Music City Work Trip Part II

I hate failure. This must be done, I was too close, and it must be done right, it’s final vinyl after all. I needed to get the right song nailed down, in about eleven and a half hours…continued from Music City Work Trip.

Cursing once more into the emptiness of my beautiful hotel room, I fell asleep listening to, “Walking After Midnight,” sung by Patsy Cline over and over. At about 1:30 AM I finally shut it all down. I slammed my head into the fluffy clean pillows with a groan. Sleeping alone in a large hotel room with two Queen beds hurts enough. Trying to sleep alone in lonely luxury when all you want to do is sing a song in Jack White’s Voice-o-graph for the loved one sleeping with your dog back home… it’s a special kind of misery. It’s like taking your heart carefully out of your chest and placing it in a cozy pampered receptacle to beat all alone in the fancy hotel room next door.

In the morning I tried singing “Crazy,” like a jazz singer in the shower but the acoustics were too wonderful and I feared I would hail a pounding on my door from some hungover sexed up stranger. Right?! Certainly I must be the only one sharing no bedsheets. Surely. So I lowered my loudness to a point where sudden notes popped out to the shower tiles like a girl throwing marbles at a xylophone. I gave up after I rinsed my hair.

Even though I was two hours early to meeting my co-worker for breakfast I prepared to hit the free wifi in the coffee shop. By this time I learned how to paint my eyelids, brush that sticky black stuff on my lashes, and only fret so much with my unruly hair. Primping is not my pastime.

My knees buzzed as I hopped into the elevator. My ear buds whispered to me from my Patagonia teardrop bag, and my iPad mini giggled with excitement. Together the three of us would get this crazy song down in time to hit Third Man Records and take on the old recording booth. My iPhone poked my side, suggesting that she should carry my lyrics for me so I can’t screw up. Ingenious! Technology and me were working as a team. Awesome.

I ordered my cappuccino and bagel with lox like a professional ordering her official documents or something serious like that. Then I snuggled into a cushy booth and my technology team and me set to task. I purchased two live versions of the song, one with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, another with two jazz singers taking turns with Willie. I thought the style and tempo differences would be good for my creativity and brain. My iPhone placed the lyrics before me while my iPad mini and ear buds planted the song into my mind. I felt like I experimented on myself in some kind of mini music therapy immersion program.

By the time my co-worker showed up I felt ridiculously confident. Excited, but totally ready. I can do this. I am going to do this. In just a matter of an hour I will have recorded my own tiny vinyl record of my version of “Crazy” for my Honey Pie husband. He is going to totally fall over. Crazy!

My coworker, Jenny, seemed stoked too. We finished our coffee shop breakfast and headed down one well-groomed sidewalk and across into a sort of grungy sidewalk which turned into a sketchy alley and then opened up to a gnarly starfish intersection, and then off into an industrial area. We could see the beacon of Third Man Records while passing cement sore homeless guys and strings of third-shifters releasing themselves into the overcast daylight. Jenny and I quickly became the only two female humans within blocks. We instantly received whoops and whistles and garbled cat calls undecipherable to the Mid-Western white girl ear.

The beacon, Third Man Records!
The beacon, Third Man Records!

We arrived early.  The walk was short and we had beat the cynical clock. We waited and reflected more harmless cheers from men who no doubt hadn’t seen daylight or women in at least eight hours. Finally a white-headed skinny girl (in multi-patterned, multi-colored clothes expected at a record store in the middle of the industrial park) shoved her huge ring full of keys to the door. It sounded like music. It really did. Clinkety-clink-clinkety-clink-clink. Gachaaaahhhh. Clunk.

At this point we were caught trying to be cool, and not jump right after her into the store. We stood there like it was an unspoken rule. Chillax. We weren’t just loitering around waiting for this cool place to open shop.  We were just, you know, taking in this truly Indy culture, you know? Right.

As soon as my body entered the space I felt the thrill of cooky collections and smelled melted plastic. To my slight right sat, no joke, a Mold-a-rama machine! And yes, it made a red plastic Jack White guitar. Sweet. Right across from it, there it stood, the Voice-o-graph! It stood proud as a prostitute and just as exposed, it’s guts open to reveal it’s inner workings. At first I drank in the excitement and spun around to ask for tokens, fishing into my bag for my money. The cute punk girl smiled like a daisy and explained that its Out of Order.

How cool is the 1947 sign inside the Voice-o-graph?
How cool is the 1947 sign inside the Voice-o-graph?

Out of Order. “As in not working?” I asked like a kid let down by her hero. Like realizing that Women Woman is really just Linda Carter and she actually can’t fly or catch bad guys with a magic lasso.

Jenny looked at my apparently puppy sad face and said, “Hey, it’s the thought that counts. You tried. You got here.”

So I got enough tokens for the Mold-a-rama machine and bought some swag but none of it seemed to add up to one original recording sung just for my Honey. But I did, I tried. My heart traveled to Jack White’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee, the City of Music, with full intentions of recording my only rusty instrument. Oh well. After all, this was a business trip.


10 thoughts on “Music City Work Trip Part II

  1. “No! You’re kidding me?!” That’s what nearly pushed its way out of my mouth (and would have woken up the house) when I finished your piece. You had me hooked from the start of the quest and I was so hoping you’d complete it and – bonus – that you’d include a copy of the song here (though I figured you wouldn’t because of the nature of the gift). You are a gifted storyteller. You draw moments out with rich detail and inject these moments with a wonderfully humorous voice. So well done.

      1. Um- Wow- That was me replying from my iPhone while still in bed. Yikes! I’ll try to get some caffeine in me before replying ever again. Sorry for the typos.
        What I truly meant was thank you for reading, enjoying, and commenting with such praise!
        Yes I am lucky to have you.

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