I Have Been to “The Bunker”….Why?…Wy!

     A month or so ago,  I had the privilege of visiting “The Bunker” at the Governor’s residence in Nashville….the somewhat controversial bunker… (There was quite a bit of brouhaha over the building of the underground ‘party room’ a couple of years back, but that’s water under the bridge, so to speak…or ‘dynamite under the limestone’ as the case may be in Tennessee)

It’s done, like it or not, and ‘pretty dang’ impressive.

     The occasion for my visit, or job, whichever way you want to view it, was for the 3rd awarding of the Cecil Scaife Visionary Award.(Pretty good overview of Mr Scaife here)

     This year’s recipient was Wynonna Judd. The previous two were Mike Curb and Tony Brown who each, coincidentally had a hand in Wynonna’s career. Curb signed The Judds to their first recording contract (They are still on the Curb label) and Brown produced her first solo album.

     Following 14 number one hits and 5 Grammys, the Judds are finishing a new album after a hiatus of several years.

     Whether or not you are a fan of The Judds, or Wynonna, the facts became pleasantly obvious that ‘Wy’ has been quietly very busy with the business of helping those who need it the most …

“…the least of these…”

     I always hold great admiration for the ‘rich and famous’ who give of their wealth and, more importantly, of themselves. You know…charity…one of the definitions of Love… In no way forced to give. (Forcing, being required, takes something away from the concept of ‘giving’, don’t you think?…but that’s a political topic, and I promised….)

     The Governor, Mayor, state Senators, record company executives, friends, educators, and representatives of charitable organizations who have all been touched by Wy’s impressively big heart were in attendance to honor this special woman on her..(ONE of her) special nights.

    As far as the photo assignment goes…at these types of functions it’s usually, “Line ‘em up and shoot ‘em”….(ow…that sounds like a photo firing squad)… Photographers sometimes call this “Grip and Grin”, or in old Newspaper photo-journalist terms, “f-8 and be there”. I think I’ll borrow a new, to me, phrase from Wynonna…. So I was doing a ‘grip and grin’ at a “Shake and Howdy”.

     I’m not a real ‘in your face’ photographer. Maybe that’s why I don’t hear Hollywood calling. I just think there are some moments that, even though they might hold a photo that some people would be interested in, you have to step on toes to get there. I’ll leave those situations to the paparazzi.

      With that in mind, one of my instructions for the night turned into some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard on a photo shoot. “No pictures of anybody while they’re eating.”     Huh..???

You mean I get to sit down like a ‘normal’ person and enjoy the meal with the rest?…Uh….OK!

And it was a very enjoyable meal, catered by The Chef’s Market.

     If you have followed my ramblings for the last few months you’ll know that, though I don’t claim to be a connoisseur, I have been fed by some of the best, and this was GOOD!

Back to the reason for the evening..

      The director of The Oasis Center  spoke of how important Wynonna’s involvement has been for the advancement of their cause. Break that down into the real and practical and it means that she has influenced individuals into becoming something that their personal circumstances were fighting against…to help them to have the opportunity to get in touch with their God-given talents and potential… to step down from the pedestal of fame, reach out, and touch on the level where eyes meet and souls intertwine.

     How much better the world, our country, our city, our neighborhoods would be if we all offered that kind of help!

     Her involvement with Belmont University (another connection with Mike Curb) and personal stories from music business ‘giants’ Tony Brown and Connie Bradley made Wynonna’s ‘larger than life’ public/media persona into a truly ‘filled with  life’ woman who gives back, and more often, gives in advance.

     One of my favorite moments of the night, as a person, not necessarily as a photographer (and I DO try to keep those priorities intact) was when Wynonna would reach across the aisle to grasp her Mother’s hand as a particularly moving story was being told, and the look of immense pride in Naomi’s eyes at the daughter, friend, partner, who was being honored by those stories. 

  So whether it’s your Stetson, your fedora, your baseball cap or your ‘do-rag’,  hats off to Wynonna Judd, a woman with an abundance of soul…and that certainly applies to her music as well as to her life.

 Ok, embarrassing moment for the night…well, I wasn’t THAT embarrassed…

     When Naomi Judd arrived at ‘Conservation Hall’, (or is it ‘Conversation Hall”?), she offered her hand and then asked, “And what is your name?” I told her and she said, “Randy Powers….I believe I know you.”

     I replied, “Well.. I doubt that you remember, but I was at your house many years ago for a magazine cover photo shoot, and if you actually remember me, it ‘s because I fell for your practical joke. I’M the one who tried to take a bite out of your rubber ‘chocolates’!

(She kept them on the kitchen counter)

Naomi graciously followed with, “You HAVE been to my house!”


~ by rkpowers on October 14, 2010.

One Response to “I Have Been to “The Bunker”….Why?…Wy!”

  1. Beautiful Randy.


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