US Road Trip Epilog: 15th August 2005

First stop this morning is to see Roger "33 years in transmissions" Woods at Coleman Taylor Transmissions. I'm fairly certain by now that the problem is elsewhere, but it would be daft not to have it checked-over by the people who rebuilt it. Of course, it's fine. On the way back into Nashville the intermittent vibration returns for a mile or so before disappearing again.

Back at the motel, the Riviera Owners Association have, once again, come to my rescue with a slew of emails recommending places in Nashville that may be able to assist in diagnosing the problem. One of the members has a brother living here who's actually a mechanic, so that'll be my first port of call.

Mark is too busy to be able to actually work on the car - I'd have to wait a few weeks for that - but he does take time out to have a look. With the car in Neutral and the engine being revved hard the vibration temporarily returns for a while. Mark's diagnosis is that the harmonic damper (or balancer), which sits at the front of the engine, is on the way out. I'd never even heard of one of these before, but apparently they were quite common on older cars with V6 or V8 engines. As the engine mounts on the Riviera have hardened, this engine vibration is being transmitted through the whole car.

After thanking Mark for his help, it's time to find somewhere to get it fixed. After striking-out a few times I get directed to Precision Autohaus. As I walk in I can see a 60's Chrysler New Yorker in the workshop. This looks more promising. By now it's late afternoon so I arrange to bring the car back in the morning.

After a long hot day driving in and around Nashville, I think a few beers are in order and I know just the place to go - the 3rd & Lindsley Bar and Grill. A search around the internet yesterday had unearthed a band I wouldn't mind seeing. Being as it's 6 o'clock on a Monday night, the place is virtually empty and at one point I'm worried I'm going to be the only one watching the band. As it is there's maybe a dozen of us by the time they get going.

Patty Hurst Shifter on stage at the 3rd & Lindsley
Patty Hurst Shifter on stage at the 3rd & Lindsley.

The lack of people doesn't seem to bother Patty Hurst Shifter though. I was expecting something more Americana / but what they sound like to me is just a classic American rock band. And they really do rock. Any band that can play a set of songs you've never heard before and still be great must have something going for them. I think I'll be buying their CD when back in the UK, and hoping they tour there as I'd like see them again (but with a proper audience next time).

After the walk back into town I'm heading up Broadway when I pass Legends Corner and hear a voice that just has to be investigated.

Melissa Paige on stage at Legends Corner
Melissa Paige on stage at Legends Corner. On the right a Japanese camera crew are taping the set.

The voice belongs to Melissa Paige. Don't be deceived by the small frame, she has a voice that could call in ships from out at sea. The backing band are pretty damn good as well, and together they manage a version of Aretha Franklin's Chain Of Fools that does the song justice. The rest of the set is also great fun, including one bit where she stands up on the bar for a song, though the constant passing of the tips jar can get annoying.

I've mentioned before that I often enjoy a night out in a music town more outside the weekend, when the crowds are thinner and the bands seem to try harder or play songs that aren't part of the standard set of cover versions. Tonight would be one of those nights.

US Road Trip Epilog: 16th August 2005 >