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Posted by on Dec 11, 2012

Behind the Scenes in Nashville


The last stop on our grand tour of the U.S. took us to Nashville, Tenn. We were excited to continue our live music tour after having heard a few good acts already in Austin and New Orleans. We were not disappointed.

Music Row in Music City U.S.A.

Music Row in Music City U.S.A.

While not pure country devouts, we do listen to a lot of alt-country and more modern folk music so we were excited to be in one of our country’s music capitals.

Not totally familiar with the Nashville music scene and its history, we decided to take a walking tour (Walkin’ Nashville) to study up a bit. Our nearly two-hour tour with Bill was just what we needed to learn about the lore and love of the Nashville sound. It’s quite possible we were the last people in town to know there is a current evening drama called Nashville that has everyone across the country talking about Music City U.S.A.

Walkin' Nashville in Printer's Alley

Walkin’ Nashville in Printer’s Alley

The tour took us through Printer’s Alley, by the Ryman Auditorium and down Broadway Street past some of the legendary honky-tonk bars all while providing facts about famed artists like Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Charlie Pride, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and many more. Priced at $16, it was a worthwhile investment to learn so much about the history of Nashville and about some of its dark side.

Bill also told us about the Bluebird Cafe, which is small music venue a few miles from downtown. (Come to find out if we had been watching Nashville, we wouldn’t have needed the tip).

The Bluebird is an unassuming 100-seat cafe in an older strip mall set in between a barber shop and a dry cleaner. For the early show, you can show up when the doors open to try to get one of the 25 first-come, first-serve seats. We raced out-of-town and arrived a few minutes before the doors opened. I counted the people as I walked to the back of the line…19, 20, 21, 22…we were going to be lucky to get in.

Fortunately, some of the people in line had reservations so after 10 minutes we were shown to two bar stools directly near the musicians circle. There was no cover charge and the only requirement was to spend $7 on food or beverages. An amazing deal.

Musicians in the Round at Bluebird

Musicians in the Round at Bluebird

The artists sat in a circle and took turns telling stories and singing. That night we listened to four great musicians – Lani Nash, Pete Mroz and 19-year old twins The Mann Sisters. We easily would have paid $15-$20 a ticket to listen to the show. It was one of the most intimate nights of music we’ve seen and a highlight of the trip. Nashville residents are lucky to have such an amazing place in their backyard.

Of course, no southern city was complete without a stop for some BBQ. This installment is brought to you by Jack’s Bar-B-Que.

One of the last ribs of the trip!

One of the last ribs of the trip!

Nashville got me thinking about the music we had listened to while traversing through 10 states over two weeks.

After nearly 4,000 miles, we had listened to countless songs and albums.  Our third passenger on the trip was Dave’s iPhone and its Rhapsody app.  Thank goodness for downloaded music on long stretches with no cell coverage.

Here is our USA Road Trip 2012 playlist with the most heard songs in the Subaru.  May we never listen to these songs again.

  • Everything Zen – Bush
  • The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room & Business Time – Flight of the Conchords
  • Drumming Song – Florence & The Machine
  • Love Interruption – Jack White
  • Going to Hell – Kathleen Edwards
  • Victory Dance – My Morning Jacket
  • Down by the River – Neil Young (only listened to when we were in the home stretch and needed a song to last for at least 109 minutes)
  • Don’t Forget Me – Neko Case
  • Champagne Supernova – Oasis
  • Taking the Long Way Around – Dixie Chicks
  • Crown of Thorns – Pearl Jam
  • Peace Signs – Sharon Van Etten
  • Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
  • England & Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks -The National
  • Quadrophenia – The Who
  • Jumper – Third Eye Blind
  • Midnight on the Interstate – Trampled by Turtles
  • Company in My Back; The Late Greats; Handshake Drugs – Wilco

Next stop, Sweet Home Chicago!


  1. You have made me want to take a cross-country road trip! We look forward to seeing you in Chi-town!

    • It had been years since I had done a road trip like this and it was just as much fun as I remember. Highly encourage it!