Hear the sound
Then it’s time to experience the music first hand.
“Country music is always a great place to start,” said Wright. “We [the museum] have live performances every week, songwriters every Saturday and instrument demonstrations every Sunday.
“There is the Grand Ole Opry and all the wonderful honky-tonks where you can hear music all day and night.”
Concentrated in a strip along Lower Broadway, honky-tonks such as Legends Corner, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Robert’s Western Wear, the Second Fiddle, the Stage and Layla’s Bluegrass Inn are great places to hear up-and-coming musicians in an atmosphere that can best be described as “casual.”
The walls of Legends Corner are lined with thousands of vintage album covers; Tootsie’s are covered with hundreds of photos of country stars, many autographed, others peeling at the edges; the Second Fiddle’s have Grand Ole Opry memorabilia.
“They have live music from 10 a.m to 3 a.m.,” said Steuber. “A lot serve food, you can do lunch there. Robert’s Red Neck lunch special is a fried-baloney sandwich.”
Another legendary hotspot is the Bluebird Cafe, where three to four songwriters perform their original material in an intimate in-the-round setting seven nights a week.
Other music venues include “Music City On Stage,” a live production of blues, gospel, bluegrass and country at the Fontanel Mansion, the former log home of Country Music Hall of Fame member Barbara Mandrell; the Nashville Palace; and the Texas Troubadour Theatre.
For a change of pace, the Grammy award-winning Nashville Symphony performs at the six-year-old Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a neoclassical concert hall downtown.
Unusual for a concert hall, the Schermerhorn, which has 1,827 seats on three levels, has natural light that streams through 30 soundproof windows. It also has an enclosed garden, a gift shop and a bistro-style cafe.
“Music City Roots at the Loveless Cafe every Wednesday night is a great way for groups to get an authentic feel for the Nashville scene,” said Steuber.
The live radio show was started in late 2009 in a new theater behind the cafe, which has been serving its famous fried chicken and secret-recipe biscuits for nearly 60 years.
The show, which runs between two and three hours, features 30-minute sets by a wide range of musicians who are interviewed between songs.
“We try to offer a real buffet of the music scene that exists here in Nashville,” said co-founder John Walker. “It’s an eclectic mix. We might have bluegrass, blues and an up-and-coming performer all in the same night.
“We pride ourselves on authenticity. It is a Nashville and Tennessee experience. The artists are not all from Tennessee necessarily, but the music has its roots here in Tennessee. We have become the voice to showcase to the world the true diversity here in Nashville.”
and Visitors Bureau
— www.visitmusiccity.com —