Nashville's Americana Playlist
Music City hits the high notes year round with music flowing out of our streets, clubs, and concert halls at all hours of the day. But never is the music more abundant than in the fall. Music festivals, events, concerts, and shows fill up the fall calendar and practically overlap with one ‘can’t miss’ event after another.
One of Music City’s highlights every fall is the Americana Music Festival. The festival celebrates the authentic voice of American Roots Music around the world and brings music lovers from all over to experience the unique event. In honor of this soul-stirring music with deep Nashville roots and the many Americana-related events taking place here this season, we’ve put together an Americana-inspired Music City Fall Playlist, a “play” list of Americana-related events and activities as well as a ‘playlist’ of Americana music by artists who call Nashville home.
It’s Festival Season
Americana music is hitting the festival stage in Nashville with nearly every music festival this season featuring Americana acts in their lineup. We obviously have to start with the Americana Music Festival, September 17-21. 175+ acts perform over four nights at nine different venues across town. It’s an all-star lineup of some of the greatest musicians in the world including The Avett Brothers, Buddy Miller, Elizabeth Cook, as well as surprise performances that steal the show every year. The festival kicks off with the Americana Awards held at the Ryman Auditorium on September 17th.
The Musicians Corner fall season runs every Saturday September 6-October 25 with a special Americana themed show September 20th featuring Over the Rhine, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, The Brothers Comatose, and Phil Cody.
What has quickly become one of the most anticipated music festivals of the year, Live on the Green has outdone itself this year with a stellar lineup up including Augustana, The Wild Feathers, Cage the Elephant, and more. Shows are Thursday nights at Public Square Park August 14, 21 and 28. And new this year, is a three-day festival September 4-6th. And get this, it’s all FREE! That’s Music City at its finest.
Music City Roots, a weekly, two-hour live radio show and concert, is broadcast on Wednesday nights from the Factory at Franklin and showcases Nashville's diverse country and Americana music scene with a "roots and branches" format that brings together fans of different tastes and generations.
Hitting the Stage
Just go ahead and quit your day job because that’s the only way you’ll be able to see all the shows and concerts coming to Music City this fall. On second thought, keep the job. You’ll need the cash to pay for the shows.
Americana takes center stage at the world famous Ryman Auditorium with the legendary Loretta Lynn performing October 10th and 11th, Randy Rogers Band on September 26th and Jason Isbell performing October 24-26.
A local favorite, Full Moon Pickin Party, will take place September 5th and October 3rd at the Percy Warner Equestrian Park. Bluegrass musicians hit the main stage as well as form pickup pickin’ circles under the light of the full moon.
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center, TPAC, is bringing the Tony Award winning musical Once to their stage September 16-21st. This Broadway show will feel right at home in Nashville with actors and musicians playing their own instruments on stage.
Of course, we can’t leave out Country Music’s biggest night, the 47th Annual CMA Awards which will air live from Bridgestone Arena on November 6th.
Food For the Soul
And by food for the soul, we mean actual food. Second only to good music, Nashville loves good food. Others are starting to notice it, too. The Daily Meal named Nashville one of the ‘top travel destinations for foodies in 2014’ and new restaurants are opening by the day around here.
Want to taste many of Nashville’s best restaurants all in one spot? Head to the second annual Music City Food + Wine Festival, September 20 and 21. Showcasing national top chefs, winemakers and spirits experts alongside local talent, you’ll get a taste of Nashville’s vibrant culinary scene. And since you can’t have an event in Nashville that doesn’t include music, Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill will team up with City House chef Tandy Wilson and “Chopped” judge Amanda Freitag to talk about cooking to music in “Prep Playlist,” sharing their favorite kitchen jams.
Don’t miss the Taste of Tennessee Festival, part of the TN State Fair, taking place at the Nashville fairgrounds September 5-7th to include the Craft Brewers Fest, Artisan Distillers Fest, and World Food Championship.
While you’re hopping from one fest to the next, be sure to stop in and try out some of the newest restaurants on the scene. ACME Feed & Seed on Lower Broadway offers a casual 1st floor dining space with a diverse menu of Southern favorites as well as 2nd floor fine dining menu. The refurbished space also has a music venue and event space. Music and food, the stuff Nashville dreams are made of. The Flipside, located in 12South, offers a chic 1950's diner-style experience complete with retro decor and a menu that includes milkshakes, tater tots, and fruity cocktails. Adele’s, which recently opened in the Gulch by famed chef Jonathan Waxman, offers a rustic and seasonal menu of locally sourced ingredients. Sinema, the highly anticipated new restaurant from Top Chef alum Dale Levitski, earns its name from being the former home of the Melrose Theater. The ‘eclectic American cuisine’ is paired with exquisite decor including mirrored walls and ceilings as well as lounge and bar space. City Winery, a restaurant/winery/music venue, debuts the week of the Americana Festival, and offers performances by Rodney Crowell, Laura Cantrell, Joe Henry and more leading up to its October 1st grand opening.
And since this is a list of (mostly) all things Americana in Music City, there are still those Nashville staples that, to our delight, offer an un-changing menu of Southern goodness year after year. Places like Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Martin’s Bar-B-Que, Hattie B’s, and the Nashville Farmers' Market are the perfect places to fuel up before a music-filled night out.
But Wait, There’s More
The Tennessee State Fair will take over the Tennessee State Fairgrounds September 5-14. From rides and food to cooking contests and animal shows, it’s a chance to celebrate all the things that make Tennessee special. The Frist’s American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart features the revealing photographs of the legendary musician Marty Stuart. Known primarily as a country music star, he is a master storyteller not only through his songs, but also through his revealing photographs. The exhibit is up now through November 2nd. The Nashville Ballet is performing one of the all time classics, Swan Lake, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall Oct 17-19th. A truly Americana tale, The West Side Story, is coming to the Schemerhorn Symphony Center. Experience this classic American film as the Nashville Symphony performs the unforgettable score live while the film is shown on the big screen. And lastly, always a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, the First Saturday Art Crawl takes place, you guessed it, on the first Saturday of every month from 6-9pm along Downtown’s 5th Avenue of the Arts. Over 20 art venues participate, presenting local and world-renowned artists and artwork.