Nashville, Day 1

“I feel like I’m on to something good, I’m better moving on than going back, I’ll ride this train till it runs out of track, I feel like I’m on to something, something, something” – Ashley Monroe

Miles traveled: 0.0

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I’m so excited to be in Nashville. It’s always been on my bucket list, and I have always heard great things about the city. So today I’ve got a couple of places I want to check out before the concert later. First stop – the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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I like all kinds of music – rock & roll, country, alternative, folk & bluegrass, singer/songwriter, classic rock, and pop. If it’s good music, chances are I will listen to it. I grew up listening to country music, so it is always something I have enjoyed – from the classics to the new chart toppers, it’s just fun to listen to. So Music City is just the perfect place to get my country music fix. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a massive building in the heart of downtown Nashville. It has several temporary exhibits in addition to the permanent ones. So my first stop was the 3rd floor to check out the Sam Phillips exhibit (which had just opened a few days ago). Now if you will remember from my Memphis visit, Sam Phillips was the guy who brought Rock & Roll to the masses by recording the likes of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc at Sun Records. He played a major roll in music history, and is certainly worthy of the great exhibit in the hall of fame museum.

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My next stop was to walk through the exhibit for Trisha Yearwood, before walking through the early days of country music. So many cool instruments, boots, stage costumes, memorabilia, etc to see and read about from some of the most famous country music legends around. To get down to the next level, you walk a spiral staircase next to the wall of platinum and gold – every platinum and gold album in country music is on that wall – it will be interesting to see what the do when they run out of space!   Next, I checked out the Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan exhibit which was really coll to walk through. They really influenced a major part of the music world and paved the way for the artists that aren’t traditional or mainstream. Finally on the first level, I walked through the Luke Bryan exhibit (he’s the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, so traditionally they have an exhibit for that particular individual) and then through more recent history and current-day trends, artists, and what the future of country music looks like. The last stop, is the hall of fame room for those given the highest honor in country music. Super cool to walk around the hall of fame room and see many of the great artists honored on the wall.

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I also checked out RCA Studio B, not too far from the Hall of Fame museum. This is the only studio you can go into in Nashville, and it has recorded some pretty amazing artists. It is still an active studio (although B is used mostly for tours) for artists to record their music in. Folks like Patsy Cline, Elvis, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings, Martina McBride, and many others recorded hits here, making it one of the most famous recording studios in the world.  Yes, the world. It produced 1000s of hits, and many Grammy winning songs – Gentle on My Mind, Jolene, Coat of Many Colors, Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’, and Elvis’ How Great Thou Art just to name a tiny few. I even got to stand on the ‘sweet spot’ in the studio and check out the old piano – alleged to be Elvis’ favorite piano to play on – that Elvis and many others have sat at and played during recordings. Lots of history in this little space – so very cool to get to walk in and hear the original records of some of the amazing tracks that came out of some of the recording sessions.

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standing on the sweet spot in studio B

standing on the sweet spot in studio B

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the piano Elvis liked

the piano Elvis liked

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My next stop was Hatch Show Print. Now I didn’t know much about this place, but it came by a suggestion as a pretty cool place to check out while I am in town.   Hatch Show Print is one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in the US. The shop has created original art for Elvis, the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman, Roy Acuff, Patsy Cline, Coldplay, Widespread Panic, Wilco, Weezer, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, just to name a few. They still create new work daily. One thing I thought was pretty cool was that they don’t take orders online, and seldom use computers. When you order prints, you work with the same person throughout the entire process. Your prints can have 3 colors max, and the designer creates the poster design by hand, which may entail hand-carving specific images that the artist wants. It is an amazing process that has produced so may classic tour posters. And I got to even try my hand at using a letterpress. So cool.

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After wrapping up these three must-dos, I walked around the city and up and down Broadway before stopping into Acme Feed & Seed for an early dinner before heading just a couples blocks down on the Cumberland River to catch a show at the brand new Ascend Amphitheater – tonight’s line-up? The Devil Makes Three & Old Crow Medicine Show. Awesome concert in an amazing venue with the city of Nashville as the back-drop!

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Until next time…

-traveljunkE

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