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Have you ever wondered how Nashville, Tennessee earned its moniker as Music City USA? What’s so special about the music scene in Nashville that it warrants being the capital of continental music culture? Haven’t just as many musicians passed through cities like Las Vegas and New York?
The History of Music in Nashville
Well, Tennessee has been known for some world-class fiddlin’ all the way back since its roots in the 1700s, but it really started to earn recognition in 1824 when a hymnal, called Western Harmony, was published out of Nashville. The hymnal’s popularity spread like wildfire and set the scene for Nashville’s later musical significance.
Fast forward to the late 1800s, when what is now known as Ryman Auditorium first began to draw crowds. It quickly became one of the country’s premier auditoriums because of its phenomenal natural acoustics and by-then-central location. It didn’t take long for Ryman Auditorium to become recognized as the Carnegie Hall of the South.
In 1925, Nashville’s position of national significance cemented when radio station WSM chose Ryman Auditorium as its Grand Ole Opry radio show. Today the Grand Ole Opry is the oldest still-running live radio show in existence, which should also tell you something about the demand for country music and its quality.
Finally, we come to the year 1950 when Nashville was officially dubbed Music City USA by WSM’s announcer at the time, David Cobb; the name stuck, and that’s how we see the city today. Many people make the mistake of assuming that the name primarily refers to country music, but this actually isn’t the case at all. Nashville always has been and always will be a diverse and open musical culture… From jazz to bluegrass to country to R&B to rock to gospel, Nashville has had a hand in it all.
The musicians who move to Nashville to further their career in music bring with them all their local and cultural traditions, which then go towards the rich cosmopolitan melting pot of all the Nashville residents. The relocation of the Nissan headquarters to Franklin also added to the influx of Californians who have all brought their own pice of the LA lifestyle. It’s no coincidence that the number of restaurants has dramatically increased!
In short, Music City USA earns and keeps its name because, unlike other big cities in the USA, music isn’t just part of the culture; it IS the culture.
Nashville is known by many as Music City, but many residents and visitors don’t know why. Of course, the music scene is booming within the city, and that is part of the reason. However, there are many other reasons for the name Music City.
The History of the “Music City” Name for Nashville
When the city was settled in the late 1700s, it was quickly celebrated with fiddle tunes and buck dancing. Davy Crocket was the first celebrity of the city, and he was a fiddle player with all types of colorful stories.
The 1800s brought more reasons for the nickname of Music City. Nashville grew and became a national place for music publishing. Fisk Jubilee Singers came from Nashville’s Fisk University, and they were the first musical act to tour around the world. The Queen of England may have been the first to call Nashville the “Music City.” She said that the Fisk Jubilee Singers must come from the “Music City.”
The Famous Music Venues in Nashville
Throughout the history of the city, many music venues have been added to the landscape. These venues give the city a good reason to remain known as the “Music City.” But, of course, there’s more to the story. Here are some of the most famous music venues in Nashville.
The three most famous music venues in Nashville begin with the one that started it all, Ryman Auditorium. Often called the Church of Country Music, Ryman Auditorium attracted performers such as Dolly Parton and Hank Williams, bringing Nashville into the spotlight for country music fans everywhere. The first concert was held there in 1892, while John Phillip Sousa played his first concert in 1894. The venue saw plenty of use by religious leaders, Presidents, opera performers, and more throughout its history. In 2003 it was the venue for Johnny Cash’s funeral. Shows today have a wide range.
The Grand Ole Opry
The second most famous venue is the Grande Ole Opry itself. Although it’s a bit away from Nashville, this has been the place to go to see country performers at many stages of their careers. Today you can see the Gatlin Brothers, Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills, Carlene Carter, Trace Adkins, Carrie Underwood, Travis Tritt, and more. Space has a vibrant performance schedule and continues to be a hub of activity for music lovers throughout Nashville. Visit one of the most famous places for country music everywhere at the Grand Ole Opry.
Cannery Ballroom at Station Inn
The Cannery Ballroom is another highly famous venue for music in Nashville. Station Inn is located in the Gulch area of Nashville, and music is played seven nights a week. Boasting some of the world’s best bluegrass, classic country, and roots music. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some great food and music. The place was opened in 1974 by a group of six bluegrass pickers and singers.
Where Do Hopeful Musicians Go in Nashville?
Today, Nashville is one of the first places serious musicians consider moving to if they want to make it big. As a result, it has become known as the “Songwriting Capital of the World” and remains known as the Music City to most of those throughout the world.
Famous Artists Made in Nashville
Bluebird Cafe has been a famous spot for songwriters to show off their talent, along with the many festivals, such as the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. The city has music in its’ blood. Many artists have made their music in Nashville, including:
- Black Eyed Peas
- Bon Jovi
- Michael Buble
- Kid Rock
- Sheryl Crow
- Jack White
- Michael McDonald
- Kings of Leon
- And Many More!
The city will forever be known as the Music City because of more than just the venues and concerts. The history of music runs deep in Nashville, and it’s the capital of the world for live music performances, music festivals, and songwriting.
