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 SC is the Music City Brand Champion for April as they continuously infuse music into their brand and marketing efforts. Fans are getting ready for their home opener on May 1 for the first game in GEODIS Park. Nashville SC’s crest features its two official colors: Acoustic Blue and Electric Gold. The design of the logo was based on the sound and vibrations of music. Their campaigns have included: “Nashville, it’s time to #BandTogether” and the “First String” campaign for founding members. The Gibson Guitar Riff is a pregame ritual as different performers throughout the season get the home fans pumped up by shredding a customized Gibson guitar right before kickoff. Nashville SC has been doing video shorts on YouTube with local celebrities playing the Gibson Guitar Riff. Nashville SC teamed up with the Nashville-based alternative rock band Judah & the Lion to create the official club anthem titled “Never Give Up On You.” Their mascot is named TEMPO THE COYOTE. The Supporters Section, “The Backline,” brings the noise before, during, and after the match to provide the soundtrack for the stadium.
Music City Suds is proud to be the unofficial soap maker of country music. So it’s no surprise that the sights, sounds, and people of Music City have inspired their products. Whether you’re lathering up with “I Walk the Lime” or singing in the shower with “Friends in Aloe Places,” you’ll find a little bit of Tennessee in every sud. The artisan soaps have appeared in celebrity gift bags at both the CMT and CMA Awards. On their product page you can choose from Hit Singles: soaps with names like “A Bar Named Sue,” “Lavender and Ever, Amen,” “Nitty Gritty Dirt Scrub,” “Charcoal Miner’s Daughter” and many more. They also feature a Balms & Ballads collection featuring lip balms with names like “Chattasmoochee” and “Take This Balm and Love It.”
W Nashville takes the stage in the heart of The Gulch, just steps from Music Row and Midtown. They are striking the Music City chord with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails, and welcoming communal spaces. The sleeping rooms feature furniture that is subtly inspired by vintage stereo equipment and includes stud detailing like those found on a roadie case, while televisions are surrounded with speaker cloth. Their extreme WOW suites also feature a discreet music booth. Around the hotel, the art focuses on music from a collection of original prints by the godfather of rock ’n’ roll photography, Jim Marshall. Guest rooms include Pop Art-inspired pieces that celebrate the musical soul of the city. Music-themed inspiration continues into their dining options with an example being the Living Room. The Living Room features subtle, respectable nods to music, including a ceiling of pyramidal acoustic panels reminiscent of a recording studio and a two-way mirror box chandelier tipping a hat to the show lights at the music venues on Lower Broad.
A tribute to all things Southern and a Nashville staple for more than 10 years, Edley’s Bar-B-Que incorporates the Music City brand throughout its multiple locations. Inspired by Nashville’s famous hot chicken, Edley’s created Nashville Style BBQ – a dish made up of their own blend of fiery spices on their popular low and slow cooked meats. The dish is aimed at putting Nashville BBQ as its own entity on the map – a BBQ that has a unique identity just to Music City. The restaurant playlist is made up of hundreds of hand-selected songs inspired by the sounds of greater Tennessee, mixing the greats of Southern rhythm and blues for a dining experience that plays to all the senses. A family business with a lot of heart for the community, Edley’s is also known for always celebrating and giving back to its neighbors. Even after their own East Nashville location suffered damage from the March 2020 tornado, the Edley’s team was out in the community the next morning giving out free food to volunteers and emergency workers. They also worked with Cumulus Media to raise more than $230,000 during a radiothon for tornado relief.
A Nashville staple and America’s first combination candy bar, the downtown Goo Goo Shop & Dessert Bar unveiled its $2 million renovations in November 2021. A hotspot for tourists and locals alike, the shop features a more current look and feel with Goo Goo and Nashville history sprinkled about. Next to their new custom Goo Goo ordering stations guests will find a wall of spinnable tiles with fun questions and answers about Nashville to learn all about the city and music history while they wait.
Vanderbilt University, a private research university and member of the Southeastern Conference, promotes the Music City brand during every home football game. A high-energy 50-second video “Welcome to Nashville” highlights the Vanderbilt Commodores, along with Nashville’s professional sports teams, and everything that makes Nashville great. It’s a great way to boost the destination to major fan bases from other SEC schools.
Virgin Hotel Nashville is located right on Music Row in the heart of Midtown. The Music City brand is evident the moment you walk in: the entry lobby features deconstructed musical instruments hanging above the front desk as a welcome to Music City. Sitting right off the lobby, Virgin’s Funny Library Coffee Shop, features fun and funky styling by local interior designer and granddaughter to Johnny Cash, Hannah Crowell.
Daddy’s Dogs is located in Sylvan Park, along with a service window in Printer’s Alley and pop-up events around town. Owner Sean Porter previously toured with bands like Cage the Elephant, Elle King, and more, so no surprise the Music City brand is incorporated into the business. During the pandemic, they launched a drive-in concert series with performers like Cassadee Pope, Kris Allen, Adam Hambrick, and more. Donations went to MusiCares, which supports music industry individuals in need, and the concert series returned in 2021. They often give away free meals to those in need, including out-of-work musicians during the pandemic. During CMA Fest they put a call out for easy hot dog drop-offs. They even have a hot dog named after Music City itself.
The Centennial Park Conservancy brings free, live musical performances to the Parthenon and Centennial Park through programs such as Echo (chamber music at the Parthenon) and Musicians Corner (live music in Centennial Park). Through these programs, the Conservancy helps create safe, creative spaces for the community to gather and enjoy live music from artists of all genres. Musicians Corner alone has welcomed over 1,500 artists since its inception in 2010 and welcomes over 75,000 attendees annually.
The Moxy Nashville Downtown is located on lower Broadway and embraces the essence and culture of Music City’s music vibe and rhythmic lifestyle. The heart of the hotel is Bar Moxy which boasts daily live music on a custom-made stage in the lobby. The guest room selections are Music City View, Musician Room, and Music City King. The Moxy’s interior walls are covered with murals of musicians and vinyl records ready for Instagram moments. The building’s first incarnation was a business records storage facility, and the hotel has cleverly retained the Records Storage sign over the hotel entrance. Guests can select from rooms and suites with sweeping views of iconic Broadway or the windowless Musician Rooms, which feature Epiphone acoustic guitars for guests to use freely.
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.
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.