Aug 30, 2010

Nashville, Tennessee was dubbed “Music City” by England’s Queen Victoria. In 1874 the Fisk Jubilee Singers performed for Queen Victoria who is reported to have said, "These young people must surely come from a musical city." From spirituals to the symphony, music is the life and soul of the city. In fact music is even piped onto the streets.

1. A royal performance: The original Fish Jubilee Singers, most of whom were former slaves, were students of Fisk University who introduced the world, including Queen Victoria, to slave songs in an effort to raise money for their university. The tradition continues. Check for their performance schedule.

2. The “Carnegie of the South:” Before the Ryman Theater became famous as the home of the Grand Ole Opry in 1925, Enrico Caruso, John Philip Sousa, the Vienna Orchestra, and other notables performed on stage. From 1943 to 1974 the Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry which occasionally still hosts the show as well as a variety of other performances.

3. Opryland: Today the Opryland is a one-stop destination located a few miles from downtown in the largest non-gambling hotel complex in the United States. Now home to the Grand Ole Opry, the hotel is an attraction unto itself with shops, restaurants, tropical indoor gardens, waterfalls, including a flat boat ride on the indoor river.

4. The famous: The building that houses the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is designed to look like a piano keyboard and a four-tiered tower representing the evolution from the 78 RPM record to the CD. Displays range from the Hall of Fame to Elvis’ solid gold Cadillac to video clips.

5. The music makers: The Musicians Hall of Fame celebrates those who played the music for the singers who became famous. Singers who wanted the best to play when they recorded called for musicians known as “The A Team.” Hall of Fame guitarist Harold Bradley recalled, "One session would be with Elvis Presley, another with Patsy Cline, then Kitty Wells...,"

6. “Shhhh!” The Bluebird café is a unique “listening room” where their slogan is “Shhh!” They offer libations and food but in the evening songwriters like Don Schlitz, who wrote “The Gambler” and helped establish the café’s music in the round format, entertain. Sunday night features new writers and an opportunity to hear tomorrow's hits today.

7. Honky-Tonking: The corner of Fifth and Broadway is the entrance to Honky Tonk Highway lined with bars with no cover charge and live music. The most famous is Tootsies Orchid Lounge – a place many famous musicians have called home. Other favorites are The Legend and The Stage.

8. Get Wild! When the Wildhorse Saloon opened in 1994, Reba McEntire was performing on stage while a herd of cattle stampeded past the front doors. Since that day guests have been stampeding to the saloon to enjoy the great food including fried pickles, learn how to line dance, and enjoy a variety of music on a regular basis.

9. Get the scoop: One of the tours offered by Gray Line Tours drives past the homes of country music artists including Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Ronnie Dunn, Kix Brooks, and other musical greats. Think of it as “Entertainment Tonight” on wheels.

10. It Shimmers! Nashville isn’t just country. Nashvillians are especially proud of their new Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The neoclassic design belies the fact that the building is only a year old and incorporates the best technological and acoustical advances.