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  • Writer's pictureJeff Epps

Music City USA

I grew up about 200 miles, or about 3 hours from Nashville, Tennessee. Growing up in the southern Midwest (or Upland South), I have always been partial to both country music and Southern culture. For those not familiar with the Upland South, here is a map to illustrate just where it is in the USA.

Map of the Upland South in the United States

Nashville was always like a Disney World or Grand Canyon kind of place to the folks who grew up within a 300-mile radius of it. Since there are at least 7 country music radio stations in southern Illinois, Nashville has always been an ideal place to visit for those in my generation who grew up listening to Garth Brooks, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, and many others.

Garth Brooks at the Grand Ole Opry

Nashville is the largest city in the State of Tennessee with about 1.9 million people (metro) and has a very wide variety of attractions for everyone.

Nashville Skyline

These attractions include the Grand Ole Opry (Opryland), Ryman Auditorium, the Parthenon, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Cheekwood, Belle Meade Plantation, the Hermitage, Riverfront Park, Music Row, and my personal favorites Second Avenue (Market Street) and Broadway Street. I'll discuss these more later.

My last trip to Nashville was special because it was a part of my "Around the World in Two Weeks" travel campaign, which was a journey that marked my first time circumnavigating the world. I left Wuhan, China traveling west and came back to Wuhan, China from the east. What an amazing trip I had!!

My last trip to Nashville would be the fourth time that I'd visited the city. I visited once with three friends, two from Illinois and an Army buddy of mine in 1998, while we were soldiers stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, and then again with the same Army buddy and my brother later the same year. The third visit was on the Greyhound bus en route to Tampa, Florida in 2005. But the first three times just didn't add up to the fourth time for several reasons.

First of all, I was with a very special friend of mine and second, I was able to finally see the Grand Ole Opry for the very first time. Also, I experienced Broadway Street for the first time and WOW!! It was SO much fun!!

Grand Ole Opry House

Broadway Street near the Cumberland River

These three factors made my fourth trip to Nashville much more special.

I arrived at the Nashville International Airport from Miami and I knew within 5 minutes after disembarking the plane where I was. It was pretty obvious.

Nashville International Airport

The wall decor near baggage claim was a nice confirmation that I was indeed in Music City USA in the beautiful State of Tennessee, a land of great music, great food, great people, and the good ole Southern hospitality that every person needs to witness at least once in their lives. I was set to have one of the most most memorable and exciting experiences of my life.

Americas Best Value Inn

I booked a cheap hotel because I had been doing a lot of traveling the two weeks prior, throughout Asia and Europe, and I wanted to keep expenses low and within my planned budget. But you usually do get what you pay for.

I don't mind staying at these cheap places, as they are especially good for short stays and when I travel I tend to spend just a couple of days in one place. This gives me a chance to cover more ground and to see the best of the best in a short amount of time. Don't get me wrong, some places (most places) warrant a much longer stay but I only had so much time to spare.

The only bad aspect of staying in these cheap hotels is that like most hostels, they tend to attract cheap people. I don't just mean price-conscious people, I mean people who are drunks, druggies, criminals, etc.

This is no disrespect to price-conscious travelers, I am one of them.

But to give one a better understanding of what I'm talking about, I challenge people to stay at a budget hotel, like Hotel 6 or Americas Best Value Inn, in a large U.S. city of their choice, and then take a trip to the vending machine from your hotel room between 10pm and 2am and take a look around yourself and observe what you see. Make sure you're careful.

Do this and you'll understand why I don't like these kinds of places.

But, nonetheless, I was aiming for a great time and that's what I got.

Day 1 (Grand Ole Opry)

As a kid growing up in southern Illinois (with Texas roots), the Grand Ole Opry was the mecca of all musical shows. That is, for those of us who liked country music. Many country musicians would sing about the Opry, stars such as Hank Williams, Jr., George Strait, George Jones, and many other have sang about (and performed at) the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

(NOTE: George Strait is not a member of the Grand Ole Opry).

Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee (USA)

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music stage concert that started on November 28th in 1925 by George D. Hay. It was originally a one-hour program that began airing on WSM radio. It is the longest running radio broadcast in U.S. history. It is currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment, a division of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. Nowadays, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors around the world and millions of radio and Internet listeners as a world-famous show.

"The Show that Made Country Music Famous" is the primary slogan of the Grand Ole Opry, other popular slogans include, "Home of American Music," and "Country's Most Famous Stage." Regardless of which slogan is more popular, the Grand Ole Opry is synonymous which legendary country music.

