Nashville Arts & Entertainment's Annual Guide 2019-2020

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Celebrating the Best of Nashville FOURTEENTH ANNUAL EDITION — Fall/Winter 2019 – 2020

FALL/WINTER 2019– 2020



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As a teenager, Ming fought valiantly to escape one of history's darkest eras - China's Cultural Revolution - during which millions of innocent youth were deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of poverty and hard labor. He eventually made his way to the U.S. with $50 in his pocket, where against all odds, he later earned a PhD in laser la physics and graduated with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT. To date, Dr. Wang has performed over 55,000 eye procedures including on over 4,000 physicians. He has published 9 textbooks, holds several U.S. patents, and performed the world’s rst laser artiicial cornea implantation. Dr. Wang is currently the only surgeon in the state who performs 3D SMILE and 3D LASIK (18+), 3D Implantable Contact Lens (21+), 3D Forever Young Lens (45+), and 3D Laser Cataract Surgery (60+). He established a non-proot charity, which to date has helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries, with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge.

With President Ronald Reagan at î ˘e White House (1984)

Major motion picture coming soon

Ming and his younger brother, Ming-yu (1968)

Publisher Notes


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Contents 10 It’s Time To Crawl

5 Art Crawls To Explore Nashville’s Visual Art Scene By Sara Lee Burd

20 Nashville’s Best Rooftop Bars By Lorie Hollabaugh

26 10

Arts Section

Performing Arts

27 Shaping the Future of Performing Arts By Courtney Keen

28 Giancarlo Guerrero 31 Jennifer Turner 32 Todd Morgan 20

Literary Arts

34 Nashville Shakespeare Festival By Beth Tipton

36 Parnassus Books Author’s Book Store Becomes A Nashville Favorite

Visual Arts 28

39 Frist Art Museum How a ‘permanently Nashville’ institution embraces its ever-evolving city. By Tracy Marsh

Most Interesting 43 Nashville’s People, Places and Things

People 39

44 Stylists to the Stars

By Deborah Evans Price


51 Tony Giarratana Vassar Celebrates 20th Anniversary 52 Phil of His First Solo Hit, “Carlene”



53 Couples Say ‘I Do’ To Nashville By Courtney Keen

54 Brothers Bring Nashville Whiskey Back To Life


By Courtney Keen

58 Nashville’s Out-Of-The-Box Art Gallery An extensive Tennessee tribute is drawing attention at the international airport


By Abigail Wilt



Murals Showcase Nashville’s Expressive Side By Courtney Keen


61 The Country Club at the Band Box Nashville Sounds’ putt-putt course is a hole-in-one for fans. By Tracy Marsh


65 Nashville Booze Cruises


Nashville Parties Go Mobile—On Two Or Four Wheels By Beth Tipton


To Learn Country, Music Streaming Companies Set Up Shop By Beverly Keel

Are The Stars During 67 Songwriters Tennessee’s New Songwriters Week

By Beverly Keel


68 Creativity On Display At Tennessee Craft Fairs By Courtney Keen

70 Charity Spotlight 72 Nashville Guru Calendar of Events





Courtney Keen

Tracy Marsh Courtney specializes in

Tracy Marsh is a born-

nonprofit communica-


tions, with a soft spot for


underdogs and ordinar-


s h e ’s

ies. She has reported on



international humanitari-


an efforts in places like

N a s hv i l l e

Myanmar, Vanuatu and

Entertainment, Military

most notably, Nepal, af-

Officer, Out Here and

ter the major earthquakes of 2015. Her work stateside

Southwest: The Magazine, she’s chasing her 3-year-

includes organizations in New York City, North Caro-

old son, who is surprisingly fast. She also creates

lina and Nashville—her hometown. Explore her writing

custom content for marketing and real estate


agencies, writes fitness articles for a national gym



editor. not for like



chain, and co-wrote a best-selling comic book

Beverly Keel

about Godzilla (which was every bit as much fun Change the Convers a -

as it sounds). Even though she doesn’t own a

t i o n co - fo u n d e r Bev-

guitar or a pair of high-waisted jeans, Tracy lives in

erly Keel is a professor

East Nashville.




MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry and an award-winning music journalist whose work has appeared in People, Parade, The Tennessean, and many other publications. She also serves as publicist for Jamey Johnson, comanager of Sierra Black and has been a consultant for various projects and artists, having worked recently with Don Henley, Barry Gibb, IRS Records, Sony, Capitol, Warner Bros. Nashville and others. She returned to MTSU in 2013 after a leave of

Deborah Evans Price After more than three decades as a journalist in Nashville, Deborah Evans Price continues to be inspired by the people in Music City and the stories they have to share. Winner of the Country Music Association’s 2013 Media Achievement Award,

absence to serve as senior vice president of artist and

Evans Price contributes to Redbook, Billboard,

media relations for Universal Music Group Nashville,

Sounds Like Nashville, First for Women among

where she was responsible for the media campaigns of projects for the UMG roster of artists, including Lionel Richie, Vince Gill, Sugarland, Shania Twain, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Josh Turner, Scotty McCreery, Kip Moore and many more. She was included in 2016’s annual Music City Impact Report by Variety magazine, which profiles the top artists and executives in Nashville entertainment today.

other outlets and counts Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Carrie Underwood, Tim Tebow, Jason Crabb, Luke Bryan and Dennis Quaid among her favorite interviews. Author of Country Faith, Country Faith Christmas and The CMA Awards Vault, she also serves as executive producer for the Country Faith music series released on Word Entertainment/Curb Records. The seventh collection, Country Faith Christmas, Vol. 2, releases in time for the holidays.

A Nashville native and resident, she earned her bachelor’s degree from MTSU and her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.



Bret D. Haines

Sara Lee Burd Bret D. Haines is a

Sara Lee Burd enjoys






and art director. He

working with visual

runs BaaHaus Design



through writing, she

a small advertising

has written catalog es-

and design busi-

says and published in

ness. He is also the

a variety of arts publi-




cations. As co-owner

designer for Habitat for Humanity of Greater

of Curated Art Tours, Sara serves as a bridge to

Nashville. Bret taught graphic design at Art

Nashville’s art community. Exhibitions she curated

Institute of Tennessee, Nashville, and Watkins

have opened in Nashville, Chicago, and Clarks-

College of Art & Design. He also played a role

ville. She has taught art history at the university

in helping Watkins develop their BFA program

level, moderated and participated in panel discus-

in Graphic Design. Bret is pleased to be

sions, and hosted gallery talks with artists. Aca-

included as the art director and designer for

demically grounded with a Masters in Art History

Nashville Arts & Entertainment for a seventh

from Vanderbilt University, she engages her ex-


pertise in art by visiting and writing about art


fairs, biennials, museums, and galleries around the world.

