A recent trip to Nashville was for work purposes, as you might expect, but also something of a musical pilgrimage for me. Its been on my personal bucket list for a while now (along with a few other US music-centric destinations), and the opportunity to visit proved too teasing to ignore. I’m very glad of it.
Firstly, I’ve come to open my ears to country music like never before, and clearly if its country music you want, then there is no other destination to consider, at least this side of Texas.
And country music I certainly got, a particular highlight being a night at the celebrated Listening Cafe taking in performances from key writers from the area (the likes of Matt Jenkins, Andy Albert, Jimmy Robins and repatriated Aussie Lindsay Rimes), all of whom had scored success writing for any number of the biggest country artists you might want to point to, and occasionally bore amusing scars to prove it!
Speak to any resident though, and they’ll tell you what quickly becomes evident when you go searching… Nashville is expanding; not just as a population (which it is, the third fastest growing city in the US according to at least one taxi driver… so it must be true!), but as a musical melting pot. I’m not referring to the celebrated honkytonks on Broadway either – entertaining as they are – but to the artistic community that exists within the city. For Nashville has become a hub for creators of all musical leanings, from those of an overt roots influence right through to a host of urban and electro based artists. Inevitably the likes of Spotify and Apple Music have been quick to take up local residence.
Why do I mention this..? Principally because many who work in the music business will tell you that they bemoan the lack of time they actually have to listen to new music (or more particularly, artist campaigns they aren’t specifically working on themselves). Every now and then, an opportunity presents itself to re-absorb oneself back into an environment which re-connects us back to music, and reminds us why it was that we fell in love with this game in the first place.
I’m pleased to say that very much occurred for me in Nashville – via a selection of artists, managers and industry entrepreneurs who’s energy and enthusiasm was infectious. So if you need to re-connect with music, you could do a whole lot worse than head over to Nashville. Trust me, its good for the soul…