Mike Gordon got to Nashville a little early ahead of Phish‘s weekend run at Bridgestone Arena, spending his Thursday night at famed honky tonk Robert’s Western World. The bassist sat in with Nashville’s own Timbo on country classics from Merle HaggardHank Williams Jr., and Bob Wills.

Gordo is well-acquainted with the lower Broadway establishment known as “Nashville’s Undisputed Home of Traditional Country Music,” having made guest appearances there in 2016 and 2021 during Phish runs at Ascend Amphitheater. The local venue shares an alleyway with the Ryman Auditorium and has served as a launchpad for some of Nashville’s finest including Daniel Donato, who cut his teeth playing hundreds of gigs there with the Don Kelley Band. Gordon actually stopped by Donato’s Phish after-show with Cosmic Country at Robert’s back in 2021.

Embracing his twangy side, Cactus hung around with Timbo for a three-song set that began with a take on Bob Wills’ “Milk Cow Blues”. Gordon got a moment in the spotlight for a potent bass solo during the cover which Timbo outfitted with altered lyrics referencing Phish.

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Ceding to the man of the hour, Timbo gave Gordon control of the mic for Hank Jr.’s “Old Habits”, which he has previously played with guitarist Leo Kottke and acoustically with Trey Anastasio as a duo during a pair of 2005 Trey Anastasio Band shows.  Finally, Gordon wrapped up his guest appearance by contributing basslines and backing vocals to Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down”.

Watch Mike Gordon get his honky tonk on at Robert’s Western World in Nashville. Phish kicks off a three-night run at Bridgestone Arena tonight, October 6th. Tickets are still available on the band’s website, along with livestream options from LivePhish.

Timbo w/ Mike Gordon – “Milk Cow Blues” (Bob Wills), “Old Habits” (Hank Williams Jr.), “The Bottle Let Me Down” (Merle Haggard) – 10/5/23

[Video: fubusmaximus]