Music City Dos

Where to go in Nashville
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  January 24, 2007

KITCHEN RECORDINGS: Songwriter/producer Buddy Miller’s home studio is typical of the city’s alternative scene.
Grimey’s New And Preloved Music | The hippest music store in Nashville is also one of its coolest concert spots. The upstairs shop at 1605 Eighth Avenue specializes in indie and routinely hosts in-stores. Kristin Hersh and Tommy Womack are coming in February. Below, the Basement features regional beers on tap plus John Langford, Will Kimbrough, Bill Lloyd, and lots of locals.

The Family Wash | Since opening four years ago, this restaurant, club, and gallery at 2038 Greenwood Avenue has carved a place for itself in the heart of the flowering creative community of East Nashville, where lower real-estate prices have lured artists and musicians. All genres get stage time, and locals like Audley Freed of the Black Crowes and ex-Bostonian Reeves Gabrels stop in to jam. Shepherd’s pie — traditional and veggie — is the specialty.

The Bluebird Café | This showcase room at 4140 Hillsboro Pike is a Nashville institution, with seven nights of music a week featuring successful and aspiring songwriters in the round. Newbies have waited a year for a slot.

Fido And Bongo Java | More than the source of Nashville’s best coffee, Fido, downtown at 1812 21st Avenue, and the Bongo Java Roasting Company Café, at 107 South 11th Street in East Nashville, are where musicians meet, bands are formed, and deals are made. Over Fido’s andouille-sausage-and-eggs breakfast, which is served all day, you might see anyone from local drummer/promoter Billy Block to Sheryl Crow.

Rotier’s | If you loved Boston’s long-gone and legendary Hoodoo Barbecue in Kenmore Square’s the Rat, you’ll love Rotier’s. The 2413 Elliston Place dive bar (615.327.9892) is famous for burgers and fries and — like the Elliston Place Soda Shop at 2111 (615.327.1090), which is noted for its meat-and-three plates and shakes — is unaltered by the last five decades and a favorite of musicians and students.

Ryman Auditorium | Country music was nursed and packaged at downtown’s Ryman, the 116 Fifth Avenue North auditorium that became home to the Grand Ole Opry in 1943. (The Opry itself moved to a theme park just outside of town in 1974.) Now restored, it’s once again a premier concert hall, the place where Neil Young’s Prairie Wind was filmed. Daytime tours are available. Be sure to stroll around the corner to Broadway and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, which Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and other Opry regulars slipped into between shows by way of the Ryman’s backstage doors. Music runs from 10 am until closing every day. And just down the block there’s Jack’s Bar-B-Q.

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