Above the Fold

A digital 'zine by Original Fuzz about creativity and making stuff.

★  May 26, 2024  ★

Robert's Western World

Next time you're in Nashville you've got to check out Robert's Western World on Broadway. It's one of the best bars in America.

Robert's backs right up to the stage door at The Ryman Auditorium, and you'll often find the bands that play shows at The Ryman hanging out after their set. It's sandwiched right between Tootsies and The Stage, two honky-tonks that play the kind of crap you hear on contemporary country radio and feature cover bands that lead the audience in The Pledge of Allegiance. But don't be fooled because Roberts is dedicated to keeping the golden era of country alive.

On its website, Robert's bills itself as "the undisputed home of traditional country music," and damn if they're not right. It's just classic country played by musicians who know the virtues of restraint and how to listen to each other.

On Friday and Saturday nights the headline set is by the bar's longtime proprietor, Jess Lee Jones, or Brazilbilly as he's popularly known. Brazilbilly is an old school bandleader that was born in Sao Paolo and immigrated to America in 1984. He learned English by watching Sesame Street, he lead a courtroom of new Americans in a rendition of "America the Beautiful" the day he become a US citizen, and he moved to Nashville to pursue his ambitions in the music business. I guess some might find irony in a Brazilian immigrant being a steward of country music but he's lived the American dream.

Another rich part of the Robert's experience is the variety of clientele that love the place and get mixed up on the dance floor. I'm not sure there's another bar in the world where old timers, college students, rich people, working people, artists, lawyers, and bachelorette parties all get together and enjoy the same space, the same drinks, the same fried baloney, and the same music.

On Saturday we caught Brazilbilly do Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" with Texas rockabilly singer Rosie Flores. Check it out. Rosie is killing it. What a beautiful, simple melody with lyrics pure and heartbreaking and true:

I fall to pieces,
Each time I see you again.
I fall to pieces.
How can I be just your friend?

You want me to act like we've never kissed
You want me to forget, pretend we've never met.
And I've tried and I've tried, but I haven't yet.
You walk by and I fall to pieces.

I fall to pieces,
Each time someone speaks your name.
I fall to pieces.
Time only adds to the flame.

You tell me to find someone else to love,
Someone who'll love me too, the way you used to do.
But each time I go out with some one new,
You walk by and I fall to pieces.

You walk by and I fall to pieces.

The view at the downstairs bar of Robert's Western World

Cowboy boots for sale at Robert's Western World in Nashville

Good friends hang out at Robert's Western World in Nashville

View from the second floor of Robert's in Nashville