Nashville has an ego. Lights, signs and neons all big as that ego with history gone to it’s head. It’s been ‘Music City – USA’ since WSM AM radio cast out it’s shout over 38 states with weekly live shows and recordings. Broadcasts began in 1925, name was claimed 1950 set against rock and roll. ‘Birthplace of bluegrass’, ‘home of country music’, ‘songwriting capital of the world’; There’s plenty of others to pick from.
We arrive at our digs, a cheap bare-bones basic with a mattress on planks, planks set on thick blue-grey blocks. We’re on a budget, it’s clean and it’s cool and the kitchen has all that we need. The bus stop outside took us into town centre, or would have if we hadn’t been warned. Our host said ‘this aint Europe and busses are different, I wouldn’t get on them if I wasn’t armed’. Well we weren’t and we figured we’d listen.
Nashville has an ego. Lights, signs and neons all big as that ego with history gone to it’s head. It’s main strip is crammed with yellow shine windows, each packed with a band that can play dusk til dawn. County rawk, rock, occasional rockabilly, they play without pause and for nothing but tips. History’s kids for a slice of their own. Standards are high though the crowd pleasers grate, every night’s Friday right here.
But don’t doubt the effect of the lights and the noise, it dizzies the senses, it’s woozy and bright, it’s always two steps down from glamour… Bodies slump over signs that are asking for dollars, zombies wander among music history Disney.
Diner room walls and star studded floors, walk of fame names shown off every chance and why not? Relics, museums, music and love, trinkets, guitar picks and love of music plus more cowboy boot shops than feet on the street. The Johnny Cash museum is almost an essential, it brings home the human behind the man; his achievements, his downfalls, his views on prison reform hard to argue against, and the sheer magnitude of success. Patsy Cline has her shrine located just above.
it’s a long time for some since nineteen fifty-sixty, for Nashville it’s longer than most. High rises, high prices, new churches and homeless… the city’s outliving it’s ghosts.