Music City it is called, and justifiably so. Live bands and singers are on show in almost every Nashville bar and honky-tonk you could care to wave a guitar at. The people (those who aren’t tourists) are friendly, relaxed and helpful and this is one city I could live in quite happily. Probably, to appreciate this all properly you’d have to be a real country music fan, but there is something for everyone. Some folks are clearly just living it up and getting drunk at 12 midday. (Not us, you may be surprised to learn….) Here is a top-ten list of things to do in Nashville, Tennessee in no particular order. The ones we haven’t done yet, we are doing tomorrow.
1) Visit The Country Music Hall Of Fame (And Museum)
It’s not even necessary to be a country music fan. This place takes you on a journey through the whole of country music history and has orginal lyrics to some songs by Dylan and a whole host of other memorabilia. Do that thang.
Oh how I love guitars
2) Buy Cowboy Boots
Ok, so they’re expensive, corny, probably damage your feet, and are of little practical use if you don’t own a horse, Buuut, they are cool. Try and get respect in Nashville without ’em…. These are the third pair of my life, black, simple, real made-in-America, and look “good” with jeans or with smart clothes. And they’ll last. And you can go line dancing in them. There is one real expensive place to buy them in town: Nashville Cowboy, on 2nd Avenue and the folks in there were great. However, unless you want to pay 800 dollars for a pair, you’d better try someplace else. A good shop was Trail West — also on 2nd Avenue. They were less frills and spills than the other place, but still far better than the “buy three pairs of boots for 50 bucks” shops that plagued Commerce Street and broadway.
3) Get Tattoos
I’m just going to put these up, then sit back and wait for the shocked, scandalized and reproachful phone calls from my mother.
My ragged pirate flag
Nick's "to dare is to do" tattoo -- motto of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and worthy advice in life always
4) Get Drunk In A Honky-Tonk
Well, we weren’t hugely drunk, but I’m afraid, a bit drunk, I really was. the band was loud, the food was spicy and completely unhealthy, the staff were refreshingly irreverent (though very friendly), the drinks were strong and the girls were easy (though, before you ask; no, I’m taken). It was a perfect place, but Nashville is full of perfect places. Our bar of choice was the Tin Roof on Demonbraun Street. Recommended.
Just a small sample of what you can drink
5) Appreciate The Old Architecture
I don’t even know what this building is, but it’s great. Just sitting there on Nashville’s Broadway, about a stone’s throw from the honky-tonks.
Old and Beautiful
6) Appreciate The Modern Architecture
I don’t even know what this building is. But it’s modern and beautiful and about a stone’s throw from the honky-tonks. (Yes, I will admit my ignorance regarding architectural matters. If anybody wants to enlighten me, then I’m very willing to listen.)
New and Beautiful
7) Listen To A Cowboy Radio Station
So they’re rough-and-ready; they make on-air mistakes, but they’re entertaining and if you like that kinda music, it’s great. And sure, I like that music. The conversation went like this: (both speakers are male, mid-fifties, with deep southern accents).
speaker 1: So I know you’ve got us a story bout good ol’ jack…”
speaker 2: Well, yeah I do. Y’see, he used to drive a hearst, filled up in the back with Jackie D and beer the whole time.
speaker 1: A “hearst”?
speaker 2: Yep, a you stab ’em or shoot ’em, we pack ’em, slab ’em and bury ’em kind of a hearst. He made one of my favourite songs too.
speaker 1: Well, why don’ you jes play it for us cowboy?
It happened exactly like that. And the song was one helluva tune too.
8.) Take Pictures Of All The Elvises On Broadway
There are loads of them. All different and with their own particular style, but all, nevertheless, quite similar. Here’s a sample of two of them. I’ll leave to you the thrill of photographing all the others. The legs always seem to be the same while the torso is in different positions — maybe they’re moldable or something. If you wanted to kit out the trashiest lounge room in the world, one of these would have to be on the to-buy list.
Elvis number 1
Elvis number 2
9) Visit Johnny Cash’s Grave
He was the man in black; always fighting for the poor and beaten-down, never stopping in his path to make a few things right, and his songs have that timeless quality that will ensure he lives on throughout the ages. A real legend, not just in country music, but in music in general. Johnny had a few problems in his time and if you haven’t yet seen “Walk the Line” I thoroughly recommend it. We had to go and pay our respects. Not actually in Nashville, but in Hendersonville which is close by. And, of course, we wore black.
And a white horse approached him
10) Go Horse Riding
We actually have this booked for Monday, not tomorrow, but I figured it deserved a mention. The old trusty beast on which the west was won, the land discovered and the wars battled. Which other way is there to discover the real feel of the freedom of the great frontiers?
Get on your horse and... no, that's not right...