Michael Ray in Gadsden, Alabama

On Thursday, February 16th Ed and I headed to our first concert of 2017!!  What?!!  In February?…..yep we got a late start this year.  We found ourselves in Gadsden, Alabama at The Still Bar and Grill .  Gadsden is about 55 miles Northeast of  Birmingham.  Was our first time to visit this city and venue.
20170224_101259We decided to spend the night in Birmingham so we checked in in the afternoon to the Courtyard Marriott Birmingham Trussville.   It was in an easy to get to location with several restaurant options available right around it.  The Courtyard was extremely nice.  Looked fairly new.  My only complaint would be the pillows…but I’m picky about pillows anyway.

20170224_101325We decided to venture a little ways from the hotel for food.  We searched on Trip Advisor and found a local place called Mudtown Eat and Drink.  It was a bit off the beaten path so we wouldn’t have found it if not for Trip Advisor.  It was about 20 minutes from our hotel.

From the front of the restaurant you wouldn’t have a clue it was a restaurant.  It’s a small footprint.  The parking is horrendous.  It’s all downhill and very little parking.  We went early so we didn’t have a problem getting a spot but if you went at a busy time I could see how it could get really bad.  They had a few tables outside on a very small patio.  We went inside.  It was small in there too but luckily there were only maybe 10 people eating.

The menu is a bit eclectic but I found a chicken sandwich coated in their wing sauce with ranch cole slaw on it that sounded good so that’s what I ordered.  Let me tell you it was delish!!  Came with a ton of fries that were excellent too, and I’m not a big fry eater.   Ed ordered a burger that had pimento cheese on it and a fried green tomato.   Food was great.  Service was good.  We were in and out in about 30 minutes.

After dinner we headed to Gadsden.  Quick, easy drive.  Doors at The Still opened at 8:00.  We arrived about 8:00 to maybe 20 people in line.  Seemed like most everyone, unlike us, were buying their tickets at the door.  We had bought ours online when it was first announced.  We got inside where it was very small but nicely laid out and decorated.  We found our way to the restrooms.  The ladies room was extremely small.  It had a sink and 2 stalls and it was so small sitting on the toilet my knees were against the door.

Back out on the floor very few people were up at the stage.  We are over being crowded in at the stage so we decided to hang back a bit.  The venue is so small even being back a few rows it was still a very intimate feel.

MichaelRayGadsdenAL 027Show was to start at 9 and it actually did.  (Most bar shows never start when they say they are going to).  The opener was Levi Hummon.  We had never heard of Levi when this show was announced and we seen he was the opener.  We googled him to see what we could find out and we bought his EP so we could be somewhat familiar with his music.  Honestly, listening to the EP, I wasn’t too impressed.  However, when he came out on stage he sounded way better than the EP.

Levi told he’s from Nashville and hasn’t played in Alabama very often.  We learned his dad wrote “Bless the Broken Road” for Rascal Flatts and “Cowboy Take Me Away” for the Dixie Chicks.  His dad was in the audience and he gave a shout out to him.  Levi played for about 35 minutes.  He was a great opener for Michael Ray.

MichaelRayGadsdenAL 039Change over was pretty quick and Michael Ray was out at 10:05.   The crowd had gathered in but was still plenty of standing room.  We guess there might have been 300 people there.  Michael came out on stage singing “Another Girl”. The crowd was into it. People singing and dancing a long.  He did a few songs and then he said he was going to do some songs, acoustically, that were covers.  Some from guys he’d been on tour with like “House Party”, “Bottoms Up” and “Beer Money”.  He did a few others and for all the Alabama folks he did “Sweet Home Alabama”.    He did a sing-a-long of “Wagon Wheel” and then continued with more of his songs.

Michael had Levi and both of their dads join them on stage.  Really cool for them that the dads were in attendance.  The very special guest of the night was Michael’s dog, Emmy Lou.  She was so well behaved. MichaelRayGadsdenAL 052

He exited the stage only to quickly come back out and do an encore of “Kiss You in the Morning” before thanking everyone for coming out and leaving the stage.  It was a great show.  From the energy on the stage you wouldn’t have known there was that few people there cause he performed like there were thousands there.  Get out and see Michael Ray if you get a chance and check out The Still.  We hope to go back.  Great venue.