Chalk it up to just another one of those nights that could only happen in Nashville. Where else would you find major Hollywood movie stars popping into a random house party to catch a secret show from a Grammy nominated band? Music City, that’s where.
On Saturday night, local guitarist Mike Harris decided to invite a couple hundred of his closest pals over to his Granny White abode, referred to as “The Parsonage” for those in the know, for a live show featuring his band, The Apache Relay, former tour mates, fiddle player Ross Holmes and banjoist Matt Menefee and a very special surprise performance from Grammy nominated Best New Artist group, Mumford & Sons.
It was quite the change of venue for Mumford & Sons to go from a huge set at Bonnaroo last year as well as a sold out show at War Memorial Auditorium in November to some dude’s cramped, dark, threadbare basement near Belmont. But Harris and his friends had supported the group over the years, striking up a close friendship, and it didn’t go unnoticed by them even though they were now internationally acclaimed.
And the choice of venue didn’t deter the fans either, at least those that were lucky enough to find out about it. In fact, Hollywood heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal, who was most recently linked to Nashville during his short but sweet romance with Taylor Swift, trekked all the way across the country just for the gig and he brought along his co-star from the film, Brothers, renowned English actress Carey Mulligan. She too was a fan of the band that hailed from her hometown of West London.
They arrived to the party with Mumford & Sons after sharing a table and a meal with the group at City House earlier in the evening and settled comfortably into the gathering without getting targeted by other attendees for their star power. Way to play it cool Nashville.
But the story gets better. After the bands’ sets ended around 1 a.m. and guests started making their way home, some 50 folks including the party host, the bands that performed, local pop success Mat Kearney and members of Old Crow Medicine Show settled into one of the upstairs bedrooms for an impromptu jam session that had Gyllenhaal picking up a guitar and showing off his skills as the room and Mulligan joined in for a sing-along of “Amazing Grace” and Old Crow’s “Wagon Wheel.”
Even though Gyllenhaal and Mulligan noted that they had to catch an early flight out of town, the session was still going strong as late as 4 a.m. securing its spot as quite possibly, one of the most epic bashes of 2011.
“Its really incredible to all of us and a huge blessing to witness our friends become successful but more than that it’s a huge lesson to meet successful people who live out humble lives,” said party host Mike Harris. “I hope that came across last night. You’re never too cool to play in a dingy basement.”
Harris’ band, The Apache Relay, heads back out on tour in March. You can find the dates at TheApacheRelay.com. After all, you never know who might show up.
VIDEO OF CAREY AND JAKE'S JAM SESSION VIA @CLARAANN