I’ve often heard the Deep South described as a ‘musical landscape’, so when I chose to go on a tour of his region I knew I was heading out on a musical journey. Being a music lover (and a bit of a food lover too) I was looking forward to experiencing what the Deep South had to offer. And I have to say it delighted me in every way!
I began my journey in style in ‘Music City’, Nashville. This place is just brimming with musical talent. It’s on the streets, in the Honky-Tonks on Broadway, in the parks and even up on the bridge! Whatever your musical taste if you look hard enough you could probably find it here, or you could just embrace country music, it’s infectious! Nashville comes to life in the evenings, I spent my first night on Broadway dipping in and out of various venues, catching some great bands and singers, my favourite spots were ‘Tootsies’ and ‘The Second Fiddle’, which had a friendly atmosphere, down to earth vibe and great music.
To get into my country groove, you might like to listen to my Nashville soundtrack here…
Honestly I wasn’t a huge country music fan when I left the UK but by day two in Nashville I was converted. I started my day at the amazing Johnny Cash museum, getting to know this American icon. Its a great collection of Cash memorabilia and personal items charting his life. There were music booths and films along with letters, scripts, lyrics and his guitars. It was a very honest and personal exhibit, and I felt I came away knowing the ‘Man in black’ a little better and loving his music even more!
At lunchtime I was trying on over-priced cowboy boots on Broadway. By mid-afternoon I was working my way through the Country Music Hall of Fame and by nightfall I was in my seat at the Grand Ole Opry, rocking out to some great country talent both young and old.
A night at the Opry
Often called “The Show that Made Country Music Famous” the Grand Ole Opry is an American icon in itself, a weekly country music show, broadcast live on the radio and famously known as one of the longest running radio broadcasts in history. It seemed a must do in Nashville, even though (as I might have mentioned before) I was not a huge country music fan, it wasn’t top of my list… but I’m so glad I went!
Although it’s dedicated to country music, the Opry embraces a mix of musical genres from country to bluegrass, folk and gospel, there is something for everyone. I love live music and I always feel when you try something new, you can often be surprised at what you find and what you like!
And that’s exactly what happened that night at the Opry, I found a band called Needtobreathe. The final band of the night, which so far had been quite sedate (sitting in pews it does feel a bit like a church) suddenly became a One Direction concert with the band taking the stage and the girls in the row next to me going wild! A cross between country, bluegrass and Christian rock, they had a refreshing sound, a youthful vibe and their songs stayed with me on my travels in the Deep South as you can see in my video of the whole trip here:
More photos from Music City
Look out for Sounds of the Deep South Part Two: Next up Memphis! Coming soon…