Miscellaneous Rumbles

Advice for Nashville trip?

1

Hey all. I'm heading to Nashville for the first time! I'll be there just 4 days, this Saturday through to Tuesday. I've seen the thread about Nashville/NOLA/Memphis, and there was some mention of good music places to see in Music City, but I was wondering if I could get some Nashville-specific tips.

I'll be seeing Elvis Costello at the Ryman on Monday night, so I can cross that one off my bucket list. I guess there are also tours of the Ryman that you can book?

Other than that, I'm open to suggestions for things to see and places to go to hear good music, country or otherwise. My preliminary list of things includes:

Country Music HoF Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge The Bluebird Cafe Printer's Alley The Station Inn

Thanks!

2

Don't bother with The Bluebird, it's way overrated, and too crowded by tourists who saw it on the "Nashville" TV drama-- and they do not, and never have, paid performers a dime. Performers don't get a cut of the door, they don't get a guarantee, and just about the only money they can make is off of tips and merch. The house gets everything else. I don't support that, and I don't play "for the exposure". People can die of exposure.

Printer's Alley is pretty dead as well. Station Inn is a great pick, and go to Tootsie's just to say you've been. City Winery always has a consistently good line of shows, ummm, except for the particular weekend that you'll be here. Bad luck... Justin Hayward will be there on Oct. 30, and Leo Kottke will be there on November 3rd.

Robert's is just about next door to Tootsie's-- it used to be the home of Buddy Emmon's music store and Sho-Bud instruments. In fact, here's a little GDP trivia-- Remember all the unfinished Corvette and Astro Jet bodies a few years back? They were originally stored in the upstairs loft at the building that is now Robert's. That's where they were found after Buddy's music store closed.

Broadway is kind of like a giant adult tourist trap these days, and is really, really crowded on the weekend, especially if the Predators have a home game (and they do on Sat. Nov. 2). Fun can definitely be had, but I hope you like shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of tourists on the sidewalk!

3

The house gets everything else. I don't support that, and I don't play "for the exposure". People can die of exposure.

Almost spit my coffee up on that one.

5

Not to be confused with the Country Music HoF, would highly recommend the "Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum". Check it out... https://www.musicianshallof...

– Joe Carducci/Gretsch Guitars

I agree with Joe on this one!

6

As do I. That was a great visit and thanks again, Joe.

7

Not to be confused with the Country Music HoF, would highly recommend the "Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum". Check it out... https://www.musicianshallof...

– Joe Carducci/Gretsch Guitars

Joe speaks the truth!! I'm still beaming from that visit!

8

Thanks guys! What about stuff like the Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut or other studios?

9

Not to be confused with the Country Music HoF, would highly recommend the "Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum". Check it out... https://www.musicianshallof...

– Joe Carducci/Gretsch Guitars

That looks great. Thanks, Joe!

10

Thanks guys! What about stuff like the Owen Bradley's Quonset Hut or other studios?

– Jimbodiddley

To my knowledge, the Quonset Hut is not open for tours. Also, most of the working studios do not offer "official" tours, and you often have to know an insider to get in. However, Historic RCA Studio B is open, and tour tickets can be purchased at the CMHOF. If you plan to do that, I advise you to get your ticket ahead of time... the tours fill up fast, and they only run for a few hours each day.

I have recorded at Studio B a few times, and it's sort of like being an animal behind the glass at the zoo... tour groups come through pretty regularly between 12 and 3 pm every day, and they stare at you through the tinted soundproof glass! Good for them that I don't "fingerpaint" like chimpanzees do...

Third Man Records is also a fun visit downtown.

11

Thanks Tartan. Third Man Records! I hadn't even thought of that. Unfortunately, I won't be getting in till Saturday, so the tour is probably not possible. But I can check out the store.

12

Isn’t the Songbirds guitar museum in Nashville? YouTube videos look pretty cool. ** I see it’s in Chattanooga. May be a worthwhile side trip?

13

Make sure to shake Jay McDowell’s hand if you go to the Musicians Hall of Fame!