Lorie Hollabaugh Nashville native Lorie Hollabaugh’s “backstage

first pass”

Antony Boshier & Skip Stokes— ten28film

was as a 5-year-old

Skip and Antony have

scampering around

been creating together

behind the scenes at

since 2014, when they

the Grand Ole Opry

traveled to Thailand to


film their first feature-

family c ow b oy



singer and actor Tex



Ritter, performed on the show, and the lure of



rhinestones and rhythms proved too much to

budgets for their next

resist. She’s been hooked on the Nashville music

big project, they realized they needed a creative

scene ever since, and has written about it

challenge to balance all the numbers. So they

extensively for publications like CMA Close Up,


Billboard, Country Weekly, and DISH magazine

documentaries profiling subjects as diverse as craft

for the past two decades. Lorie has also worked

breweries, foraging apothecaries, holistic yoga, and

in the PR and tour marketing world for years, and

natural burial. In between, Antony and Skip have

is currently working on her first book project

worked on commercials, photo shoots, social media

featuring celebrities and sports figures.

campaigns, and other projects for corporate clients.









See more of their work at and

Abbi Wilt Abigail kicked off her writing career as a digital editor ern Living, covering everything from food to celebrity homes. She’s also written digitally for Cooking Light and Coastal Living maga-

Create your

zines, and has had several trending pop culture articles as a Buzzfeed contributor.


Nowadays, you can find her sharing her love of stories through a local nonprofit. Follow along with her adventures on social @abbiwilt.

At Christ the King, we provide a traditional curriculum with innovative learning opportunities for children Pre-K to 8th grade.

Beth Tipton Originally from north Georgia, Beth Tipton has previ-

Š2019 CKS 25346


at lifestyle magazine South-

ously worked as an English teacher at the college level, and as a content writer for an online marketing company. She has a Master’s degree in Modernity: Literature & Culture from University College Dublin. It was while living in Ireland that Beth met the love of her life. She just got married this spring, and having recently moved to Nashville, is excited to get to know more about her new town. This is her first year writing for Nashville Arts & Entertainment, and she is honored to have contributed.




It’s Time

To Crawl



ashville’s vibrant art scene springs to life each month with a host of art crawls. If you are visiting on a weekend, you are likely to be just in time for an exciting evening out filled with fabulous art, festive music, and free wine. If you are interested in buying, area galleries and artist studios offer collectable

art by emerging and established artists. Just inquire and you will receive service with a smile. It’s a friendly city, and everyone in the Nashville arts community wants to make you feel at home. Listings change monthly, so please look online for the most updated information about locations and exhibitions for each crawl.



Friendly Arctic



Rymer Gallery




Looking to take a break from the Honky Tonks on Lower Broadway? On the first Saturday of each month, Downtown Nashville flourishes with visual art. The FirstBank First Saturday Art Crawl is a spectacular opportunity to connect with the culture and people of Nashville. As Tinney Contemporary owner Susan Tinney notes, the crawl “offers a forum that nurtures our creative spirit and gives to the community a place to see and learn about the extraordinary talents of the artists we all represent.” Drawing tourists and locals alike, thousands of people attend this event each month. Now in its 13 year, this is Nashville’s longest-running art crawl. It began as a joint effort among three galleries and has grown into an event that connects 30 arts spots north and south of Broadway. It feels like a party as you walk down 5th Avenue under the twinkling lights. Conversations, laughter, and live music make for an invigorating environment, and the fragrances of food from restaurants will tempt your tummy. 5th Avenue North includes the prominent commercial galleries Tinney Contemporary, The Rymer Gallery, and The Arts Company where you will find a wealth of art by local and international artists. The Browsing Room Gallery, located inside the Downtown Presbyterian Church on 5th

The Arts Company

Tinney Contemporary

Avenue, consistently hosts experimental shows that ignite the imagination. With an entrance along 5th Avenue, The Arcade provides a different flavor. Filled with independent artist studios and galleries the historic building houses a plethora of creative perspectives in a variety of small spaces. A free Gray Line trolley connects the north side to 5th Avenue of the Arts South where you will find the fine art and poster presentations

at Hatch Show Print’s Haley Gallery. Jump back on the line and head to the Music City Marketplace on 4th Avenue/Commerce and then ride on to 2nd Avenue North. Walk around the block to check out the murals in the area and stop in for a conversation at Studio 208. Tour the 21C Museum Hotel Nashville for a thought-provoking end to the evening and indulge in a nightcap at their restaurant Gray & Dudley.


Location: Downtown Nashville Time: First Saturday of each month, 6-9 p.m. Additional information:




The South Nashville neighborhood WedgewoodHouston has undergone tremendous change in recent years to become a popular destination for art and diversion. The art crawl there, Arts & Music at Wedgewood-Houston is held the first Saturday of each month and is known for providing unexpected arts encounters. Commercial galleries, non-profits, maker spaces, and pop-up shows blend with music and dance performances to provide delightful experiences. Hagan Street contains the most concentrated group of contemporary art galleries. One of Nashville’s oldest, Zeitgeist, features a roster of established artists working in a range of materials and concepts. The critically acclaimed exhibitions at David Lusk Gallery always provide a stunning visual experience combined with interesting ideas. The Packing Plant contains a cluster of artist-run galleries including Channel to Channel, COOP, Mild Climate, and Watkins Art Gallery. The exterior of the building features a mural by internationally renowned muralist Rone and the light catching sculptures of Marcus Maganni. The crawl continues throughout the neighborhood. On Martin Street, the community-focused non-profit Converge exhibits artworks relevant to civic conversations locally and around the country. Located in a historic home on Humphrey’s Street, Julia Martin Gallery is a must-see. The exhibits at this artist-run gallery have a striking curatorial focus, and the gallery hosts live music on the gallery porch. Martin explains why she values the crawl each month note, “It’s a reliable place and time to show up and know you’ll see some of the most important work our city has to offer.”




Located: Wedgewood/Houston Neighborhood Time: First Saturday of each month, 6-9 p.m. Some galleries remain open until 10. Additional information:

special exhibitions by local and international artists. Track One often hosts performances and installations, but you will want to check before you go. Round out your evening at one of the neighborhood restaurants and bars such as Bastion, Jackalope Brewing, Diskin Cider, and Nashville Craft Distillery. This will make an evening to remember.

