domingo 14  de  abril 2024
TRAVEL

Nashville, music rolls on all four sides

From bar to bar, an army of musicians and singers provide an inexpensive and enlightening glimpse into Music City

Por JESÚS HERNÁNDEZ

NASHVILLE.- Nestled in the heart of the United States, Nashville is listed as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, tied to its country and rock musical tradition and a cuisine that has much more than spicy fried chicken.

Nashville today combines tradition and evolution, where you can visit old honky-tonk bars and sip cocktails in new fancy lounges.

For many musicians and performers, the road to discovery starts in Nashville clubs, hosting free or inexpensive acts where they play their originals and/or please requests.

Venture into the heart of Broadway, but also take a chance on newer, smaller performance spaces. They’re everywhere. This is Music City.

Go from bar to bar to listen to the army of musicians that make walls resonate between sips of beer and whiskey.

Entrance is free. The performers hardly ask for tips. Some of them play to hang out with friends. Others dream of being discovered by a producer, just as happened to Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and many more.

“As they say in Nashville,” said guitarist Ted Sutton, while playing his rock guitar at Tootsie's, “this life ain't for everybody.”

Tootsie's is the bar where Willie Nelson started cleaning floors and countless luminaries have performed. This time Sutton accompanies singer Anthony Michael, who duets with Lexxy Jade to show and tell that country music, in addition to cowboys, has cowgirls.

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On the second floor of Tootsies, the young trio Pramuk, who traveled from New Hampshire to Nashville, bet on folk music with three guitars and three voices.

"Here we are. We tour several cities,” announced Pramuk Mohanlal Vargas, originally from Paraguay.

“We compose, sing and play guitar from the heart,” he added.

A few steps from Tootsie's, Cliff Waddell and his group play country music at Layla's, another bar that smells of good whiskey and beer, where you can also pleasantly smell grilled chicken.

A couple of doors from Layla's, at Lucky Bastard Saloon, Dan Burnell Band encourages the public with a dose of good rock he mixes with sounds of country, blues, and soul.

The future of music is safe here. Around the corner, three kids keep on hitting plastic drums with sticks to make some music, while waiting for some coins as a token of gratitude.

Yes, music is the soul of Nashville. In it, Scots Irish popular music from the eastern mountains was mixed with the rhythms of African American blues. Thus, was born the modern country music that made this city famous.

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Two streets down and we arrive at Printers Alley, where newspapers, print shops, and thirteen publishers used to be. The star of the night is the burlesque show at Skull's. Right there, there are 10 more bars where you can listen to good country, rock, and blues music.

However, the most famous place of all in Nashville is The Ryman Auditorium, which was originally an evangelical tabernacle when it opened in 1892 and later became the home of the famed Grand Ole Opry radio show.

Named a National Historic Landmark for its pivotal role in popularizing music, The Ryman has seen performances by countless great singers and musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Ringo Starr, and Robert Plant.

Grand Ole Opry

The famed radio program began as National Barn Dance in 1925 in a small studio in Nashville to broadcast popular music, classical music, and opera arias.

Followed by Hay's Barn Dance, host George Hay renamed the radio segment The Grand Ole Opry in 1927 to give prominence to country music.

Today the radio show takes place every Saturday at the Grand Ole Opry auditorium, and it´s located on the outskirts of Nashville, and although it was originally dedicated to country music, today it is the setting for all musical events.

From Tuesday to Sunday, the large 4,000-seat auditorium hosts musicians and singers from pop and rock to soul, blues and even Latin, although country music continues to be the baby.

Background

For country fans and musicians who want to be known, a trip to Nashville remains the ultimate pilgrimage.

Since the 1920s, the city has attracted musicians who have evolved this style of music, from the traditional sound of the early 20th century to the current troubadours, through the exquisite Nashville sound of the 1960s and the forceful alternative country with punk resonances. from the 1990s.

Even more

In addition to the honky-tonk bars on Broadway and Printer Alley, and more party time on Music Row, as well as the revered Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Auditorium has an attractive nightly concert schedule.

Another site of interest is the Country Music Hall of Fame, where in addition to history there are concerts and lectures.

There is music heaven, like the Musician's Hall of Fame & Museum, where each exhibit tells the story of famous musicians.

Grimey's New & Preloved Music record store is a must see with plenty of vibes: new & preloved records, CDs, books, cassettes, movies, and in-store performances.

Carter Vintage Guitars is a Nashville institution where locals and visitors can admire, trade, consign, buy, and sell vintage guitars and other fretted instruments.

The new location spans 12,500 square feet, housing over 2,000 guitars.

As part of music history, the National Museum of African American Music shows how the roots of African music influenced the creation of soul, blues, and gospel.

In Nashville there is more to see: a replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park, which gives us an idea of what the Greek masterpiece in Athens was like, with an immense statue of the goddess Athena, 42 feet high (12.80 meters), standing at the indoor hall.

We don´t forget food and good gastronomy, old architecture, and museums, but those will be written soon.

How to get there

Nashville has a convenient and modern airport that is located 20 minutes from the city.

Well served with restaurants and shops, the BNA has non-stops flights from Miami and many other cities in the United States and Canada, as well as London in England.

Where to Stay

Nashville has plenty of places to stay overnight. From five-star hotels such as the JW Marriot, which is located 100 meters from Broadway Avenue, and the four-star Kimpton Aertson Hotel, on Music Row, to hostels and Airbnb apartments that you can rent.

More information at VisitMusicCity

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