14

Are you going to be alone, or will you have a companion? If you do, you might want to get your picture taken with Chet Atkins (life-size bronze statue) at the corner of 5th & Union downtown... just 2 blocks away from the Musician's Hall of Fame. It's not cordoned off, and you can walk right up and sit on the sideman's stool. It's one of my favorite statues in the city.

15

Did you watch the Country Music documentary?

Gruhn’s, Carter’s.

16

Did you watch the Country Music documentary?

Gruhn’s, Carter’s.

– hammerhands

If you have to choose one guitar store, Definitely Carter's. And it's about 8 blocks from the CMHOF, and just 3 or 4 blocks from Third Man. Gruhn's is no longer downtown.

17

Did you watch the Country Music documentary?

Gruhn’s, Carter’s.

– hammerhands

You mean the Ken Burns series? Indeed I did. I'm also listening to the Cocaine and Rhinestones: History of Country Music podcast, which is very good.

I'm afraid to go into guitar stores!But I may, anyway. Thanks for the tips.

18

Had a great time in Nashville. So great to see all that music history - the Ryman, RCA Studio B, and the stuff in the museums. Also my first trip to Tennessee and to the American South!

Saw Elvis Costello at the Ryman. Got to the show early to try to get a Hatch show print of the show, but they didn't have any! According to a friend who lives in Nashville, it's only the third time there hasn't been a Hatch print for a show at the Ryman - the others being, iirc, Neil Young and Tom Waits.

The Lower Broadway experience was a bit much for me, although it was mostly nice to experience. Like a cross between spring break, Las Vegas with cowboy hats, and a moveable bachelorette party. The cycle-pubs! Kid Rock's honky tonk. Good lord.

Enjoyed visiting Ernest Tubb's music store. After the Ryman backstage tour Saturday afternoon (I stored my bags with a service called BagBnB, which stores bags at bars and restaurants - mine was an Italian restaurant just around the corner from my hotel), I went to Tootsie's just to check it out. Came in through the back entrance (to keep it real), had a beer at the downstairs bar, then ventured upstairs. Fairly tourist packed, but not too bad. Band playing had the dude from Premier Guitar videos, John Bolger, on guitar. Went back later that night - so crowded. A drunk woman spilled her drink all down my shirt.

But the advice to visit Robert's as a good honky tonk proved to be right on. Managed to find a seat at the bar, and had a good time there.

Spent a long time at the Country Music Hall of Fame and could have spent another hour or two there. They did a great job with that. Also loved the Musicians Hall of Fame (thanks again, Joe C, for the reco!).

Thanks all for the recommendations. I'll post a few pics of stuff that may be of interest to you folks.

19

Streamliner presented to Chet as a prototype of the 6120. At the Country Music Hall of Fame, iirc.

21

Jack White's Rancher Custom, "Rita." At the Ryman.

22

Amps at RCA Studio B. I'm told by a bassist friend that the Ampeg a B-15 "portaflex". You flip up the clips on the side, lift the head off, invert it and it goes inside the cabinet, for transporting.

23

Amps at RCA Studio B. I'm told by a bassist friend that the Ampeg a B-15 "portaflex". You flip up the clips on the side, lift the head off, invert it and it goes inside the cabinet, for transporting.

– Jimbodiddley

I have used that particular Ampeg in a recording session there along with a Gibson/Epiphone Howard Roberts model that they used to have as one of the house instruments.

I would have offered to meet you and show you around, but I already had a gig in Chattanooga that weekend, and a full plate of commitments for the rest of the weekend. Glad you had a great trip.

25

I look at Broadway Nashville on Google street view these days and marvel at how it has changed since I visited in 1988. Gruhn's was still there back then but the street was so much less colourful. In fact it was as quiet as can be and had quite an unpleasant vibe.

Nashville and Memphis both had an almost depression era feel to them back then. The city centres were dead and everyone we asked would say that everyone was in the suburban malls these days. So even though it looks way too touristy now I suspect it's a lot nicer place to be than it was in 1988. Some of the places we stayed were downright scary!

I sure would like to visit again. There are heaps of places I would love to see, and these days I'm not a poor backpacker. Still not rich but a step up from backpacking!


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