Regardless of how you feel about America, country music, or line dancing, once you spend a night in Nashville you are sure to believe that all three are pretty amazing.
As soon as we arrived in the city we all bought tickets to go see the famous Grand Ole Opry, a live radio show that has been broadcasting the greatest talent in country music for almost 90 years. All of the most famous stars of the last century have performed on the show, from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash to Garth Brooks.
It was a surreal experience to sit in that famous theater and watch several different acts perform in the course of the two-hour show. There were several country/rock artists, a family of 12 brothers and sisters all singing and dancing on stage, and even a quartet of old cowboys at least 70 and even 80 years old. It was a fantastic experience!
Tonight we hit the town for an evening of partying and dancing on the famous Broadway Street in the heart of downtown. In Nashville there is no such thing as a “bar,” they’re called “Honky-Tonks,” and there are dozens of them lining Broadway and 2nd street, all blasting live country music from aspiring musicians all hoping to be the next big act to be discovered in Nashville. Tourists and locals fill the streets as they wander between the honky-tonks under big neon signs that flash “Music City USA.”
The list of famous musicians who have come out of Nashville is endless, and that’s what makes it so cool to visit this city and be in the heart of the place where dreams are made for aspiring musicians who come from all over the world to make or break it here. The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, Waylon Jennings, Kings of Leon, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift are just a few of the artists who emerged from Nashville.
Our destination for the night was the Wildhorse Saloon, a very large honky-tonk with a big stage where every night a rockin’ country band keeps everyone partying until the late hours of the night. Occasionally when the band is taking a break there is a cowboy or cowgirl who gets everyone out on the big dance floor and teaches us the steps to a line dance, a form of country dancing where everyone repeats the same simple synchronized dance steps and shuffles, hops, and scoots across the dance floor as the band blasts their tunes. No matter how inexperienced of a dancer you are, you can’t help but get out there and have a great time.
By the time the night is over, I always have passengers who came to America liking country music and who leave now absolutely loving it, thinking it’s one of greatest things in the world! Then we spend the rest of the tour rolling down the highway listening to music full of guitars and banjos and cowboy hats, singing about tractors, southern girls, fried chicken, and just how awesome life can be. And that is the best kind of road trip you can have. Nashville, you never let me down.
If reading this post has whet your appetite for some good old fashion country fun, then check out Grand American Adventures', Deep South & Delta Blues tour for introduction to the home of country music.
Russell Grange - I’ve been leading tours for Grand American Adventures for three years now, after growing up all around Western America in places such as Utah, Idaho, California, and Alaska. I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in History and promptly moved to Hawaii where I began leading adventure snorkeling and diving tours. I spend as much time as possible in the Southwest and the Rocky Mountains; climbing, hiking, motorcycling, and canyoneering. When I’m not leading tours I’m often traveling abroad in Southeast Asia, Nepal, India, and Western Europe.