Kicking off from today Ben Folke Thomas will be sharing with Folk Radio UK readers his journey to Nashville for the Americana Music Festival & Conference with Bob Harris and the BBC Introducing Showcase.
It is five years since Folke Thomas left the southern Swedish archipelagos to make his name on the London live circuit. He quickly found his feet; and his sound: An astonishing, explosive brand of Americana, delivered through supersonic guitar picking offsetting moody baritone vocals.
Well hello there Folk Radio UK folks ! I’ve left Sweden and taken the long journey to Tennessee. It was a relief to leave Sweden at the time I did, two days after the general election in which the seriously nasty Swedish Democrats party received 13% of the vote. It’s strange walking around and knowing that every tenth person that you see on the street voted for them. Sometimes Satan comes dressed as a man of peace. You never know who to trust. Anyway, the struggle shall continue and solidarity shall prevail.
Great to be in Music City even though Ernest Tubb is dead. Too overwhelmed by it all Ionia! No hassle at the border, no hassle anywhere! Our hotel is in downtown Nashville right by the Vanderbilt stadium and let me tell you folks, you can really smell that freedom is in the air. I was straight out for chicken wings! My travel companions are Alwyn Lewis and Frankie Davies who are also playing the BBC Introducing thing at The Stone Fox on Friday night.
Alwyn and me went out and had some chicken at Hattie’s Hot Wings and then we rolled on to Broadway. Saw the palace of the Predators GO PREDS yea!!!! And then we went drinking in The Stage till we realised that all the cool people hang out at Robert’s so we went there. Met up with loads of UK friends that’d just been to the award show where Jackson Browne and Taj Mahal had played amongst others. Cool.
Alright! Full on touristing on our first full day in Nashville Tennessee. Woke at 7.15 and I was wide awake. Got up and Al had to do a radio interview. We got there at 11am and they gave us whiskey and beer which was fun. Then we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see Marty Stuart telling some stories or what not, but we couldn’t get in because the queue was a mile long but apparently there’s loads of space left for Ry Cooder tomorrow. Strange world but all the better for us. Having dinner with bob Harris tonight. Gonna ask him why he hasn’t play listed me on Radio One yet. Tomorrow’s the gig at The stone fox. Get in.
We also went to RCA Studio B, or we stood outside and took a picture. That’s where Elvis recorded. Fucking cool. Over and out. XX
Great night last night in Nashville. We started by having a cheeseburger at the Hard Rock Cafe with the BBC Introducing team and Bob Harris, with margaritas and beer. Then Bob drove Al Lewis and myself to the Mercy Lounge and we saw Lake Street Dive who were great and the singer is my future wife. Also met up with some old friends and Will Hodgkinson, who wrote the famous “stands out like Oliver Reed at an AA meeting” quote in the Guardian. Google it and read it. Loads of of other great acts too, but we missed Lee Ann Womack.
Al and I managed to get a game of pool in which was won by team Sweden. But it was a fine fight. This morning we’ve been book hunting and found some cool Larry McMurtry stuff. Tonight’s the gig, that’s why we are here after all; to entertain…….. Hoping they do riders as big as they do the plus size menus in this country. Over and out.
More about the Showcase tomorrow.