Whether you’re a music junkie that listens to music all day every day, or are more of an occasional fan that just tunes in whenever the mood strikes you, music – for most of us – is kind of a big deal.
Today, as I wrap up for you my (first ever) four part series about a recent road trip that I, along with my husband and our two furry babies, took to Nashville, TN, and about which I’ve shared highlights of the food we ate , the tiny house we stayed in, and even how the fur babies enjoyed their 2nd road trip, you’ll be glad to know I have saved the best for last and will be sharing with you some information on the thing that really gave Nashville its fame – music. (Surely you didn’t think I could go to Nashville and not talk about the music…)
Having never been to Nashville prior to this trip, I must tell you I learned an awful lot about the music scene of the Nashville of today that I might not have known had I not made the trip. Like the following 5 things.
Answer ‘True’ or ‘False’, to test your own knowledge of Nashville, as we make our way through the list.
1. The only kind of music you’ll hear in Nashville is either really old country ballads by singers like Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn, or everything you’ve ever heard on any country music station by singers like Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith
While it is true that Nashville earned it’s fame as the Country Music Capital of the World by playing host to artists who later went on to become country music legends like Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn – and both Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith busked in and/or around the honky tonks of Music Row in Nashville before making the big time; today, Nashville boasts a much wider spectrum of great music – from Blues to R&B , and Gospel & Christian, to Southern Rock – even Punk – than the average person might suspect based on its country music heritage.
2. The Grand Ole Opry is where country music really got it’s start.
True, but did you also know that the Grand Ole Opry actually began 90 years ago as a live radio broadcast which aired for the first time on the night of November 28, 1925, as ‘The WSM Barn Dance’, that it later moved to the Ryman Auditorium (on June 5th of 1943), and remained there until March 15th, of 1974, when it was broadcast for the very first time in its current location the next day on March 16th of 1974? (Yea, I didn’t know all that either…)
The Ryman Auditorium (pictured below) was the original location of the Grand Ole Opry program that most people think of when they talk of the original Grand Ole Opry.
The Grand Ole Opry House, located at 2804 Opryland Drive, in Nashville (pictured below), has been the site of the Grand Ole Opry since March 16th, of 1974.
3. Only people who love country music live in and/or ever visit Nashville.
False. The reasons to live in Nashville, or plan a visit there, are as varied as is the case for people to pay a visit or choose to reside in any modern day metropolitan area. Known for music, healthcare, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and home to numerous colleges and universities, you don’t need to have a keen interest in country music to have a reason to go there, and as you can tell from this four part series, there were tons more things we did there there than just seek that country music sound. We did to go for the music, and sought out where you go to find it – we attended Nashville’s annual music festival Live On The Green, which hosts all manner of popular new music, and caught a live performance or two at a hip East Nashville coffee and tea venue that regularly showcases new talent – and yet not once, during all of it, were our ears tickled by that old time country twang.
Me and my husband (pictured below) at Live On The Green waiting to hear 11 and 15 year old Lennon & Maisy sing. (Photo taken by local Nashville singer/song writer – and my youngest son – Joel Adam Russell.)
4. The only places to go hear live music in Nashville are on lower Broadway – i.e. honkey tonk row.
False. While there are dozens of honky tonks and dive bars that dot Honky Tonk Row – located along lower Broadway, and that will likely forever have a touristy appeal, people that actually live in and/or around Nashville don’t really go there. The locals, and all those who would seek a more authentic music experience (read: not just what’s geared to appeal to tourists), go to places like the The Cannery Ballroom, Ascend Amphitheater, and City Winery for great music.
5. There is so much competition in Nashville that it’s a waste of time for anyone who wants to pursue a serious career in music to make it a place they call home.
False. Not every city is right for everyone of course, and Nashville is no exception, but if you’re serious about a career in music – whether it be as a performer, like my son, or perhaps in the business side of things, there are just not many places around the country where you would stand a better chance of success than Nashville. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but there is a reason why shopping malls are successful and why restaurants all congregate in the same areas of town – customers like convenience, and competition is good for the creative process. It actually helps raise everyone’s game.
Just like small business owners quickly discover when they look around and see all the competition and their hearts start to fail at the prospects of trying to ‘take on the giants’, they quickly learn (or they’re not in business very long) that that is exactly what you must do, rather than set up shop in a location where there is little or no competition. Picking a business site where there is less competition doesn’t reduce your competition from the other businesses in your same line of work – it kills your prospects for getting any business from the customers that do exist there.
So, how did you do? Did you already know everything, or did you also pick up a new tidbit of information or two?
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Ciao for now.
~Paula Reyne 🙂