The Nashville Riverfront houses concert and event venues, plus parks for play and city views to admire
Published July/August 2014

Music City Plays On

Nashville strikes the right chord with audiophiles of every genre

BYSally J. Clasen
Two well-developed myths exist about Nashville. One is that it’s simply a country music town. The other is that everyone who lives there wears cowboy boots. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.  
 
The fact is, Nashville is an urban but gracious Southern city that eats, sleeps, and breathes music — all kinds of music. Around every corner and alley, on every stage, and in places in between, music is the common denominator that unifies this capital city of Tennessee. 
 
Country music is undoubtedly the backbone, but Nashville proudly honors and showcases its extraordinary influence in crafting a cross section of sound, including country, rock, gospel, and blues.
 
A Tribute to the Greats
Nashville is surely filled with the weeping ghosts of lost music deals, but the spirit of those who have famously made it here as singers, songwriters, and recording musicians is proudly celebrated.
 
A major attraction to honor those who have paved the way is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located on the west bank of the Cumberland River. The expansive, 40,000-square-foot building houses historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits that include personal items (see over-the-top collections such as Elvis’ solid-gold Cadillac), instruments, costumes, and photographs. The museum holds regular live performances and public programs, and recently opened the $4 million-endowed Taylor Swift Education Center. Be sure to circle the Hall of Fame rotunda honoring the heart and soul of country music during your visit. And look for the architectural symbolism: windows that resemble piano keys and the giant sweeping arch on the right side of the building that juts out like a 1950s Cadillac fin. 
 
Another sightseeing gem — on a different scale — is the Johnny Cash Museum, a relative newcomer to the museum scene in Nashville that is getting rave reviews. The small space is in the heart of Nashville and is a moving and comprehensive tribute to the Man in Black. The museum contains never-before-seen historical documents, letters, awards, costumes, and instruments that take visitors on a three-dimensional journey — with interactive technology — through Cash’s life. The memorabilia includes his gold and platinum records, set lists, and some of June Carter’s personal items. If you’re lucky, you might meet a member of Cash’s family or his band members, who often visit the museum.
 
 
Four-time Grammy award winning country singer Keith Urban became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2012
Four-time Grammy award winning country singer Keith Urban became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2012
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