When I walked into Nashville’s Antique Archaeology store to perform for the first time, I felt as if I were walking into an episode of American Pickers, the History Channel TV series. Makes perfect sense. Antique Archaeology is one of the retail outlets for the items hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz travel the country “picking,” with guidance on where to look from the trusty Danielle Colby Cushman. It is only fitting that the Nashville store is located in the home of the old Marathon Motor Works, an automobile manufacturer that produced cars in the building from 1910-1914. Some of the items in Antique Archaeology date back that far and then some.
It is also fitting that in the Nashville location, now a viable tourist destination, live music
can be found on weekends. I have been fortunate enough to perform in this unique venue and sing to the people doing the “shuffle and look; shuffle and look,” through the store. Scores of people from all over the country come through and see the very things on display that they have seen Mike and Frank barter, haggle, negotiate and seal with a handshake (and cash) to acquire. As a devoted viewer, I have seen items in the store that were “picked” during the previous night’s episode, like a giant coin-operated duck that kids would have ridden years ago outside a dime store (remember when things cost a dime?).
It’s one of the most unusual settings I have ever played. The stage area is right
behind a vintage motorcycle and next to some antique microphones.
I hardly ever think about my own age but those microphones cause me to ponder it. They look familiar to me because they are similar to the ones still in use when I first performed in the Pascagoula High School auditorium in 1972. Now they’re antiques.
Bearing that in mind, I make it a point not to play too many old songs. I don’t want to get sold as an antique!
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Text and photos copyright 2013 by Les Kerr.