The Orange Blossom
Updated: Jun 1
By Ethan Pickering and Kailee Shores
MTSU Seigenthaler News Service
Melony Orange floats around the room, resting her hand on each customer’s shoulder. “What can I get you,” she says with a wide smile. Occasionally, she sits down to chat with familiar faces. Her husband, Chad Orange, mans the register and the cooler.
It’s another busy night at the Orange Blossom General Store on Lynchburg Road.
Everyone, it seems, is family at the Orange Blossom, whether it is your first time visiting or your 101st.
Musicians swap in and out at their leisure. There is always a different genre of live music hosted on the stage. Sometimes Chad plays drums, taking a break from serving drinks. Charlie Reagan, an Orange Blossom regular and a trumpeter, ad libs his way into almost every song, whether it be the blues or an 80s throwback.
“Charlie is always on stage,” says Melony.
On any given night, several “cool cats,” as Melony calls them, staples of the local music scene, can be found in the audience or on the stage.
On this particular Friday night, a new rock band makes its debut. Russell Fann, Tony Goodman and Fuzz Robinson mount the stage as Amylase.
The small building literally vibrates with sound. Every table is full of regulars and newcomers alike. Melony has to shout at customers so they can hear her.
“If there were any more people here, I’d be workin’ too hard,” says Chad as he runs back and forth from the kitchen to the drink counter, carrying bottles and cups along the way.
Amylase plays a setlist of throwback artists like ZZ Top, Garth Brooks and Eric Clapton. “You really feel like you’re getting old when all the songs you know are ‘throwbacks,’” says Tony. The crowd erupts in praise after each song, sometimes even singing along.
Tony is on both drums and vocals, an unusual combination, for most of the first set. His raspy voice covers songs in its own grungy style. Fuzz is on bass and Russell is on electric guitar. Russell’s guitar solos evoke hoots and hollers of appreciation from the crowd, as he shreds the strings.
There is not a face in the joint missing a smile. For a band that has only played together once before taking the Orange Blossom stage, they put on quite the show. Many patrons stay until the general store closes and the last of the music dissipates into the warm night air. Chad and Melony Orange take a breath and begin to close shop.
The music will play again real soon.
Ethan Pickering and Kailee Shores are two of nine Middle Tennessee State University journalism students who recently spent two and a half weeks in Franklin County writing stories for the Herald Chronicle. More of their work can be found at www.theroadtripclass.com.