Nashville, Tennessee– home of American Country Music

Arriving in Nashville is like driving into a time warp. The downtown area is crowded with hole-in-the-wall bars where musicians are playing live music starting early in the morning. We were there on a Friday with Lauren’s uncle. He took us to Tootsie’s, the most famous of the local bars, where a cowboy and his cowgirl crooned into rusty microphones over a rowdy crowd. It was 2pm and the beers were flowing and the crowd was hopping. We sat with a couple from New York who were fleeing Hurricane Sandy in search of fairer weather and cheerier sights. They couldn’t get over the $5 PBR cans.

Down the street at Layla’s we got PBR cans for $1 and watched an authentic hill cowboy and a lovely lady on bass really bring country music to life. They were no joke, and at 3pm in the afternoon they had a lively audience of diehards, cowboys and tourists.

You can buy cowboy boots and outfits for cheap downtown. Some boots sell three pair for the price of one. We looked but didn’t buy, and continued on down the way for the mid-afternoon bar crawl with our infant baby. Don’t worry, they still can’t smoke inside and Gwen loved the music. She stood on my lap and cooed along with the best of them. And she wasn’t the only toothless lady in the bar.

Nashville has a great dining scene. We were introduced to more southern BBQ at several restaurants and adored every delectable bite. It’s hard not to overeat when the food tastes like ambrosia.

Out on the streets you’ll find wildly talented people playing handmade instruments, dancing or playing guitar. There is so much talent in the city that it overflows into the streets. Record labels sign big named there, like Taylor Swift, and music celebrities mingle with regular folk without putting on airs.

We were lucky enough to have family in Nashville to stay with, and enjoyed a lovely birthday party for my cousin while we were in town. A great visit, an amazing family and a lovely city. I’d live in Nashville if I could. I’ve never been anywhere else where music was loved so much.

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