Sunday, April 22, 2018


Boy Named Banjo headlined a fun night of music in downtown Columbia, TN on Saturday, 4.21.18 at CITIES.  

Already an established act in Nashville, Boy Named Banjo plowed new ground in Columbia, TN.  Debuting several new songs, the guys played late into the night to a sold out crowd.  

"Stealing the show' is something you'll hear a lot of when referring to WildEyes.  This trio is fronted by female vocalist, Emily Kohavi who plays multiple instruments including banjo and fiddle.   Their popular "Campfire Sessions" social media videos have propelled them into one of the hottest acts in the local Americana scene.  

Members of WildEyes and Boy Named Banjo together in the 'green room.'  

Local artists, People On The Porch started the festivities with a quick set of their most popular songs and a few debuts!

Rodney McCarthy, Emily Kohavi, and Andy Crichton
STJ Entertainment presented the music and party at CITIES in downtown Columbia.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Metallica - Death Magnetic Concert Tour - Concert Review - Nashville, TN 9/14/09

Metallica took center stage at the Sommet Center in Nashville on Monday night, literally. Playing from a center stage with microphone postitions facing every direction of the crowd, Metallica embraced their fans or "family" as they refer, with two hours of thrashing hits both new and old. As if the show wasn't good enough, it turned into legendary status as Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead joined the band for two songs - "Damage Case" and "Too Late". As stated, the show had it all: Suspending, rotating coffins as part of the light show - check. Laser show - check. Explosions, flames - check. Fist pumping, head banging, mosh pits - check. Ear drum shattering beats - check. Surprise appearance from a Living God of Heavy Metal - check. The band, coming off a six week break from touring, seemed excited and energized. Overall, the setlist was a clever mix of Death Magnetic with the standard classics. Metallica, Death Magnetic Tour, Setlist - Nashville, TN 9/14/09 Ecstasy of Gold Intro That Was Just Your Life The End Of The Line Creeping Death Holier Than Thou One Broken, Beat, and Scarred Cyanide Sad But True Turn The Page All Nightmare Long The Day That Never Comes Master Of Puppets Battery Nothing Else Matters Enter Sandman Encore Damage Case Too Late *With Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead Seek And Destroy The mix of people at the show was quite diverse ranging from kids eight years old to guys in their 40's who probably saw Metallica in the early eighties for their first show. Amazed by the number of youth on the front row, James Hetfield even made a quip to the crowd between songs stating that he was fifteen before he got to attend a rock show. Lars made several references to the crowd at the end about how much fun they had playing a surprise show at The Basement and Grimey's Record Store in Nashville back in 2008. The unique event was a surprise the night before Metallica played Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN. Only a lucky 200 or so fans attended. I'm in my late 30's and grew up attending every show that came to town, especially during the run of 80's metal bands. I've seen Metallica specifically four times now, and I can say the Death Magnetic show is the best I've seen and heard from them. Dressed in a sea of black, the crowd matched Metallica's aggressive tone with two hours of fist pumping and salutes. It was nice to see a band give the fans their money's worth, especially with the current economic hard times. There were a few songs I had hoped to see, Unforgiven III specifically. But, the reality is that you know you're gonna get fifteen songs and a three song encore. With that said, it would be hard to mix a show that could have been any better, especially coming from a band with such a stellar catalog. If the Death Magnetic Tour comes to your town, don't miss it. Your family is calling. Check out my Death Magnetic Album Review

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Travel Review - Chicago - Father/Daughter Trip

Chicago, A Second Home

When I travel, there are few places that I truly feel at home. Chicago is one of those places.

Recently, my daughter and I went on a Father/Daughter Trip to the Windy City. We took advantage of low airfare on Southwest Airlines and good hotel rates from Priceline. Because we flew out of Nashville, our flight time was under an hour and a half.

It was a special trip for my daughter, Kinsey. She got to experience so many things for the first time. The first morning of our trip, she rode in a limousine, flew on an airplane, rode in a taxi, traveled on the subway, and got to ride a public transportation bus. That was all before lunch!

Our First Day, The American Girl Store, Harry Caray's Steakhouse

Our first day was dedicated to her. As soon as we checked into our hotel, we put our things away and prepared for the most important stop of all - The American Girl Store.

Located next to the John Hancock Building, The American Girl Store was easy to find. As soon as we arrived, we knew we were in for a treat. The store was two stories of nothing but dolls - a little girl's paradise! Kinsey made her way to the Just Like You section and carefully selected doll #23. The doll literally looked like her - the hair, the freckles, the smile. Once she selected her doll, Kinsey picked out a couple of outfits.

Next stop was the Afternoon Tea Party. We took her new doll, Kristy for a tea party in which the doll got a special place at the table. There was a fashion show for entertainment and special delicacies fit only for a princess to eat. Kinsey loved it and commented the remaining time on our trip that the tea party was her favorite part of the trip!

After the tea party, Kinsey participated in a class in the Hair Salon. During the class, Kinsey learned how to take care of her doll's hair. She also learned some complicated braiding techniques and how to change the hairstyle on her personal doll.