Ryman Auditorium on 116 5th Avenue North (near Broadway)

By the 1930s the show had grown in popularity and more money was being made from the performances, therefore, production became more sophisticated. The show had expanded to four hours and by 1939 it was being featured on NBC Radio. The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium in 1943, a Nashville landmark that still stands and is still used today. However, the Grand Ole Opry moved to the Grand Ole Opry House in east Nashville in 1974. But since 1999, the Grand Ole Opry has a three-month annual winter venue back at the Ryman Auditorium.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is the reason why Nashville is considered the "country music capital" and is also why Nashville is called, "Music City USA."

Grand Ole Opry in Nashville (at the Grand Ole Opry House)

I believe that even for visitors who are traveling to and through Nashville, who aren't country music fans, an evening at the Grand Ole Opry is an experience like none other that anyone can appreciate and remember for the rest of their life. It's a world-famous venue that always offers a great time.

Grand Ole Opry in Nashville (at the Ryman Auditorium)

I had actually booked my Opry tickets in advance while in Lisbon, Portugal. They were $100 apiece (not including tax) for the balcony Premium Mezzanine seats, which were excellent seats because of the view on the edge of the balcony. In fact, I believe that these seat were probably better than the Platinum seats, which were the seats directly in front of the stage. At least from a photographer/videographer perspective, I was able to get better footage with my camera on the edge of the balcony. Our seats were in Section 18 in the D Zone of the Mezzanine seating area.

Grand Ole Opry House Seating Map (refer to the link for show seat pricing details)

Since I was meeting up with an old friend, a special old friend, I wanted it to be a special and memorable night and so by having great seats at the Opry, I knew that it would help make the night that much better. And it couldn't have been a better night, especially with the likes of Carrie Underwood, Mark Wills, Jillian Jacqueline, among others, taking the stage that evening.

Carrie Underwood at the Grand Ole Opry

Mark Wills at the Grand Ole Opry

Jillian Jacqueline at the Grand Ole Opry

Krista met up with me at the hotel a couple of hours before showtime and we headed toward the Gaylord Opryland Resort to do some sightseeing before the show. We were both excited as neither of us had ever been to the Grand Ole Opry before. There were many highlights to my world tour last summer, but this particular night would be hard to beat. This was the Gran Ole Opry.

We were going to see the Grand Ole Opry!!

40th Anniversary Celebration at the Grand Ole Opry House in 2014

We arrived at the Grand Ole Opry House around 8pm. We were going to see the second show of the evening, which began at 9:30pm. The first show was from 7pm to 8:30pm. We needed to get there early enough to find a decent parking place and also, to check out some of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. We walked through the shopping mall toward the Grand Ole Opry House to manage our time and to "kill two birds with one stone." The shopping venue alone is almost second to none.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

This place, altogether, is amazing and is a top tourist attraction that brings people to Nashville from all over the globe. Two days in Nashville just isn't enough and I strongly recommend to any visitor to Music City to at least spend a week there. Nashville has so much to offer. We had to wait outside of the Grand Ole Opry House until they opened the doors to let patrons in for the second show of the evening. They needed to clean up from the first one.

I can't explain the feeling that I got when we arrived at the Grand Ole Opry House, but the goosebumps began to take place on my skin and I could feel the butterflies inside my stomach. I grew up listening to the country stars who made the Grand Ole Opry famous and now, I was about to witness some of these same stars, first-hand. We had excellent seats, an awesome view, and an hour and a a half of star-studded performances coming up.

What made this night so special for me, other than being with an old friend, was the fact that I was back home, in America, and was around people who were like me. People who shared the same interests as me, who came from families like mine, and who grew up with the culture of the Upland South, which hears the sounds of Nashville loud and clear.

This was all special to me.

Not to mention, I am so used to being around Asian people from my 7 years of being in China that the reverse culture shock that I was experiencing was bittersweet and heart-warming and I wish it could have lasted longer.

I would have never imagined, from all my travels, that a vacation so close to home could mean so much to me and create so many great memories.

We enjoyed our ice-cold Bud Light beers along with our country tunes.

That night at the Grand Ole Opry House, I felt pure heavenly nirvana.

Grand Ole Opry (slideshow)

Grand Ole Opry at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee (video)

After the show was over, Krista gave me a ride back to my hotel.

We said our goodbyes, as we had before, and parted ways once again.

The next day was going to be just as good, but at a different Nashville locale.

