So my first blog post of my travels is of good ol’ Nashville, Tennessee (note a drawl as I say this in my head) – the first Southern state of the United States for me to have visited. When I announced to my Facebook community that I was enroute to Nashville I jokingly claimed the following:
Nashville pulsates with country music and although this was never a genre I knew about I decided I was going to fully embrace it! And what better place to start than at the ……
My cousin who had her 9-5 (boo hiss) to get to, dutifully dropped me off as I began my lone wander around all things country.
I’m sure some people may have thought I was lost….’is she in the right place?’, ‘Were you trying to get somewhere Ma’am?’ (said in a Southern drawl) They were right though I became totally lost in it all especially learning about the history and roots of country music. It really has had a colourfully flavoured mixture of influences from folk music, blue grass, gospel, hillbilly country, rock ‘n’ roll and Western pop.
There were two feature exhibits I particularly enjoyed: 1.
The man who discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes fame) and owned Sun Records, he was revolutionary to the country music scene pushing it beyond its confines and fusing it with black blues to become rock and roll. He was revolutionary in his thinking at the time opening the first all-female radio station in the USA. He was inducted not only into the Country Music Hall of Fame (2001) but also into the Rock and Roll (1986), Rockabilly and Blues (1998) Halls of Fame which just shows his influence on the music world.
This exhibit really focused on Nashville being such an influential hub for country music as Dylan and Cash often recorded here and brought more artists to the city for inspiration. There was a plethora of new artists I got to read about as I wondered through this exhibition and later when I came home I was able to excitedly show off my new knowledge to my dear friend Amy who is a country music buff. (o: The exhibit runs until Dec 2016 so try and catch it if you can!
As I was integrating into the history of all things country I also noted that it wasn’t just music; it was in way for some a way of life! From country music fashion designers like Nathan Turk (a native from Poland), Katy K (1940s and 1950s inspired range) and Sandi Spika to cars and guitars, country music artists had their own style.
Webb Pierce a Honky-Tonk star paid $20,000 to customise his Pontiac. Note the details below including the gun door handle! In the interior of the car more than a thousand silver dollar coins in the inlay of the upholstery – hence the name.
The Wall of Gold and Platinum Records
These rooms were incredible; so many artists smashing beyond their goals. A gold record is awarded to an artist that has sold at least 500,000 copies and a platinum record awarded if you have sold at least a million and many artists on these walls were multiple platinum!
The Hall of Fame
This room was circular with a quote surrounding the room saying’ Will the Circle be Unbroken?’ and had a sculpture that protruded down into the middle of the hall. It was quite peaceful the room (check out my instagram video of it) and I admired the architectural design of the room as it housed over 100 inductee plaques in the Hall of Fame.
The two most famous inductees (or that I knew anyway ) – Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley. Although now due to my country music education I was now able to recognise a few more as this was my last stop of the tour.
Sometimes going on holiday allows us to step out of our interest zone and learn something new. I revelled in it all and now plan to listen to a couple of country tracks on Spotify! Honour Thy Music as they say!