Broadway Street “The Honky Tonk district”
There is a special excitement to beginning a road trip vacation with a new minimalist agenda. It’s a relief just to leave the old routines behind. On the way here, we enjoyed a picnic lunch of fried chicken, saw Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and a huge crowd at an air show in Louisville.
In Music City, the first thing we did was to hit the Honky-tonk district for dinner, eating dinner at Rippy’s, a Bar-B-Q joint with two rooms of live music. Both groups did a nice job, one traditional country, one a bit bluesy.
Broadway Street was choked with people on a Saturday night. It was a crushing mesh-up of neon, rock, country, blues, street venders, street musicians, bar security personnel, police presence, young adults, ripped jeans, cowboy boots, girls wearing Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots, lines of people waiting to get into the hot spots, and homeless people selling their own newspaper.
I think the streets were cleaner and the people more considerate that you find in other similar district elsewhere. My hat is off to Nashville for keeping it that way. One block from Broadway is Church Street which has a lot of guess what on it… churches. That’s Nashville churches and bars… both venues for musicians. Such Americana. I love it!
Day two we toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, a modern, world class museum that is under construction to more than double its exhibit space. The rotunda where the plaques of all of the inductees hang had a reverential feel about it. I like that you can see into the actual archives of the museum beyond the various exhibits. The museum houses Elvis’ gold Cadillac and the gold and platinum records of all the artists.
The accompanying Studio B tour was fascinating because of who has recorded there and because it is still a functioning studio. Reba was so excited, she ran into the building the building with her car. Elvis damaged a cabinet there. A who’s who of country, early rock acts, and other genres have recorded there.
Elvis recorded Are you Lonesome Tonight? there in the wee hours of the morning in complete darkness at Studio B. I was told there is a very slight thump at the end of recording. It was Elvis bumping his head on the mic because he couldn’t see.
During one session, The King wanted to demonstrate how he could disarm a person using karate. He told one of his guards to pull his gun. Elvis promptly disarmed him with one of his black belt moves and the hand gun was flung in the air landing embedded in the back of the guitar of one his band members.
The Cascade area of The Opryland Hotel is an amazing tropical garden, complete with multiple waterfalls, huge vegetation, and restaurants.
We had dinner at The Loveless Café which is a little drive from Nashville and worth every mile, if you dig great biscuits and jams and homemade southern food, go there.
Nashville is full of striking modern architecture, rich in music history and tradition, and still booming. It is great entertainment venue, yet there is a cool family feel of connectedness there.