Had I not seen the tweet from Mayor Megan Barry inviting us all to the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, I may have missed this chance to see Nashville’s newest favorite celebrity musical couple, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. After sitting behind her honor at one of Jason’s recent Ryman shows, it was certainly no surprise to see her invite these two perform at the event. In fact, she may even be as big a Jason fan as me!
The beautiful full moon and cool but pleasant weather made for a fabulous evening to present the beautiful tree and kick-off the Christmas season. Although it is hard to fathom that it is already December, there was a large but comfortable crowd on hand in an otherwise empty, post-Thanksgiving “hangovered” downtown. The site for the event was the Public Square in front of the Courthouse which many of us know as the site of the Live on the Green concert series.
Starting at 6pm proper, we had the pleasure of first hearing several groups of schoolchildren sing some holiday songs. In addition to a few food trucks, there were also free hot chocolate and cookies served up at tents on each side of the makeshift stage.
Mayor Berry welcomed the crowd, and at about 6:20pm, introduced Music City’s new “Johnny and June,” both wearing black leather jackets who came out with acoustic guitar and fiddle to carol us. They couldn’t have picked two more perfect numbers to bring in the Christmas season.
They started with a complete version of “Silent Night” including all those verses we never get to hear. Accompanied by a grade school choir, it was a great reminder of the “reason for the season.” The children departed and Jason and Amanda closed with “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” a joyful reminder of the fun of the season.
The two-song set was followed by the lighting of the beautiful tree. My thanks go out to the City, our Mayor and to Jason and Amanda for this free fun evening. You can watch it all here.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas.