It feels like we are on a music tour of the USA as we arrive in Nashville. The campground we are in has live music here every night. After settling in we headed up to the Lodge for a few hours of live music. It was Joey Boone that was playing and he was good. Such a great start to our stay.
After exploring The District, on the suggestion from a friend we trundled up the hill to the Music Hall of Fame and spent a few hours wandering and appreciating the many superb musician represented there. They have a large interactive area where I even got to sing with Ray Charles. If he wasn’t deaf before he would have been now… ha ha ha
We headed into town early and found our way to The District around Broadway. I had been told that we would love it here and all those people were right. So early in the day (before midday) it was alive. The music coming from the numerous bars was jumping. It has a feel of Bourbon Street, New Orleans, but here every bar we passed had live music. The Bars were busy too. The streets were full of people and the feel of the place was electric.
We called into The Ryman Auditorium to see if we could get tickets to see a show while we are here. Dwight Yokham was performing there and unfortunately he was sold-out each night. The Ryman began its life in the 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle but it held it’s first music festival before a sermon was heard in the building. The soul of the building began way back then so you understand why it is said that this is where Bluegrass was born.
The building was leased in 1920 to a show promotor and it became known as the Carnegie of the South right up to the Grand Ole Opry established itself there in 1943. The building took a well earned rest for a few years from the 1970‘s when The Old Opry moved to their new location. It was eventually renovated and resurrected in the 1990’s and is now again a major music venue and along with all of its past history it is now again making new history. The sound in the the auditorium is amazing. When it was originally built, it was purposely built to enhance the voice of the preacher, that along with all the wooden pew like seating gives it such a unique sound.
Being a Saturday night we headed late into town to the The District and by the time we got there it was humming to say the least. The noise of bands in … every … bar, (windows wide open as it is still hot) was deafening in places. I loved it. That thumping feeling in your chest from the bass beats certainly makes you feel so alive. Wandering up and down the street, it is hard to decide which bar to go into. Just too many to choose from.
We decided to try out the Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock N’ Roll bar first. And we kind of got stuck for quite some time. Its 5 floors with 4 floors of music. Each floor has its own band. We started on the Roof, just as the band here was finishing, so we stayed till the next started and listened for awhile, before heading down to the 3rd floor where the Taylor Martin Band. These guys were good and we happily sat and listened here for some time before heading down to the 2nd floor were again another great young rock band was performing. We didnt stay here quite as long as the noise from the outside was reminding us that there were still so much more to see. We popped into the Mezzanine floor to check it out, but decided to go down to the ground floor where we ended up sitting and watching another amazing band.
So a quick look in here, to see what was happening, turned into a few hours. In fact we could have stayed here all night and happily listened to these bands, but the street called and we wandered out (past the queue now waiting to get in).
Since we went into The Kid Rock Bar it had got dark and now the neon lights were showing themselves off at their best. I desperately wanted to capture the look and the feel in street. But there are just some things a camera cant really do.
With so many good sounds coming from every bar it is hard to name them all. I think the pick of the bunch for the night for me was the Kid Rock Bar and the Honky Tonk Central. Great music and of course with TOH, new friends made.
I do think that the highlight for TOH was the bar, Roberts Western World. As he said, when in Nashville y’all gotta do country. This place was packed and no wonder it has been voted the Best Local Honky Tonk Bar in Nashville 8 years in a row.
This was the real stuff, oh boy. What a band, including the double bass. The guy on the fiddle reminded me of Steve Martin, but could he play. We took a 6 minute video of him, a bit to big to add here, so I will post it on facebook for y’all to watch.
The lead singer, well I am not sure how to describe him. From his straggly hair and beard that’s not quite there, or the cowboy hat he had perched on an angle on his head, to how he performed and swung that guitar around or his voice when he sang, (although I couldn’t understand a word he said when he was talking to the crowd). True country and I sat mesmerised, just loving watching the band and the crowd responding to them, even though I didnt know a single song they sang.
This place is a must to visit if you get to Nashville, just come early, get a seat near the front, sit back and enjoy.
If I had to compare the cities known for the music and atmosphere we have visited so far, this is how I would describe them. Asheville is still a teenager, lots of fun, but still some growing to be done. New Orleans is all about getting drunk, Memphis is for the older generations who think they can still party, Muscle Shoals is the mecca you must take a pilgramage to. But Nashville, not matter what your taste in music is… Its Party Central! We will be back.