Friday, August 5, 2011

Welcome to the Music City!

I really like music. I might even say I'm borderline obsessed with the art form. It's a wonder I haven't headed to Nashville, Tennessee before (or even been in the state), so I decided to make the trip a couple of weekends ago.

Immediately after work on Friday, I jumped in my car a started driving south. After a 5 hours driving and getting lost in Kentucky, I arrived at the Music City Hostel in the city. It was late and I was tired, so I just went to bed.

I got up bright and early the next morning, though, ready and excited to explore the city! The hostel wasn't far from downtown, so I decided to start walking. The walk itself wasn't too interesting (standard big city sites), but downtown was amazing. Everything about Nashville evokes the spirit of music. There's an Elvis statue on every corner, random street musicians, B.B. King's bar and classic record and poster stores!


After my stroll downtown, I realized it was too hot to spend the entire day walking from place to place and decided to go back to the hostel to get my car (yay, heat advisories). With the quicker mode of transportation, I decided to check out some of the sites slightly further from town.

The first visit was to Jack White's record label, Third Man Records. Housed in a tiny building in an otherwise industrial area, I drove past it a few times before I finally found it. I went inside and browsed their small store. I settled on a couple copies of "De Stijl" (one for me, one for a friend) and a few postcards. Alas, Jack White was not in attendance.


Next, I embarked on what I hope to make a tradition when I travel and visited a local record store, Grimey's. It was a little place, also quite easy to miss. Unfortunately, I wasn't in much of a mood to browse and just settled on a couple of titles I'd had on my list for a while, The Black Keys' Magic Potion and Wolf Parade's Apologies to the Queen Mary.

I do have other traveling traditions, the biggest one being a visit to a local art museum, especially those that specialize in modern art. In Nashville, I visited the Frist Center, which was featuring an exhibit on Andy Warhol. Rather than taking a broad-based approach to his work, they focused on his work involving figures of music and dance (so, just most of his work). Many of his magazine covers for Interview, album covers such as a the one for The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers and portraits of Grace Jones, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were on display. It was a small museum, but the galleries were great.

Grace Jones by Warhol

All of this surprisingly only took up a small part of my day. I spent much of the afternoon being lazy at the hostel. I struck up a conversation with an interesting boy named Bert on the merits of listening to vinyl. I found out, later on, that he had been inspired enough to visit a local record store and discuss the listening and storage of the format with a shop owner. Go me!

I only spend a day in Nashville, but would love to go back and experience more (perhaps the County Music Hall of Fame!) I will definitely go back, a great city to visit.

There was one more big aspect to my visit to the Music City, which I will put in another post!

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