Welcome To Nashville

Well things are starting to settle down for me in my new Tennessee digs. I arrived in town on September 24 with a week-long Airbnb reservation so I could apartment hunt, and hunt I did. I looked at 5 or 6 places that I found on Craiglist, and I lucked into a house near downtown owned by a fellow musician/songwriter from Long Island who went to college in the Hudson Valley and has been in town for 10 years. Big Beatles fan, big Billy Joel fan. Pure coincidence.

I'm obviously still finding my way around and getting to know the lay of the land, but allow me to share some things that I've learned in my first two weeks in Nashville.

1. The traffic sucks. I was not expecting this, but the population of Nashville has outgrown the city, and it continues to grow. As a result, during rush hours Interstates 24, 40, and 60, can be miles of stop and go drivers, and the streets near downtown can be gridlocked for blocks. Oh, and rush hour starts around 3PM.

2. There are Targets everywhere. Back home there's a Target in Poughkeepsie, and ones in Kingston and Newburgh that I'd never go to, but in greater Nashville there's about 14. I feel like I can throw a stone from anywhere and hit one. I drive home from a Target and on the way I pass another Target. No joke.

3. The three main supermarket chains - Harris Teeter, Kroger, and Publix - all carry Boar's Head deli products. Need I say more? I didn't think so. Damn, I could go for a sandwich right now. And speaking of supermarkets...

4. Sales tax on groceries. The state of Tennessee does not have an income tax, so they need to raise money in other ways such as charging sales tax on groceries. In New York, groceries are sales tax-free, and I think that's the way it should be. Sales taxes are regressive to begin with, but to charge it on food? Bad form.

5. Open mics can suck just as much as everywhere else. Coming to Nashville you might think that open mics are going to be filled with top notch talent. Nope. Sorry. Not to say you can't find anyone great, but you're gonna have to wade through a lot of other music on the way. I played the open mic at the famous Bluebird Café on Monday, listened to about 33 other songwriters, and was really impressed by 1 of them. The rest ran the gamut of quality from bad to good like any other open mic I've been to. If you want really good songs, go to a writer's night, which is not open and features performers arranged in advance.

6. There are cash advance stores everywhere. Tennessee Quick Cash. A-1 Cash Advance. Evergreen Cash Advance. Inglewood Cash Advance. Advance Financial. Xpress Cash Advance. I noticed it when I visited in April, as well. It's sad.

7. Bolton's Spicy Chicken is really hot. The end.

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