If you’re a golfer, once in your life you need to go to Scotland and play the Old Course in St. Andrews. If you’re a baseball fan, you need to see a game at Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium. If you’re a music fan or a musician, you need go to Nashville, Tennessee.
If you’ve never been you’re probably thinking exactly what I thought before last week. Nashville is the home of country music, why as a rock guy, would I want to go there?
While downtown does have the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Grand Ole Opry, The Johnny Cash Museum, The Earl Scruggs Record Store, and more. There’s also a thriving rock scene in Nashville. While walking down Broadway, on a Saturday Night, we came across at least 20 bars. Everyone one of them had live music. Not DJ’s but live bands, playing instruments! What a concept!! The other thing I found most surprising was out of the 20 or so bands we heard, as we walked by, only one of them was playing country music.
The whole town is all about music. Everywhere you look there is something that has to do with music. There are actual record stores. One is owned by Jack White and another one is called "Found Object". Before we headed downtown for the Honkey Tonk walk we went to this record store for a CD release party for a cool band called Steelisms. They are a 5 piece that plays all instrumentals, but really cool instrumentals. The kind of songs you’d hear in a Quentin Tarantino flick. All five players are uber talented. Not only is the Found Object a record store but in the back there is a house with a porch. This is where the band played. There is also a petting zoo! It’s a real petting zoo. There was free beer from a keg. People of all shapes, sizes, and ages were there. Hipsters, hippies, rockers, and country people all there for the music.
Our tour guide in Nashville was AnaLee , who I used to work with at KNAC in Los Angeles. She now works for a station called Lightning 100. It’s a fully independent radio station. No huge conglomerate. They play what they want and basically when they want. Florence and the Machine and Led Zeppelin were played back to back. It is rare to find a station like this and maybe only in Nashville does a station like this flourish.
You can feel the music as soon as you hit the city limits. As a music fan it is an amazing feeling and one I haven’t felt since glory days of the Sunset strip in Hollywood. I only got to spend a day, but I’m looking forward to a return trip and giving myself much more time.