Broadway Street in Nashville, Tennessee (Honky Tonk Highway)

Day 2 (Lower Broadway Street)

I woke up the next morning, not too bad of a hangover, and I had a cup of coffee and grabbed some cheap hotel breakfast. I then pointed my sights toward another top Nashville tourist attraction, one that is perfect for the bar hopper, the music lover, the hell raiser, and the lover's extraordinaire.

I had never been to Broadway Street (AKA Honky Tonk Highway).

And I was in for a real treat.

Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee

First stop, Hard Rock Cafe, of course, because it was the closest place to where the taxi dropped me off AND because I love Hard Rock Cafe. Just about every city I travel to I always look out for this place. It's a great place to dine and drink and make new friends, and listen to great live bands play.

Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee

I was able have a great lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, while mingling with other tourists, and the food settled better than the cheap hotel breakfast.

I also needed a good lunch to soak up all the alcohol that I was about to consume on my all-day bar-hopping journey down the Honky Tonk Highway.

My plan was to start on the north side of Broadway, work my way west, and then cross the street to the south side and head back east.

I did just that and my first stop after the Hard Rock Cafe was Cotton Eyed Joe.

Cotton Eyed Joe, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

I made a quick stop in Cotton Eyed Joe to have a drink and to grab some footage of the place. Cotton Eyed Joe has a variety of events, including MMA fights on the first Friday of every month. Of course, there are musical acts weekly that one can enjoy along with some great food with some great beverages. The "Joe" was recently awarded an ACM (Academy of Country Music) award for best club. The club is under new management and is undergoing some promising renovations. It's worth a stop, for sure.

John Rich, from the band, Big & Rich

The next stop was my favorite, by far, because of many reasons.

If you know John Rich, from Big & Rich, then you know he's not afraid to speak his mind about any subject, including politics. And that's one reason why I was looking so forward to visiting the Redneck Riviera.

John Rich's Redneck Riviera, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

While at the Redneck Riviera, I ran into a fellow SIUC Alumnus who was from Chicago. He said that he loved Nashville, and I was surprised that he was from Chicago. He seemed to have assimilated into the Nashville culture.

Big & Rich, Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy (video)

Next up was a Hank Williams' Jr.-themed bar.

Whiskey Bent Saloon, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Whiskey Bent Saloon hosts weekly musical performances, record release parties, corporate dinners, wedding receptions, among other events.

The Frontier Room, located on the second floor, is great for private parties and can accommodate up to 150 guests. It has a bar and separate restrooms.

One can even rent the first and second floors of the Whiskey Bent Saloon, which can accommodate up to 300 guests!! The first floor features a large main bar, a small bar, a private stage, separate restrooms, and a VIP room.

Next stop, Crazy Town. It was a good time. A unique kind of place.

Crazy Town, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Crazy Town is a great place to bring groups of people, as it features three levels of live music, six custom bars, three stages, two outdoor patios, and a great view of Broadway Street. No reservations are required!!

The Valentine was my next stop on the north side of Broadway Street.

The Valentine, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

The Valentine is a 4-story upscale saloon that has a large rooftop patio and numerous private event spaces. It has a 1920s/30s Prohibition Era theme.

There is a wide selection of food and drinks on the menu and musical performances weekly. The 3rd floor and rooftop hosts DJs on the weekends.

The next stop was Tin Roof.

Tin Roof, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

The original Tin Roof opened in 2002 near Nashville's Music Row to give musicians of all levels and ambitions a place to relax when they weren't performing, writing, composing, producing, or recording music.

However, the one that I visited was on Lower Broadway.

Located at 316 Broadway, this venue features two floors with its own stage and entertainment lineup, as well as a 3rd level patio for patrons to enjoy.

There is live music every single day from 11am to 2:30am.

The hours for the Lower Broadway venue are from 11am to 3am.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

I became familiar with Margaritaville when I first visited Key West, Florida back in 2010. I remember watching the Miami Heat play the Los Angeles Lakers there on Christmas Day. Fortunately, the Heat won. That was back when the Heat had LeBron and the Lakers had Kobe. The music was good, the food was even better, and I met an SFASU Alum at the bar.

The Nashville venue is similar in many respects, though it does have its own unique flavor. I didn't stay in there long, but I had a beer and checked it out.

Margaritaville has live music on the weekends, a menu that offers a variety of eats, a retail store for souvenirs, and even hosts groups and events.

The hours for Margaritaville are Friday to Saturday, 11am-2am and Sunday to Thursday, 11am-12am. Margaritaville is always worth a stop.

