Gretsch Events

Homecoming: 10th Annual Nashville Roundup 2017

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While there had previously been one or two smaller meets of GDP members, the gathering at Hachland Hills Vineyard in June 2008 was the first to bear the "Roundup" name, the first with official support from Gretsch, and marked the beginning of many Roundup traditions from the pick-shake prize boogie to the brandings.

That event was coordinated by Steve "Nobody" McCloud and Doug Fieldhouse, with a little help from me. Without their efforts, we never would have found Hachland Hills - the very model of the ideal venue for such an event.

From 2008 through 2014, we rounded up at Hachland Hills. Circumstances conspired to put us on the road in 2015 (Crossroads Roundup, Clarksdale MS) and 2016 (Hoosier Daddy Heartland Roundup, West Baden IN). But in 2017, we're back in Joelton, TN, just outside Nashville, at Hachland Hills.

It's like coming home.


Note: this thread is intended as coverage of the event as it happens, where all who participate are invited to post their own words and pictures (still and moving). I apologize that I didn't get it fired up yesterday before the event began - but I was kinda busy!

For 13 pages of a pre-Roundup planning thread, go here.

Page 14 of that thread has some coverage as well, already in process.

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Phila Hach, the grand dame of southern hospitality, opened her facility, her arms, and her heart to a bunch of noisy guitarists from the very first - and became as much a part of the Roundup as any of us.

Phila was a genuine celebrity chef, and of course her meals were all that - but it was her hospitality and warmth even more than her cooking which made Hachland Hills our home.

This remarkable woman lived quite a life, from her music degree and playing orchestral cello, to being an early airline stewardess, to creating the first televised cooking show in the South, to publishing cookbooks, creating chain restaurant menus, and cooking and catering to presidents, princesses, and pop stars. Her death in late 2015 was covered lovingly in a variety of national media. (Learn more at Wikipedia.)

Once you got to know her, you learned her secret: she treated everyone like a president, prince, or pop star.

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My own 2017 Roundup adverture started yesterday a little after noon, when Josh "JB Gretschguy" Bradshaw arrived at my place in scenic Jasper, Indiana (as I'm more or less on his way from Peoria to Nashville).

Josh had graciously offered to help me load the van - in exchange for a Mexican meal, which was duly administered before we started loading. Also before loading we played through some gear in the studioffice. Josh brought his recently-completed Deluxe Reverb mod, which I compared to my stock DR. No contest: the Josh mod wins. Gonna have him mod mine.

It was hot-hot-hot and extra-double humid in the mid-south yesterday (as it is today), so we took our time loading. I was a greased and glazed sweat pie by the time we were done. Josh worked as hard as I did, but looked fresh and cool.

Van loaded and ready to go outside my garage.

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Josh left his car at the homestead and rode down to Joelton with me. We left about 4:30, with frozen bottles of water supplied by my wife for the trip. Easy drive, straight shot right through, a little over three hours of good roads and better conversation. I might have exceeded the recommended highway speed once or twice.

We still had ice in our bottles when we arrived around 7:30 to find the party already started, mostly in the Spring Mill cabin downstream from the barn. With cookout food to eat, old friends to greet, new friends to meet, and gear to unload and set up, taking photos was not my first priority - so only a few now. I promise to do better from here on out.

Walking into the cabin was indeed like walking into the old home place. Nothing appears changed from our last visit three years ago - or indeed from 10 years ago. Nothing wrong with that.

We made a bee-line for the burgers, and the little kitchen looked so familiar, I couldn't help taking a shot of the condiment table. You know, priorities.

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Acoustic sessions were well in progress in the cabin's cozy and ever-so-homey living room.

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It's Rob "Tartan Phantom" Campbell on the Honeydipper biscuit-cone resonator, with Ray Smythe on the Rancher.

Country blues were the order of the moment.

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Humidity. How humid was it?

In mid-Tennessee last night, it was exactly as humid as it couldn't possibly be more than - without the air actually being water. Which it pretty much was.

The cabin is air-conditioned; all the windows were fogged and running and dripping with condensate. It was in the mid-upper 80s, and there was low-lying mist over the stream that must be forded to get to the tobacco barn, and mist rising around the buildings.

The concrete floor of the barn was sweating. It pooled in several places. Open a guitar case, and the instrument was covered with dew. Fabric equipment bags were quickly soggy to the touch.

We're talking wet. I was afraid electricity would decide copper wasn't all that attractive after all, and would find a path of least resistance through the wet air itself. I expected current to jump between plugs and jacks from sheer proximity.

That's how humid it was, though I don't have any pictures to prove it. I imagine we'll have another opportunity to document it tonight.

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I can't get there until about 10 tonight, and it's killing me. Nevertheless, my own journey begins soon.

Also, if one includes the Crossroads and Hoosier events (and I do), this marks our 10th anniversary of big National roundups, doesn't it? Seems appropriate to come on home to Nashville for such an auspicious anniversary.

See ya'll soon. Leave a small dab of whiskey and a warm amp for me.

