Tim Leffel’s Got the Gift

Tim Leffel is a wonderful writer who has the gift. He sent us a story for GoNOMAD about Nashville, and here is how he began…when people ask me what it takes to be a travel writer, I’ll tell them “just write as well as this guy.”

“My home of Nashville, Tennessee is the mecca for country music stars and thousands of wannabe songwriters. But where do they all come from?

Nashville is the industry center for country music and bluegrass, but there’s nothing in our swimming-pool-tasting water that turns young girls into ballad-belting country singers. There are no local family dynasties of Nashville-bred songwriters who can mix hard luck and a few guitar chords to come up with a jukebox masterpiece. Few great mandolin pickers or fiddlers sprung out of the shadows of our replica of the Parthenon.

The gifted people have mostly drifted here from elsewhere. Often that elsewhere is along a rural ribbon of road in Kentucky dubbed the Country Music Highway. I recently spent a few days meandering around the eastern edge of Kentucky, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a land where McMansions still look oddly conspicuous and “urban sprawl” would only apply to city folk stretching out for a nap. A land where the nicest building on a road is still liable to be the church. Where people say, “down by the strip mall” and there’s only one place that could mean.”