Maybe you will get lucky and catch Jimmy Buffett there.

Five O' Clock Somewhere, Jimmy Buffet, Alan Jackson (video)

Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, Broadway Street, Nashville

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley is a world-renowned country music star who made his 2003 debut with his self-titled album and hit song, "What Was I Thinkin."

Bentley's studio albums have accounted for 25 singles on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, in which 16 have reached number one.

Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, Broadway Street, Nashville

Whiskey Row offers a variety of options for its visitors, including a full menu of food and drinks, private events and VIP flight service, and live bands and DJs.

Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, Broadway Street, Nashville

The Nashville establishment is the fourth establishment, aside from the previous three establishments in Arizona, where Dierks Bentley is from.

Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, Broadway Street, Nashville

The first floor is a place to relax and enjoy some great food, drinks, and the latest country tunes. The second floor is where one can enjoy the sounds of the DJ and practice their dance moves. The rooftop is also worth seeing.

Hours are Monday to Friday, 11am-3am and Saturday & Sunday, 10am-3am.

What Was I Thinkin', Dierks Bentley (video)

Next stop was Bailey's Sports Grille.

Bailey's Sports Grille, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Bailey's Sports Grille prides itself on being a local bar without all the glitter.

This was another one of my one-beer, stop-and-go visits.

There is a huge selection of beers and "good grub" to go with them.

You can also plan and host private events at Bailey's Sports Grille.

The hours of operation are 11am-3am, everyday.

The Stage, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Next stop, The Stage, which is "a little bit of Texas and a whole lotta Nashville."

Delbert McClinton, Pam Tillis, Hank Williams, Jr., Tim McGraw, and Gwenyth Paltrow have all filmed videos and movies here. Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, and members of the Nashville Predators have also been known to make appearances. You never know what to expect at The Stage.

The Stage is open from 11am-3am, everyday.

Layla's Honky Tonk, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Layla's Honky Tonk offers several different musical genres, including Country, Hillbilly, Rockabilly, Western, Americana, Bluegrass, Newgrass and many different musical styles that appeal to music fans, worldwide.

Notable musicians such as Jypsi, Dean Alexander, BR549, Hank Williams III, Th' Legendary Shackshakers, Drive-By Truckers, Gail Davies, Chris Scruggs, Ralph Stanley and more have performed at Layla's Honky Tonk.

Musicians of all varieties, from unknowns to legends, have been known to show up at Layla's Honky Tonk. It's an everybody kind of place.

Layla's Honky Tonk is available to host private events.

Garth Brook made a surprise performance in February of 2018.

It was his smallest venue to play at in 30 years.

The hours at Layla's Honky Tonk are 12pm-2am, everyday.

The Second Fiddle, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

I didn't go into The Second Fiddle, but I did do some research on the place.

There are antique radios and music memorabilia that line the walls.

The Second Fiddle has a traditional honky-tonk atmosphere and feel to it.

There is live music 7 days a week.

Corporate events can also be booked at The Second Fiddle.

The Second Fiddle, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

The hours for The Second Fiddle are Monday to Wednesday, 2pm to 3am and Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 3am. You must be 21 and up to enter after 6pm. There is great music and good times at The Second Fiddle.

Tootsies Orchid Lounge

Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Tooties Orchid Lounge began in the 1960s and early notable patrons include Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Mel Tillis, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline, and more. Tootsies is most definitely worth stopping by and checking out.

Tootsies is a world-famous Honky-Tonk that has operated across from the Ryman Auditorium, almost non-stop, since 1960. From 1960 to 1978, Tootsies proprietor, Hattie Louise “Tootsie” Bess, bought the lounge called “Mom’s” and named it for herself. According to tradition, a painter painted the exterior orchid purple, by accident. The color stayed and became Tootsie’s signature color. A part of Loretta Lynn's biopic, Coal Miner's Daughter, was filmed inside of Tooties, featuring Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek, was released in 1980 and was the 7th highest-grossing film that year.

Tootsies Early Famous Customers (slideshow)

Tootsie Orchid Lounge is open from 10am to 3am, everyday.

Legend's Corner, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Legend's Corner is a traditional dive bar that offers a full-service bar, live music, private parties, and corporate event space. It has something for just about every occasion. It's located near the corner of 5th Ave & Broadway.

Notable musicians, such as Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, and Toby Keith have been known to stop by Legend's Corner and give a performance.

Legend's Corner Nashville

Legend's Corner, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Legend's Corner is open 7 days a week from 10am to 3am.

