Just across the way from the Grand Ole Opry on a scorching afternoon, Nashville’s Scoreboard held its 20th Anniversary bash. The Hobbs brothers, who own or have owned various clubs throughout Music City, threw a huge party on their new outdoor deck to celebrate, Saturday, July 9.
Like boarding a cruise ship, a good deal of thought was put into creating an engaging outdoor venue, a perfect party boat to sail away. Marine gauge ships rope secure the sides of an open air covered stage and dance floor. Flanked on the star board side with a galley there’s a bar long enough to serve about 50 people port side, and grass hut umbrella tables shade the outer deck. Hanging from the rafters is a full-size flat bottom rowboat surrounded by Japanese floats and ship lights. Sailing under the American flag this is authentic ambience for fair or stormy weather.
The Joe Reese Band took the helm to open this maiden voyage with a long set of classic tunes — a proper christening with nary a drop of water in sight. The brothers Thrower, Frankie and Tim, typically take the lead on guitar and vocals save those times when noted blues guitarist, Tom Whisenhunt, lays down some retro soul from his native Memphis. Cliff Myers is one of the most entertaining bass players you’ll ever see; and from his drum riser it’s not difficult to see Joe Reese loves to have a good time. All these guys have been playing for years growing up with some of history’s most beloved rock, country, and blues tunes.
Their set list is a rich collage of classic stock bridging the grooves of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy,” Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” Freddie Fender’s “Vaya Con Dios,” CCR’s, “Green River” all the way back to Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” The Beatles’ “Anna,” plus “Twist and Shout” which featured vocals by Susan Stanfill Thrower. A surprise addition was Jonathan Edwards’ “The Shanty Song” sometimes called “The Friday Song.”
The audience who gathers around this band becomes one big happy family whether they know each other or not. It happens every time! Everyone is talking, smiling, singing, and dancing. Even if someone wanted to throw some shade it wouldn’t be for long as you simply can’t be in a bad mood in the presence of this group.
As a final note, and this is important to the music industry at large — there wasn’t a millennial in the crowd with the exception of service staff. The second largest sector of the US population — the baby boomers, people at least 52 years old and above– go to live shows, they listen to and collect music on a far larger scale than the industry can figure out how to market to millennials. It’s tested and proven in Nashville every day. This day was no exception.