It’s been a while since my last post!
I guess I must have been in recovery mode after my very exciting trip to the Americana Music Association Festival and Conference in Nashville back in September. And I’ve been catching up with shirt orders (photographs to follow!) as well as working on some features for Country Music People magazine.
It was my fourth AMA week and as always, it was jam-packed with goodies! It’s always a brilliant, inspiring musical week and though I come back exhausted, the memories make up for it. My report on the event will be in November’s Country Music People magazine.
Quite apart from my journalistic duties, I got to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum to see their wonderful Bakersfield exhibition, where amongst many other things, the cream of their collection of clothes made by the great western tailor Nathan Turk were on display. Turk is a little neglected – sidelined by his more flamboyant contemporary, Nudie – but his work is truly beautiful.
Here’s the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ suit he made for Fred Maddox of The Maddox Family Band – known in their day as ‘The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band in America.’
With my Dandy & Rose hat on (what does my Dandy & Rose hat look like? I must work on that) I got to make some new friends, and to see my very special customer Jim Lauderdale host the AMA Honors and Awards Show at The Ryman Auditorium while wearing one of my shirts. From the collection I had taken along, he chose this one in the Liberty fans-and-ribbons print, ‘Wendy Woo’:
Just between you and me, I was hoping ruffles would be involved, but when I saw Jim onstage wearing his choice of shirt under a beautiful blue embroidered Manuel suit, I was not disappointed at all. He looked great. Not sure what makes that suit fabric so lustrous, but I am guessing maybe a touch of silk in the weave.
He was kind enough to pose for this picture after the show, too:
The Awards show is held in The Ryman Auditorium – the building known as ‘The Mother Church of Country Music’ – which was the home of the iconic radio show The Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974. Many a western tailored suit has graced that stage, most of them festooned with embroidery and glittering with rhinestones. And yes, that means that Hank Williams stood there when he made his Opry debut in 1949 singing the hit ‘Lovesick Blues’. Did he really have to reprise it six times at the demand of the crowd, or is that just an ole country music myth? Who cares? It may not be a literal truth, but it says it all about Hank’s famous charisma.
So just sitting in the audience at The Ryman is an experience full of resonance for any fan of country music. And to see something I made in my little workroom in Lewes up there, being worn by one of my favourite artists – well, I think my face says it all.