I used to spend summers in Tennessee, and when we sold our house in Knoxville I felt very sad, because Tennessee is in my blood. There is something about being where it seems that everyone is nice to you; there is comfort in the kind of Southern drawl that is like warm syrup surrounding you. It's very exciting to walk down Broadway and hear good music coming out of every doorway or big open window.
Is there a state more identified with music? Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Broadway and Beale Street. Graceland, for goodness' sake. I heard a country singer say that when she was a child she assumed everyone grew up like she did, with the whole family pickin' and singin' on the porch. Growing up like that would have made me want to stay home!
Of course, the first thing we did was go to the Grand Ole Opry, and that is always a hoot. We had lunch with songwriter extraordinaire Bobby Braddock and his lovely daughter Lauren, and I'm beginning to think he is the hardest-working man in show business, at least on Music Row. We are collaborating on a big project, which I will tell you about later.
We visited Cheekwood Gardens, and in the mansion's art gallery are two significant paintings contributed by Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol, who painted portraits of each other. Jamie's portrait of Andy is awesome, with the most intriguing skin tones and brush strokes. Andy's portrait of Jamie is a big blown-up photo with a lot of pink acrylic over the skin. Both are very arresting, but of course the one I couldn't take my eyes off was Jamie's portrait of Andy. The images below don't do either one justice. Jamie used a lot of green in Andy's skin and got a beautiful translucent glow. Unfortunately, the photos I found online make him just look creepy, and my closeup photo at right isn't great either, but you can see some of the beautiful skin tones.