In case you haven’t noticed, Nashville is getting a lot of buzz lately. National media is taking notice, famous chefs are bringing their restaurants to town (one of the best restaurants in the US, Husk, just announced that it will open a Nashville outpost in the spring – eeeeks! yay!) and left and right coast creative types are moving to the city in droves (you can buy a Nashville mansion for the price of a West Village shoe box!) I think it’s safe to say that my fair city is officially one of the cool kids…
One thing that is shining the spotlight on my city the brightest is ABC’s new hit show, NASHVILLE (Wed 10/9c on ABC). This nighttime drama is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows on TV. It’s full of dramatic twists, music-industry bigwigs, starlet cat-fights, big hair, and freaking awesome music. The music seriously rocks. And it’s authentic. ABC is doing right by Nash-vegas by highlighting some great songwriters and music venues.
In the spirit of the show (and my love for my city) I wanted to share with you some of the best places in town to see live music – you may even see a few big-haired starlets on your next visit!
The Bluebird Cafe: The Bluebird is a live music icon. It has hosted everyone from Garth Brooks, to Jewel, to every single songwriter who has ever written a big hit. Literally. One of my favorite things about The Bluebird is that it’s TINY. It’s also located in a glorified strip mall, which is part of its charm and kitsch. Every single table is up close and personal with whoever is performing, and it really does feel like you are experiencing magic. You never know who may jump up on stage on any given night and there is always, ALWAYS a line to get in. If you have a chance to see anyone there, do it.
3rd & Lindsley: This is where my husband and his band played their first show, so I have a special place in my heart for 3rd & Lindsley. They recently underwent an expansion and renovation to “slick” it up a bit and it looks awesome. You can grab a table, drink a beer, and eat nachos while listening to some of today’s best performers (and maybe some of tomorrow’s biggest stars!). Guy Clark, The Time Jumpers (a band consisting of some of the BEST studio musicians in town!), and Tony Lucca are all on the calendar this month.
The Station Inn: The Station Inn is a cinder block building right smack in the middle of one of Nashville’s trendiest areas, The Gulch. It has been there for more than 30 years, LONG before The Gulch was even remotely cool. It’s dark and smoky and everything you picture when you think of seeing a show at a hole-in-the-wall joint. The Station Inn plays host to some of the best bluegrass performers and they have awesome hot dogs and a popcorn machine. I mean really, what more could you want??
The Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman is known as “The Mother Church of Country Music” and it is an absolute Icon. Every famous country star since the birth of country music has performed on The Ryman stage. US presidents have delivered speeches from the Ryman stage. Helen Keller (the first person to sell out a show at the Ryman Auditorium!) lectured there in 1913. There is so much American history steeped in the walls of the Ryman Auditorium and the acoustics are pitch-perfect. If you can visit one Nashville music venue, this is the one. It is truly a gem. Try to catch a performance of the Grand Ole Opry on your next visit!
Robert’s Western World: I can’t NOT include a honky tonk on this list. Robert’s has been a mainstay on the lower Broadway honky tonk scene since the 80′s. It rests in the shadow of the Ryman Auditorium and features the best of traditional country music performers. It’s also the best place in Nashville to have an ice cold PBR and a fried bologna sandwich. No matter when you visit, there is always live music at Robert’s, and they host a Gospel Fellowship on Sunday mornings at 10:30am. It’s one of the coolest spots in town and so “Nashville”.
I hope you womanistas have a chance to visit Nashville, and make sure to tune in to ABC on Wednesday nights at 10/9c to watch NASHVILLE the show!
xo, the Womanista