David Lusk Gallery

Packing Plant



Houston Station located on Houston Street provides an opportunity to see independent artists and pop-ups at AbraisiveMedia, Rockwall Gallery, and Americano Coffee Lounge. The galleries on 4th Avenue are set away from the other stops along the crawl, but worth the walk, scooter ride, or drive. Check out Ground Floor Gallery to see the studio spaces and


Zeitgeist Gallery


Light Strokes — 100 Taylor Arts Collective Building

Located: Germantown, 100 Taylor Arts Collective Time: Third Saturday of the month from 6-9 p.m. Additional information: If you are looking for a one-stop indoor art experience, then the Germantown Art Crawl is a perfect option. Happening the third Saturday of each month, it focuses on all things local and is dedicated to emerging artists, makers, and small-businesses. The Germantown neighborhood is known for its historical homes and foodie restaurants, but just off the neatly manicured area you will find a place rooted in the area’s industrial past.



Located within the 100 Taylor Arts Collective building, a space that was converted from a railyard, the crawl has a grassroots vibe. Pulling from the nearby community, the space offers its walls for pop-up shows that embrace the creative spirit of Nashville. As you walk around the building’s interior stop in to see the studios of visual artists Heidi Schwartz, Anthony Billups, Shane Miller, and Erin Elise Laughlin. Shops include Wink Wink Paper Co., Handmade Studio, Lisa Mergen Wearable Art, and Sabrosa Vintage. You will also find food trucks, live music, and entertainment for the whole family at the Germantown Art Crawl.




Located: North Nashville, Jefferson Street Time: Every other 4th Saturday of each month, 6-9 p.m. If you are looking for fun in the arts, then the Jefferson Street Art Crawl offers a uniquely Nashville experience every other fourth Saturday. Nashville’s original music row, the street was once a bustling neighborhood for blues and rock-n-roll where the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Marion Jones played in dance halls and nightclubs. This significant section of town is

Garden Brunch Cafe

prefer to drive a car or scooter, rideshare, or take the Music City Blue line to hit them all. If you are trying to find your way, do as the crawl organizers proclaim in their description of the event: “Follow the North Star to experience the magic on Jefferson Street.”



One Drop Ink

now building a legacy in the visual arts with the art crawl. Each month it puts forward the best art in the community, and you will be entertained by the lively experience featuring food and music as well. At the Jefferson Street Art Crawl, you can expect to see art in many contexts. For visual art in a dining setting visit Garden Brunch Cafe. Woodcuts Gallery and Framing installs a curated selection of paintings and prints in a charming converted-home. One Drop Ink Tattoo Parlour and Gallery (located on Ed Temple Blvd. just off Jefferson) offers tattoo art, works on paper, and paintings in a cozy viewing environment. While the crawl is walkable, you may




Located: East Nashville Time: Second Saturday of each month, 6-9 p.m. Additional information: eastsideartstumble/

(on Woodland Street) and The Shoppes on Fatherland (on Fatherland Street) reveal an arts flair with creative retail and exhibitions. Take the time to get to know Nashville through its active arts community. Nashville may be known as Music City, but you will leave impressed by the tremendous contemporary

art you find in its neighborhoods. The art crawls offer a low-stakes entry point to have fun as you explore art, crafts, food, music, and culture with the distinct character of each district. While the events are free and open to the public, feel encouraged to buy art you love and take souvenirs home.

Cross the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville to explore East Nashville. This quirky neighborhood spans for miles, but nestled within it, you will find local galleries, shops, dining, and coffee spots. Enjoy an afternoon there and stay for the East Nashville Art Stumble, which happens the second Saturday of every month. Located within a two-mile radius, you may want to drive, rideshare, or scoot between some of the destinations. A few locations are grouped together at 919 Gallatin Avenue. The high-end contemporary art staple, Red Arrow Gallery, offers an extensive array of artworks by emerging to established artists. Gallery owner and Art Stumble co-founder Katie Shaw takes pride Friendly Arctic

Michael Weintrob Photography

Raven & Whale


in providing an engaging crawl experience as she explains, “it has become an institution that art appreciators expect every month.” In the same complex visit Michael Winetrob Photography for a creative encounter. Music lovers should pay special attention to Winetrob’s books and prints featuring his famed Instrument Head series. Up the street on Granada Avenue, the eco-friendly design and screen print shop, Friendly Arctic, showcases affordable and striking wall hangings and apparel. Located in the Five Points area of town, the Raven & Whale features surrealist photographic fascinations by Jason Brueck and Kate Harrold. Selected small businesses in the Idea Hatchery

Red Arrow Gallery


Preschool-12 / Christ-Centered Worldview /

2018-19 Production of Singing in the Rain


You shouldn’t have to


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Nashville’s Best

Bourbon Sky lounge sits atop the JW Marriott.

By Lorie Hollabaugh


f you’re in search of cold drinks, hot food and sizzling scenes, the best move may be to head up. Nashville is home to a wide variety of rooftop bars and restaurants offering experiences ranging from the cutting edge and trend to others offering a more downhome style. Here’s our picks for this year’s best rooftop bars in Nashville.




For anyone who wants to feel like they’re lounging among the clouds, a visit to the rooftop bar on the 33rd floor of the new JW Marriott, the Bourbon Sky lounge, fits the bill. An extension of innovative steakhouse Bourbon Steak by Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina, the lounge offers a unique experience with terrace seating that extends past the building’s edge offering guests the feeling of floating on air, and glass walls that open to invite fresh cool breezes. Gazing out at the city’s landmarks while sipping on craft cocktails like the Mexican Firing Squad or enjoying one of the 19 bourbons on the menu is sure to send your spirit soaring and your troubles to the winds.




Bobby Hotel



Bobby Hotel

Located in the Bobby Hotel, Bobby’s Rooftop Lounge offers up creative drink options and a very cool place to sip them under the stars on its 1956 retrofitted Greyhound Scenicruiser Bus. Patrons can enjoy the lounge seating in the back or for the brave, a driver’s seat at the edge of the building overlooking 4th Avenue. The drink menu features something for every taste including buckets of beer, creative drinks like the Go Thyme and Spritz and Giggles, and plenty of bubbly options, whites, and reds as well. The rooftop also offers great music options with artists like Lilly Hiatt, Elizabeth Cook, and Israel Nash taking the stage during their summer live music series. Bobby Hotel Pool Bar





Those looking for an ultrachic outdoor experience high above the city should head to L27 at the Westin, the posh lounge and bar offering both poolside elegance and a beautiful indoor area on the 27th and 28th floors of the hotel. With its gorgeous pool area featuring mosaic tile flooring and cabanas for rent, breathtaking skyline view, and creative cocktail menu featuring drinks like Hemingway’s Legacy and the gin and lemon Plight Of The Bumblebee, the L27 makes it easy to slip into your celebrity alter ego and relax in high style.




Rocker Gavin DeGraw and his brother Joey’s $13 million renovation on the Nashville Underground building on Lower Broadway checks all the boxes for those looking for a multitude of experiences within one space, and its rooftop options offer up plenty of fun for those looking for outdoor inspiration to accompany their lounging. The double deck rooftops offer up an LED dancefloor for those wanting to tear it up, while the 6th floor gives patrons a chance to kick off their shoes with its dog-friendly green space with Adirondack chairs for chilling.

L.A. Jackson



L.A. Jackson



Sitting high atop the Thompson Hotel in the Gulch is L.A. Jackson, a perfect spot overlooking the city to grab some drinks and delicious small starters with Southern flair like Kettle Corn with Pecans, Venison Poppers, or French Onion Fondue. Those craving a fun brunch experience on the weekends will find unique selections like Bourbon Corn Dogs and Tennessee Buckshot Grits as well. The trendy atmosphere is the perfect place to sip on libations like a Froze’, a local ale, or a giant group cocktail made to share like the O.D.N. made with heaven’s door bourbon, Aperol, honey, ginger, lemon, and pineapple.

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The Noelle Hotel puts a unique spin on the rooftop lounge experience with Rare Bird, its colorful rooftop bar highlighting views of the Cumberland River, Nissan Stadium, and the Shelby Street Bridge. Accented with fabrics by Nashville’s Andra Eggleston, daughter of the Tennessee-born photographer William Eggleston, the space features two inviting outdoor fireplaces to

curl up in front of in the cold winter months, delicious charcuterie plates to nosh on year-round, and sumptuous sips like the Savannah Julep, The 1939 World’s Fair Hurricane, the Summer Pimm’s Cup, and three types of Old Fashioneds. The zinc top bar provides the perfect place to spread your vacation wings and let your daydreams take flight.



For a true Music City honky-tonk experience, you can’t get any more authentic than Tootsie’s, with its colorful Broadway history and manic tourist energy. A hub for country legends like Patsy Cline, Kris Kristofferson, and Loretta Lynn back in the day, the bar has hosted the likes of Keith Urban, Steven Tyler, Kid Rock, and plenty of other contemporary stars onstage, and you never know who is liable to jump up and treat the crowd to an impromptu set. Long a supporter of down on their luck songwriters, Tootsie’s original proprietor Tootsie Bess was known to slip money into the pockets of writers and musicians and reportedly kept a box of IOU tabs from those patrons whom she’d fed and comped drinks for all year long which was rumored to be covered by Opry performers at the end of each year. Today visitors can get a view of the action on Broadway from Tootsie’s third floor rooftop bar overlooking the city’s main street downtown.





Located at the top of the George Jones museum, the legend’s rooftop lounge with its nearly 50-foot long bar offers guests a great birds eye view of the Cumberland River and the home of the Titans, Nissan Stadium. It also offers up delicious items from its Smokehouse restaurant menu like Nashville Hot Chicken Bites, Brisket Waffle Fries, and more along with cocktails like the UT-inspired Volunteer orange crush cocktail and the elderflower liqueur and peach vodka Sinner and Saint. Of course expect to hear live music at the Possum’s place seven days a week while you enjoy the open-air vibe as well.



This rooftop at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in the Gulch offers one of the best unobstructed views of the Music City skyline along with a cool brunch menu each Sunday through December featuring items like duck and waffles, lavender hibiscus mimosas, and chocolate bananas foster. Creative craft cocktails like the Apple A Day features Berentzen apple whiskey and the Take Flight with cathead honeysuckle vodka and ginger liqueur elevate your happy hour experience along with options like poutine, black truffle fries, and Nashville Hot Chicken Tacos to make for an elegantly UP-lifting experience.


A R T S 26


Shaping the Future of Performing Arts Arts connect to the heartbeat of a city. Three of Nashville’s prominent performing arts leaders share their vision for shaping and reflecting the culture of our dynamic community. By Courtney Keen


Performing Arts

Giancarlo Guerrero


very single one of the projects put onstage is tailor-made for Nashville, to have an impact, and that we think our citizens will find worthwhile. We do not imitate other cities; we do what is right for Nashville,” says Giancarlo Guerrero. The six-time Grammy Award-winning conductor is now in his tenth season as Music Director of the Nashville Symphony. A passionate proponent of new music, Guerrero has championed the works of America’s most respected composers through commissions, recordings, and world premieres. His leadership has helped make Nashville a destination for contemporary orchestral music. “We do this by presenting consistently excellent performances of the most beloved works in the classical cannon—because in order to look to the future, we also need to look to the past—alongside voices that may have been marginalized but deserve to be heard, and music by contemporary American composers,” Guerrero said. “This is only fitting for the symphony of America’s Music City.” Guerrero connected the past and future in his innovative 2018 premiere and recording of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos,” which was written for the Nashville Symphony’s Violins of Hope. The collaborative, city-wide initiative featured a collection of restored instruments that survived the Holocaust. Also in 2018, the world’s largest independent classical label, Naxos, released Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison’s Requiem—a response to the 9/11 attacks—performed by the Nashville Symphony and Chorus. Guerrero has presented a total of nine world premieres with the Nashville Symphony, including the 2016 performance and recent Grammy-winning recording of Jennifer Higdon’s orchestral suite “All Things Majestic.” Recent seasons have also included the



release of new albums with Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony dedicated to the music of Terry Riley, Michael Daugherty and Richard Danielpour. Through it all, Guerrero helps the Symphony to stay inspired, energized, and focused. “Routine can be deadly in any art form, so we must constantly evolve, finding new ways to present music and delight our

audiences, while always keeping music at the center of what we do,” he said. “Over time, I have found ways to surprise the musicians and audiences with music they might have never expected.” In fact, Guerrero’s most cherished memory with the Symphony came unexpectedly in the midst of a crisis. In 2010, Middle Tennessee suffered from catastrophic flooding that

Performing Arts

“To have the community come out to support one another was just magical,” Guerrero remembered about the free outdoor concert in the wake of the devastating 2010 flood.

2010 Post flood free show

devastated the area, including temporarily closing the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Days afterward, the musicians and staff came together for an outdoor concert. “To have the community come out to support one another was just magical,” Guerrero remembered. “In a moment of difficulty and tragedy, the Nashville Symphony did its part to bring music to console the community in the wake of such loss. Nature was not going to get in the way of making great music, and we performed for an audience of thousands that night.” It’s clear a decade here has rooted Guerrero in the city, and it’s his priority to stay that way during this unprecedented growth. “Nashville is changing rapidly, and quite dramatically, so I have committed to maintaining a direct link to our community and all of its constituencies to make sure the Nashville Symphony is serving every part of the community,” he said. “Listening to all these voices has been incredibly informative and exciting as we are always trying to get a pulse on the city.”



L.A.Guerrero Jackson believes Nashville wants to experience excellent performances of classical repertoire and to be challenged by adventurous new voices. To this end, he created Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab & Workshop initiative alongside composer Aaron Jay Kernis. The program seeks to discover the next generation of outstanding American composers by providing them with the opportunity to develop their talents, gain hands-on experience with an orchestra, and showcase their work.

The next orchestral music virtuoso just might emerge right here on stage at the Schermerhorn. Under Guerrero’s leadership, the future’s looking bright. “There is such a level of admiration of what takes place in Nashville through our excellent recordings with Naxos and our world-class concert hall. None of this would be possible without incredible support from our community,” he said. “Being Music Director in Music City is one of the greatest honors I can think of.”

Performing Arts Hamilton

Once On This Island

Jennifer Turner


he arts can serve as a bridge to connect people, businesses and civic institutions,” said Jennifer Turner, the CEO of Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Each year, TPAC serves several hundred thousand audience members with the Broadway series, special engagements, and the productions of three resident artistic companies—Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theatre. As one of Nashville’s newest arts leaders, Turner is excited about the opportunity to make a positive impact during this time of unprecedented growth. “We are an important voice and have a responsibility to demonstrate how the arts are the essential core of a vibrant, thriving city.” Though it’s her first year in Music City, Turner has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit arts, most recently serving as the executive vice president and managing director at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. She said she joined TPAC because of its strong reputation in the arts field. “I viewed

this as a challenging opportunity to position a cultural institution as a civic resource and leader for a dynamic and changing community,” she said. “I was extremely impressed with its dedicated Board of Directors, led by Chair Tracy Kane, and a fantastic team of committed staff that love the arts.” Founded in 1980, TPAC has played a major role in shaping performing arts and arts education in Nashville. Locals have memories ranging from elementary school to adulthood of attending plays, musicals, and ballet performances, and more within its walls. Turner plans to keep delivering the programs that Nashvillians know and love. One of her priorities for the first few years is to immerse herself in the city and understand the heart of its arts culture. “TPAC has incredible programming and strong education programs,” Turner said. “My primary goal is to get to know this community and determine how TPAC can best serve.” That includes being on the lookout for ways the organization can help strengthen the city, especially those at risk for being left behind in this time of major development. “I am passionate about expanding programs that engage our community and see how we can best work with communities that have been

Dear Evan Hansen underserved,” she said. Turner has a strong foundation to build on. TPAC already runs one of the largest and most comprehensive arts education programs in the United States, working with students from preschool to high school, educators, and adults. This includes classroom residencies, enrichment programs, professional development, and an ongoing assortment of performances for all ages. Occupying an entire block within view of the State Capitol, the building itself is also a resource the community relies on. Any given weekday, you’ll find downtown professionals at its tables on a lunch break, busloads of students traipsing by to see a performance, and tourists learning about Tennessee history at its museum. As the city grows, there will continue to be more opportunities for the organization’s presence to impact lives for the better. “TPAC has a wonderful future ahead and I’m thrilled to be part of it,” Turner said. “Stay tuned to see what’s next.”


The Sinatra Legacy

Todd Morgan


e have the ability to not only entertain, but educate and engage the community with experiences meant to be shared with others and talked about for years to come,” said Todd Morgan, the driving force behind Studio Tenn. Now in its tenth season, Studio Tenn is a professional regional theatre company and nonprofit organization based at the Factory in Franklin. Morgan took on role of managing director in September 2017 via Arlington, Virginia, where he served as the Management Associate for the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. Previously, he was the Associate General Manager of Theatre Programming at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Now in Nashville, Morgan leads Studio Tenn’s programming, which focuses on innovative, custom-designed presentations of classic plays and musicals as well as an original “Legacy” series of concerts celebrating timehonored musicians. Todd says the loyal community here



inspires him to grow and strengthen the organization. “When I see the incredible turnout of performers for auditions or audience members for a single show, I know I am part of something bigger than a single production company,” he said. “I am helping to preserve and develop a cherished form of art that people care about.” The theatre’s 2019-2020 season honors influential female artists and entertainers, with productions including Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” Dec. 6-29, “Steel Magnolias” Feb. 7-16, 2020, and “9 to 5: The Musical” May 8-25, 2020. The seventh installment of their unique Legacy Series will take the stage at the historic Franklin Theater, March 26-29, 2020. Each series features the best-selling music from an industry legend, such as Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, and Johnny Cash. These theatrical concerts have found a welcome audience in Music City. Todd says he’s delighted when their work resonates with a large number of people in the community. “My favorite moments revolve around the experiences of others,” he said. “I love hearing the stories of patrons, volunteers, donors and performers as they describe an emotional

Always... Patsy Cline


Performing Arts

Performing Arts

Frankenstein experience that was facilitated by Studio Tenn—experiencing theatre as the powerful art of storytelling that I know and love.” Whether it’s a Johnny Cash lyric performed in a way that helps someone see the world differently or a character like Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” that inspires a child to be brave, Studio Tenn believes that storytelling profoundly enriches the human experience. The theatre aims to create awareness, build empathy, inspire discussions, and share universal truths through its productions. With a decade under its belt, the organization is looking toward the future with big dreams. “I am excited to share the core values and productions of Studio Tenn with a larger community than we ever have before,” Todd said. “I am thrilled to feel and help generate the support of the community in order to make short and long term goals that may ultimately change the theatre landscape in Middle Tennessee.”

Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat



Literary Arts

Nashville Shakespeare Festival By Beth Tipton


hakespeare in the Park has been a staple of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival for the last thirty years, with annual performances of some of the Bard’s best-loved plays. The bandshell in Centennial Park has been the longstanding place to catch these summer productions, like 2018’s fan favorite A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In that case, it may have come as something of a surprise when NSF announced the big news that the company is getting a new title and a new location in 2019. Starting this year, NSF will now perform their Summer Shakespeare program at ONEC1TY, kicking off with The Tempest.



ONEC1TY is a new commercial, residential, and recreational space in Nashville’s Midtown District, designed with sustainability in mind. Access to public transportation will be a breeze from this new space, and the new site will also offer more parking options than may have been available at the park. ONEC1TY was planned for easy and full accessibility. The new location really does seem like a step in the right direction in more ways than one. The restaurants at ONEC1TY will be a welcome addition to the food trucks that have become so popular with NSF crowds. A large green space on the east side of the complex, called The Yard, will serve as the stage for the Summer Shakespeare cast. And there will now be bleacher seating in addition to the coveted blanket and lawn chair space. As the summer winds down, audiences can then start to look forward to the company’s Winter Shakespeare staging of Macbeth. The winter productions are set to begin in January 2020. The Scottish Play, as it is often called, will premiere at Belmont University’s Troutt Theater

and then MTSU’s Tucker Theatre, before heading out for more regional performances. If you are unable to catch either the summer or winter productions, NSF manages a wide range of programs year-round. For example, the Pop-UpRight Shakespeare series consists of staged readings of the lesser-known plays in various locations around town, such as at the Travellers Rest Historic House Museum and the Hermitage. You can even catch these Shakespeare enthusiasts at the Nashville Public Library for monthly readings of the entire canon, which they’ve done for the past four years. The general public is welcome to join in on these readings, so if you have aspirations for the stage, this could be your place to start. Kids can look forward to the summer Shakespeare Camp and Elf & Fairy camp, both of which offer opportunities for young actors to be on stage with the pros, this year for the summer’s production of The Tempest. Be sure to check out NSF’s website for more information and performance dates.

Literary Arts


Parnassus Books


estled in the middle of an unassuming shopping strip in the popular Green Hills area of Nashville is a hidden gem, one of the city’s most beloved bookstores, Parnassus Books. The store opened in 2011 by author Ann Patchett and her business partner Karen Hayes, a veteran in the publishing world. Since then the interior has doubled in size and the business has only increased in popularity. So much so that, not only is the store a beacon for local book lovers, but book clubs and enthusiasts for the written word from all over the country have made the pilgrimage to Parnassus. In ancient Greek mythology, Mount Parnassus is the home of the Muses and the



birthplace of poetry. But poetry is not all that you will find at this store. It’s true that the staff have curated an impressive selection of classic and modern poetry, the writers you’ve heard about, and the ones you need to, but that goes for every genre as well. Perusing the shelves at Parnassus, whether you are looking for the latest releases in fiction or a new cook book to inspire your inner chef, you’ll get the feeling that every title has been intentionally selected by someone who has read and loved this book, and knows that you will too. The friendly and knowledgeable staff might indeed be the secret ingredient to the Parnassus recipe, and that includes the two “shop dogs,” technically staff members, who are given free

rein to roam the aisles but mostly like to nap in the office. Parnassus Books truly has something for everyone, not least of all for the little ones. The children’s section in the back of the store includes an interactive play area. And young visitors are welcome to take part in the story time hour every Saturday morning at 10:30, and every Thursday afternoon at 4:00. With regularly scheduled author readings and signed copies of favorite books always available on the shelves, Parnassus will be your one-stop-shop for souvenirs, gifts for family and friends, and hopefully something for yourself as well. To top it off, they offer yearround gift wrapping for any in-store purchase, which can be especially helpful during the busy holiday season. Don’t miss this chance to support this locally-owned, independent bookstore. You are sure to leave with an armful!

Literary Arts

Parnassus hosts book signing event for local author When Nashville author, Leslie Haines, had her first book published, she knew immediately that she wanted to have a book signing event at Parnasus Books. “I love that Parnasus appreciates and supports local authors,” Haines said, “and because it is an inviting, independently-owned bookstore.” Her book, Animal Abecedary: A One-of-a-Kind Alphabet, was launched at Parnassus Books. Animal Abecedary features a wonderful array of animals and objects that each tell a unique story. The sophisticated, layered imagery paired with a playful wit make the book engaging for children and adults alike. Before the signing, Haines talked about what initiated the project, her creative process and how the series caught the eye of a traveling publisher when it was exhibited at Nashville International Airport. That representative from Schiffer Publishing went on to contact Haines about purchasing a print and inquiring about whether she had thought about turning her alphabet series into a book. The rest, as they say, is history. For more on Haines, visit



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Visual Arts



ince the Frist Art Museum first opened its doors in April 2001, Nashville has seen a lot of changes. Among them, off-the-charts business growth, a population explosion, and a cosmic housing boom have forever altered Music City, which now boasts a skyline many natives must squint to recognize. Through it all, the Frist Art Museum’s vision has never wavered: to inspire people through art to see their world in new ways. And how the museum executes that vision is particularly fitting for a city that’s continuously redefining itself. Like Nashville, the Frist Art Museum is in a near-constant state of flux. As a noncollecting

institution, it presents 15 or more exhibitions each year. Executive Director Dr. Susan Edwards says the revolving nature of its offerings is what keeps the museum fresh. “[The exhibitions] are always changing— all different time periods and cultures and sources,” she says. “It’s always worth a visit, and you’ll always see something different, even if you come several times a year.” This year, those exhibitions include Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s, a collection of powerful and unsettling art by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and others, created in response to the threat of war and Fascist rule; Hearts of

Our People: Native Women Artists, the first major museum exhibition devoted to Native women artists from the U.S. and Canada; and Eric Carle’s Picture Books: Celebrating 50 Years of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” featuring nearly 100 original works by the beloved illustrator. The breadth of its exhibits isn’t the only thing that keeps visitors coming back for more—they also do it because the Frist makes it so easy. The museum is open seven days a week and offers free admission to anyone 18 or younger. Hours are until 5:30 p.m. daily except for Thursdays and Fridays, when it stays open till 9 p.m. Prioritizing accessibility helps the Frist Art Museum reach a wider audience, averaging 250,000 visitors annually. This year, though, Edwards expects attendance to surpass that number by as much as 25 percent. One reason for that is the museum’s recent renovation of the family-centric Martin ArtQuest Gallery, a mecca for award-winning, hands-on art



Visual Arts

experiences ranging from drawing and painting to printmaking and animation. Unveiled in May 2018, the renovated gallery features new activities, updated equipment and a bigger, brighter feel. “That is one of the most exciting things we’ve done recently,” Edwards says. “It gave us a great opportunity to open the space, make it more visitor-friendly and focus on 21st century learning strategies.” Besides the uptick in attendance, Edwards credits the new Martin ArtQuest with another positive effect. “It’s gratifying to notice that young people are not using their cellphones,” she says. “That just happened; it’s nothing we dictate. They put them down voluntarily because they really treasure the opportunity for hands-on activity.” The Frist strives to achieve that level of engagement in other ways, too. From film screenings and free concerts to artists’ lectures and Frist Friday mingles, the museum offers something for everyone year-round. “We’re here for the curious—whether that’s a young person or a more seasoned person, one who has a deep knowledge of art or no knowledge whatsoever,” Edwards says. “We think our presence in the community has deepened, just by virtue of being here and contributing and watching generations grow up.” Part of that contribution, she says, is helping people understand the interconnectedness of our world. And, for all intents and purposes,



the building itself was designed to do just that. It was constructed in 1934 to house Nashville’s main post office branch. The Grand Lobby is original to the building, and its art deco style—sleek marble floors and walls with aluminum flourishes—rivals any work on display inside. The 124,400-square-foot facility was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. “It’s a great treasure. While we have no collection, really our building is something permanently Nashville,” Edwards says. “As Nashville grows and changes and we lose more and more of the [city’s] early architecture, its value to all of us increases.” It’s difficult to imagine what Music City will look like for future generations, once the cranes dotting the cityscape are gone. But it’s not hard to believe that this place—rich in history yet constantly evolving—will continue to inspire and connect.

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Stylists to the Stars

Stylist Trish Townsend posing with her clients Blake Shelton (left), Vince Gill (top) and Alan Jackson (above).

By Deborah Evans Price


nyone who watches awards shows or peruses social media knows Nashville artists are among the best-dressed celebrities on any red carpet. However, the stars will be the first to admit they aren’t responsible for the glamorous looks and enviable style that are so much a part of their public image. “A good stylist is someone who doesn’t try to replicate their own style on someone else, but makes the client the best versions of themselves,” says Tiffany Gifford, whose clients include Miranda Lambert, Maddie & Tae, Shania Twain and Brett Eldredge. “She’s amazing! We’ve been working with her for three or four years now and she’s helping us with this tour wardrobe too,” says Maddie & Tae’s Maddie Marlow of their opening slot on Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour 360. “Tiffany gets us and knows our



personalities. She knows what we like and what we don’t like and she’s so good at her job. I went from big Texas curls and only wearing jeans and cowboy boots to going to fashion shows. So she’s done her job, especially for me.” Every stylist/designer has a different point of entry to the business. Gifford is a Texas native who got her start when she attended Parsons School of Design in New York, and then went on to assist famous celebrity stylist, Andrea Lieberman, who at the time was styling Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez. The legendary Manuel started by making prom dresses in his native Mexico before moving to Los Angeles and working 14 years for Nudie, the iconic designer famous for flashy rhinestone covered suits. Moving to Nashville in 1988, the 86-year-old has become a fixture

in the community and currently operates Manuel American Designs in the Berry Hill community. “I’m proud and I really love it,” he says of his lengthy career. “It’s not really work for me. People pay me for it and I couldn’t be more fortunate.” Nashville native Trish Townsend, whose current clients include Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Blake Shelton, has been a stylist for nearly 30 years and has worked with numerous artists, including Carrie Underwood, Travis Tritt and the Oak Ridge Boys. Townsend graduated from Ole Miss and returned to Nashville to work at First American Bank. There her flair for fashion prompted music industry folks to inquire about her clothes. “I fell into it because when I was at the bank, I dressed kind of weird,” Townsend admits with a laugh.


“She just has such a great vibe about her, really easy going, flip-flops and casual, but she has such a great eye for style,” Amy Grant says of Townsend. “I had worked with several stylists who honestly were great, but once I worked with her, I saw her ability to take the best parts of a person and maximize those. I just love working with her. She’s easy going and relaxed and takes all the stress out of it.” “Amy is the greatest,” Townsend says of her longtime client. “She’s worked with a lot of great stylists over the years but she and I just sort of clicked pretty well. I do her shopping for her. I know her body. I know her taste and I know how far she’ll let me go.” Dolly Parton’s stylist Steven Summers started in retail management and later began working at Dollywood. “He worked at Dollywood as a dancer and he first started as a singer there [in 1991]. Then he got promoted because everybody realized he could just do everything creative,” Parton says of the man responsible for her clothes, album covers, stage sets and all the visual elements of her multifaceted career. “They started using him, putting shows together, doing sets and all that. When I would go up there to work, I just kept seeing how great he was.” Realizing his potential to play a larger role in her organization, Parton recruited him to be her creative director. “I always pray for God to put the right people in my life and take all the wrong people out,” she says. “One day I was making some changes and I thought ‘Steve Summers!’ He just popped in my mind like a light bulb. I called him and said, “Would you be interested in coming to work with me to do whatever we need to do? He said, ‘Yes.’ That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because Steve is fantastic with everything.” Summers spent 15 years at Dollywood and in addition to performing, creating costumes and sets, he also created Parton’s state-of-theart Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood. “My job and goal is to make sure that the Dolly Parton brand is always represented as appropriately as possible,” says Summers. “Dolly is a creative giant, so I’m trying to keep up with her and what her visions are of

Steven Summers stands behind his client, Dolly Parton, who is modeling the the dress she wore to the Grammys.

things and making sure that what I am doing is perpetuating what she wants done. She has been controlling her brand for over 60 years. She sure does not need me to tell her how to do it. What she needs to do is inform me of where she sees us going and then my job is to go. If you think about it in terms of a train, she’s the train and I’m shoveling coal. I shovel coal just as fast as I can go, but I’m not the engineer.” Some artists know what they want and just need help executing those ideas while others need more direction. “Most people know what they want when they see it,” says John Murphy, a former pre-med student from Wisconsin that Townsend mentored when he became a stylist 22 years ago. He currently

owns Corazon Creative and his clients include Jason Aldean, Jon Pardi, Runaway June and Luke Bryan’s wife Caroline, among others. “When I first start working with somebody it’s like, ‘Is there anything specific you are looking for?’ or ‘Is there anything that you’ve seen that you like?’ I always like to push the envelope a little bit to give them the opportunity to say no to something just because I think it really broadens their horizons as far as what they are willing to look at. Stylistically we all get into ruts and it’s nice to have somebody that can give them a little nudge and be like, ‘Go on try it. You can wear Cheetah print. It’s really popular now.’ Everybody needs to express themselves through their clothing.”



