This is a very special time to be a Nashvillian. Pockets of subculture, rejuvenated neighborhoods, and a daily influx of transplants eager to find out what all the buzz is about. I like to say Nashville is going through another renaissance period. But as numerous construction cranes and growing high rises loom over us like sentinels of gentrification it can be hard sometimes to remember what sparked this cultural urban boom. The thing that makes Nashville Nashville. Music.
When I moved to Nashville a scant five years ago there were a handful of places everybody hung out at. If you went somewhere and it was dead you could find where the happening spot was in another stop or two. For a songwriter or musician new to town this was imperative to meeting the right people. I fear now that with all the options available it is harder to be at the right place at the right time.
I am in no way decrying progress and growth. With the addition of trendy, nicer, clean establishments, such as Acme and the Ascend Amphitheater we have witnessed the, well, ascension, of lower Broadway from an abhorable tourist trap to a viable destination for locals. All without losing that endearing smell of stale whiskey soaked sidewalks which give our town it’s lovely character.
Yep, Nashville is a real city now. I just hope that we do not lose sight of the great musical talent still crying out of bars, coffee shops, honky-tonks, and listening rooms throughout Music City. When was the last time you went downtown just to hear a band on a Saturday afternoon? Or perused your nearest listening room’s event calendar? If the “pop” country of the last few years left a bad taste in your mouth, and your ears for that matter, I urge you to check out some new writer’s nights around town. I have a feeling you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
Just like our beautiful protean city the musical landscape progresses too. Because in the exposed brick of every hipster cafe, at the bottom of every bottomless mimosa, and in the soul of that person about to take the stage at their first open mic one thing remains. Music.