By Jason O’Neil
Last month I had the privilege of going to Nashville’s RE Bar Camp. The event was exciting, informative and inspirational. But beyond the unrestricted walls of the camp, I found more inspiration — in a real bar.
The night before the event, I took my brother out for a couple of rounds at one of Nashville’s most famous watering holes, Tootsie’s. If you don’t know Tootsie’s or have never been, let me start by saying it is one of the best places to watch or perform country music in Nashville, which itself is ground-zero for country music. The likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bomshel, and countless other country legends have passed through Tootsie’s on their way to stardom.
The evening was about more than the music: It was about the talent, the untold stories, and roads less traveled of these up and coming musicians. Tootsie’s is but an intersection in the artists’ paths to stardom. The female lead singer of the band performing upstairs that Tuesday night had the audience in her grasp, belting out high and low notes, her band jamming to some of the most famous and difficult songs to sing and play. She was good, maybe one of the best I’ve heard. I wandered downstairs and that band was equally as good. I wondered, “How could such talent not have a label? Why play in bars for tips?” Continue reading »