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The Mast-Head: Underwater in Nashville

Wed, 04/10/2024 - 12:58

The first thing I felt like sharing in this column this week was a new animation of sea level rise. As if from a seal’s point of view, digitally depicted water sloshes around at eye level, moving steadily higher on the screen. It brought to mind the underwater shots in the opening scene in “Jaws,” minus the screaming and splashing.

There was plenty of actual screaming during my short trip to Nashville last weekend. I had not quite understood until I saw for myself how Music City U.S.A. had become Partytown U.S.A. The screaming? Bachelorettes in pink cowboy hats celebrating wildly aboard buses tricked out with open upper decks. “Woo girls,” they call ’em. I had no idea. In town from all over the country, the women go to Nashville to cut loose. Screaming is a part of the ritual as much as their flouncy short dresses and pointy-toe boots. Capital-F fun.

I’ve been to my share of concerts, mega sporting events, and that thing in the Nevada desert that shall remain nameless, but Friday night on lower Broadway surpassed them all for sheer, sustained mayhem. Masses of people jammed the sidewalks in front of the endless wall of bars, each with a live band playing just by their doors and open windows. Above it all, the woo girls rolled by as more music blasted out from their buses’ booming sound systems. Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa, scream! Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa, woo!

As it turned out, we missed by about a day an incident in which Morgan Wallen, a chart-topping country music star, heaved a chair off a six-story bar roof, narrowly missing two police officers and garnering several felony charges and a misdemeanor. Naturally, this was all caught on video.

There was a lot I did not know about Nashville and its country scene. A bit of a stir arose as our plane back to New York boarded. Another music star was there, making his way to a seat in first class, as about half of the other passengers near him thrilled at the sight. The other half, myself included, had no idea who he was. There is much to learn, Grasshopper.

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