Third Man Records 333 ft. Underground
Cumberland Caverns – McMinnville, TN 9/29/2017
At the beginning of September, Third Man Records announced that they were partnering with the state of Tennessee to host a “Soundtrack of America” concert 333 ft. underground in Cumberland Caverns’ Volcano Room.
The event would serve as a sort of showcase hosted by Jack White for some of Third Man Records’ artists, including: Craig Brown Band, Joshua Hedley, Lillie Mae and Margo Price.
Third Man distributed tickets in a very different way than usual. In order to attend the show, you had to secure one of 333 seats on a series of busses leaving from Nashville and Chattanooga. To secure a seat on a bus, hopeful attendees had to follow the official Tennessee Snapchat account for 3 scheduled ticket drops.
When the drop went live, a link was provided through Snapchat to Skedaddle, a route planning service. This unfamiliar method of securing tickets initially left many fans confused and without tickets. I was lucky enough to grab a seat on one of the busses out of Chattanooga, so I drove up the night before and made a trip of it!
On Friday, 9/29 I went to the meet up point, hopped on a bus, and was on my way to Cumberland Caverns. Before I knew it, I was spelunking down to the venue. It was a truly beautiful walk down into the Volcano Room.
I was on the first bus to arrive and thus was one of the first in the venue. The first thing I did was go check out the Third Man pop up shop. They had limited releases from both Lillie Mae and Margo Price, as well as standard pressings of other items in their catalog. I opted in for Lillie Mae’s most recent single on yellow wax, as well as Margo Price’s newest double 7″ EP on green vinyl. After securing the goods, I went and claimed a seat on the front row.
After sitting for a few minutes, I noticed the VIP/Artist area curtained off at the back of the cavern. With some limited records freshly purchased, I decided to go hang out by the entrance to see if anyone came out. To my surprise, Margo Price came out to take some pictures in a photographic spot just outside of the entrance. On her way back to the VIP area she gladly signed and personalized the limited EP I had bought earlier in the evening. There wasn’t much action back there after that, so I decided to go and wait for the show to start. Before too long, Jack White came out to kick the evening off and introduced The Craig Brown Band as the first act to perform. They put on an electric show before having to rush off to Texas to open for Dwight Yoakam. Next up was Joshua Hedley, who donned the stage in a traditional Nudie suit, fitting for both his style of music and the environment in which he was about to play in. I had never seen, or really even heard, Joshua Hedley before, but he has an incredible voice and puts on a great live performance. After Joshua Hedley, Jack came out and introduced Lillie Mae.
I’ve seen Lillie Mae several times, and every time is such a phenomenal experience. It was pretty cool to hear her sing about the “…valleys and the caverns…” in a cavern. She played several tracks off of her LP, Forever And Then Some.
Finally, the headliner of the event took the stage, Margo Price. Margo came out and surprised fans by playing her entire new album live, from start to finish. She told the audience this was her first time performing all of the songs live.
After the show, I saw Lillie Mae hanging out talking with some fans so I went over and told her how great the performance was and ended up getting a picture with her. Before the night was over, I also had Jack White sign a copy of Blunderbuss for me!
As we got back on the bus we were told that when we got back to Chattanooga we would each receive an event poster for free! The poster is a whopping 16 1/2 x 48″. I got in my car around 3AM EST and the sensational night had come to an end.