There are few cities in the world where the mere mention of the name conjures up vivid images. Nashville is one of those places.
Music is the heart of Nashville. Long recognised as the world’s capital of country music, Music City also boasts sounds of pop, rock, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, classical, contemporary Christian, blues and soul. With more than 150 live music venues, there is something for everyone.
Live Music in Music City
Music is the heart of Nashville. Whether you listen to rock, country, bluegrass, jazz, hip-hop, folk or classical – Music City has it all, every day and every night. With more than 150 live music venues in Nashville, you’re sure to find a sound that suits you! Need a little guidance? Download the Nashville Live Music App where you can search by location, venue, date and genre - or just look for the guitar pick shaped Live Music sign located outside venues throughout the city.
Country Music Hall of Fame
Since the city’s earliest days, music has played a central role in the heart and soul of Nashville. Visitors from around the globe flock to Music City to immerse themselves in its rich history and unique culture. Whether exploring the honky-tonks on Broadway or enjoying a pop-up show at a local music venue, one place in Nashville is not to be missed. Situated in the centre of the city’s rapidly growing core, adding a strikingly stylish touch to Nashville’s skyline, is the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. Sometimes called the “Smithsonian of Country Music,” the museum offers visitors a comprehensive, vibrant telling of the country music story, dating back 150 years and leading up to the present day.
With a mission to identify, preserve and educate, the non-profit institution houses a collection of over 2.5 million artifacts and showcases items that will leave even the most casual country music fan boasting about having seen them, from Elvis Presley’s solid gold Cadillac, to Hank Williams’ famous white suit with musical notations and Dwight Yoakam’s really skinny jeans. In addition to the museum’s core exhibition, which features a chronological telling of the evolving history and traditions of country music, the museum hosts a wide array of limited-engagement exhibits, visit the website to find out the latest.
As Nashville continues to grow, the city’s beating heart remains the same—music. Whether you are a country music fan or not, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a cultural touchstone offering one-of-a-kind experiences that will deepen the visitors’ appreciation for the city that country music built.
RCA Studio B
No visit to Nashville would be complete without stops at the museum’s other historic properties: Historic RCA Studio B, located on Music Row, is the site of landmark recordings from musical icons such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Waylon Jennings, and hosts Nashville’s only recording studio tour. Visitors can also tour Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letterpress shops in America located at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Grand Ole Opry
Long before Nashville became an “it” city noted as a top world travel destination by both Forbes and The New York Times, it welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, all with a common purpose in mind: seeing the show that made country music famous, the Grand Ole Opry.
Founded in 1925, the Opry is home to some of country music’s most popular stars. The Opry continues to attract hundreds of thousands of fans each year to shows every year. Opry General Manager Pete Fisher says, “when guests visit, they’ll experience the many styles under the country music umbrella as well as the genre’s new stars, current hit-makers, and its enduring legends.”
One of today’s top-selling acts, Brad Paisley, has enjoyed Opry membership for more than ten years and says the lure of the Opry is stronger today than it has ever been. “Pilgrims travel to Jerusalem to see the Holy Land and the foundations of their faith,“ Paisley says. “People go to Washington, D.C. to see the workings of government, and the foundation of our country. And fans flock to Nashville to see the foundation of country music, the Grand Ole Opry.”
Darius Rucker, an Opry member since 2012, adds “When I was asked if I wanted to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, I yelled, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I’ve been waiting for that my whole life. To be invited where so many of the greatest country artists have performed is an honour, and I still can’t believe it has been bestowed on me. Just to stand in the circle where so many greats have stood—Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, I just couldn’t believe it.”
In addition to witnessing country music history being made on the Opry stage, visitors can now experience the excitement of going behind the curtain and visiting backstage at the Opry on Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tours. “I always say backstage at the Opry is like your living room, only with famous people,” says Paisley’s fellow Opry member and Grammy-winning superstar Carrie Underwood, nodding to the Opry’s informal and highly approachable nature, both on stage and behind the scenes.
Downtown Nashville is also home to honky tonks and two museums that examine the lives and careers of two of country music’s icons, the Johnny Cash Museum and the George Jones Museum.
Classical music can be found only a block away from the honky tonks at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center home of the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony.
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honours the studio players from all genres of music. Exhibits include the very instruments that these musicians used to record many of the greatest hits of the past 65 years.
Nashville has long been known for its expansive music scene, but it’s the creativity of its visual and performing art and fashion scene that is starting to make waves.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is an exquisitely converted Art Deco post office which hosts roving exhibitions changing every couple of months. Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art houses an extensive art gallery, while the city offers art crawls, studios and art galleries all around town.
Fashion and music have always been inextricably linked, but these days designers in Nashville are making a name for themselves on their own terms. Whether it’s apparel, jewellery, denim, shoes or leather goods, there’s no shortage of creative Nashvillians making their mark beyond music.
History buffs will enjoy the city’s antebellum mansions, like Belmont Mansion, Belle Meade Plantation and The Hermitage, Presidential home of Andrew Jackson. Nashville also claims a full-size replica of the Parthenon, complete with the 42-ft high statue Athena, the tallest indoor sculpture in the western world.
Nashville’s creative spirit has infiltrated its kitchens, turning them into the chef’s studio. From meat-n-three to chef-driven restaurants and everything in between, Nashville’s palate offers it all.
With its charming mix of musical, historical and cultural flavours, Nashville is truly a city for all seasons and styles.
For more information on Nashville visit www.visitmusiccity.com