The music scene of Nashville is one of the best in the world. If you love music and you want to find the best entertainment in the city, you need to know where to go. Here are some of the best choices for all types of music.
Song Writers Clubs in Nashville
Nashville is a songwriter’s dream, and plenty of great clubs provide a place for songwriters to display their talents. Some of the top songwriters’ clubs in Nashville include:
- Back Alley Diner
- Billy Block Show
- Bluebird Cafe
- Cafe Coco
- Commodore Grille
- Doc’s Songwriter’s Showcases
- Douglas Corner
If you need a place to display your music, these places will provide you with a great venue.
Talent Showcasing Clubs
Discovering new talent is one of the charms of Nashville. Here are the top places for showcasing talent.
- American Music Auditions
- ASCAP Song Source – This is a great place to get feedback if you’re a songwriter.
- Tin Pan Alley
- The Bluebird Cafe – This is the top #1 country music hotspot in the city.
- Embassy Music: Ultimate Talent Search – This talent search happens once a year and provides musicians a chance to win over $50K in prizes.
- Nashville Start Search
- The Station Inn
These venues, musicians, clubs, and contests offer the best local music throughout Nashville.
The Influence of Nashville Upon Music Culture and History
One of Nashville, Tennessee’s most attractive qualities is its rich history in the music world. With a wide variety of genres in its background, Nashville is the perfect place for music lovers. A lot of Nashville’s music history is due to the strong African-American influences in the past. So many well-known musicians have come from, lived in, or had great influence in the city of Nashville, making it one of the musical hot spots in the country. Everyone knows it as the capital of country music, but Nashville has offered the world so much more than banjos and acoustic guitars.
The best-known name tied to Nashville’s history in music is Elvis Presley. Although he wasn’t born in Nashville, he made countless visits and significantly influenced the city’s music history. He was the most famous man in the world for a long time, and since Nashville was said to be his favorite city in the world, one can imagine the influence he gave Nashville’s music scene, along with the influence it gave him.
Another high point of Nashville’s music history is the huge influence of the jazz movement here. Not only was there an enormous focus on jazz in the past in Nashville, but it still exists today. There is still a large jazz scene in the city with places like F. Scott’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar, and the Jazz Workshop. However, Nashville, Tennessee, is best known for is being the capital of the country music world.
Being that it is the location of the Country Music Hall of Fame, many of the biggest names in country music have come from this influential city. It is where country music began, and its influence in the genre today holds strong. Some of Nashville’s most famous names are the Allman Brothers, Hank Williams, and Liz Kilgo. In addition, many country singers reference Nashville as their home due to the huge influence on country music.
So, for those who love the world of music, finding real estate in Nashville is a good choice. The rich musical history of the city and the current musical influence it has on the world is enough to provide for any music lover’s needs. Nashville’s history is rich in the music world, and its musical influence will live on for a long while.
The Best Music Attractions to Visit in Nashville
Nashville is a vibrant, modern city with a long and fascinating history.
Perhaps one of the best parts of Nashville, for residents and tourists alike, is that there are always plenty of enjoyable activities available. Some of these activities combine Nashville’s musical history with a fun night out on the town. One such attraction is the General Jackson Showboat Lunch and Dinner Cruises. The Showboat is a 300-foot long paddlewheel riverboat. It harkens back to times long past – the nineteenth century! This boat provides passengers with a tour of Nashville and the surrounding areas. The boat travels the Cumberland River, which meanders through what many consider the most beautiful countryside in the United States. Passengers can enjoy four different decks over the course of this three-hour tour. Southern-style foods are served at lunchtime, and dinner is a several-course, roasted chicken extravaganza. While patrons are eating, they watch a live production entitled, “Country Music U.S.A. – a Musical Journey. ” The show includes perennial favorites from the Grand Ole Opry and finishes with country hits of today. In addition, there is a cash bar for those who wish to “imbibe” during the festivities. Rumor has it that no one ever walks away disappointed from the General Jackson Showboat.
Another enjoyable dinner can be savored at the Nashville Night Life Dinner Theater. This dinner theater was voted the number two attraction in Nashville by the Nashville Business Journal (After the Grand Ole Opry!). The evening is a celebration of past and current county music stars and the songs they made popular. There are special guest appearances throughout the season by entertainers like Tommy Cash and Dianna Murrell. The show lasts one and one-half hours. Audience participation is encouraged, which raises the enjoyment quotient. The dinner menu features southern favorites like chicken, spaghetti, homemade rolls, sausage, potatoes, a salad bar, fresh vegetables, and a cobbler for dessert. The dinner show is located in an area somewhat removed from the center of Nashville. Those who have attended, however, insist that it is well worth the drive.
And last, but certainly not least, is the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s located in a thirty-seven million dollar complex containing memorabilia of the “greats” of country music. Many visitors gravitate to the “Wall of Honor,” which features every country music gold or platinum record that soared to the charts’ top. There are also exhibits about Hall of Fame inductees and a tour of the legendary RCA Studio B. Even Elvis recorded there! It’s a little piece of history that can still be enjoyed in Nashville!