Sure, you know Nashville is one of the top destinations for music lovers in the US, but that doesn't mean you're guaranteed a great night out by default. For every local hangout, there are a dozen bars offering gigs that will have you heading for the door. Journy caught up with local band Colony House to find out the best places for live music in Nashville.
The Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is one of the most iconic music venues in Nashville. Be prepared to include the gigs there among your "best shows ever" list. This historic "Mother Church" really has something for everyone. The range of artists varies from old/new country to comedy to rock and roll and beyond.
Pro Tip: the balcony is the best seat in the house. Beneath the balcony is the worst seat in the house.
Robert's Western World
Robert's Western World is quite the opposite of the Ryman, but it's nearby and provides a great one-two punch. Think cheap beers, awesome burgers made behind the bar and some of Nashville’s finest old country musicians tearing up the stage. These dudes (and dudettes) are no joke players. There's a tiny little dance floor right in the front of the stage that you boot scoot on with about 20-30 strangers. It's a musical oasis in the midst of the bar scene on Broadway. By far a local favorite place to "go out" in Nashville.
Grimey's is THE Nashville record store. It's small and has a vibe that says "you belong here, Music Lover." About once a month or so they do release shows inside the store (we'll use the word cozy to describe the space) and they're always cool. My band has been lucky enough to put on a couple of these shows. It feels like a dive into the center of Nashville's music community.
On the bottom floor of this building is the venue The Basement which is probably my favorite venue in Nashville. It's simple, loud and straight to the point...and very small. One of the charms of The Basement is its attendees. The people who come to shows at The Basement are people who just love live music. There's very little pretense and a lot of infectious camaraderie, even if you don't know the band playing.
Cannery Row is home to three venues housed in the same warehouse off of 8th Ave and are three of my favorite venues in Nashville. On the third floor sits The High Watt, the smallest of the three rooms, which can hold around 200 people. On the second floor with a capacity of around 500 is Mercy Lounge, and on the ground floor is The Cannery Ballroom, the largest of the three rooms holding around 1000 people.
The three venues have hosted acts from all over the world but have always been an open door for local artists to cut their teeth as well. On any given night there will be music happening on all three floors in all three venues. The possibilities are endless.
Pro Tip: there's a barber shop (and salon, ladies) in the same parking lot called Parlour & Juke where you can get yourself a shave or trim up before your concert date. Just make sure to call in advance.
Colony House is an indie rock band based in Franklin, TN. Their second album "Only The Lonely" is out now.