Nashville is dubbed the “country music capital of the world” for a very good reason. Although I’ve only been here an hour, I’ve already got country music coursing through my veins. The city that spawned music legends like Elvis, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson does that to you.
What brought me here? More4’s hit series Nashville. The show follows a respected but ageing country music star (Connie Britton) who takes on an upcoming blonde country bombshell (Hayden Panettiere, playing a Taylor Swift-style character) in a bitchy battle for glory.
The iconic setting, impressive soundtrack and wardrobe would make Dolly Parton proud, but you don’t need to have heard of Hank Williams to get hooked on this show. Most Brits, me included, know about as much about country music as they do about Mongolian folk dancing, but as I’m walking along Nashville’s Broadway, past Stetson-clad hillbillies slurring in their southern twang and honky tonks playing contagious riffs, I’m utterly captivated by it all.
Tennessee’s energetic capital has always had this trance-like pull – it’s a beacon for country music artists who arrive, guitar in hand, hoping to get discovered busking or at one of the city’s live venues. However, since More4’s hit TV show Nashville, the city has exploded with visitors wanting to get their first taste of the music genre, as they walk in the footsteps of characters Rayna Jaymes (Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Panettiere).
Read on for must-see sights in Music City, then visit for real with Radio Times Travel…
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Johnny Cash’s guitar, Elvis’s gold piano and Dolly Parton’s boots are among 3,000 pieces of music memorabilia on display. A Nashville TV series exhibition has also been recently added into the mix, with outfits and instruments from the show. Meanwhile, sister attraction RCA Studio B, otherwise known as the “Home of 1,000 Hits”, is where Elvis recorded dozens of tracks, including Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Fans of the Nashville show can visit this intimate live venue where characters Rayna and Deacon perform their duet No One Will Ever Love You, in the first series. The bar’s biggest claim to fame? International singing star Taylor Swift was discovered within these very walls.
Dozens of honky tonks line this central strip and they come complete with flashing billboards and live country music most hours of the day. Tootsies is covered in old photographs of southern music greats. Locals cram into the intimate space to watch bands follow in the footsteps of Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline.
Walk of Fame
Musician’s plaques on Demonbreun Street include Jimi Hendrix, Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton. There’s a 2,700-square-foot public garden nearby, where roses have been named after songs and their singers.
Nashville series two is due to air this autumn on More4