Excited to see a reprint of Will Maguire’s review of Notorious in Nashville, first published in Well Read Magazine! Thank you, Maggie Ball and Mandy Haynes, editors of these literary magazines, and thank you, Will Maguire. https://compulsivereader.com/2024/02/03/a-review-of-notorious-in-nashville-by-phyllis-gobbel/
Thanks to the staff at Chauvet for such a warm welcome at the Art Crawl Saturday night! Around 400 visitors came to the gallery to enjoy the art exhibition. I met some readers and got some great exposure for Notorious in Nashville. It was a big night, lots of fun!
Everybody who knows Nashville and country music knows the Bluebird Cafe, so that’s where I wanted to start. Here is the opening scene:
A hush hovered over the room.
Her voice. What was it about that voice? The way it came from something deep inside. Longing. Regret. Old pain for what was lost. Etched in a fresh face. How could a twenty-five-year-old possibly know all of it? But you believed she did when you heard her sing.
I’ve never been a fan of country music. Never followed country music, except for summer visits with my grandparents in south Georgia, when the radio was always tuned to the big clear channel, WSM, out of Nashville. Hearing a classic like Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You can still take me back to that simpler, sweeter time.
After those long ago summers, I didn’t pay much attention to country music.
But Willow Goodheart’s voice grabbed me, pulled me into what she was feeling, made me hold my breath.
The first chill of fall in the air
The smell of wood smoke in your hair . . .
The lyrics, unpretentious but elegant, and the hymn-like melody with a hint of blues. Her quiet rhythmic picking on the acoustic guitar. All of it. And the voice.
Not like any country song I’d ever heard.
Your heart’s first small crack
The part that you never get back . . .
The haunting verse climbed into the chorus that rang with raw honesty, with the resonance of an old soul.
There are things that will vanish,
But they don’t fade away.
Then, as Willow held the audience under her spell, another voice boomed from behind us. “That’s my song, Missy!”
A disheveled man, weathered face, wiry beard, staggered from the bar at the opposite end of the room from the stage. “Mine! You stole my song!” He lurched forward, heading toward the stage, stumbling into a table of four women. Their drinks spilled. The women shrieked.
“It’s mine!” he kept yelling.
Willow went silent in the middle of a line. The stillness in the room turned into a roar of disgruntled chatter. Several men, including Kyle, my daughter’s significant other, jumped up, but before they could rush to rescue the women, a linebacker-type from the bar swung a huge arm around the man’s skinny neck. And then, grasping his scrawny arm and gray scraggly ponytail, swept him out the door.
“Stupid drunk,” Kyle said, under his breath. He sat down and reached for his beer.
“Who is that?” Holly whispered.
“He’s Notorious.” Kyle took a long pull from the bottle.
My long-time friend Fran Mires invited me to her Book Club in Old Hickory. What a fabulous night! It began with a feast of Southern food to celebrate my book, Notorious in Nashville. All the members had read the book and it was so satisfying to hear their take on it! Thank you, lovely ladies!
Many thanks to everyone at The Wayne County Museum for such a delightful book event on Saturday, December 2. It was an opportunity to talk about my new mystery, Notorious in Nashville, as well as my other books, and I was able to visit with many friends and meet some new ones. All of it took place in the building that was once a feed store, owned by my great uncles, now a museum. Later, I watched the Christmas parade that brought back many memories. A day I will not forget!
Thank you so much to all who joined me in celebrating the release of Notorious in Nashville at Parnassus Books this past Thursday night! I had such a great time, and I hope you all did as well!
If you have 10 minutes, take a look at this video from the live storytelling event at Jackelope Brewing Co. on June 20. What an exciting event it was! There were about 100 people in the audience (standing room only!), and I was in the company of 8 other talented writers presenting their stories about “Home.” I hope you enjoy listening to my short story, “Have You Come to Take Me Home?” and be sure to sign up for my email list to hear more about upcoming events and giveaways!