I went to Graceland. Everything about him - the number of records he released, his performances, his extravagant lifestyle - is spectacular. Exploring the Jungle Room, the stables and the private jet, I just really wanted to be friends with Elvis - he was so fun! Graceland is a giant adult amusement park. From Memphis we drove down to New Orleans. This was my second time back in the city and I once again felt a very strong feeling of being home. I just know that New Orleans is the place where I belong. Being in New Orleans is, as many before me have noted, like being in a different country, not the United States. New Orleans is raunchy. There is a brazen feel to it - it is an imperfect, dangerous beauty, sometimes vulgar, sometimes charming, always mysterious. Drinking is allowed on the streets here, which feels lawless and strange. Walking through the cobbled streets of the French Quarter during the day, you see the disparity between rich and poor. An exquisite antique shop lazes ostentatiously a few steps down from a liquor-soaked dirty corner store where a homeless man slurs obscenities. We strolled through the fancy streets of the Garden District, had warm powdered beignets at Café Du Monde and sweated out our gin and tonics while watching the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, alongside the rest of the over-heated tourists. But somehow the touristy side of New Orleans never feels trite. Fortuitously, we were in town for the Festigals “Stiletto Stroll”, a women-only parade similar to Mardi Gras, which was followed by a Pride Parade. The mayhem hurtled down the street in a whirlwind of beads, bubbles, feathers and floats swaying to the rolling rumble of brass bands and accompanied by the overpowering boozy smells of potent, brightly-colored cocktails. It was a magical. There is definitely something about the air in the South, some sweet intoxicating spell. Is it the music, the unhurried movements of the locals, the vivid colors, the languid heat, the smells on the streets? Whatever it is, it draws you in, deep. It is irresistible. Marvel at its charm. Urszula Pruchniewska


8

That Time Down South


Urszula Pruchniewska and Janet Burt inside the “Lisa Marie”, Elvis Presley’s private jet, Graceland, Memphis, June 2013.


An outsider’s view of a trip down South As people entered my Auckland apartment, they would remark on how I ‘had’ the place. My lady flat. Tastefully decorated with a mix of new, old and precious belongings. I would gracefully accept the compliments but always respond, ‘oh yes, but I haven’t traveled’. Unlike a vast majority of my peers-post-graduate, I had not completed my tertiary qualifications, rather choosing to study at the school of life. Or the school of hard knocks it seemed at times. I did not follow the great Kiwi tradition of the two year OE (Overseas Experiences) in London. I did not earn a lot of money, but soon learned how to spend it without having it. Miraculously, I soon found my feet in the industry I had always aspired to work in. The paycheck grew handsomely. As did the credit card bills. Still a Grade A student of the school of hard knocks, living from pay to pay, I conveniently convinced myself that I had all I needed here and the world could wait. Reality... I was drowning in a financial mess and the thought of swimming to shore was tiring, yet the greatest decision I ever made. And I chose to swim the Pacific Ocean. Why America? So big. So loud. So ridiculous. So... AMERICAN! To explain this to those closest to me proved difficult at times. Why not the ancient ruins of Rome? The Great Wall of China perhaps? Or Scotland... the rugged home of my ancestors? Why not anywhere but America? Because I wanted to go somewhere big, loud, ridiculous and AMERICAN! US television, movies and music are heavily assimilated in the world in which I grew up. To visit the land that had not only entertained me, but also educated and enlightened me made my choice of destination easy.


