Like any other day in which unexpected and delightful things happen, Monday showed up without fanfare, tired and grumpy. We had driven through the night in an old tour bus through some of the worst, most haggard roads the state of Kentucky had ever seen. We arrived in Nashville with the singular mission of recording a couple of songs for a couple of compilations, and our 8-something a.m. wake up call didn’t help anybody’s mood.
The van showed up, we loaded the appropriate gear, and set off to the studio in which engineering marvel Shane D. Wilson makes the ears of the world swoon. We arrived at said destination and proceeded to assume the usual studio positions and practices: namely sitting in a chair, staring at the television, waiting for your turn to do something, anything.
Now, we don’t want to detract from the work that took place that morning, for many good and wonderful things were put down on tape. Things that will no doubt amaze and astound. Things that will bring a smile to your face and spring to your step. But, to be honest, the excitement didn’t really happen until lunch.
First off, it was late. Something like 1:30 or so, if not later. We were terribly hungry and thus decided that we needed to go somewhere close by. Shane first suggested a nearby burrito joint, which would have been good, but Jack was quick to inform him that we had just had burritos the night before. So we went for the next best thing: Home cookin. (We realize that the normal spelling is indeed “cooking,” but when the food is prepared unapologetically in the southern fashion and the menu consists of meatloaf and greens, “cookin” is universally accepted as correct. So there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.) The place was crowded entirely by people of an older persuasion and the plastic plates were constructed in such a way that they made partitions in order that none of the items you ordered touched each other. We knew instantly that we were in for a treat.
Orders were made, conversation was had, and the food came. We were as happy as could be, and then the door flung open. A silhouette moved in from the glare of the sun into the glare of the fluorescent lights, a commanding presence in a teal button up shirt and trucker cap.
It was none other than Jerry Reed! Jerry Freaking Reed!
Ok, you have no idea who this guy is, do you? Didn’t think so. Alright, lets start with Smokey and the Bandit. In that American classic it is Jerry Reed who plays “Snowman,” the wise-cracking trucker who runs with the Bandit from Atlanta to Texarkana to pick up a load of Coors Beer and bring it back in 24 hours. Now, in Smokey and the Bandit II the plot is basically the same, only this time the cargo is a pregnant elephant. However, it is in Smokey and the Bandit III that Jerry Reed gets his chance to shine as he takes over the role as the Bandit and drives a plastic fish around Florida for some reason. Of course, he was also in The Water Boy, but that is neither here nor there.
But wait, there’s more. He is also a country musician who can chicken-pick a guitar so fast it’ll make your head spin. For a taste check out the Theme from the first Bandit film, “Eastbound and Down,” or his modern classic “She got the Goldmine.”
This is all impressive, but what is really important here is that he is one of Jason Solley’s heroes. Seriously. He has seen Smokey and the Banditabout a thousand times and can quote the movie in its entirety. It’s amazing.
So Jerry walks in, struts his way up and down the aisles like a peacock, and finally settles with his family right behind us. Solley starts shaking slightly with excitement. This is a huge moment in his life, and each one of us knows it. So as we get up to leave Crowder takes the initiative and approaches the table.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt you,” Crowder said.
“Well, don’t do it again. Ha!” came the reply, full of rasp.
Classic. And it was delivered in a way that only Jerry Reed can deliver. So, long story short, Solley met one of his heroes and got a picture with him (see below). He said thanks, Jerry said “Nice to meet you son,” and we were happy as could be. For real this time.
As we walked away from the table we heard this exchange between Jerry and his granddaughter:
“You’re the best grandpa ever.”
“And don’t you forget it.”
Oh… and by the way, David’s wife had her driver’s license suspended after an altercation with an overzealous airport cop. Nashville came strong this time..