Let’s take a road trip to Music City, the home of those Nashville Cats that John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful sang about. Nashville rests along the Cumberland River in the north central part of the state of Tennessee. It has long been known as the home of country music, but it is also known as the Athens of the South.
Nashville is the home of many colleges and universities. The most famous of these is Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt was established in 1873 and has over 12,000 students. Vanderbilt is considered to be one of the best universities in the nation and the world.
Vanderbilt by Email4jonathon via wikimedia commons
Tennessee State University is the only state funded historically black university in Tennessee. The university has over 9,000 students and is an urban coeducational school offering 45 bachelor’s degrees, 24 master’s degrees and seven doctoral programs.
Nashville is also a major sports town. The Vanderbilt Commodores play in the Southeastern Conference and the Tennessee State Tigers are members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Professional sports include the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League, the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League and the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team which play in the American Conference of the Pacific Coast League.
Nashville is the capital of the state of Tennessee. There are approximately 700,000 people residing in the city of Nashville. The largest employer in the city is Vanderbilt University and Medical Center which employees 21,000 people. The city-county, state and U.S. governments combined employ another 50,000 people.
The music industry is large in the city of Nashville. All four major record labels and many independent labels have offices in the city. Nashville’s music industry contributes about 19,000 jobs and has an estimated economic impact of nearly 6 and a half billion dollars a year.
Ryman Auditorium by Ryan Kaldari via wikimedia commons
Places of interest to visiting music fans include the Ryman Auditorium which was the home of the Grand Ole Opry for many years and once again hosts the Opry during the months between November and February. You will want to visit the Grand Ole Opry House which is 9 miles east of Nashville between the months of March and October where the Opry plays several times a week. The Grand Ole Opry House opened in 1974 as part of the Opryland USA Theme Park. The park closed in 1997 and was replaced by the Opry Mills mall in 2000.
There are many music clubs in downtown Nashville that you may want to visit. You will find these on Lower Broadway, Second Avenue and Printer’s Alley. You will want to visit the famous Bluebird Café, where you may get the chance to hear some of Nashville’s singer/songwriters along with up and coming musical talents.
You may also want to visit Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge which is behind the Ryman Auditorium. Tootsie’s is a world famous “honky tonk” that has been serving Nashville’s music stars for over 50 years.
If you are a true country music fan, you will not want to miss the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Country Music Hall of Fame opened in 1967 on Music Row and was housed there until the year 2000 when that building was torn down.
In May 2001, the Country Music Hall of Fame moved into its new location several blocks away in downtown Nashville. Inside you will find displays about the history of country music from the early 20th Century through today.
Country Music Hall of Fame by Ryan Kaldari via wikimedia commons
The current exhibition at the Hall of Fame is Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. This opened in March of this year and will be at the Hall of Fame through the end of 2016. It explores the impact of Bob Dylan’s recordings in Nashville with the many studio musicians who made the city famous. Dylan was followed to Nashville by many of the contemporary musicians of the day who wanted to record with these Nashville cats. The exhibition also details the impact Johnny Cash and his ABC television show had on Nashville becoming the music center that it is today.
Parthenon by Ryan Kaldari via wikimedia commons
Other places you will want to visit include the Tennessee State Museum and the Parthenon, which is an full scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Tennessee State Capitol is one of the oldest working capitol buildings in the United States. The Hermitage which is a plantation owned by President Andrew Jackson is located about 10 miles outside of Nashville. The Hermitage is one of the older presidential homes open to the public and is a National Historic Landmark.
I have been to Nashville several times and I will visit Nashville again before December 2016. I encourage you to make a road trip to this magical music city.