Sonic Highways FOO FIGHTERS, Zac Brown Band, Tony Brown, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Tony Joe White, Emmy Lou Harris.
Last night on HBO, the third installment of the mini series documentary "Foo Fighters Sonic Highways" took the band to country music capital, Nashville, Tennessee. Feeling like a fish out of water, Dave Grohl and the band have arrived in the city rich with history that forever hold its stamp in music.
Grohl booked time at the famous Southern Ground studio that has seen so many greats in its time. The studio that once was a church in 1901 is now owned by Zac Brown. Grohl had met Brown years ago at the Grammy Awards and exchanged numbers. When Dave arrived in Nashville, he had never heard any of the the Zac Brown Band's music. He soon realized Zac is one who challenges the rules of the industry. During the six days in Nashville, the Foo Fighters saw a world much different than their own.
Dave took time to extensively interview some of the greats. He sat down with the ever charming Dolly Parton and Emmylous Harris, both who talked about the beginnings and what the city was all about. For Dolly, her first dream was to be on the Grand Ole Opry. She told the story of "I Will Always Love You" made famous by Whitney Houston. The song was once to be recorded by Elvis but because the label wanted publishing, she refused and the deal never went through.
What Dave learned from these interviews that also included Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Tony Joe White and Carrie Underwood is that Nashville is about the song. Longtime producer Tony Brown says, "New York and LA are about the record business. Nashville is about the songwriting." Since the days of Dolly and a young Nelson, Nashville has become a machine. Each has broken barriers by staying true to themselves as an artist. Nelson left Nashville for Texas and found himself as the hippie we know him today, growing a beard and his hair.
The band learned about the influence of church, gospel music in the south. Not having much to do, church was not only the "foundation but also recreation," Dolly said thus why the old Grand Ole Opry building is referred to as The Mother Church (now known as the Ryman Auditorium).
During the six days the Foo Fighters spent time in the place to be to write a hit song, Dave Grohl was asked by Zac Brown to play drums for him on a brand new song recorded just a day before the CMA Awards called "Day for the Dead."
In each city the Foo Fighters travel, they record a new song. In Nashville, the inspiration came from the rule breakers, the artists who went their way laying foundations for many generations to come. "Congregation" is the result finishing with the lines "Do you have blind faith? No false hope..." capturing the essence of so many dreams that have come true for those willing to step outside of the system.