As fate would have it, a very dear friend of mine was just as enthusiastic about all things USA as I was. So much so that she went as far as moving to Philadelphia to live in 2012. We would celebrate all things American together in the Summer of 2013. Hours of Skype sessions ensued. You truly appreciate the enormity of the United States of America when you only have four weeks to see all that you want. Quite frankly it’s impossible. Music was the attraction to Nashville where we were proudly hosted my bluegrass musicians in their $26,000 ‘fixer-upper’ home. A visit to Graceland, the home of Elvis, saw us stop by Memphis, a city so rich with history, your heart can melt or break in an instant. Finally the road lead us to the New Orleans. Tradition reigns supreme in NOLA and it’s easy to see why... Each city offered something unique. All strangely familiar, yet foreign in the flesh. I came with no illusions of happy-ever-afters for all, America has done wrong and been done wrong by. But the world has reminded me that most people are in fact good. Help is always at hand. And people love to hear your story just as much as they want to tell theirs. What I have gained from this experience is priceless and I am infinitely grateful I had the means, and finally the sense, to get here. God Bless America. Janet Burt


12

That Time Down South


beats and fiddlesticks


Fiddlesticks line the wall of The Fiddle House in Nashville, June 2013.


17

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Blue Skies by Irving Berlin Blue skies Smiling at me Nothing but blue skies Do I see. Bluebirds Singing a song Nothing but bluebirds All day long. Never saw the sun shining so bright Never saw things going so right Noticing the days hurrying by When you’re in love, my how they fly. Blue days All of them gone Nothing but blue skies From now on.

Opposite: The drummer of The Genesis Project gets lost in the beats on Decatur Street, New Orleans, June 2013.


19

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Johnny Campbell and the Bluegrass Drifters at Antique Archeology, Nashville, June 2013.


21

Beats and Fiddlesticks


A depressed C-key at RCA Studio B, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


23

Beats and Fiddlesticks


When the Saints Go Marching In by Luther G. Presley We are traveling in the footsteps Of those who’ve gone before But we’ll all be reunited (but if we stand reunited) On a new and sunlit shore (then a new world is in store). Oh when the saints go marching in When the saints go marching in Oh lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in.

24

That Time Down South


Brass band at the Stiletto Stroll, New Orleans, June 2013.


26

That Time Down South


27

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Stage lights at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013. Previous page: Riders in the Sky perform at the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, June 2013.


29

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Hey Good Lookin’ by Hank Williams Jr. Hey, hey, good lookin’, Whatcha got cookin’? How’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with me? Hey, sweet baby, Don’t you think maybe We could find us a brand new recipe? I got a hot-rod Ford and a two-dollar bill And I know a spot right over the hill. There’s soda pop and the dancin’s free, So if you wanna have fun come along with me. Hey, good lookin’, Whatcha got cookin’? How’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with me?

30

That Time Down South


Belting it out at Antique Archeology, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


32

That Time Down South


Above and opposite: Johnny Campbell (on fiddle) and his band perform at Bootleggers Inn, Nashville Tennessee, June 2013.

33

Beats and Fiddlesticks


An array of fiddles at The Fiddle House, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


35

Beats and Fiddlesticks


whiskey, wimmin And Merrymaking


Whiskey and Wimmin by Johnny Lee Hooker Whiskey and wimmin almost wrecked my life Whiskey and wimmin almost wrecked my life Weren’t for whiskey and wimmin, I have money today. Nightlife, nightlife, nightlife Ain’t no good, ain’t no good for me I had a good start, but wimmin and whiskey tore it down. Whiskey and wimmin ain’t no good for me Whiskey and wimmin ain’t no good, ain’t no good for me I had a lot of money, and big fine car, But I lost everything I had Aw I did.

Opposite: Whiskey and lights, Bootleggers Inn, Nashville, June 2013. 38

That Time Down South


39

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Above and opposite: Festive revellers at the Festigals Parade, French Quarter, New Orleans, June 2013.


41

Whiskey, Wimmin and Merrymaking


42

That Time Down South


“Blue Explosion” at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, June 2013. Opposite: Watching the Festigals Parade, New Orleans, June 2013.


“Standing By”, Festigals Parade, New Orleans, June 2013.


45

Whiskey, Wimmin and Merrymaking


46

That Time Down South


“Smoke break”, Festigals Parade, New Orleans, June 2013.


