Weekday Mornings with McGuinn

It was 6:45 a.m., and the sun had not yet risen. I was driving through the curvy roads of Natural Bridge State Park in eastern Kentucky on my way to another dreary day of public, small town high school. As my Cavalier took the curves of the road and my dread grew greater with every mile, there was one thing that brightened my day and made me smile. It was the voice of Roger McGuinn belting out Turn, Turn, Turn. It was this song that began my compilation CD that kept me company every weekday morning. 

I was never a kid who listened to my generation’s music. When I was five I was listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana. When I was ten, I had discovered The Beatles and The Searchers, not to mention every other band of the 60’s. My father pulled out his old vinyl and taught me what music really was, and those lessons stuck with me. When my supervisors at Music City Roots told me we had a surprise guest a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued. When they told me the surprise guest was the lead singer of The Byrds, I was ecstatic. 

When I was asked to snap pictures of McGuinn, I was actually nervous. I was going to shake the hand of, and introduce myself to Roger McGuinn. Then I was going to hang out backstage in close proximity to him. When McGuinn took the stage, I could hardly contain myself. When he started belting out Bob Dylan, I could feel the tears gather in my eyes. Hearing McGuinn live made me homesick for those dreary weekday mornings; a feeling I never thought I would want to relive. But when I heard his voice live, I felt the same contentment his music had evoked throughout my teenage angst phase. 

For someone who really dislikes hip-hop music and empty lyrics, Music City Roots has been a pleasure. This is truly a place that appreciates the roots of music. This is a place that understands the days when music touched its audience and evoked emotions in its listeners. It isn’t very often that music can bring a tear to your eye or make your heart race, but at Music City Roots, this is not uncommon. Its artists are picked carefully and they are picked well. 

In the past three Wednesday evenings I have spent at Music City Roots, the audience always seems to be fully captivated. And perhaps more interesting, the audience always seems to be extremely versatile. I have seen teenagers in Chuck Taylor’s, women in cowboy hats and some in five inch heels. I have seen men in flannel and sometimes suits. I have seen the older generation, watching the live radio show and possibly reminiscing about the days of the Grand Ol’ Opry, a feeling that Music City Roots embraces and won’t let go of. Music City Roots is showing a new generation how grand the Grand Ol’ Opry once was and how grand Music City Roots is going to be. 

I look forward to many more Wednesday’s at Music City Roots and many more surprises and tears. I travel 8 hours round trip for this internship every week with a fellow PR intern, and I have not yet regretted it.

Alexandra Stiles

P.S.  Keep a look out for future blogs on road trip shenanigans and adventures…..there have already been quite a few. J