Top 5 Must-See: Nashville
People in Florida drive unbearably slow. New Yorkers are mean. New Jersey smells. New Jersey just sucks in general… There are some stereotypes that we all grow up accepting, more or less, as fact. Growing up in the northeast, a born and bred “Yankee,” we are often stereotype Southerners as uneducated, intolerant Bible thumpers.
Well just last month, I was in Nashville and all my pre-conceived assumptions were put to shame. If you haven’t been before, I really can’t say enough amazing things about this city. I heard more country music than I have my entire life, but that’s the reason they call it Music City… there’s a great music scene with almost any kind of music available. While I could probably go on for a while about the things I loved about Nashville, here’s a run down of what are my “Top 5 Musts” of Nashville:
My first evening in Nashville, I went to Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant for dinner. That night they were doing something called a writers’ round. Three songwriters take to the stage and take turns singing one of their original, unrecorded songs. The music varied from very country to pop-rock to what could be considered alternative. After a couple of hours of this, I knew I was hooked!
This rather blah looking building on Nashville’s “Music Row” is the place some of the most iconic music of the late 50′s and early 60′s was recorded. Once inside, the studio tour lets you go in side the actual room where Elvis, Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers and many more artists recorded some amazing music. Stand on the corner of the room where nearly every singer chose to sing (apparently it is the clearest acoustics in the room) and if you’re lucky, you can play a few keys on the grand piano where Elvis would play and sing gospel music to warm up before recording. Tour reservations can be made through the Country Music Hall of Fame.
I don’t know why, but I was completely transfixed watching this guy at work. Hatch Show Print has been printing posters since 1879 and their methodology really hasn’t changed. They recently moved into the same building as the Country Music Hall of Fame, and from there you can browse their gift shop for original posters, visit the gallery where some of the more rare posters are available for purchase or attend one of their workshops to learn more about the art of making posters. I didn’t have a chance to take a class, but I easily spent an hour at the gallery learning about these prints that were created using their original wooden molds, which are now aging to a point where they will have to be retired.
Prior to this trip, I really wasn’t familiar with Johnny Cash’s music. To be honest, I still probably couldn’t name more than a couple of his most notable songs – thanks to the movie with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. The Johnny Cash Museum, which just opened last year, has an extensive collection of the late singer-songwriter’s belongings including cowboy boots, clothing, Grammy awards and even part of a wall and some of the furniture from the home he shared with June Carter Cash. The photo above is of a poem he wrote when she died and every time I read it I get chills. I wasn’t sure if I would have time to go, but in the end it was one of my favorite visits of the trip.
For my last Must-See in Nashville, I got to combine my two favorite things: ABC’s Nashville and a show at the Grand Ole Opry! The city of Nashville is so proud to actually be apart of the show as its home and host – not just the show’s namesake. But a trip to Music City would not be complete without checking out a show at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Whether you enjoy country music or not, the performers who are members of the Opry are undeniably immensely talented singers, songwriters and/or musicians and that is something everyone can appreciate.
Have you been to Nashville? Let me know what was on your must see list by leaving a comment below.