Down Home Girl by Old Crow Medicine Show Well I swear your perfume baby Is made out of turnip greens Every time I kiss you girl It tastes like pork and beans. Even though you’re wearin’ those Up-town high heels I can tell from your giant step You been walkin’ through the cotton fields. Oh! You’re so down home girl.

48

That Time Down South


“A Made-Up Girl”, Pride Parade, New Orleans, June 2013.


50

That Time Down South


Watching in wonder at the Festigals Parade, New Orleans, June 2013.

51

Whiskey, Wimmin and Merrymaking


fancy facades


54

That Time Down South


55

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Feeling Good by Nina Simone Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel Sun in the sky, you know how I feel Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me. Yeah, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, ooooooooh... And I’m feelin’ good.

Previous page: White picket fence, Nashville, June 2013. Opposite: Shutter, Ursuline Street, New Orleans, June 2013. 56

That Time Down South


57

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Above and next page: Exteriors, New Orleans, June 2013.


60

That Time Down South


61

Beats and Fiddlesticks


62

That Time Down South


Above and Opposite: “I’ve Got the Blues”, New Orleans, June 2013. Next page: “Hottest Pink”, New Orleans, June 2013.


64

That Time Down South


65

Beats and Fiddlesticks


66

That Time Down South


67

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Sweet Nuthin’s by Brenda Lee My baby whispers in my ear Mm, mm, sweet nuthin’s He knows the things I like to hear Mm, mm, sweet nuthin’s Things he wouldn’t tell nobody else Secrets, baby I keep them to myself Sweet nuthin’s, mm, mm sweet nuthin’s I’m sitting on my front porch Mm, mm sweet nuthin’s Well, do I love you? Of course Mm, mm, sweet nuthin’s Mama turned on the front porch light And said “Come in darling, That’s enough for tonight” Sweet nuthin’s Mm, mm, sweet nuthin’s.

Opposite: “The Dregs”, New Orleans, June 2013. Previous page: Fountain Show at the Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, June 2013.


69

Beats and Fiddlesticks


The Pyramid in a storm, Memphis, Tennessee, June 2013.


Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, June 2013.


southerN innards


That’s What I Like About the South by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys Won’t you come with me to Alabamy Let’s go see my dear old Mammy She’s fryin’ eggs and boiling hammy That’s what I like about the South. Now there you can make no mistakey Where those nerves are never shaky Ought to taste her layer cakey That’s what I like about the South. Hot corn bread, black-eyed peas You can eat as much as you please ‘Cause it’s never out of season That’s what I like about the South. Well it’s way, way down where the cane grows tall Down where they say “Y’all” Walk on in with that Southern drawl ‘Cause that’s what I like about the South.

Opposite: “The Swatter”, Campbell Residence, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.

74

That Time Down South


75

Beats and Fiddlesticks


“The Bear That Was There”, Campbell Residence, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.

76

That Time Down South


“Pork Please”, Campbell Residence, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


78

That Time Down South


“And Then There Was Light”, Campbell Residence, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


“Welcome”, Campbell Residence, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


The Living Room, Campbell Residence, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.

81

Southern Innards


Inside RCA Studio B, Nashville, June 2013.

82

That Time Down South


Inside Graceland, Memphis, June 2013.


Above and Opposite: Graceland “Hall of Gold�, Memphis, June 2013.

Next page: Living Room at Graceland, Memphis, June 2013.


85

That Time Down South


“What Goes on in the Hotel Bathroom”, Gaylord Opryland, June 2013.


89

Southern Innards


Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound by Tom Paxton It’s a long and dusty road, It’s a hot and a heavy load And the folks I meet ain’t always kind Some are bad and some are good Some have done the best they could Some have tried to ease my troubled mind. And I can’t help but wonder Where I’m bound, where I’m bound Can’t help but wonder where I’m bound. I’ve been wanderin’ through this land Just a-doin’ the best I can Tryin’ to find what I was meant to do And the people that I see look as worried as can be And it looks like they are wonderin’ too.