Later that evening, we ate supper at Harry Caray's Steakhouse. The food was incredible and Kinsey got her picture made with the "Holy Cow."

Second Day, Navy Pier, Chicago Cubs, Chinatown, and Mary Poppins

On our second day, we visited the Navy Pier. There, we rode the ferris wheel. What a view! Later, we took the red line subway to Wrigley Field. We saw the Chicago Cubs v. Los Angeles Dodgers. The day began a perfect 72 degrees, but by the second inning, the temperature dropped to about 50 degrees. Kinsey was freezing, so I begrudingly forked over $40 for a pink Wrigley Field sweatshirt for her to wear.

Later that night, we took the train to Chinatown. We ate at an authentic Chinese diner and then shopped in the local stores. After dinner, we went to see Mary Poppins at the Cadillac Theater. The show was INCREDIBLE. The stage set, the acting, the choreography, everything about it was perfect. To me, it was the highlight of the trip!

Third Day, Museums, Sear's Tower

Our third and final day, we visited the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Sear's Tower, and Adler Planetarium. The view of the Chicago skyline from the Adler Planetarium was awesome!

My Chicago Travel Tips

1. If you fly in to Midway, you can take the Orange Line subway to downtown. Make sure to purchase about $20 worth of credits for each person on the CTA transit cards. These cards are good for both subway and bus transit.

2. If you're visiting the American Girl Store for the first time, call - Keniesha Jackson, Clientele Specialist for American Girl, to schedule a personal appointment (312) 288-2834. She'll make all arrangements for you and be your personal guide. This will be a nice added touch to make your daughter's experience more memorable.

3. Prepare for changes in weather. I've been to Chicago during the first weeks of June twice now. Both times, the weather changed quickly from the mid 70's to the mid 50's. Chicago is known as the "Windy City." Make sure to pack a light jacket.

4. If you're going to a Cubs game, you can usually find tix just outside the gate for face value. Don't waste your time buying tix on Ebay unless you get a really good deal.

5. Southwest Airlines often runs promotional fares for $49 each way to Chicago from Nashville. Also, use to book your hotel. I've always gotten a 4 star hotel for under $100 a night.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute: A Battle Lost - Firebase Mary Ann

Firebase Mary Ann, A Story Now Revealed

There are few times in life that you're given the key piece of another's life history, that put your relationship in context. In a way, it defines that person. It enslaves them, while you remain free. It haunts them, while you fear nothing. It steers them, while you ride. It becomes the missing link to a chain pulling one through life.

A few years ago, I began asking questions about war. In particular, the Vietnam War as told through the eyes of my own father. It wasn't something I had been privy to as a child. The intimate details were still fresh and not ready for telling. The ramifications of actions would have been lost to my ignorance if told before I was mature enough to appreciate its effect. I knew the basics. My dad was in a Vietnam Veteran. He served as the medic for his platoon. He trained in San Antonio, Texas. He was involved in a terrible battle at Firebase Mary Ann.

One day, my curiosity led me to search Google for more. To my surprise, I learned that an entire book had been written about Firebase Mary Ann and the terrible tale of what happened that one night. I bought the book on Amazon and unlocked the mystery of my father's tale.

The Brief Story of Firebase Mary Ann

From Publishers Weekly

The battle took place on a remote hilltop in Quang Tin Province during the latter days of "Vietnamization," when open defiance of orders was common among GIs. What happened at Firebase Mary Ann the night of March 27-28, 1971, was, according to the author of this riveting account, the U.S. Army's "most blatant and humiliating defeat in Vietnam." That night, 50 sappers of the 409th Viet Cong Main Force Battalion, wearing nothing but shorts, slipped through the base's barbed wire without alerting a single sentry, killed 30 GIs and wounded 82 others. Relying on interviews with survivors and recently declassified documents, Nolan reconstructs the assault from start to finish, showing how a demoralized American unit (1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, Americal Division) was crushed, despite the heroic actions of a few individuals. He traces the chain-of-command process by which the defeat ruined the careers of the division and battalion commanders. By the author of The Magnificent Bastards, this is a perceptive study of poor leadership and combat demoralization. It is also a terrific battle book.

A Night That Changed My Father's Life

Listen to an audio conversation with my father telling what happened that night. In the conversation, he explains the psychological effects of his experience, and gives advice to current troops in battle.

How The Story Changed The Son

Throughout your life, you can probably think of different terms used to identify your father. Some in terms of love, some in terms of anger, some maybe in terms of hate. But, it's most maturing when you can find terms in the context of respect.
Respect for what they've done for you. Respect for how they lived their life. Respect for what they've done for others.

As I learned the details of my father's experience at Firebase Mary Ann, all my previous terms of identification merged into a prism revealing the sharpness of light in the shadow of times past. The context of our relationship, the oft, emotional distance, the lack of mutual understanding all came together in the telling of the story. I understood my father like I had never understood him before.

Related Links


Amazon/Book Reviews

Time Magazine, April, 1971

Ron McCarthy was awarded the Bronze Star with a "V" for Valor along with various other medals.