BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
The only thing Bobby Karl loves better than a room to work is a NEW room to work.
Kacey Musgraves delivered one again this week. You will recall that her last album party was at PLAY, with drag queens prancing to her new tunes. This time around, the venue for her holiday CD, A Very Kacey Christmas, was Riverwood mansion in East Nashville. It hosted the new album’s launch party on Tuesday (Sept. 20).
With construction commencing in 1798, this is one of Music City’s oldest homes. Expanded over time to more than 9,000 square feet, it is also one of the largest. Riverwood rents out as an event space, and I have always wanted to see its interior.
Parking on the expansive, fenced grounds, we walked across the lawn toward the neo-classical portico, its two-story fluted Corinthian columns lit by red and green spotlights. As dusk gathered, a snow machine on the second-story balcony began showering the guests with “flakes,” despite the 90-degree weather. Wow.
Had a very festive end-of-summer listening party for my Christmas album last night at the magnificent @riverwoodmansion. My gorgeous boy, Mismo, even got in the spirit. The whole place was decked out by @balsamhill and was a winter wonderland DREAM. There was even some snow flurries. Who says it’s too early? Gonna post some pics from the night ? I CAN’T WAIT for y’all to hear it! #aVeryKaceyChristmas 10/28
Santa greeted us at the door. He kidded that no kiddies these days know anything about getting lumps of coal and switches for presents. Miss Mary added that they also don’t know anything about getting fruit and nuts for their only gifts.
Riverwood’s inside did not disappoint. Historic wall treatments, rugs and Victorian furniture decorated each of the five party rooms, plus the center and side hallways. The bar was located at the end of the central hall, with hard working barkeeps tending to the likes of R.J. Curtis, John Huie, Shanna Strassberg, Heather Byrd, Ben Vaughn and Steve Buchanan.
Once we schmoozed through the hall throng, we took in the splendors of the party rooms. In the main one, a round table topped with a Christmas tree and a festive, “ermine”-trimmed red tablecloth held white faux-fur earmuffs that were actually headphones for listening to Kacey’s tunes. Mini holiday trees with ornaments were everywhere, with gaily wrapped “presents” piled under them.
Each room had a table or a mantle encrusted with holiday frou-frou. Guests took snapshots of trees that were especially visually appealing, although white-and-sparkly seemed to be the theme of most of them.
That was also evidently the theme of Kacey’s cocktail-party couture. Her snow-fairy frock had a tutu aspect, with a puffed white skirt of iridescent faux feathers. Charming.
She posed on the porch amid the “snowflakes.” Her hair is now black, which makes her look more than ever like the country Katy Perry, with whom she has toured.
“I made this record with my band mates,” she said. “Christmas to me is great memories….old-school 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s songs. I just want you to enjoy it.”
We listened to her version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as a cha-cha. “Let It Snow” is a Western swinger featuring The Quebe Sisters. Her co-written “A Willie Nice Christmas” features, of course, Willie Nelson.
“I’m describing it as part western swing sprinkled with bits of classic pop, Hawaiian moments [such as “Mele Kalikimaka”] and child-like fun that all comes to a nostalgic/melancholy end,” Kacey said. “I had so much fun making this record.”
Working those holiday-festooned rooms were Leslie Fram, Leslie Roberts, John Marks, Jon Freeman, Alicia Warwick, Hunter Kelly, Luke & Beth Laird, Mike Vaden, Rod Essig, Donna Hughes, Chris Scruggs, Evelyn Shriver, Brenden Oliver, Cindy Watts, Mac McAnally, Susan Nadler and Phyllis Stark.
The wait staff circulated with trays of sausage balls, hot-chicken biscuits, deviled eggs, mini phyllo chicken pot pies, cheese sticks and other delights. We grabbed an opportunity to tour the formal gardens, complete with statuary, arched walkways, plazas and a gazebo. Now can somebody I know book a wedding there that lets me see the rest of this fabulous mansion?