Those that know me would know I LOVE country music and a trip to Nashville would be right up my street – that couldn’t be closer to the truth.
I’ve been meaning to take a trip to Tennessee for years, one to experience the country music capital but two to visit my friend at the University of Tennessee and become the best VOL loving, wannabe American student around. Unfortunately the trip to Knoxville hasn’t been successful yet but at least I can use it as an excuse for a return trip to the state!
Anyway, Nashville. Forget ‘half of my heart is in Havana’ mine is at Nashville and quite possibly my whole heart. Being known as ‘Music City’ I had no doubt the city would live up to its name, particularly on the country scene. The robust live music culture is unreal. I’m pretty sure every street I walked down had live music bustling from its bars with the smell of classic Southern food and Moonshine (lethal stuff). I only had two full days in the city and honestly the majority of my time was spent on the Honky Tonk Highway, fully embracing each bar for it’s unique scene and incredible live music.
I did buy an Total Acces City Pass and for once I actually found it excellent value for money. With this pass, I was able to choose 4 attractions out of the list of 33 alongside free admission to The Parthenon and Sports Hall of Fame. I made my choice of attractions based on country music (obviously) so I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, upgraded my ticket to include a tour of the Historic RCA Studio B, had a daytime tour of the well-known Grand Ole Opry and hopped on a neat little mini bus and enjoyed a musical tour of the city with The Sound Nashville Music Tour company. Unfortunately I didn’t get to the Parthenon due to lack of time as a result of me enjoying the country music too much and cost to get there (Nashville was my last stop so I was running low on cash).
All the attractions I visited were absolutely incredible and well worth the money spent. I’m not a fan of museums but the fact it was based around country music influenced my decision to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and I’m glad it did. This museum is fantastic and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting the city. If I didn’t have other places to visit due to a crammed schedule I’d have stayed there for much longer however, the time spent there (roughly 1 hour 30 minutes ) was enough to read about country music and it’s artists, see authentic outfits, instruments and more from such artists and enjoy a range of interactive media throughout the museum to enhance the visit.
The Historica RBA Studio B tour was well worth the add-on. Here, I was able to enjoy the music of the likes of Dolly Parton and Elvis, shutting my eyes and feeling as though they were stood singing right infront of me…if only. The tour featured the opportunity to go into the studio where Elvis recorded many of his top hits; standing on the spot he’d sing, seeing the piano played and having the lights dimmed whilst real recordings get played as I walked around the studio.
Then there’s the famous Grand Ole Opry, although quite far out from the Honky Tonk Highway, I hopped on the bus and made the journey to tour the Opry and luckily enough get to stay to enjoy the evening show! The tour of the Opry is 100% worth it, the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable and friendly, the dressing rooms are quirky and unique and was interesting to identify which stars accommodate in which dressing room, and the best bit being able to walk the footsteps of your favourite country stars and stand on the iconic Circle, centre stage.
A trip to the Opry wouldn’t have been complete without staying for the evening show. Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday the Opry houses 8 or more country artists (upcoming, superstars and legends) to perform to a live audience which is also broadcasted live on radio and streamed online. I was lucky enough to enjoy the likes of Jamie Lynn Spears, High Valley, Sundance Head, Charlie Daniels and more – it was an experience I’ll never forget!
My experience in ‘Music City’ was completed on a tour with The Sound Nashville Music Tour which was an experience I’ll never forget. Different to a typical tour of a City, this tour featured a live singer-songwriter on board who really got to know the passengers, shared a wealth of knowledge of the city and its attractions whilst working with the passengers to write and perform a song unique to that tour. On my tour I had the privilege of meeting Glen Michael and together with the rest of the tour we became The— and all ended the tour performing our song about Nashville and us, on the streets in the heart of the city. If you’re looking for a fun way to tour Nashville whilst also taking the music and humour with you, I recommend a trip with The Sound Nashville Music Tour company.
All in all, Nashville is an unbelievable City and one I’ll no doubt visit multiple more times in the future. There’s still so much more to see, and that’s the perfect excuse for me to return, enjoy more live country music and of course, travel further within Tennessee to see my good friend!
Nashville, thank you, keep on rocking.
– Always exploring
(Visited September 2017)