After Bonnaroo, we were covered with dirt and grime. Unshowered and not having slept, the last thing we wanted to do was immediately get on an airplane for 4 hours. Instead we decided to hit up the nearest Steak N Shake, find a hotel with a pool, and spend a little time in Nashville…it is, after all, the music city. We explored the Country Music Museum learning about the history and nuances of country music as well as a lot more about Hank Williams and his family than I really cared to know. There were some fun artifacts including horse lover Webb Pierce’s tricked out car, Elvis’ golden piano, and most excitedly (for me), Carl Perkins’ actual blue suede shoes! In association with the museum, we also toured RCA Studio B where hits from the likes of Elvis, Dolly Parton, and The Everly Brothers were recorded. I picked up a t-shirt with the museum’s slogan, “Honor Thy Music”
My favorite part of our Nashville adventures, was the evening we spent at local bar, 3rd & Lindsley. I wanted to get a taste for the local scene (as well as some fried pickles) and I was overly pleased when I noticed that 3rd & Lindsley was having an evening jam-packed with Nashville-based artists! The evening began with a group from Winston-Salem, NC (a town I incidentally spent a summer living in back in ‘05). Katelyn Marks and her two guitarists got the evening off to a great start, even playing a cover of Nashville natives, The Civil Wars’ hit “Barton Hollow”.
The second act was a songwriters in the round featuring three Nashville-based musicians; Jaron Boyer, Jared Crump, and Neal Carpenter. I enjoyed each of these artists for different reasons. Jaron Boyer was the country boy with fun, smartly-crafted tunes that would flow seamlessly on the local radio. Jared Crump was the sensitive singer-songwriter with the heartfelt love songs that can make you feel all mushy inside. But it was something about the way Neal Carpenter sang his tunes that made me stop and put down my fried pickles every time he picked up his guitar. I was dismayed to find only one tune available on itunes. Give a listen to “Don’t Give Up”…this guy is definitely going on my watch list. Can’t wait ‘til he comes to LA!
The ‘Round was fantastic, but the evening was really just beginning. The final portion of the night was reserved for The Podunk Sessions, a family of Nashville-based musicians who like to get together and play music with each other. Each artist would get on stage and play a mini-set of 3-5 tunes…perfect for sampling. The evening began with Dave Pahanish, a guy whose name you might not know, but whose songs have been sung by the likes of Toby Keith, Keith Urban, and Tim McGraw. My favorite part of Dave’s set was when his wife, Kristin Lee joined him for a tune or two adding her soulful voice to his country twang.
The night continued with an impressive line-up. From the too cute for words Rachel Loy and the up-and-coming country star Eric Paslay to Brain Wright’s Nashville doppelganger Hugh Mitchell and self-proclaimed “downer” of the group, Brad Tursi, there was seemingly no end to the talent that took the stage. My favorite of the evening was probably the still nervous when she sings but will knock your socks off with her stunning vocals Bonnie Bishop. There were also a string of guests whose names I just didn’t get who were equally impressive and most likely great artists in their own right.
Individually, all the artists were such a treat to listen to, but the true magic of the evening lied in their collaborations. As the evening continued, musicians seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. I began to wonder if there was anyone in the place who wouldn’t at one point get on stage to sing, pick up a guitar, or at the very least lend some enthusiastic background clapping. The event left me with the most favorable impression of the local scene as a talented and collaborative community of singers and songwriters.
We left the party early (a bit after midnight) because we had one more aspect of Nashville to explore: the late night dining experience. We ended up at Cafe Coco which had a comfortable indie vibe, plenty of interesting artifacts on the walls, and an impressive array of food options. We each tried a couple of different things and it was all quite scrumptious. I was especially pleased with the turtle cheesecake…
All in all, I’d say LMN’s first trip to Nashville was a smashing success…plenty of music to investigate and new artists to keep tabs on. We got to visit some historic sites and got a tiny glimpse of the local scene. I found myself wishing I could live in Nashville for awhile. As much as we saw, there are so many more music venues to explore and artists to discover! Maybe someday…
Want to learn more about all these great artists coming out of Nashville? Here are some links to the music and pages of the musicians we came across on our trip:
and if you’re ever in Nashville: