Archive for Tennessee

Bourbon, Beale and Broadway: A J&J Guide to the Americana Music Triangle, Part 3

After leaving Memphis, we were two-thirds of the way through our musical journey and headed toward perhaps the most historied musical city in the country. In order to get there, we would travel a section of Interstate 40 known as “Music Highway”.

TN Music Highway

The number of attractions on this 210 mile stretch of Tennessee blacktop is endless! Follow the music notes to the home of blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes, Tina Turner’s birthplace, Loretta Lynn’s ranch and several other notable stops. Soon, you will reach the last major destination in the Americana Music Triangle: Nashville, Tennessee.

Nicknamed “Music City, USA”, Nashville is the home of country music and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.  Downtown Nashville is the epicenter of activity and most of the best attractions are within walking distance. Music fan musts are The Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium (the original home of the Grand Ole Opry), PS-Posted-DSC_0060and the Johnny Cash Museum. We visited all three in an afternoon and received a crash course in 20th-century American music!

Historic Lower Broadway Street, also known as “Honky Tonk Row”, is where urban cowboys, pub crawlers, and tourists converge to enjoy live music in more than a dozen honky-tonks and bars.  If you’re in the mood for a little shopping, follow the life-size Elvis statue into Legends Gift Shop to browse tons of souvenirs, or head over to Ernest Tubb Record Shop, the original home of Midnight Jamboree, the second longest running radio show in history.

Article-Post-1

Original RCA Studio B microphone

A little farther southwest is Music Row, the heart of the recording industry and home of legendary RCA Studio B. When Sam Phillips sold his contract in 1955, Elvis left Sun Studio for RCA Studio B, where he recorded roughly 260 songs. Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and numerous other artists also made their mark here and you would be remiss not to pay your respects to this hallowed musical shrine. If you plan on visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, you can purchase a ticket package for both attractions, which includes a shuttle to and from RCA Studio B.

As evening descends on this extraordinary city, the neon begins to sparkle like the rhinestone suits of yesteryear and hopeful street performers begin their nightly serenades. Perhaps one of them will be heard above the din to become the next bright star twinkling in the Nashville sky. In this city, anything is possible!

Our Americana Music Triangle had come to an end but we will definitely return to visit all the great places we missed. We hope you find this article helpful in planning your own journey and make sure to check out our original post about our Nashville experience. See you on the road!

 

Bourbon, Beale and Broadway: A J&J Guide to the Americana Music Triangle, Part 2

When most people think of Memphis, usually the first thing that comes to mind is a young man from Tupelo, Mississippi who is arguably the most famous person from the 20th century. However, there is much more to this eclectic music mecca than the King of Rock n Roll.

Located in the heart of Downtown Memphis, Beale Street is to blues music what Bourbon Street is to jazz. A few years ago, Beale Beale-Street-Memphisousted several other famous streets to be voted “America’s Most Iconic Street”. Like Bourbon, the music never stops here and there is something for everyone. We planned our visit at night to enjoy the full experience of one of the most vibrant places on our mobile musical history tour. Neon signs light the way through three blocks of nightclubs, restaurants, and a colorful amalgam of visitors. Most every venue on Beale offers live blues, rock, R&B or jazz so make sure your walking shoes are ready for some sass and brass!

There are also several music museums to explore, such as the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Stax Museum of American Soul Music. If you have time to visit only one, we highly recommend Sun Studio. We waited almost two hours for the tour but it was totally worth it to learn about the birthplace of Rock n Roll and how visionary Sam Phillips broke cultural barriers to cultivate some of the most exciting talent in the history of American music. Elvis recorded his first song here and along with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis,  Howlin’ Wolf and several others, made Sun Studio legendary. Sun offers a free shuttle that runs daily and stops at a few other famous Memphis attractions, one of which happens to be the most visited private home in America!

Your journey through the heart of the Americana Music Triangle would not be complete without visiting the estate and burial place of Elvis Presley. Elvis-SignGraceland was at the top of our list and it was an experience we won’t soon forget. A surreal endeavor into the private life of a beloved American icon, Graceland caters to both the die-hard Elvis devotee and casual fan. The property had been carefully frozen in time and even with the constant parade of buses, it’s not hard to imagine the King himself rounding a corner in one of his custom made Cadillacs, several of which are on display. There is a tour package for every budget and you can do all of your souvenir shopping without leaving the property.

Check out our original posts on Beale Street and Graceland for more about our time in Memphis, Tennessee and come back next week for the final installation in our Americana Music Triangle series!

Photo of the Week – Beale Street

Night view of Beale Street
Memphis, Tennessee

Beal Street at Night

Photo of the Week – Elvis’ Cadillac

This 1956 Cadillac Eldorado is one of the many classic cars on display at Graceland, the home of
Elvis Presley.

Elvis' Cadillac Eldorado

Photo of the Week – Johnny Cash Museum

Painting in the Johnny Cash Museum Store
Nashville, Tennessee

Painting of Johnny Cash