90

That Time Down South


“The Neverending Corridor”, Gaylord Opryland, June 2013.


Icons and other notable mentions


94

That Time Down South


95

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Rock and Roll Music by Chuck Berry

Just let me hear some of that Rock And Roll Music, Any old way you choose it; It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it, Any old time you use it. It’s gotta be Rock And Roll Music, If you want to dance with me, If you want to dance with me.

Opposite: One of Elvis Presley’s jumpsuit, Graceland, Memphis, June 2013. 96

That Time Down South


97

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Elvis Presley’s car collection, Graceland, Memphis, June 2013.


99

Icons and Other Notable Mentions


100

That Time Down South


The King at the Memphis Visitors Center, June 2013.


102

That Time Down South


103

Beats and Fiddlesticks


The Old Rugged Cross by George Bennard On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, The emblem of suff ’ring and shame; And I love that old cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain. So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, Till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, And exchange it some day for a crown.

Opposite: Gilded cross at the Old Ursuline Convent, New Orleans, June 2013. Previous page: The Lisa Marie, Elvis Presley’s private jet, Graceland, June 2013. 104

That Time Down South


105

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen, Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, June 2013.


107

Icons and Other Notable Mentions


A buffalo watches a McDonalds, Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, June 2013.


The neon lights of Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2013.


111

Icons and Other Notable Mentions


A MOment in Time


114

That Time Down South


“A Street View”, Decatur Street, New Orleans, June 2013.


Louisiana Fairytale by Mitchell Parish, Haven Gillespie and John Frederick Coots The dew is hanging diamonds on the clover, The moon is list’n’ing to the nightingale. And while we’re lost in dreams, The world around us seems like a Lou’siana Fairy Tale. The wind is softly singing thru the willows, As hand in hand we stroll along the trail. And love is at its height, enchanting us tonight, Like a Lou’siana Fairy Tale. Is this real, this fascination? Are my dreams holding you fast? Are we here, on a plantation, or could this be heaven at last? Keep dreaming with your head upon my shoulder, And don’t awake until the stars grow pale. The world is at our feet, the picture is complete, Like a Lou’siana Fairy Tale.

116

That Time Down South


A couple strolls through Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, June 2013.


Welcome to Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen, Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, June 2013.


120

That Time Down South


A Golden Retriever relaxes outisde Graceland, Memphis, June 2013.


122

That Time Down South


123

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Shake it and Break it By Charley Patton You can shake it, you can break it, you can hang it on the wall Throw it out the window, catch it ‘fore it roll. You can shake it, you can break it, you can hang it on the wall ...it out the window, catch it ‘fore it falls. My jelly, my roll, sweet mama, don’t let it fall Everybody have a jelly roll like mine, I lives in town I ain’t got no brown, an’ I want it now My jelly, my roll, sweet mama, don’t let it fall.

Opposite: The New Orleans Esplanade Cable Car track, New Orleans, 2013. Previous page: Welcome to Serio’s, New Orleans, June 2013.


125

A Moment in Time


A cruise ship passes the participants of a St. John’s Eve Voodoo Ceremony, Mississippi River,


New Orleans, June 2013.


128

That Time Down South


129

Beats and Fiddlesticks


A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and Oscar Hammerstein II Give me a kiss to build a dream on And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss Sweetheart, I ask no more than this A kiss to build a dream on. Give me a kiss before you leave me And my imagination will feed my hungry heart Leave me one thing before we part A kiss to build a dream on.

Opposite: An angel statue watches over Elvis’ graveside, Memphis, June 2013. Previous page: Rooftop at Antique Archeology, Nashville, June 2013. 130

That Time Down South


131

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Shadows down an alleyway, New Orleans, June 2013.


“A Room with a View”, Nashville, June 2013.


“Poolside Frolicking”, Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, June 2013.


