When I told people that Ben and I are about to go and check out Nashville, I received a “what did you just say?!” look from most of them…can’t even blame them…neither Ben nor I am big fans of country music, but luckily we are both interested in seeing new places and learning about history. I think that even if you are not a country music fan, you should visit Nashville once and get a feeling of the vibe of the city.
We decided to spend New Year’s Eve there and we also gave ourselves a couple days to look around before.
I will just go ahead and admit the fact that I became interested in Nashville and country music, after watching the TV show called Nashville. (Don’t judge!) I really enjoy some of the ABC drama series, this one particularly. I fell in love with the actors, their stories, and I actually started enjoying the music itself as well.
This christmas we decided to take a road trip to visit family and then take some time to go and see new places. We ended up picking Nashville, which was “only” 8 hours out of our way! It was a pretty intense time to visit, most streets in downtown were closed for the New Year’s Eve event, which included free concerts, food trucks on the road, and lots of people around. It was very fun, and I understand this is not what Nashville normally is, but in our memories that will always be part of it 😀 We enjoyed how much music was around us, how many musical buildings, hall of fame, museums and culture surrounded us and everything was available right at downtown in a walking distance.
I could talk about Nashville for hours, but I will grab a little peace of history out and talk about our visit to the Ryman Auditorium, which is known as the mother church of country music. Pretty important one if you ask me 😀 The Ryman has hosted all the good lookin’ cowboy musicians, even the not so good looking ones, gave place to hundreds of concerts, and provided a cultural center for the people throughout the years.
We chose the “self-touring” option to visit the auditorium, which was $20/person. After entering the building, we got guided up to the second floor (guided….self-touring…I will let that sink in…:D ), where we all got to watch a movie, about the history of The Ryman. It was literally the coolest presentation we have ever seen, which kind of set our mood for the rest of the tour. They say that the story of the building is so powerful and emotional that they needed an extraordinary way to present it to the visitors…well they kind of nailed that one! Unfortunately, it was prohibited to take pictures or video during the presentation (which makes sense), but here is a little sneak peak from YouTube to get an idea: Soul of Nashville .
The story of the building – Soul of Nashville- was told by a hologram -kind of lady, Lula Naff, who used to be the manager and promoter of the building. The theater had multiple projectors and sound system hanging off the walls so they could use special effects and create a multidimensional presentation for the audience. It was such a wonderful and innovative (and unexpected) way to do it, that it kind of caught us off guard, but I have never seen 100 people be this interested in a history presentation before. There is a chance that none of us blinked for 20 minutes, just in case we would miss something.
During the presentation we learned about the 125 year old history (how cute :D) and the legendary performances that came to life in the auditorium. Lula Naff, was a very strong lady, and kind of undeservedly forgotten by our society, who became the manager of the Ryman, even before women had the right to vote. She invited the best performers and various Broadway shows to the Ryman such as Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, “Guys and Dolls,” and many more. She managed to bring the Ryman back to life, after getting shut down for being too old (125 years, too old, haha) and dangerous…She created a fantastic gathering and cultural place for the people who enjoyed music and comedy.
After the presentation we got to self-tour the building, check out the posters on the walls, see the auditorium and the stage, sit down and enjoy the squeaking noise of the benches. The braver and more talented ones got a chance to go and sing in the recording studio, while the less talented ones walked around and looked at the costume exhibition that had a pretty solid collection of the performing singers’ outfits. You can tell which category I am in based on all the following costume pictures 😀 😀
The Ryman – not by accident – is #1 on the “Things to do in Nashville” list.
We had a fantastic time seeing history evolve, listening some good old country music, and getting to know more performers. It was a well invested $20 and I encourage everyone to go there once and check it out!!!! 😀