Lifelong Nashville resident Pat Adams is the creator of the nearly 20-year-old TennesseeConcerts.com, once the state's biggest concert website.
Even as a kid, he had a knack for garnering media attention: At 12, he was a champion bowler featured in The Tennessean, Nashville's major newspaper. He majored in Communication Arts at Hume-Fogg Technical High School, also working as a stringer reporter for Nashville's WLAC-AM radio.
It was an old-school station with a powerful signal, reaching several states. He then attended Davidson Technical College, majoring in Computer Applications. Pat is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Asking how he started collecting Nashville memorabilia, Pat responded, "Growing up, I was always saving things, ticket stubs. My father and his wife had season passes to Opryland.
"Some of the pictures on my website come from them," he said.
Pat gives the inspiration for starting his popular website: "After school, I started traveling for Service Merchandise [his former employer], seeing historic things. I wasn't interested in seeing things in books! [I was] up North, out West, down in the South."
Knowing his grandparents had lived in prestigious Belle Meade, I asked about his family roots.
Pat is definitely a Southerner: His grandfather was born in Louisiana and his grandmother was from Pensacola. His great-grandfather owned the now-historic building on Broadway downtown where the famous Jack's BBQ is now located.
Pat grew up steeped in music, but not the genre you might think. He was raised in the Berry Hill neighborhood, which has always had recording studios. "I always liked the local songs and artists."
Did he grow up listening to WSM, the Grand Ole Opry's station, that so many musicians claim as their inspiration? He surprised me!
"I never listened to it, I've never even been there. It's not uncommon for people who grew up there. I don't think my parents were into country music."
How did he decide to share his treasures with the world, opposed to keeping a secret, private collection? "When I collected all that stuff, I had no idea I could show it. It just made it better when I could share it with my friends."
Pat was the first to do a deep dive into the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash that killed much of the original band. That put him on the radar of musicians, reporters and fans.
"Since then, there's a monument. Artimus Pyle [a former drummer for the band] had a movie come out, [TennesseeConcerts.com] got mentioned by NBC. In fact, it was part of a Lynyrd Skynyrd lawsuit, brought up by the defense [Artimus Pyle].
"The crash information had been in books, my website. It was kind of weird!"
This was after Pat posted a Lynyrd Skynyrd page on his site. Famous musicians and other people contacted him through his guest book.
"A girl who was at the site signed it. We got to talk." The plane had crashed on her grandparents' property and she was there.
"She had newspaper articles at her grandparents' house. There wasn't much out about the crash."
One musician who contacted Pat was Gary Allen, drummer for The Charlie Daniels Band on its breakthrough, "Fire on the Mountain," which earned a platinum album. Gary also played with J.J. Cale and Stonewall Jackson.
Sadly, he recently died from cancer. Pat, Gary and his musician friend C.J. DuBuisson had set up a regular jam in Nashville: sessions where musicians randomly show up and play together, like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions.
The Play It Again Jam quickly stood out in "Music City," focusing on classic and Southern rock. "I posted YouTube videos," Pat recalls.
"After two years, [Gary and I] took it on the road. Hundreds of musicians came from different states. [Meghan Trainor] was gonna come from Nantucket to do a video.
"She got sick, didn't show up. She was only 17, too young to play at the jam (often held at local bars)."
Maybe Pat's exposure to the best of the best made him such a good talent scout. He "discovered" pop star Trainor, after she entered Pat's Sonic Bids contest.
"It was talent [at first], changed into songs. Meghan entered eight, they were good songs. Her bio lists [the win] as her first musical accomplishment; it's even listed on her Wikipedia page. I was surprised!"
I asked if Nashville has changed, with its recent influx of money and healthcare jobs. Pat answered, "Everything seems to be changed. In my neighborhood, everyone is going to two-story houses.
"The [old] places are gone. It bothers a lot of people here. Most of my friends don't even live here anymore, moved to outer counties. I'm going to stay here as long as I can — I like it here!"
Thanks, Pat, for sharing a little bit of Nashville with us!
Tamar Alexia Fleishman was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's youngest female solo violinist. A world-traveler, Fleishman provides readers with international flavor and culture. She's debated Bill Maher, Greta Van Susteren and Dr. Phil. Fleishman practices law in Maryland with a J.D. from the University of Baltimore, a B.A. in Political Science from Goucher College. Read Tamar Alexia Fleishman's Reports — More Here.
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