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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - NASHVILLE\'S NEW GOLDEN AGE
 
(2013 - Spring/Summer Issue)

Writer: JANIE ROBINSON



Downtown Nashville sweeps into view to a catchy country tune as we soar above landmark buildings lining riverbanks, party-packed neon honky-tonks and lush landscapes dotted with guitar-shaped swimming pools.

This perfect landing into the heart of Tennessee comes courtesy of the popular new primetime television drama Nashville

Proud to be known around the world as Music City, could shining a spotlight on creative, cosmopolitan Nashville do what the legendary TV series Dallas did for Texas tourism back in the 1980s?

Think of Nashville, and “sawdust on the floor” music immediately comes to mind, along with the many country music icons who call Nashville home. But Music City is a magnet for all kinds of talented people—from artists to world-class chefs—drawn to the creative and compassionate spirit of this big-hearted city with a rich history and proud heritage all its own.

Sacred Stages

Nashville is a music lover’s mecca with incredible live performances every day and night of the week. And surprisingly, it’s not just great country music being created here.Music City pulses with rhythms of everything from rock ’n’ roll to R&B, and bluegrass to classical. 

Of course, Nashville has some sacred stages such as the iconic Ryman Auditorium, known as “The Mother Church of Country Music” and original home of the famous Grand Ole Opry. Over the years, country stars from Patsy Cline and Hank Williams to rockers like Bruce Springsteen have played this National Historic Landmark.

Some of music’s greatest stars (think Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks) got their start at The Bluebird Café, the famous songwriters’ club located in an unlikely Nashville neighbourhood strip mall. 

The spartan Station Inn has been a downtown Nashville fixture since 1978 and enjoys the same status for bluegrassers that the Bluebird has for songwriters.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is classically inspired by some of the world’s great concert halls and designed to be an acoustic masterpiece. 

Star-studded Sites

Nothing says Nashville like a night at the Grand Ole Opry. What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today an entertainment phenomenon showcasing a mix of country music legends with today’s stars.

And right next door to the Opry House, the Gaylord Opryland Resort is a fun place to stay or even just wander around for awhile, exploring nearly four hectares of indoor gardens, cascading waterfalls and the indoor river with its own Delta flatboats, all enclosed in glass atriums so you can enjoy this lush indoor/outdoor resort all year long. In fact, Christmas is a favourite time to visit with the resort decked out in more than two million twinkling lights and stunning decorations. 

The museum at the Country Music Hall of Fame, home to the largest collection of country music artifacts in the world, will soon double in size now that the new Music City Center is open. 

While you’re downtown, stop by Hatch Show Print, one of America’s oldest letterpress poster print shops creating traditionally styled concert posters the old-fashioned way, featuring such artists as Bob Dylan, Coldplay and Johnny Cash, to just about every star who ever passed through Nashville. 

Visit RCA’s Studio B, Nashville’s oldest recording studio located on historic Music Row and the place where stars like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers and Dolly Parton all recorded some of their biggest hits.

And family-friendly Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located in Nashville’s stunning art deco former post office building, is a great place to explore, learn and enjoy great art, along with free live music on Thursday and Friday evenings in Frist’s café.

Nashville’s newest venue is the guitar-shaped Grand Ballroom in the new Music City Center—an elegant downtown convention centre, which opened just weeks ago.

Trendy Treats

Nashville’s live music finds its way to nearby wineries too. Arrington Vineyards features “Music in the Vines” on weekends, and you might even meet up with co-owner Kix Brooks (of country duo Brooks & Dunn). Beechhaven Winery in Clarkesville boasts “Jazz on the Lawn,” while Century Farm Winery in Jackson hosts “Voices in the Vineyard.” The Winery at Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation includes free tastings with every plantation tour on this once-renowned thoroughbred stud farm with its elegant 1853 mansion. 

And while Tennessee has more than 30 wineries, it’s spirits that make this southern state world-famous. The Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg is the oldest registered distillery in the U.S.—home to Jack Daniel’s charcoal mellowed whisky since 1866. Enjoy the scenic 90-minute drive from Nashville to Lynchburg and tour the distillery where Mr. Jack first crafted the recipe for Old No. 7.

Nashville’s getting the nod internationally as a great food town these days too. In fact, Condé Nast has named Nashville as one of the Top 5 Best Places in the World to Visit in 2013 for its “hot, trendy new food scene and famous, funky music.”

The Catbird Seat is Nashville’s hottest culinary destination—an avant-garde open-kitchen restaurant with two chefs creating seasonal seven-course set menus for their 36 guests. Dinner at The Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille is an elegant farm-fresh treat. Sample some great southern barbecue at Jack’s Bar-B-Que, Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill and Edley’s Bar-B-Que.

Travel Planner

Pick up the Live Music Guide at the visitors bureau and save money with the $50 Music City Total Access Pass for entrance to four of your favourite Nashville attractions. For more information on all Nashville has to offer, visit:

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.: visitmusiccity.com

Nashville Scene: nashvillescene.com

 
 
 
 
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