136

That Time Down South


137

Beats and Fiddlesticks


“Going for a Walk”, Royal Street, New Orleans, June 2013. Previous page: “Poems For Sale”, Jackson Square, New Orleans, June 2013.


139

A Moment in Time


140

That Time Down South


141

Beats and Fiddlesticks


St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, June 2013. Previous page: A storm brewing over Memphis, June 2013.


“The Traffic Tranny”, New Orleans, June 2013.


144

That Time Down South


145

Beats and Fiddlesticks


“Fountain Splendor”, Nashville City Hall, June 2013.


148

That Time Down South


149

Beats and Fiddlesticks


LESt We forget


I Don’t Know Why I Love You (But I Do) by Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry I don’t know why I love you but I do I don’t know why I cry so but I do I only know I’m lonely and that I want you only I don’t know why I love you but I do. I can’t sleep nights because I feel so restless I don’t know what to do, I feel so helpless And since you’ve been away, I cry both night and day I don’t know why I love you but I do. My days have been so lonely My nights have been so blue I don’t know how I manage, but I do. Each night I sit alone and tell myself That I will fall in love with someone else I guess I’m wastin’ time but I’ve got to clear my mind I don’t know why I love you but I do.

152

That Time Down South


“Preserved in Death”, St. Charles Street, New Orleans, June 2013.


“Contemplating”, New Orleans, June 2013. Opposite: Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, June 2013.

154

That Time Down South


155

Beats and Fiddlesticks


Love Me Tender by Elvis Aaron Presley Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so. Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin’ I love you, and I always will. Love me tender, love me long, take me to your heart. For it’s there that I belong, and we’ll never part. Love me tender, love me dear, tell me you are mine. I’ll be yours through all the years, till the end of time.

156

That Time Down South


Elvis rests, Graceland, June 2013.

157

Lest We Forget


Silhouette, Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, June 2013.


“Empty Eyes”, Garden District, New Orleans, June 2013.


160

That Time Down South


“You’ll Always Be My Darling”, Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, June 2013.


162

That Time Down South


Ending Thoughts As I was putting together this book, I wanted to show the different aspects of the South in specific themes - special pieces that together make up the magic of the whole. Naturally, music is one of the biggest parts about the south. From street musicians to Graceland, we heard and saw all kinds of wonderful music-making. These experiences became “Beats and Fiddlesticks”. Early on we found that Southerners will celebrate anything with drinking, dancing and socializing. One section had to focus on the revelry of it all, hence “Whiskey, Wimmin and Merrymaking” came about. People take much pride in what is publicly on display in the South. The architecture of the South is so pretty, unique, colorful and whimsical that it deserved a whole section, “Fancy Facades.” In Nashville, we stayed with The Campbells, a bluegrass team of husband and wife. They had bought their house for $26,000 and were renovating – there were holes in the walls, no doorknobs, stripped paint, plastic sheets separating rooms and a whole lot of charm. Here, and in other residences on our travels, we got a privileged glimpse into the private “Southern Innards.” So many luminaries have walked the lands of the South that it was almost overwhelming. To physically be in the places where Elvis Presley lived, Louis Armstrong played and Dolly Parton performed was astounding. There needed to be a section in this book for these stars and other icons. The McDonald sign made it into “Icons and Other Notable Mentions” because it is a ubiquitous cultural symbol of America. Some of the images couldn’t be easily categorized – they were simple snapshots, quiet “Moments In Time.” This is my favorite section, as it is a gentle, unobtrusive and honest glance into every-day life down South. Finally, we visited many cemeteries and historical sites. These were some of the most visually striking features of our travels. “Lest We Forget” hopes to preserve these memories. The classic song lyrics in this book bring all the sections together, letting the reader feel that ethereal tune in the Southern air for themselves.


Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. Dorothea Lange


Š Urszula Pruchniewska

Profile for Urszula Pruchniewska

That Time Down South  

A visual tour of Southern moments

That Time Down South  

A visual tour of Southern moments

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded