Hit songwriter John Scott Sherrill, who has laughingly threatened to "lay down in front of the bulldozers" on demolition day for Music Row's iconic landmark, Bobby's Idle Hour, will play one last time before the honky tonk closes at the end of January.
Sherrill, who has been celebrating the venue for the past several months with his "While There's Time" Tour, will play there on Saturday, January 5. (Bobby's Idle Hour is set to close for good the following weekend.)
Joining him will be his old pal and former Billyhill bandmate Dennis Robbins ("Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House," "Church on Cumberland Road") and dobro master Josh Matheny, who also produced Sherrill's album, Mr. Honky Tonk.
Acclaimed newcomer Emery Adeline will open the show. The evening kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with an in the round featuring The High Lonesome Dreamers — Sally Barris, Templeton Thompson, Sam Gay and Dan Washburn
News of the pending demolition of Bobby's Idle Hour has been particularly difficult for Sherrill. “There just aren’t places on the Row like this anymore,” he laments. “Bobby’s has always had a kind of atmosphere that was conducive for creative people gathering to talk about their songwriting and even play an impromptu performance of their newest work sitting right at the bar. It’s a magical place.”
For the past several months, Sherrill has appeared at the bar playing hits from his vast catalogue, including "Nothing But The Wheel," "Wild and Blue," "Some Fools Never Learn," "Would You Go With Me" and more. He has also been showcasing songs from his brand new album, Mr. Honky Tonk
Bobby’s Idle Hour, long recognized on 16th Ave. South with it’s oversized guitar next to its undersized parking lot, is the latest business to receive an eviction notice to make room for a new, upscale office building. The club is set to close in early 2019.
At each of his “artist-in-residence” performances, Sherrill will invite songwriting pals to join him, trading their songs in keeping with the spirit of the tavern’s history.
Sherrill’s newest album, Mr Honky Tonk, was inspired by many afternoons and evenings spent at Bobby’s Idle Hour. In fact, the video for the album’s title track, was shot at the famous bar. (See “Mr. Honky Tonk” by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-sRAj8TtsY )
The ongoing development on Music Row has been a source of contention for the past five years. During that time, just under 50 Music Row studios and music industry businesses have been leveled to make way for apartments and office buildings.
“It just seems to be disappearing without any appreciation at all for the work that has been done here by the music community over the past century,” Sherrill says. “It’s heartbreaking.
“But I’m not looking at these performances as a ‘death march,” he continues. “I want to celebrate what Bobby’s has meant to me and so many others of our community. Plus, it’s my hope that ‘Lizard’ (owner Thom Case) will find another home for Bobby’s.
"That's kind of what's behind this 'idle good-bye.'"
Since showing up in Nashville more than four decades ago, John Scott Sherrill has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable, consistent songwriters in a city where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting another songwriter.
During his tenure on Music Row, he has scored 11 Number One Hits and countless covers by a veritable “who’s who” list of artists including John Anderson, Patty Loveless, Jimmy Buffett, Josh Turner and even Mick Jagger, among others.
With the exception of a short stint with hit Country Music group Billy Hill, Sherrill has remained quietly behind the scenes, letting those other artists interpret his work. That all changes with his new Mr. Honky Tonk, an album that reflects his everyman sophistication, evident not only in his songwriting and the production, but also through his honest and authentic voice.
The album is filled with Sherrill gems, including some that were previously hits: “Would You Go With Me?” (Josh Turner); “Some Fools Never Learn” (Steve Wariner); “Wild & Blue” (John Anderson); “Nothin’ But The Wheel” (Patty Loveless). He also offers several wonderful new songs including “Sweeter Than Sugar Cane,” “Before The Going Gets Rough” and the title cut, “Mr. Honky Tonk.”
“First rate! The material reconfirms the artist’s writing talents while also leaving no doubt that Sherrill—who sounds redolent of Anderson and George Jones—can sing ’em as well as he writes ’em.
— Jeff Burger / No Depression
"Five Stars! Mr. Sherrill’s convincing common man vocal delivery shines atop modestly masterful production and first-rate small group backup.”
— Duane Verh / Roots Music Report
"Mr. Honky Tonk typifies its title, remaining true to basic grassicana precepts, with steel guitar, fiddles, dobro and mandolin all playing prominent parts in the mix. Sherrill’s country credence is obviously intact, and the tapping of tradition plays a role as well. Mostly though, it’s superior songs that make the most marked impression, and in that regard Mr. Honky Tonk earns both reverence and respect."
— Lee Zimmerman / Bluegrass Today