After taking some time off and just hanging around the campground, we decided it was time to finally venture out and explore Nashville. We decided to take the easy way out and sign up for a tour, since it included a complimentary pickup. Because I’m not a huge fan of bus tours, I have to admit I was a bit relieved when a mini-bus, not a motorcoach, showed up. A tour with only thirteen people was much more manageable.
The tour actually gave us a good overview of Nashville, and our guide provided an almost-nonstop commentary on the history of the city, the music industry, the recent flood and points of interest along the way. We drove by Vanderbilt University where Zack works, and saw such landmarks as the State Capitol, Bicentennial Mall and the Parthenon, which was built in 1893 for the Tennessee Centennial and is a full-scale replica of the original in Athens.
|Tennessee State Capitol
Naturally, a significant focus of the tour was music. It was interesting to drive through Music Row, which is home to most of the studios that are the heart of the music recording and production industry in Nashville. One of the highlights was historic RCA Studio B, where Elvis and other artists recorded more than 35,000 songs. We also made two stops, first at the Ryman Auditorium and then at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
|RCA Studio B
Tim and I had originally thought we would attend a performance of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman last Friday, but the show was sold out, likely because Keith Urban was scheduled to appear. The Ryman Auditorium is considered to be the “Mother Church of Country Music” and was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974. It would have been really cool to see a performance in that space. Going to a show in the new Grand Old Opry House is not nearly as appealing to me.
Immediately following Friday’s show, construction began on the Ryman’s stage, which is being upgraded after many years. We were still able to tour the auditorium today and see the exhibits, but for some reason, photographs were prohibited inside.
Since moving to Montana in 2006, I’ve become a fan of country music, so it was a lot of fun to go through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and actually learn a little about the history of country music and the many performers from the early years to today. The Gold Record Wall and the Hall of Fame were pretty neat, but I especially loved seeing the boots. I’ve never seen such a collection of cowboy boots in my life. They were true works of art.
Tim enjoyed seeing the guitars on display, as well as the ones housed in the archives. The facility houses the Frist Library and Archives, and many of the artifacts and recordings are visible through the glass walls.
|Country Music History on Display
|These Boots Are Made for Walkin'
|Gold Record Wall
|Elvis Presley's "Solid Gold" Cadillac
|The Hall of Fame
It was a good day, and I’m glad we were able to see at least some of the highlights of Nashville.