Friday, April 19, 2013

tennessee #6: air castle of the south

what it is: tennesee #6: air castle of the south
where i found it: south of the mason dixon

What also cannot be ignored on a trip to Nashville is the cavernous Opryland hotel, the largest hotel under one roof in the Western hemipshere. The hotel includes indoor boat rides, indoor forests and jungles, vast and empty carpeted spaces larger than football fields and, perhaps most importantly, the radio station WSM "the air castle of the south". This is the station over which the Grand Old Opry has been broadcast for years and it continues to feature all kinds of country, bluegrass, white gospel, etc. It's worth visiting the online stream now and again whether you catch the Opry hours or not. Also, what I did not know is that Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak got his broadcasting start there.

What I saw at the Grand Old Opry itself was a mixture of 80s country relics, horrible new country/pop shitheads, an old school Western Swing band and some virtuosic bluegrass. Not bad. You can access archived recordings here.

It is also worth mentioning that in the lobby of the hotel they are piping in strangely relaxing and very subtle overlapping ambient tones, which I didn't notice until I'd been there for about ten minutes. Psychological manipulation Southern style.

indoor jungle
indoor fountains
Indoor waterfall. Years ago there was a creep in a white tux who used to play harp on top of this waterfall, but i guess he lost the gig.

musical instrument ceiling mandala in lobby
This was a fence covered with poison ivy/oak, a security measure i had not seen before.
sajak, the early years