Brand Champions are so noted as local Nashville businesses that have successfully integrated the Music City brand into their day-to-day activities. The Music City brand represents all genres of music - from country to blues, rock to jazz, gospel to bluegrass and classical to songwriting. And the businesses below have used signage, events, advertising, exhibits, live music offerings and even language and nametags infused with what makes us Music City: the music. These honored businesses are recognized for their efforts and originality in building the Music City brand. Check back frequently to see new additions to this stellar lineup.
Nashville Zoo goes above and beyond to incorporate music in all they do. Music and animals combine for a unique songwriters’ round through Writers for Rhinos, an event that featured acoustic performances of chart-topping songs while supporting the Zoo’s rhino conservation efforts. The Zoo also partnered with muralist Stephan Sloan on a “Welcome to Music Kitty” mural in the 12South neighborhood. The Zoo continues to market animal exhibits through whimsical plays on the names of famous Nashville music artists, including Tim Macaw.
WeGo Bus Stop Sessions bring Nashville artists to city buses, like rising stars Devon Gilfillian and Michaela Anne who recently participated in the music campaign by performing on a bus to an intimate audience of fans at the WeGo Central bus station downtown. WeGo Public Transit has partnered with Acme Radio Live and Do615 to support the use of public transit. By working with the local arts community in creating these Bus Stop Sessions they hope to promote the benefits of using the city’s transit system.
The Tennessee State Museum’s exhibit, The State of Sound, focuses on Tennessee’s worldwide reputation as an important music center. Visitors learn about the development of hybrid forms like ragtime, rhythm and blues, gospel, rock and roll, and soul, all of which were produced and played by Tennessee musicians. The gallery includes “Discovering Tennessee’s Musical Roots,” “Tennessee Music in the Industrial Age,” “Tennessee Music Comes of Age (1910-1945),” and “Taking Tennessee Music to the World.” The exhibit is scheduled to be on view through the beginning of 2020. In the Museum’s permanent gallery, Tennessee Transforms (1940-present), iconic Tennessee-connected artists are celebrated through performance outfits, instruments and more, including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Booker T, and the MGs, Loretta Lynn, and Jason and the Scorchers. In September the Tennessee State Museum was officially designated as a stop on the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s statewide Tennessee Music Pathways trail.
Courtyard Concerts is the Nashville Public Library’s annual music series in the beautiful Robinson Courtyard at the Main Library in downtown Nashville. It is a free, rain-or-shine noontime concert, voted one of the best music series in Nashville by Nashville Lifestyles magazine. The 2019 season just wrapped up in October and featured a diverse lineup that included songwriters, bluegrass, and rock and roll offerings.
Mewsic Kitty Cafe is a one-of-a-kind cat cafe that could only happen in Nashville. They pay homage to the Music City brand in feline form while providing a vibrant, comfy, cage-free place for their adoptable headliners (that’s the cats!) to meet their furever families. Guests can book visits to this cat cafe to sip on coffee and love on adoptable cats such as Kitty Pickler, Cat$ha, Peter Purrampton, Roseanne Cats, Catsy Cline, Purrletta Lynn, and Snoop Cat. Even their logo features a bass clef for a tail.
As part of its Kimpton Stay Human Project, guests who book the Kimpton Aertson Hotel’s King Premier room are encouraged to channel their inner Dolly or Cash by recording their own cover selected from a playlist of songs and artists inspired by Music City and curated by Nashville’s Lightning 100 radio station. An Epiphone guitar, microphone, and iPad with music-composition software make the recording process simple for artists of all levels. Once finalized, the song is uploaded to the hotel’s Spotify channel to be shared with other guests. In addition, guests of the King Premier room will find a set of Porter Wagoner-inspired shirts in the closet and will be treated to an individually-customized welcome cocktail at Henley, set to bring out their inner rock star spirit. The program launched this summer and will run through the end of September as part of the nationwide Kimpton campaign that encourages participants to forge meaningful relationships with other guests through a shared customized, localized room experience.
Topgolf Nashville embraces the Music City brand by featuring the first dedicated music venue opened by Topgolf. The Cowan is a two-story live performance venue with a capacity of more than 600. Featuring an open floor space and balcony area, it showcases established touring acts as well as up-and-coming Nashville artists.
