Nashville: My In-depth and Fullfilling Journey to the Great Music City
So, I recently spent a weekend in the heart of Country Music, Nashville. As you can from the gallery above, I had such a great time, I felt like I had to share it.
I went down with a friend, Joe Limardi who apparently a local celebrity because everywhere we went everyone knew him and were excited to see him. He knew the duo that were being inducted into the Opry. He also lived and worked in the area for a while, and knew all of the local and tourists hotspots, which came in very handy later. So come along with me on a quick weekend trip to Nashville, especially if you don't have the time to get there soon.
The trip started at the studios of 650 WSM -- the original radio station of the Grand Ole Opry. It's an unassuming building, housing more of the business side of a radio station, but was filled with some of the nicest and most welcoming people I met all trip. Everyone from Country Music Radio Hall of Famer, Bill Cody, to the newest hire stopped what they were doing to say hi, introduce themselves, and talk. Then, we went to the studios in the Opryland Hotel, but to get to the studios we walked through a huge indoor greenhouse. It was filled with trees and flowers and big hanging art pieces like guitars and music notes. They even had some restaurants and indoor waterfalls. Next on the tour were some local bars, off Broadway in East Nashville, to get more of the local perspective.
The next day was full of the "touristy" stuff in Nashville. We went to the Ryman Auditorium and really learned about the foundation of Country Music. All of the names that are brought up when early country music is talked about got their start there, and you really learn about the impact they had on the industry and the foundation of what Country Music is today. The Ryman is filled with costumes and artifacts of artists who have played there over the years and is just an amazing and important building. I am so glad it's back. Then, it was off to get some Nashville hot chicken. My friend had been talking about it for days, so we had to go find some, and boy did it live up to its name. Bite one and my face was bright red. My only complaint was they didn't serve milk, because other than that, the chicken and sides were great. Not to waste any time, after lunch we were off to another watering hole, before heading to the Opry. The Opry was an experience. The friend I went with knew the duo, Dailey and Vincent, that were being inducted into the Opry and he went down to surprise them. Before the show, we had backstage passes and got to see the dressing rooms and talk with performers and it was just incredible. We got to walk onstage and STAND IN THE CIRCLE! If you are familiar with country music you know "The Circle" is one of country music's most famous landmarks -- it was just surreal. The Circle is an old piece of stage from the original Ryman Auditorium stage and is just filled with history from Johnny Cash to todays stars. Then, to top it off, we had stage seats behind the band to watch the show. After the show was our after party. We hit up all of the tourist spots -- Coyote Ugly, Wild Horse, Robert's, Paradise Park, and a few more that I forget. And each stop was better than the last. The people were friendly and more than willing to sing along to whatever the band was playing, country or not, they just were there to have a good time.
Day three was a mad dash to see anything we hadn't seen since we were leaving that night. We hit the country music Hall of Fame and saw every artifact from Ernest Tubbs guitar to Charlie Daniels Awards to Brad Paisley's tricycle (and many, many guitars). Then there was the wall of records filled with gold records of singles and albums that went number one. It was fun to see the progression of country music from its humble beginnings to what it is today. The cap to the trip was the legendary Tootsies. While enjoying some last drinks in Nashville, I got caught up in a bachelorette party. I traded a piggy back ride for a shot, they have pictures to prove it. If that wasn't crazy enough, Tyler Farr shows up and sings "Guy Walks Into a Bar." The place goes crazy, and he leaves. I guess that what country stars do if they are home and aren't working -- they show up to random bars and perform. Pretty cool, if you ask me. It was great to be somewhere I had heard and been told so much about.
So if you are a fan of Country Music, even in the slightest, please do yourself a favor and get down to Nashville and experience it for yourself. You wont be disappointed. Although I was only there for 3 days I am already planning a trip back. So who's coming with me?