Country music city hums to every tune
Explore the streets of Nashville and you’ll discover there’s more to this town than the Grand Ole Opry and honky-tonk cafes
KNOWN for its history of twanging steel guitars, travelling minstrels, honkytonk heartaches and hillbilly superstars, Nashville Tennessee, also known as Music City USA, surprisingly houses all types of salubrious and different genres of music.
There is a huge variety of music from indie rock to Americana to Christian to pop, and despite a certain prosperity outside of the country music scene, even musicians like White Stripes rocker Jack White feels comfortable enough in Nashville.
He has made it his new home for his indie record label, Third Man Records, with his joint record store, performance venue and headquarters for the label as well.
Along with Jack, other artists like Band Of Horses hail from Nashville and pop princesses like Jewel and Sheryl Crow now also call it home. Which just goes to show how diverse and exciting Nashville is in the world music scene.
There’s so much to do and soak up in Nashville at any given time of the day.
From spending a day walking around the Hall Of Fame Museum (country musichalloffame.org), to an afternoon shopping at Opry Mills followed by an evening at the famed Grand Ole Opry (opry.com), or a late night out in Nashville’s intoxicating honkytonk bars that inhabit the city's downtown strip – Broadway.
If you are the country music super fan that I am, you will want to visit the Ryman Auditorium (ryman.com).
Make sure you take the guided tour, which is almost a religious experience, and also if you can, see a show and soak up the beautiful old church atmosphere while revelling in the history of the room.
If you’re into the history of country music make sure you walk down the alleyway that separates the old Ryman Auditorium and the bustling honky tonks and just try to imagine the stars, back in the day, that would walk between the back entrance of the Opry into a honky-tonk for a sneaky drink or two.
I know for a fact that Tootsies Orchard Lounge was a favourite drinking spot for stars like Hank Williams and many others back in the day.
While you’re wandering in and out of these honky-tonks, listening to the different sounds drifting between them, just know that most of the stars of country music today started out in “those there bar rooms”, singing for tips.
So if you like the sound of any of these hardworking and talented musicians, make sure you throw a few bucks into the tip jar to show your gratitude as they pour their blood, sweat and tears into the hope that some big-time record exec will walk in one day and sign them on the spot with a million-dollar contract. And trust me, this does happen.
If you want a luxurious stay in this famed music city you should consider forking out the coin to stay at Nashville’s premier Opryland Hotel (marriott.com/hotels/travel/bn ago-gaylord-opryland-resortand-convention-center) which is conveniently stationed next to the superb shopping precinct, Opry Mills.
It’s also close to the Grand Ole Opry House which is where they hold the famed country music stage concert of the same name since it moved out of the original venue downtown at The Ryman.
Make sure you have breakfast one morning at The Pancake Pantry (thepancake pantry.com) where you will likely run into a Nashville luminary while gobbling down a beautiful stack of fluffy pancakes and sides.
Also for amazing food, head out to the infamous Loveless Cafe (lovelesscafe.com) and experience some wonderful fresh biscuits and gravy along with a very southern spread of food. You can then settle in for a night of music.
Try to catch Music City Roots (musiccityroots.com) , on every Wednesday, hosted by the delightful Jim Lauderdale and packed full of sublime musical guests every week.
If you feel like being at one with nature, take a little hike to work off all of that southern food. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a breathtaking walk in the woods of southern America. There is also a beautiful park at the end of the ritzy mansion- infested Belle Meade Boulevard called Percy Warner Park where you may run into Faith Hill and Tim McGraw on a bush walk.
The likelihood of running into a star while wandering around Nashville is pretty high, which is dissimilar to other celebrity haunts like Los