Places, Spaces, and People
I’m one of those rare birds who actually grew up right here in Nashville. We may have moved away when I was in high school, but my heart always stayed right here. When I got the chance to move back, I jumped at the chance. I can’t see myself living anywhere else (though my husband’s grand plans of retiring in his home country of Ireland are certainly growing on me.)
Because I have such a history with this amazing, vibrant, and not-so-country-music city, my favorite spaces, places, and faces are plenty. I could wax poetic for days and never say enough, so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I’ll start with what Nashville is known for and give you my favorite Nashville bands.
I’ve been following them for a couple of years now, and I’m so thrilled to see all the successes they’ve experienced lately. Most recently, they’ve contributed a Daytrotter session, an Audiotree session, and have had a song featured on Grey’s Anatomy. Trying to classify their sound might not be fair, as they’re infectious like pop but not as sugary. Ellsworth knows how to rock, but listeners want to dance, too. All I know is they’re incredibly talented, nicer than anyone needs to be, and super humble. I can’t wait to see them sweep the nation and get the accolades they deserve.
Also veterans to the Nashville indie music scene is Buffalo Clover, a band steeped in the classic rock sound of the 60s with lots of country music roots and southern sensibility. The lead singer, Margo Price, is a slip of a woman with a voice about ten times her size, and she commands the stage during every performance. Each CD released has a different feel, a different style, but they manage to bring it all together into their own signature sound. They’ve also appeared on Daytrotter for a session, and they’re primed to take the world by storm.
Who doesn’t already know about Jack White?
To hear these amazing bands, I end up at a lot of great live music venues. Some are better than others, but all have great calendars with musicians from all over the world scheduled. Most weekends, you’ll find me at any one of these locations:
Once a hole-in-the-wall tucked into a strip mall, 3rd and Lindsley has recently stepped up its game with a massive makeover. The best thing is they serve food throughout the shows, so there’s no need to cram a PBJ before the concert. My favorite shows here have included Bobby Long and Ernie Halter.
Literally the basement of Grimey’s New and Preloved Music, The Basement feels like a secret rendezvous or speakeasy. I love that it’s hidden from the main street and kind of hard to find--makes me feel like I’m in the loop. The most memorable shows here have been Heyrocco and Swear and Shake.
I do cook--very much against my will--but not every night. If we get the chance to eat out, my husband and I prefer locally owned restaurants. East Nashville, where we live, is not short on some amazing culinary treats. You’ll probably find us in one of these restaurants.
The epitome of shabby chic, this restaurant offers some truly unique and creative dishes. Every time we go, the menu is different. My husband has never shut up about the steak he had, though the story has been somewhat exaggerated over time. While the beef was pretty special, no one believes him when he insists the cows received massages before they hit the plate.
Located right behind Holland House, The Pharmacy is perfect for burgers and beer. They stay true to the theme and bring grenadine in apothecary bottles to add to your coke for just the right mixture. I recommend the malts, though. Sometimes I can’t help myself and get a second one to go.
Of course, there are other East Nashville wonders that everyone should discover. I also recommend Rosepepper Cantina, Eastland Café, Mad Donna’s, and Batter’d and Fried, just to name a few.
I don’t just haunt East Nashville. Downtown Nashville has some pretty amazing spots, too, and the suburbs are absolutely gorgeous. When we really want to get away, we head to the lake in Hendersonville just north of the city. The park has gorgeous spots for picnics and play, and the Long Hollow Winery between Hendersonville and Goodlettsville is excellent for local wines.
Franklin is another afternoon trip we often take. The quaint downtown is filled with history and charm, but the stores and restaurants are very modern. We like to pretend we can afford the antiques at The Factory for our house, but I really just go to get ideas I can copy with purchases from the thrift store. If you’re interested at all in the Civil war, Carnton Plantation is pretty incredible. Located near some famous Civil War battlefields, this house was refuge to wounded soldiers during skirmishes. Aside from that, it’s just beautiful to see.
If you get a chance to visit my Nashville, I hope you’ll take the time to seek out some of the local and historic spots. Broadway is pretty cool with its bright lights and honky tonks, but it’s just the very surface of what Nashville has to offer.