Rippy's Bar & Grill Nashville

Rippy's Bar & Grill, Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Rippy's Bar & Grill is about one block from the historic Ryman Auditorium and offers a main dining area, along with flat screen TVs for sports fans and an open-air rooftop patio with an elevated view of Lower Broadway.

But what really makes Rippy's popular is the first-class BBQ experience.

Rippy's Bar & Grill
Rippy's Bar & Grill

Rippy's Bar & Grill

Rippy's Bar & Grill

Rippy's Bar & Grill, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Rippy's Bar & Grill is open from 11am to 2:30am everyday.

Nashville Predators is a NHL hockey franchise based out of Nashville, Tennessee

The Nashville Predators are an NHL expansion franchise which was founded in 1997 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Nashville Predators are in the Central Conference of the Western Division. The Predators have played in the Bridgestone Arena since 1998. An interesting fact about the Predators is that country music star Carrie Underwood is married to former Predators' star, Mike Fisher. The Predator's made their first Stanley Cup appearance during the 2003-2004 season. The Predators remain a competitive NHL team.

Bridgestone Arena (slideshow)

Mellow Mushroom Nashville

Mellow Mushroom, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

The Mellow Mushroom was founded in 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia. The franchise is operated under Home-Grown Industries of Georgia, Inc., and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It has a selection of great food.

Mellow Mushroom, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

For over forty years, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers have been serving up fresh, stone-baked pizzas to order in an eclectic, art-filled, and family-friendly environment. The pizzas have a unique taste and they're great!!

Mellow Mushroom, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Each Mellow Mushroom is locally owned and operated and provides a special feel focused around great customer service and high-grade food. There is a location on Lower Broadway, which is between Bridgestone Arena and Honky Tonk Central. The location is convenient for bar hopping.

Mellow Mushroom, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

The hours for the Lower Broadway location are 11am to 2:30am, every day.

AJs Good Time Bar

AJ's Good Time Bar, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson is not only one of the most successful country music artists of all time, but one of the most successful musicians of all time. Period.

Alan Jackson is one of the most notable, modern-day country musicians who is known for his "neotradational country" music style. He has a unique baritone voice and he has written most of his own songs, as well as contributed to songs performed by Randy Travis, Clay Walker, and Faith Hill.

Alan Jackson has sold over 75 million records worldwide, having sold 44 million in the United States, alone. He has had 66 singles on the Billboard Hot Country & Singles chart, with 35 songs claiming the #1 spot. 9 of his albums have reached multi-platinum status.

Alan Jackson has won 2 Grammy awards, 16 CMA awards, 17 ACM awards, and has been a nominee of multiple other awards.

My favorite Alan Jackson song is Dallas.

Dallas Alan Jackson

Dallas by Alan Jackson, released in 1991, reached #1 in the U.S. & Canada

AJs Good Time Bar

Rooftop Bar at AJs Good Time Bar, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

AJ's Good Time Bar is located in the oldest building on Lower Broadway, and was once a Civil War hospital, a record store, and former home of Bullet Records (1946-1952), which was a label that produced a great deal of music for Grand Ole Opry stars. It is also close to the historic Ryman Auditorium.

AJs Good Time Bar, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

AJs Good Time Bar has 4 floors of entertainment that also highlight's Alan's life with various memorabilia that decorates the walls. Karaoke is a popular option for visitors, along with live music, live games on TV,, and great food.

Alan Jackson performing live at AJs Good Time Bar

AJs Good Time Bar is open 11am to 2:30am, every day (Karaoke on 3rd floor).

AJs Good Time Bar 30-Second Commercial (video)

Alan Jackson, Drive (video)

Nashville Crossroads, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Crossroads is a unique kind of venue that was established in 2004, and is unique because it combines Country music with Southern Rock music.

Nashville Crossroads, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Crossroads features many local, regional, and national musicians and bands that include up-and-coming talents such as Brandon Harris, Rachel Johnson Band, Vince Moreno, The Outliers, Jennifer Friend, and more.

Nashville Crossroads, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Crossroads is open from 2pm-3am (Sun.-Thur.) and 11am-3am (Fri./Sat.). It is a great place to go if you want a different taste of Nashville.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

The Ernest Tubb Record Shop is named after legendary country music artist, Ernist Tubb. It is a brick-and-mortar retail record store, that also has an online store via the website. Ernest Tubb started the Midnite Jamboree.

Ernest Tubb

Ernest Dale Tubb (1914-1984) is nicknamed the "Texas Troubadour," and is considered one of the pioneers of American country music. His biggest song was "Walking the Floor Over You," released in 1941, marked the beginning of Honky Tonk-style music, which eventually picked up later on.

Ernest Tubb & The Texas Troubadours

Ernest Tubb, 3rd from top left, (w/ Minnie Pearl below him) at Carnagie Hall (NYC, 1947)

The Ernest Tubb Record Shop offers online shopping for music and the Midnite Jamboree radio show at the Texas Troubadour Theatre. However, according to the website,, the record shop and mail order are currently closed until further notice, and the Midnite Jamboree has been suspended indefinitely. People can still listen to the show's archives via the website or watch and listen on YouTube and other online platforms.

Ernest Tubb and the Midnite Jamboree

The Midnite Jamboree was started by Ernest Tubb on May 31st, 1947 at the Texas Troubadour Theater (located at the record shop) and aired from 10pm to 12am on Saturday nights on WSM, right after the Grand Ole Opry was finished. After almost 70 years of live recorded performances, the show has been suspended indefinitely. Dubbed, "The Second Longest Running Radio Show in History," this is actually false, given that there are several other radio shows that have been airing since the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Nudie's Honky Tonk

Nudie's Honky Tonk, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Nudie's Honky Tonk is a famous venue on Lower Broadway Street that is unique in its own special way, in that is has millions of dollars of country music memorabilia that is featured on its three floors of entertainment. There are two stages, multiple bars, and a rooftop desk with live music.

Nudie's Honky Tonk, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee (Slideshow)

Nudie's Honky Tonk was opened in November of 2016 by owners Bill and Shannon Miller. There was a grand opening on November 18th and included Bill and Shannon Miller, along with Nudie Cohn's granddaughter, Jamie Nudie, who runs Nudie's Rodeo Tailer, welcomed guests that day.

Nudie Cohn with his $400,000 1975 Cadillac El Dorado

Nudie Cohn was born in Kiev, while it was a part of the Russian Empire in 1902, to a Ukrainian Jewish family. He moved to the USA when he was 11.

Dolly Parton, Elton John, and Elvis Presley wearing "Nudie Suits."

Nudie Cohn tailored outfits for numerous famous people, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Sr., Bob Dylan, and Elton John and many others that were famous musicians.

Nudie Cohn's 1975 Cadillac El Dorado

Nudie Cohn was also known for his extravagant custom-made cars, most notably, his 1975 Cadillac El Dorado that actually is on display at Nudies Honky Tonk, on the wall as visitors come and go through the front doors.

Nudie Cohn

Nudie Cohn (December 15, 1902 – May 9, 1984)

Nudie's Honky Tonk is open Monday through Thursday, 11am to 3am, and from Friday through Sunday, 10am to 3am, and there is a dress code.

Honky Tonk Central

Honky Tonk Central, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Honky Tonk Central is one of the newer establishments on Lower Broadway and offers three floors of entertainment, each having bars and live music.

Hoss Skelton Honky Tonk Central

Hoss Skelton performing at Honky Tonk Central

The day I visited Honky Tonk Central, Tuscaloosa native Hoss Skelton was on the stage performing with his band. One lady dropped a $100 bill in the tip jar for a song request. I had a beer and listened to Hoss's music for about a half hour or so. I would have stayed longer but I still had more places to visit. Hoss and his band performs often at Honky Tonk Central.

Hoss Skelton

Honky Tonk Central, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Honky Tonk Central is available for private parties, VIP room venues, and corporate events for special occasions, every day, year round. Bachelor and bachelorette parties can be booked with a deposit and provides access to the VIP balcony. These parties include guests, minimum of 10 and maximum of 25 people, A full 3-hour open bar, light appetizers, and a private bartender to tend to the guests. A heavy appetizer buffet is available for an additional $15/person. Bachelor parties are $100/person and bachelorette parties are $75/person. Inquiry forms are available via the website.

Food & Beverage Options at Honky Tonk Central (slideshow)

Honky Tonk Central has an excellent selection of food and beverages.

Honky Tonk Central, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown is a unique kind of bar with a wide variety of beers to choose from, along with a food menu that includes Cajun food, Southwestern-style dishes, as well as local favorites.

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown

Beer Selection at Broadway Brewhouse Midtown

Many domestic, imported, and craft beers are available to choose from.

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown

Broadway Brewhouse Midtown, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

There is plenty of space that includes a full bar and dining area.

