It's funny how sometimes when you live somewhere, you can ignore the little treasures that are right under your nose. For example, I've lived in Nashville for over 20 years, and until last month, I had never experienced the wonderfulness that is the Pancake Pantry. How I managed to go two decades without tasting their delicious cinnamon pancakes and creamy syrup is beyond me.
Another local treasure that I'd somehow missed out on is The Long Players. Founded by pop wunderkind Bill Lloyd and E Street Band bassist Gary Tallent, the group of all star local sidemen have been getting together several times a year since 2004 and performing note perfect, front-to-back renditions of classic albums with a rotating cast of singers and musicians. Their guests over the past five years have included stars from the worlds of country (Suzy Bogguss, Allison Moorer, and members of New Grass Revival) and rock (members of Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac, Badfinger, and the Georgia Satellites), along with various members from the local rock scene.
Last month I finally found out what I had been missing. Their featured album was Prince's Purple Rain, and it was pretty amazing. A lineup of locals did a stellar job of fronting the band (Aaron Winters of Space Capone, A.J. Croce, Chris Mitchell, and Shelly Fairchild among them). But the real highlight of the show was when they brought out former Prince guitarist Dez Dickerson. He performed "Purple Rain" during the main set, and for the encore played his iconic solo from "Little Red Corvette" while Lari White sang, and then brought the house down when the band finished with "1999." It was the most fun I've had at a show this year.
Tonite at the Cannery Ballroom, The Long Players will be taking on The Beatle's White Album as part of the annual Fab Four Festival. Tickets are $20 at the door. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.