30. “Grown Folks Night Out” at Carol Ann’s Home Cooking Cafe is an adventure into another side of Nashville music history.

People sit at a row of tables next to a bar in dim lit room. Draped above the bar behind the people on left side of photo and draped above a wide threshold in the background of the photo are curtains with string lights. The tables go from close-up at the bottom right to the center of photo, left of the threshold. Likewise the perspective of the bar is close-up at left running to the upper third of the photograph. A curtain with string lights runs up the left side of the photo. The space above the bar is brightly lit by unseen lights in an adjacent space. One small bell-shaped light hangs over the middle of the bar. Several beer bottles sit at various places on the bar. A group of older African-American women sit around the three tables in the forefront. An older black woman with short, light hair illuminated by the light from the bar is seated on left side of second table and has her arms raised, hands open, as if reaching toward the camera. She is smiling. A tall metal stem with white card and number "11" sits on her table. Various drink glasses, small plates, and styrofoam containers can be seen on the tables.

Lafayette (pronounced Lah-FAY-ett) St. running East/Southeast out of downtown Nashville is a wide street and busy in the daylight hours. Nights are a different matter. At night the street can feel almost abandoned compared to daylight traffic.

Officially the street changes name around Brown’s Creek and becomes Murfreesboro Pike–not that locals take notice or care. Most locals use both Layfayette and Murfreesboro Pike when talking about the street near downtown.

Carol Ann’s Home Cooking Cafe is officially on Murfreesboro Pike but when we wanted to attend the cafe’s legendary music night, “Grown Folks Night Out,” we were told: “Drive down Layfayette and you will see it on the right side of the road. It will be surrounded with cars on a Tuesday night.”

This is a music venue born of the love of music. Carol Ann started the Tuesday night free-for-all (emphasis on free–there was no charge and anyone was welcome on stage–to play rhythm and blues or jazz) and her friend Jimmy Church made sure a band was always on stage. Carol Ann passed away a few years ago. Her daughter keeps the tradition going.

Follow the story