Saturday, May 7, 2011

Notes on Nashvegas

Nashville has always been closely tied to music whether it's stereotypical country or, as the people who live here know, all the other kinds of music that gets played here on an hourly basis.

Rolling Stone
recently anointed dear Nashvegas as the best music scene in the country, which is pretty exciting. I couldn't tell you if it's true or not, but I can definitely go there. Nashville is a great place to live if you love music and part of why that is, is the community here. It's the way people react to each other. It's not just the Ryman Auditorium but the people that go there to see a show.

That said, the funny thing was that for some reason Rolling Stone decided to interview a bunch of musicians who aren't from here– recent transplants like Ke$ha, the drummer from the Black Keys and Jack White's wife, Karen Elson. They might be huge and plugged into the industry in ways that a twenty-one-year-old college student is not, but I think it's always been more about those college kids. That's where the heart comes from.

I know very well these types of articles are hard to write, but I think if they had called the Nashville Scene (our alt weekly) and talked to a writer, or one of the local college newspapers, they would have been better informed and been able to put together a piece that showcased real Nashvillians and their tastes and habits versus famous people and their penchants for expensive denim (and how is that part of the music scene?) Here's my beef:

+ No mention of Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom- I would argue it's one (guess it's actually two spaces, technically) of the best concert spaces in the city. It's really a fantastic place to see a show.

+ In 17 years here, I've never heard a soul call the Ryman "God's own listening room." Mother church of country music? Yes. According to Google, this "listening room" phrase came from Prairie Home Companion's website circa March... 2011.

+ They talked about Grimey's but not the Basement, which is the venue directly below it.... in the basement. I just thought that was weird. The Basement, at least in my mind, is another defining venue for Nashville. Speaking of Grimey's and The Basement, the guy that co-owns both, Mike Grimes, is a figure who shouldn't be left out of the story.

+ Possibly the most confounding part of the whole thing is that they didn't talk at all about any local bands. Not one.

+ Then there was this line: "Daytime booze is a time-honored tradition in Nashville." Um?

Anyway, there were a few other things, but these were the ones that really stuck out. The Nashville music scene is great. You should experience it for yourself.

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