A City That Lives and Breathes Music
Known as “Music City U.S.A.” since the Grand Ole Opry first started its weekend radio broadcasts back in 1925, Nashville is the hometown of the now globalized country music industry and has the landmarks to prove it.
The spanking new home of the Country Music Hall of Fame is a repository of innumerable objects and artifacts, from Elvis’s 1960 “solid gold” Cadillac to Minnie Pearl’s straw hat with dangling price tag, Willie Nelson’s sneakers, and other enshrined memorabilia.
Three theaters show clips of country’s greatest performers, but why not head right to the source, the Grand Ole Opry, surviving as a down-home Southern family tradition even after its controversial 1974 move from the old Ryman Auditorium to new digs on Opryland Drive. Every weekend, modern names and legendary old-timers perform traditional country, bluegrass, gospel, honky-tonk, and rockabilly. From back-porch to big-time, you’d be hard pressed to find an award winner who hasn’t performed here, from Hank Williams to Vince Gill, Patsy Cline to Trisha Yearwood, George Jones to Garth Brooks.
Elsewhere in town, the diminutive Bluebird Café still takes its music seriously, showcasing new and old talent in one of the city’s most famous venues. On the once-again vibrant club strip of Lower Broadway across from the Ryman Auditorium, the funky Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge has offered live music since 1960.
You can mingle with the biggest and the best at the Loveless Café, as famous for its breakfast of country ham and eggs with feather-light buttermilk biscuits as it is for the Grand Ole Opry performers who have made it a favorite haunt for more than forty years. Or come in June, when music lovers descend on Nashville for the four-day party of music mania called the International Country Music Fan Fair.