Memphis & Nashville
Pockets of modern music development have flared up all over the US, but one state stands above all others as the birthplace of much of what we know as modern music. Tennessee has played a critical role in the development of rock and roll, the blues, and country music. Nashville is known as the home of country music and Memphis might as well be known as the home of the blues, but both have branched out in new musical directions in recent years and all music styles are well represented in the bars and honky tonks. While Nashville is more representative of white musical traditions, Memphis is more representative of Afro-American styles.
It's not ALL about music though; Tennessee is also home to some of the best Barbecue in the South and the mainstream cuisine is pretty damn good too!
Known as 'Music City', Nashville is one of the most famous musical cities in the world and for good reason. While Nashville is best known for country music, there are all sorts of genres represented in this vibrant city and a number of mainstream music stars have made the city their home, including The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Kelly Clarkson and Jack White.
One of the most popular activities is to visit the 'honky tonks' in the downtown area. You can wander around the numerous bars at any time of day or night until you find an act you want to settle in for. The music plays 24/7 and a lot of the honky tonks serve food. The Bluebird is a famous cafe outside the centre of town that has made its name as the place where a number of stars cut their teeth, including Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift. If you want to see a show at The Bluebird make sure you make a reservation on their website. They run two shows a night but it is only a 90 seat venue. If you have your own car, the suburb of Belle Meade is worth a drive around; this is where the big stars and music producers live and the houses are impressive and sometimes breathtaking. The Grand Ole Opry has been called the 'home of country music' and celebrated 90 years of great music in 2016. You'll find a mix of new stars and legends all taking to the stage, and there are shows on most nights of the week. Prior to moving to its new venue in 1974, Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Opry. Built in 1892, you can still catch a live show here by music greats from all genres of music.
In addition to music, Nashville is also famous for its food. Obviously southern staples like grits and biscuits and gravy feature here. A great place for breakfast is Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant, there are a number of fine dining establishments for dinner and lunch or you can indulge in fries and burgers at most of the honky tonks on 'The Strip'.
Memphis guarantees a good dose of the true South … the smell of cornbread, the slow moan of a blues song and the eternal sounds of Elvis. Follow the footsteps of the ‘King of Rock and Roll’, take a walk down historic Beale Street for some great live blues and stop by at least one of the 100-odd barbecue joints. Memphis is also home to Sun Records, where musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich, began their recording careers, and where rock and roll took shape in the 1950s.
The Infinity Experience
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MusicCourtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.
LynchburgCourtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.
SportCourtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.