Famous Roasted Wings Broadway Brewery Midtown

Famous Roasted Wings at Broadway Brewhouse Midtown

The famous roasted wings are a must-try food item at Broadway Brewhouse Midtown. Other popular food items on the menu include cheese quesadillas, gumbo, jerk chicken, grilled shrimp po-boys, and jambalaya.

Nashville Bushwacker

Nashville Bushwacker Drink at Broadway Brewhouse Midtown

Another must-try item at Broadway Brewhouse Midtown is the famous Nashville Bushwacker drink, made with rum, coconut, and other liquors.

Nashville Brewhouse Midtown

Nashville Brewhouse Midtown, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Brewhouse Midtown has bar hours and kitchen hours. The bar hours are 11am to 3am, Monday through Sunday. The kitchen hours are 11am to 11pm, Monday through Sunday. Late night kitchen hours are available on select nights from 11pm to 2am. Come check out this hot venue!!

Jason Aldean's Kitchen Rooftop Bar

Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar opened in 2018 and has four levels of entertainment, including a rooftop bar that provides an immaculate view of the Nashville skyline. There is a 1961 4020 John Deere tractor on display.

Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar

John Deere Tractor on Display at Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar

The song, Big Green Tractor, was Aldean's 8th single and 3rd number one hit. The song was released in May of 2009 on Aldean's 3rd album, Wide Open. Big Green Tractor was written by Jim Collins and southern Illinois native, David Lee Murphy. There is a John Deere tractor on display at Aldean's establishment to commemorate the success of this hit song.

Jason Aldean during his promotion of his album, 9

Jason Aldean (Jason Aldine Williams) was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. His parents separated when he was just three years old. During the summers he would spend time with his father in Homestead, Florida. Before his father would go to work, he would write down guitar chords on a piece of notebook paper, and Jason would practice these chords on his guitar all day while his father was gone. When Jason's father got home from work, they would both practice the chords together until Jason had perfected them.

Jason with his father, Barry Williams

Jason Aldean has been signed to Broken Bow Records since 2005, and since that time has recorded 9 albums with 21 singles that have reached #1.

Jason Aldean's music video of his most successful successful song, Burnin' it Down (video)

Burnin' it Down was released on July 22nd, 2014 and quickly claimed the #1 spot on the Hot Country Songs chart and stayed there for 14 straight weeks.

Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar (slideshow)

Jason Aldean's Kitchen + Rooftop Bar is open from 10am to 3am, every day, but the hours do vary and reservations are unavailable, it's first come, first serve.

Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe, 119 3rd Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee

The Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe is not located on Lower Broadway Street, but it is very close to it, and it is most definitely worth mentioning for two reasons: Johnny Cash is one of the greatest musicians of all time and the Johnny Cash Museum is one of the greatest museums of all time. I'll explain.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash (February 26th, 1932- September 12th, 2003)

Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas in 1932, to poor cotton farmers. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, by selling more than 90 million records worldwide. Johnny Cash had a crossover appeal that helped to expand his fan base beyond that of the mainstream Nashville Sound. Cash was known to record music that reflected the genres of Country, Rock 'n Roll, and Gospel music, and toward the end of his life, he even covered songs for Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, and Depeche Mode.

Johnny Cash at San Quentin Prison in San Quentin, California in 1969

Johnny Cash performed at prisons more than once in his life. Cash performed live in 1958 at San Quentin Prison, recorded a live album at Folsom Prison in 1968, and another live album at San Quentin Prison in 1969.

Johnny Cash during a live recorded performance at Folsom Prison in 1968

Johnny Cash started wearing his signature black suit in 1971, which earned him the nickname, "The Man in Black." Cash stated that, "I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town, I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, but is there because he's a victim of the times." The Johnny Cash prison maneuvers, publicity, and his love for these people illustrates the brilliance that this musician had. I say this because it's true. What Johnny Cash did for the prisoners at San Quentin and at Folsom prisons was unprecedented. Cash knew in 1957, that no other popular musician had performed in prisons before, let along record live albums in them. Cash knew this was an untapped resource, he knew that it was unprecedented, and he knew that it would sell and make money.

Johnny Cash recorded live albums in both Folsom and San Quentin prisons

As a business student in in college, I was taught to always look for the money. Where are the money-making opportunities? How can I make money from what I can do? What does the world need that I can offer, that I can profit from? Johnny Cash, like Dolly Parton, were and are two people who were and are very business savvy. I don't hold that against anyone, especially since I'm just like that myself. After all, musicians produce music to make money.

