I first became aware of ‘Music City’ when I was about 19 years old.
I was watching Taylor Swift’s ‘Journey to Fearless’ (when I was meant to be studying for my summer exams!) and she spoke fondly of a magical place that could make all her dreams come true; Nashville, Tennessee. It sounded pretty wonderful, but, also pretty far-fetched! Then, a few years ago, at the more grounded age of 24, (jokes!) a TV show hit our screens in the UK, dramatising the lives of fictitious country music stars and the seed was sown…I was going to get my ‘butt’ to Nashville.
Fast forward 2 years and I am at the end of a 4-day festival known as CMA FEST!
Imagine 4 solid days of live music, singing, laughing, dancing, drinking beer, meeting new people and a whole lotta ‘hey y’alls’ & ‘ye haws’…then times it by 100, add 100 degrees heat and screaming at Luke Bryan’s shakin’ booty until I have no more voice and you’ve got my very first CMA Fest experience.
What better way to immerse me in singer/songwriter life than going to Music City itself! However, it wasn’t the dramatic, glamorous city that, thanks to the TV Show, I was expecting. In fact, it was rather small. Homely and welcoming if you will.
The people could not have been happier to help and the Broadway strip was like no place I had ever been before. A band, singer, violinist, drummer, guitarist in every bar…and I MEAN EVERY BAR! Even the bars with 3 floors would have 3 different live acts on at any time during the day, on each floor. Seriously! If you’re ever in town, check out Legend’s Corner, Tootsie’s, The Valentine, Swinging Door, Tequila Cowboy…who am I kidding, they are all great, any bar we wandered into turned out to be fantastic.
This isn’t just your Friday and Saturday nights either Y’all, this is your 10am breakfast, or 3pm afternoon coffee (beer obviously) and of course 3am closing down the bar scenes.
On the first day, me and a couple of English pals I knew from living in London, Andrew and Jamie (Luke Bryan FANS #1&2), an English lass, Alex, (an encyclopaedia of country music lyrics) and Marnie, (the token Aussie every english group of friends seems to have nowadays; who wasn’t there for the country music, but, simply to have a good time) headed to ‘Tequila Cowboy’ on Broadway after an unsuccessful attempt at getting anywhere near the renowned, free of charge ‘Riverfront Stage.’ 5 rounds of Bud later and we were clapping along to ‘BYE BYE MISS AMERICAN PIE’ singing at the top of our lungs and adoring the southern tones of a Mr Stevenson Everett… a must see performer if you are ever in Nashville. INSTA: stevenson_everett
This kick-started our festival in the best way possible and the tone was set for the week…
Little did I know it then, but, I was falling in LOVE with Music City.
I still haven’t got my voice back either!