So you’re an aspiring country singer, arriving in downtown Nashville after days of hitchhiking, with nothing but your battered guitar on your back. Gaze up at the neon lights of Lower Broadway, take a deep breath of smoky, beer-perfumed air, feel the boot-stompin’ rumble from deep inside the crowded honky-tonks, and say to yourself ‘I’ve made it.’
This ain’t no country club baby, this is Nashville.
For country-music fans and wannabe songwriters all over the world, a trip to Nashville is the ultimate pilgrimage. Think of any song involving a pickup truck, a bottle of booze, a no-good woman, or a late lamented hound dog, and chances are it came from Nashville. Since the 1920s the city has been attracting musicians who have taken the country genre from the ‘hillbilly music’ of the early 20th century to the slick ‘Nashville sound’ of the 1960s to the punk-tinged alt-country of the 1990s.
Nashville has many attractions to keep you busy, from the Country Music Hall of Fame and the revered Grand Ole Opry House to rough blues bars, historic buildings and big-name sports. It also has friendly people, a lively university community, excellent fried chicken and an unrivaled assortment of tacky souvenirs.