The albums that were recorded live at Folsom Prison and San Quentin Prison both went on to reach #1 on the Billboard pop album chart. In 1969, Johnny Cash became an international phenom when his live prison albums sold more than that of The Beatles when they sold 6.5 million albums. Johnny Cash knew what he was doing when he decided to start performing prison concerts. He knew that he was tapping into an untapped resource. He knew that people, including people who were not his fans, would see him as a kind-hearted person, and he knew that every prisoner around the world and ex-con and every person who was related to these people would love him.

Johnny Cash knew how to get more fans, and he did it in an unorthodox and controversial way. He did it by taking advantage of an era that was subject to the most social change. After all, the 60s were the subject to the most social change not only in America, but for the rest of the

The Vietnam War, Kennedy assassinations, Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Movement, the moon landing with Neil Armstrong, Hippy Movement, etc.

Johnny Cash knew how to fit into the times, he knew how to change, and this is why he was brilliant and this is why he will always be known as one of the greatest musicians of all time. He knew how to make money without being a sell-out. Johnny Cash stayed true to country music, while expanding his brand and capitalizing on the ever-changing American times that he faced.

The Johnny Cash prison concerts became a new concept that were popularized by Cash, and so much so, that other musicians such as Metallica, Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Frank Sinatra, B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Sex Pistols, and many others throughout the years. But it was Johnny Cash and his 1958 San Quentin State Prison concert that started this trend.

In the crowd of inmates who were watching Cash perform at San Quentin in 1958 was a young man by the name of, Merle Haggard.

Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe, 119 3rd Ave South, Nashville, Tennessee (slideshow)

Now that I've told you why I think that Johnny Cash is one of the greatest musicians of all time, let me tell you why I believe that the Johnny Cash Museum is one of the greatest museums of all time.

Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe, 119 3rd Ave South, Nashville, Tennessee

The Johnny Cash Museum is one of the greatest museums of all time. This is because it is one of only six attractions in Nashville to receive the AAA Gem rating, and it was ranked the #1 music museum in the world by Forbes, Conde Naste Traveler, and National Geographic Traveler magazines.

Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe, 119 3rd Ave South, Nashville, Tennessee

The Johnny Cash Museum features artifacts, history, and evidence of Johnny Cash's life and legacy, and illustrates his success as a musician and activist.

Johnny Cash’s last recorded song and video was “Hurt,” a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song. The song and the video won multiple awards. Cash was 71.

“Hurt,” A Johnny Cash Cover of a Nine Inch Nails Song (2003) (video)

Other nearby museums that highlight the life and times of country music artists who have had much success, are the George Jones Museum, Patsy Cline Museum, Glen Campbell Museum, Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs, and a Merle Haggard Museum.

I will discuss the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum later.

FGL House, 120 3rd Ave South, Nashville, Tennessee

Another place worth checking out that is not on Lower Broadway Street, but is near it, is the FGL House. This is a venue that is owned by the band, Florida Georgia Line, which consists of the duo with Tyler Hubbard and Bryan Kelley.

Tyler Hubbard & Bryan Kelley of Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line is a country music duo that consists of Tyler Hubbard and Bryan Kelley. Their debut single, "Cruise," which was released in April of 2012, was downloaded over 7 million times and was the first ever country song to received Diamond certification. "Cruise" became the best-selling digital country music song of all time and was at #1 for 24 weeks. Florida Georgia Line helped to introduced the genre, "bro-country." This style of country music incorporates rock and hip-hop elements into it.

FGL House, 120 3rd Ave South, Nashville, Tennessee

FGL House has 4 floors of entertainment including an award-winning rooftop. The "Cruise" rooftop is open all day and most of the night with everyday hours from 11am to 3am, and is one of the largest rooftops in Nashville.

No Joke Mac & Cheese at FGL House

FGL House offers Southern-style cuisines with a California flair. Each of the 4 floors has bars that serve local craft beers, cocktails, and Old Camp Whiskey, which is the Florida Georgia Line's own whiskey brand.

Florida Georgia Line's Old Camp Whiskey

Old Camp Whiskey is best known for its peach pecan whiskey and can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Give it a try!!

Luke's 32 Bridge Food + Drink, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee

Country music star Luke Bryan started Luke's 32 Bridge Food + Drink as a 30,000 square foot, multi-level venue that features 6 levels, 8 bars, and 3 stages that offer more than enough entertainment for a crowd of any size. There are two restaurants and the "Nut House" rooftop bar which is one of Nashville's largest rooftop bars and offers a great view of downtown.

Luke's 32 Bridge Food + Drink, Lower Broadway Street, Nashville, Tennessee (Gallery)