Nashville Honky-Tonking

By Stephanie Ford

Nashville is the country music mecca of the south with a history as thick as a Tennessee accent. Music fills the air every night of the week from the downtown districts to the surrounding Smokey Mountain hilltops. Upon our arrival, I realized we had hit the jackpot with our booked downtown loft, finding ourselves in the middle of it all. We were just blocks away from Music Row and Broadway, Printers Alley, Ryman OdditoriumJohnny Cash Museum, and the Musicians Hall of Fame. It was a non-stop adventure from day one. After settling in, I was ready to hit the ground running to explore the neon jungle of Broadway Street better known as Music Row. First Stop, Acme Feed and Seed. This downtown relic was Built in 1890 and it has seen many faces. Originally opened as a grocery store turned farm supply store and is currently a restaurant/bar/music venue. The restorative efforts of the current owners have nailed the essence of Nashville’s history. I suddenly became whisked away into a time warp. Next stop: Music Row. Lined with bars and honky-tonks, we had landed in Nashville’s musical core, hitting at least a dozen clubs on the way. First, we stopped at the slightly rugged and rowdy, Nashville Crossroads. Inside, we sat in awe during the set and energy of Benny Carl (Benny the tip) as he back-bended, air-kicked, and pranced all over the stage like a long-haired, tatted, rock-and-roll devil in the middle of country music heaven. 

The next day we peeled ourselves out of bed, slowly nursing a hell-fire of a hangover craving some hot chicken eating at the fantastic Hattie-B’s, a tour of the Johnny Cash Museum, and Nashville’s very own Greek replica of the Parthenon in the middle of Centennial Park. Strangely enough, located in the middle of downtown. On our last day, we ventured out to Music Valley and toured Cooter’s place museum from the 1970s-80s TV show The Dukes of Hazard. Right outside was a beautiful replica of the Duke Boy’s General Lee. Later, we ventured Next door to the legendary Nashville Palace, where Randy Travis got his start as a dishwasher(?!). Also, adding to our surprise, we arrived in the middle of Mel Tillis Jr. and his band playing a matinee set. I mean, Come on! Mel Tillis Jr.? I guess it’s just one of those things you encounter in the middle of Country Music heaven. 

At night, we headed down to one of the most anticipated exploring spots in Nashville, Printers Alley, with its throwback Prohibition Era hidden alley bars like the posh Skull’s Rainbow Room and basement bar, Alley Taps. What a fantastic ending to our adventure time in music city. I’m not your typical Country music fan, but I left as one. Nashville is hands down the Country music go-to of the South, filled with cowboy boots, neon lights, plucking guitars, hair bands, and more. I felt right at home with my southern-rooted senses electrified! I will be anticipating my return for sure with boots on this time. 

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