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After yumming down burgers, Rob's beans, and Olivia's cheesegrits, the first order of business was to get gear set up in the barn. This took longer than it should have, as I am distractible and easily confused. But no sooner was everything in place (probably about 10:00) than the jams began.

You know how humid I said it was? It was just about that loud. (I think maybe the dense wet air is a more efficient medium for sound transmission!) But it was a good loud. It was we're-back-home-again-in-the-barn-by-the-stream-away-from-any-neighbors-who-would-care-and-ain't-noone-gonna-complain loud.

Curt "Curt" Wilson's impassive stare here gives no indication of the volume - unless that's a grimace of pain, and I don't think it is. With some of us old guys, it's just hard to tell whether or not we're having fun. Curt is playing his snarling Schoolhouse Teletype through JB's modded Deluxe.

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When convenient, please share with us the nature of JB's mods to the DR.

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One of the pleasures of a Roundup is playing with old friends: 10 years of hearing and playing with each other - even if it's only once a year - means we know each others strengths, weaknesses, styles, and habits. It's all familiar, but always different too.

Another of the pleasures is meeting new players. Last night's MVP was without question Jody Porter, of Fountains of Wayne and his own projects, who came as Curt's guest. Jody volunteered himself right off to play bass, and later switched off to drums - as well as doing several stints on guitar.

An intuitive, dynamic, responsive, and inventive player, Jody helped drive us through a wide-ranging repertoire of mostly jams - mostly blues-based of course, since that's how most of us negotiate in unstructured ensembles. But with Jody's leadership and attentive ears, songs meandered (sometimes purposefully) through dynamic and rhythm changes, with lots of quirks and turns. Very entertaining, and we're looking forward to more.

Among old friends, none stand above Joe Carducci, who appeared around 11:00, delivered greets and hugs all around, then strapped on the BillyBo Bass and held down the thunder while Jody switched to drums.

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Also notable (and you'll be seeing much more of it) is Bob Howard's magnificent new Gretsch drum kit, built around a mighty mighty 24" kick and a deep snare that Jody especially enjoyed. Bob turned in some powerful performances of his own. While I hope he gets to play as much guitar at this Roundup as he'd like, he's going to be greatly appreciated in the absence of our other "house" drummers - and proving more than up to the task.

In short, we might have been worried about the groove under the guitars at this event, but so far we've felt no lack. Hot diggity!

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Jody delivered my favorite quote of the night, after we'd plowed our way through the first ragged, loud, out-of-tune, feedback-squealing jam of the night, with an entire guitar battallion raging: "so THAT'S what four guitars sounds like."

Here's one of them, Bob "NJBob" Smythe - whose powerful voice led us through numerous flawed but spirited (and often creative) renditions of Actual Songs.

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And here's another: Steve "Snorre" Ogburn's gorgeous new Penguin, which was much loved by everyone who played it. (I haven't had the chance yet.) Steve enlisted in the guitar army, delivering rhythms and some lead as well - and also stood his watch on bass patrol.

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And for comic relief, an old man shredding on a lapsteel. (Photo compliments of Suprdave.)

This was likely taken either just before or after an epic (if flawed) decimation of "Whole Lotta Love," wherein I did my imitations of Jimmy's echoplexed theremin-and-guitar noises with the lapsteel and a Memory Man. My apologies. It was a moment. In the meantime, Suprdave stepped up with a truly stellar Plant-with-tight-pants vocal.

Material last night ranged through Allman Brothers, CSN, BB King, Doors (well, kinda), Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, and miscellaneous blues-funk-country jams. It went on til around 1:30 in the A of M. We're pretty hardy here.

And while we were sweating it out Being Loud in the barn, a more acoustic contingent was gathered in the air-conditioned comfort of the cabin running through most of the Beatles catalog. I hope someone will post pictures - and maybe even some audio. Just can't be everywhere at once.

There are many more people to show (we think attendance is close to 40), guitars to document, performances to participate in and enjoy, and much visiting to be done. We're just getting started - and looky here, I've missed half the day in the hotel room.

Much more to come; stay tuned!

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Wishing you all the best of best times. A real homecoming in every sense of the word.

I'll do a lot more reading than talking, but be assured of a raptor's eye keeping a close watch on the proceedings and a voracious appetite for the content.

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It almost feels like old times with this thread.

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One could say, like a homecoming.

And I feel like it's good times ahead.

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TMF - Too Much Fun!

I know there will be lots of great guitars and music...

The table full of "Non-Health Foods" has been off my diet since May, but looks delicious.

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Proteus asked that we repost our photos from our other stream, here, too. With our internet issues, I felt lucky to get a few up in the first place. I'll try, but won't promise similar order, or comments. So, we're here from now on out, per orders from The Hallowed P whom we well love.

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Proteus, as he is wont to do, exclaiming "Electricity,"

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Preparing to leave for The Nashville GDP Roundup, Thursday--Olivia Anne's cheese grits.

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Acoustic set in the Spring House/cabin's great room. Zigracer/Greg leading with Bob Howard, Brandy Bailey

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NJBob sharing his wonderful vocals with us.


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