I just visited from DC and busked on Broadway. I agree, keep it alive, keep it unlicensed, and try to make order out of that chaos, but keep it chaotic and spontaneous, and UNLICENSED. Us musicians are scruffy, and we wouldn’t have Townes VanZandt if we require license to make art.
While the Honky Tonks beckon tourists from all over the world, there are two ambassadors that get right at eye level and can play with skill, discuss and share the heritage of Nashville. That is David Andersen in the lobby of The Country Music Hall of Fame, whose recordings are available in the gift shop and “ Mandolin Mike” Slusser with his weathered mandolin usually somewhere near Gruhn Guitars down on Lower Broad.
Both are top quality musicians. Both tell the story of Nashville through their playing, their interaction and approachability.
The difference is Mike is no longer allowed to sell CD’s out of his guitar case when he plays. Never mind the fact that the bands that play in the Honky Tonks, who also play for tips, sell their CD’s at the foot of the stage in the same…
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