I’ve always wanted to visit Nashville – the home of Country and Western music!
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and we visited as part of our big tour of the deep south of America so unfortunately our time here was pretty limited. In fact, although we spent roughly the same time in some of the other locations such as Memphis, Chattanooga and Tupelo, Nashville was the one place I really noticed that we wouldn’t have enough time to see the vast majority of the sights this fantastic place had to offer.
I couldn’t wait to visit, mainly to learn more about the history of country and western music, as Nashville is known as the centre of the country music industry, earning it the nickname “Music City”.
Although it was very limited, here’s what we managed to squeeze in during our short time here;
The first point of interest made me chuckle – the John Seigenthaler pedestrian bridge – also known by the locals as the Dolly Parton bridge due to its two rather large humps….
RCA Studio B is a recording studio which was originally known as RCA Studios. The studio helped to revive the popularity of country music and establish Nashville as an international recording centre.
The recording studio is a single-storey building with offices at the front, but the area of the studio and control room has a second storey which contains an echo chamber.
Famous artists who recorded songs at Studio B include The Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and the one and only, Elvis Presley! In her 1994 memoir, My Life And Other Unfinished Business, Dolly Parton told the story of how she was rushing to her first recording session at the studio in September 1967 and, rushing to make the session on time, drove her car through the side wall of the building. The spot where her car impacted the building is still visible even today!
Daily tours of the studio are offered by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the tour guides have some fantastic stories to tell which have been gathered over the years – including Elvis Presley banging his head on a low hanging microphone during the recording of “Are you lonesome tonight?” The sound of him doing it can still be heard on the original recording they play for you!
We also visited the Nashville Parthenon which is in Centennial Park. It is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens and was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Today it is used as an art museum – it is really impressive to look at!
I don’t even really know how to begin explaining the amazing Country Music Hall of Fame! It is absolutely huge! It is one of the world’s largest museums and this is obvious as soon as you step inside! You could spend weeks here looking at the memorabilia and reading the information contained within one of the world’s most extensive musical collections.
Here are just a few of the incredible items and collections you can find inside;
Elvis Presley’s gold cadillac – the 1960 Cadillac was customised by Barris Kustom City of North Hollywood. The exterior sheen is due to its 24 carat gold plate highlights and forty painted coats of a translucent mixture of crushed diamonds and fish scales called diamond dust pearl. The interior includes a gold plated television and a record player with automatic changer!
Taylor Swift’s crystal covered guitar! Swoon! The pictures didn’t do it justice at all!
Elvis Presley’s 24 carat gold leaf piano (starting to see a theme here!) I don’t think this is actually here anymore, as news articles seem to suggest it sold in an auction to the Hard Rock Cafe for $600,000!! I’m glad I got to see it whilst I was there!
Plus rooms and rooms and rooms of memorabilia from hundreds and hundreds of Country and Western music stars, including Roy Rogers, Patsy Montana, Eddy Arnold, Hank Williams, Red Foley, T. Texas Tyler, Spade Cooley, Merle Travis, Hank Thompson, Cindy Walker, Carl Perkins, Wanda Jackson, Keith Urban, Brenda Lee, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, Patsy Kline, Tammy Wynette and infamous names like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton…. the list goes on!
After spending a good few hours here we continued to explore this amazing city and came across the Johnny Cash Museum.
God, I really regret not visiting here but I don’t know how we would have had the time!
It features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world, and is located in the heart of Downtown Nashville. It is one of only six attractions in Nashville to receive the coveted AAA Gem rating and is ranked the number 1 music museum in the world by Forbes, Conde’ Naste and National Geographic Traveler – if you get the chance – GO!
Walking the streets of Nashville is amazing feeling. It is so relaxed, and everywhere you look are shops selling Cowboy hats and Cowboy Boots, or really expensive guitars.
There are bars open everywhere with live music being played and even street sellers selling famous Moonshine! The stuff looked lethal so no, we didn’t have any!
There’s so much to see and do here, its easy to see why people love it and call it the home of Country and Western music! I just hope I get the opportunity to go back some day!