Adventure Science Center has added soundBox, a permanent exhibition centered around music and sound. The exhibit allows guests to explore the science of music and sound through 14 unique, active, and hands-on social experiences – all while celebrating Nashville’s Music City roots. Visitors of all ages can create their own musical tracks and visualize notes and beats on glowing walls and adjust pitch and volume of sounds and tones in full-body, immersive experiences. Guests can also sing or speak to see their own vocal patterns on a digital wall or scan their fingerprints to convert the distinctive ridges into unique songs and animations to digitally share with friends. They have partnered with local music industry professionals to showcase career paths in the arenas of music and sound. They are hosting a Summer Concert Series at the Cornerstone Amphitheater in Galactic Gardens every Friday in July from noon to 1pm.
SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland fully incorporates music in all aspects of the water attraction. The 4-acre indoor-and-outdoor water experience includes a variety of musical water adventures like Record Launch, Rapid Remix, Quarter Note Cove, Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool, Bass Drop, Rock’N Racer, and Tidal Track Wave Pool. Dine in the Decibels indoor-outdoor restaurant or hide away in Status Cymbal adults-only bar and pool. SoundWaves is an original twist on a water attraction that celebrates Music City.
The Holiday Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown has successfully integrated the Music City brand in its lobby, restaurant, and sleeping rooms. The décor showcases both unique music items and Nashville information, including a cassette tape table, guitar-themed artwork, and paintings of the city’s skyline. The environment helps to set the tone for an authentic “Nashville” experience all while promoting the Music City brand.
Southwest Airlines is committed to supporting artists, songwriters, and fans by way of their sponsorship of NSAI and The Bluebird Cafe. Since 2015, Southwest has been the Official Airline of the Nashville Songwriters Association International and The Bluebird Cafe. This sponsorship aligns with their own initiative called Southwest.fm. According to their site, “Southwest is dedicated to showcasing the talents of musicians through their Live at 35® performances (onboard Southwest planes), highlighting our commitment to supporting Artists on the Rise, and providing a glimpse of the many ways in which Southwest® is involved in music.” Many of the artists they feature and support are Nashville-based artists and songwriters. They have partnered with the Opry to host Nashville’s New Music in New York at the Southwest Porch. Another reason Southwest is a great Brand Champion: Guitars fly free!
The Frist Art Museum is a nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, state, and regional artists, as well as major U.S. and international exhibitions. Their team has gone above and beyond in their efforts to incorporate all genres of music within their programming. Examples of their stellar inclusion of music include Frist Fridays, a quarterly event that allows attendees to experience art through live music performances and interactive gallery activities while enjoying food and beverage specials and Music at the Café, a free, live music showcase that features artists from an eclectic group of musical genres. Their team has also partnered with the Nashville Jazz Workshop to put on Jazz on the Move, an educational series featuring a lecture and performance that highlights a major figure or period in jazz history.
Little Fib is an American retro restaurant that honors the rich history of Nashville through food, drink, and music. The very name of the restaurant is inspired by a quote describing the progression of country music: From “three chords and the truth” it moves to “five chords and a little fib” to “eight chords and an outright lie.” A wall mural dedicated to the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, helps to set the tone for patrons as they are treated to Little Fib’s contemporary take on Southern classics and craft cocktails.
As part apparel store, part guitar shop and part live music venue, Two Old Hippies embodies the Music City brand. Located in the Gulch, the store’s walls are lined with music memorabilia, and they offer a collection of premium acoustic stringed instruments, along with accessories and gifts for the acoustic lover. They are famous for The Vault, a quiet room to test out a new guitar, mandolin or ukulele. The shop has a stage for in-store live music, and their motto is: “Share in the spirit of Peace, Love & Rock N’ Roll.”
Bridgestone Arena may be home to the Nashville Predators, but as importantly it is a major player in Nashville’s music industry that integrates music into everything it does. It’s a top concert arena in the country: Pollstar’s Arena of the Year; 2017 Arena of the Year – IEBA; 2017 Arena of the Year – CMA; and 2017 Large Capacity Venue of the Year – ACM. It’s ranked No. 4 in the United State and No. 12 worldwide for concert ticket sales by Pollstar. It is home to the CMA Awards and the CMT Awards and houses SiriusXM Radio, along with the Nashville Visitor Information Center and Music City Shop. Its 13,500-square-foot rehearsal hall is used more than 200 days each year by national touring acts. The Arena celebrates concert sell-outs by wrapping a support beam in honor of the tour. Recently, Brad Paisley and Rob Hendon painted a mural together outside of Section 109. The mural features the Predators logo, the Nashville skyline, two guitars, and a catfish. Its iconic glass tower is said to either symbolize a spotlight or is a nod to the WSM tower, which both promote the Music City brand.