Ray Stevens risks millions on Bellevue ‘CabaRay’ for the most obvious reason ever: To have fun

By Tom Wood Four, perhaps five, months of hard labor remain before the highly anticipated grand opening, but country music and comedy legend Ray Stevens is already pulling back the curtain to reveal the wizardry behind his Oz-like dream of a lifetime. It is easy to say “Everything Is Beautiful” – that’s the title of Stevens’ signature 1970 Grammy-winning song – about the multi-million dollar, Continue reading

CabaRay Showroom will be ‘one-stop entertainment venue’

By Tom Wood There’s no easy way to pigeonhole the new Ray Stevens CabaRay Showroom and define exactly what it is and what it will mean to Music City’s tourism and entertainment industry. At its heart, the 700-plus seat facility will be an old-school dinner club with live performances planned nightly. Stevens’ concept for the Showroom was inspired by his last-century performances at the Desert Continue reading

Larry’s Country Diner closes before opening

By Tom Wood Plans for a real-life Larry’s Country Diner restaurant to be built in Bellevue are no longer on the front burner. They’re still simmering but could be off the stove entirely. The project – based on a popular cable television show of the same name that is hosted by former WSM disc jockey Larry Black – sits half-finished at the Highway 70 exit Continue reading

The 2017 March Edition

March musings on Books, TV, Sports and Life When I was in college last century at Middle Tennessee State University, I wrote a (mostly) sports column “Wood Peckings” for the student newspaper Sidelines. But I also made observations about campus life, sports, entertainment and other topics of interest. I’m returning to that format this month, discussing various topics. BOOKS: Below is an excerpt from Five-Star Amazon review of Continue reading

The January / February 2017 edition

A New Year Blossoms With Big Changes I’m pretty busy this month trying to get Turn to Stone finished while starting a new screenplay, so I don’t have a lot to say about either of those projects right now. What I do want to mention are the big changes that are in store this year for a couple of television shows filmed in Music City. Nashville Continue reading

Book review: South California Purples

South California Purples (2017) By Baron R. Birtcher 248 pp. The Permanent Press, $28 cloth Full disclosure: I finally got to meet Baron R. Birtcher at the 2016 Killer Nashville writers convention in Franklin, Tennessee. We had both been attending for years, and Baron’s book Rain Dogs (2013) was nominated for the conference’s annual Claymore and Silver Falchion Awards. But our paths never crossed until last Continue reading

College basketball: FGCU men fend off feisty Lipscomb

By Tom Wood NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Zach Johnson watched his Florida Gulf Coast basketball team squander a big first-half lead. And with another meltdown a real possibility, the sophomore guard wasn’t about to let it happen again. Thanks in large part to Johnson’s big plays down the stretch, the Eagles (14-5, 3-0 ASUN) hung on for an 84-80 victory over scrappy Lipscomb (10-10, 2-1) on Continue reading

FGCU women ride 3-pointers to victory

By Tom Wood NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When one team’s shooting is red-hot from outside and the opponent goes ice-cold, the final result can be pretty lopsided. That was certainly the case yesterday at Allen Arena as the FGCU women (13-6, 2-0 ASUN) rolled to a 90-63 victory over host Lipscomb (3-14, 0-2). The Eagles shot 52.2 percent (12-23) from 3-point range while limiting Lipscomb to Continue reading

The 2016 Final Edition

Of Bowls and Books: A Fun Way to End the Year What a way to wrap up 2016. Most of last week was spent writing for the Nashville Ledger about how the Vanderbilt football program has fared under third-year coach Derek Mason, who this season got the team to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The package of articles are now in the Dec. 16-22 print edition Continue reading

Who’ll Be Millionth Music City Bowl Fan?

By Tom Wood Arrive early. Not too soon. But promptly. That’s the ticket to becoming the millionth fan to attend the Music City Bowl. At least that’s my strategy going into Friday’s 2:30 p.m. (CST) kickoff of the 19th annual Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl between Tennessee (8-4) and Nebraska (9-3). The game begins at 2:30 p.m., and will be televised on ESPN. Gates Continue reading