Nashville, TN

How Nashville got its nickname as The Music City

Lenny Schumacher

NASHVILLE, TN — Nashville grew from a foundation built on music. It has been the soul and life of the city and its people. Even Jimi Hendrix recognizes Nashville as the city that taught him how to really play music.

Nashville’s reputation as a Music City has been proven for more than 200 years. The city where music is written, recorded and performed every single day.

After safely disembarking on the shores of the Cumberland River, Nashville’s earliest settlers celebrated in the late 1700s with the fiddle of tunes and buck dancing. Davy Crocket, Nashville’s first “celebrity”, was known for his stories and fiddle playing.

In the 1800s, Nashville has grown to become a national center for music publishing. Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville’s Fisk University was performing the first around-the-world tour by a musical act in purpose to help fund the school’s mission in educating people who used to be enslaved after Civil War and putting Nashville as a global music center.

Jefferson Street was the hub for entertainment, music and nightlife in the 1930s, including speakeasies, supper clubs, dance halls, nightclubs and more. Jefferson Street is also credited with the emergence of R&B music in Nashville.

The most famous music venue, Ryman Auditorium was built in 1892, and the largest auditorium in the south of the Ohio River when it was first opened and nicknamed “Carnegie Hall of the South”.

The Ryman celebrates its 125 years anniversary as one of the most famous concert venues in America and has received the “Theater of the Year” award for seven times in the past ten years as the best auditorium from Pollstar magazine. The long list who has performed there includes Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, The Foo Fighters, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross.

In 1925, the establishment of radio station WSM and its launch of the broadcast that would be called the Grand Ole Opry further secured Nashville’s reputation as a musical center and sparked its durable nickname of Music City.

Nashville has been known as the “Songwriting Capital of the World”. Many songwriters from all over the globe came to Music City to learn the art and share the same passion for songwriting. The annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival was held there, putting songwriters in the spotlight and for five days, more than 300 songwriters perform at venues around town.

Recently, many cable television also broadcast Music City’s stars and music to the world. Nashville TV show was filmed there in Music City for 2 seasons. Bobby Jones Gospel was also filmed there in Nashville and was the longest-running program in television after 37 successful years.

Not just known for its country music, Nashville has also become a hub for pop, rock, bluegrass, Americana, jazz, classical, contemporary Christian, blues, and soul music. Rolling Stone gave Nashville the title of “Best Music Scene.” Many artists had come to Nashville to write and record their songs. Justin Timberlake, Keith Urban, Paramore, and other celebrities had called Nashville their home.

Nashville is also home to United Record Pressing, North America’s largest producing vinyl record. They have pressed vinyl records for everyone including The Beatles and Beyonce.

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