Throwback Thursday to my Vanderbilt time when going country was a daily occurrence. With the CMA Music Festival running today, June 11th, through the 14th, about 80,000 people are converging on my old stomping ground.
According to Billboard magazine, country music is America’s most popular genre. And the country vibe is everywhere in Nashville. So regardless of whether you are in this city now for the festival or you’re planning a trip later, I’m sharing a few of my favorite hot spots, starting with the Wildhorse Saloon. I saw Big & Rich perform there. We were so close that we could have given them high fives.
The above picture was taken my sophomore year while line-dancing at this famous country haunt. As you can see, everyone line-dances there, and teachers demonstrate steps that are easy to follow. The Wildhorse is considered touristy, which is why most Vanderbilt students reserve it for out-of-town guests. But it is always a night to remember.
Nashville is dotted with fun bars and nightclubs, most of which are known for their live music.
Everyone talks about the Grand Ole Opry, but personally I think they should be talking about Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. It’s a tiny bar where esteemed country artists and up-and-coming singers try out their new repertoires. You can’t go wrong with an intimate setting featuring top talent.
If you live in Nashville, you’ve probably heard of Chris Winward, who is performing on Tootsie’s stage in the photo above. He is like a local celebrity. I didn’t realize that when I met him at a party. One night he asked me to go out with him. I already had plans to meet some friends downtown, so I invited him to join us. He did, but he was a bit reluctant. I soon found out why.
At every place we entered, the host announced, “Chris Winward in the house.” Then Chris was asked to give an impromptu performance and handed a guitar. This was followed by lots of girls – and I mean LOTS – throwing pieces of paper with their phone numbers at his feet. I quickly realized why he had been a little hesitant to dare a night out on the town!
That’s what you can experience in Nashville! Every time I went out, I fell in love with the city again.