hilburn
11 Images

Nashville music scene

hilburn
Who knew bass playing could be so visual? Sweet Joe Fick’s upright is more than a prop as the Dempseys rock Rippy’s Bar in Nashville. The fans ate up the extreme rockabilly sound, howling and clapping for the energetic threesome, especially Flick’s acrobatic skills on the bass. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Greg Roth and Erika Yuhas, both of Los Angeles, finish with a flourish as they dance to a live country band at the world famous Legends Corner music bar in Nashville. Tennessee’s capital city is just a few hours northeast of Memphis, easily reachable on Interstate 40, a.k.a. the “Music Highway.” Nashville, of course, means country, country, country. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Down at the Crossroads bar in Nashville, Kari Nelson earns her country music wings by playing fiddle with John Carter and his band. The 19-year-old began violin lessons at the tender age of 6. Now a college student, she plays four-hour gigs at local clubs. Nashville is a great town for a little honky-tonkin’, be it at the local bars and clubs or at the granddaddy of ‘em all — the Grand Ole Opry. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Rick Udler takes his turn on the tiny stage at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe. The intimate acoustic club in a nondescript mini-mall has been home to songwriters for nearly 25 years. Although regular music fans make up most of the audience, there’s usually a sprinkling of professionals, either publishers or record execs, looking for hit material. In fact, the Bluebird is where Garth Brooks first heard Tony Arata’s “The Dance,” and where a former bartender co-wrote “Here in the Real World,” which launched Alan Jackson’s career. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Hollywood’s got nothing on Nashville: The sidewalks of the Tennessee city’s music district are thick with characters: an Elvis look-alike, street musicians and a giant guitar adorned with the likenesses of some of America’s country superstars, including Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
On Broadway — Nashville’s version of Beale Street — a sweat-soaked musician hauls his guitar, amp and speaker across the street and on to another honky-tonk. Musicians hustle continually, hoping for that big break, sometimes working at two or three different bars a night, playing for tips. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
At the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Terry Longpre, 60, of Florida, listens to a hit song at the Country Gold Wall of Fame — open a framed record door, and the tune starts. The Vietnam vet and music lover said he took up bluegrass playing six years ago but admits, “I started playing 50 years too late.” Located downtown, the Hall of Fame offers a superb overview of the sound that has often been called the “white man’s blues.” (Don Bartletti)
hilburn
Just like the sign says, it’s bluegrass night at the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. A plaque outside the auditorium reports that on this very stage in December 1945, bluegrass was born. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Nearly every seat is taken inside the Ryman. The “Mother Church of Country Music,” as it’s known on its website, is just a couple of blocks from the Hall of Fame. It’s a place so revered as the longtime home of the Opry that Jack White, one of today’s hottest rock stars, got married there. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Fine-art photographer Joe Fizer sets his camera to capture an image of the Ryman Auditorium. The landmark red brick building was originally a church, but is more famous as the longtime home of the Opry. During those years, the Ryman saw its share of historic events, like that night in 1949 when Hank Williams did so well in his Opry debut that he sang half a dozen encores of “Lovesick Blues.” (Don Bartletti / LAT)
hilburn
Time to go honk-tonkin’ ‘round this town tonight: It’s twilight time on Nashville’s Broadway Avenue, where the sounds of country music blast block after block from the 19th century bars. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
1/11