SEEING THE MAN, NOT THE CLOTHES When it comes to style, female artists aren’t alone in wanting a look that helps bolster their brand. “Styling men is not about the clothes speaking,” says Lee Moore, who styles Luke Bryan and has worked with Eric Church, Ricky Martin, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry, Sam Hunt and Prince. “You are supposed to see HIM. That’s it. That’s a philosophy of men’s style in general and it applies to artists and celebrities. They should look like themselves. Clothes should not draw your attention away from him. It’s less about fashion and more about the guy’s personality really.” A Memphis native, Moore moved to New York to study architecture. He took a job in fashion to pay the bills, and fell in love with it. He worked at Jean Paul Gaultier for a spell before starting his career as a stylist. Based in Los Angeles, he’s been very busy lately working with Luke Bryan on his wardrobe for “American Idol.” “I’ve been with Luke since the beginning. We’ve been working together for a long time and it’s been a great ride,” Moore shares. “He’s the most genuine, real person. He’s generous and fun. Everything that he is in public, he is in private. He’s the same guy.” Townsend has worked with Blake Shelton for 15 years. “I had him when he had long hair and the hat,” she says. “We’ve taken him to this new place which works really well for him. That’s the truth about imaging. It can change your world. Like in Carrie’s case, when we started getting her on best dressed lists for mainstream events, it was like, ‘What’s this country girl doing taking over a spot that a L.A. celebrity should have?’ It’s because she looks good. It opened up a whole new world for her.” Sometimes stylists will design clothes and have them made. Other times they work with famous fashion designers to dress their clients. “With the red carpet type of things, my real goto for Luke is Tom Ford,” Moore says. “Tom Ford fits him perfectly and doesn’t require any alterations, so I don’t need to take as much of Luke’s time getting things ready. We don’t have to plan it weeks ahead because I know everything fits.”



Summers shops in the little girls department at Target for Parton. “I buy lots of pants there. She’s about 5’2” and she’s a size 0. If I buy a 12 or 14 in little kid’s sizes it usually fits her pretty well. I may have to do a little nip or tuck here and there,” he says. “The funny thing about Dolly is she doesn’t care where things come from. It makes no difference to her. She is not a brand conscious person at all. What she is worried about is, ‘Do I look good in it and am I comfortable?’ She could care less with where it came from or who made it.”

MAKING FASHION CENTS Any time a stylist is asked to dress a client there are a million things to think about when trying to decide the appropriate outfit. “There are so many questions that go into making a decision. Is she sitting? Standing? Is she riding

buy the clothes and then return the ones that weren’t used. Some stores will issue the money back on the stylist’s credit cards while others will only give store credit. Some stores charge a 20% restocking fee. “If I take out a $1000 worth of clothes and nothing works, they can charge me $200 because I signed a restocking agreement,” says Townsend, who admits her banking background has been helpful to her styling career. “A lot of stores are doing that now because all of these new stylists don’t know what they are doing. A lot of them are taking clothes out, shooting with them and returning them. Well I don’t want to buy something that somebody else has worn. I don’t care if it was Madonna.” “Having to navigate your way through doing returns can be difficult at times,” Murphy agrees. “And then there’s the financial

Clothes should not draw your attention away from (the celebrity). It’s less about fashion and more about the guy’s personality really.” — Lee Moore, Luke Bryan’s stylist

in a car before she gets there? Is she mic’d,” he says of wearing a microphone. “What is everybody else wearing? Is she on stage with a bunch of other women? What are they wearing? Is there a curtain? What color is the curtain? You can’t put her in a red dress in front of a red curtain. You’ve got to think about all of these things.” In addition to attention to detail, a creative eye and great fashion sense, being a stylist also requires strong organizational skills and good credit. Stylists shop for the artists and will buy many outfits for a celebrity to try on, then usually only use one for a red carpet event or several if it’s a photo shoot. Stylists

aspect of it. People don’t really realize how much credit you actually need to have in order to do the job. When I left for the ACM Awards, I [spent] $135,000 between my Amex and my Visa. I was only dressing five people this year. A lot of it was going to be returned, but it’s still money that I’m responsible for until it goes back on my credit card. One year I had 23 people, so you can imagine like how much I was in for that year.” Murphy’s company Corazon Creative represents other stylists and he helps newcomers navigate the financial aspects of their unique business. “You can wait sometimes up to four to five months for a record label or


a management company to authorize we were in the backseat of an payment to you that you are paying SUV and I sewed her into this interest on those charges,” he says. dress, but while I did it I pricked “It used to bother me a lot more my finger and I got a drop of than it does now. Now I’m in the blood on this white satin dress. mindset of it’s just going to come out I wrapped tissue around my in the wash. I know it is.” finger and continued to sew, but All those involved in the styling I stitched the bow up so the bow business admit it’s not the glamorous covered the blood stain. The next world most people think. In addition morning, I woke up to a text to schlepping back a pile of clothes message that said, ‘Thanks for the after a photo shoot or event, stylists DNA sample.’ As Jay cut her out usually don’t actually see the event. of the dress, she found my little “I had a lot of people ask me how blood stain on the back of it.” wonderful the Grammys were and Making people look and feel the Grammy’s are wonderful, but their best is an art and despite it’s work,” says Summers, who the challenges, Murphy loves his designed the beautiful white dress work. “It’s really rewarding to see Parton wore this year, and had it people’s posture visibly change made by seamstress Iisha Lemming. when they see how good they can “Everybody at the Grammys has a look in their clothes,” he says. team. You are underground. You Manuel has worked with don’t get to see the show. I was Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, sequestered in a dressing room with Ray Price and many of country’s security everywhere, ironing and legends. “I’ve done the Williams steaming clothes and making sure for three generations, the Nelsons I was prepared. I walked up to the for two generations, the Cashes stage when Dolly was getting ready for almost three generations now,” to perform because I had to carry he says. “I’m so happy about it. that dress. That dress was so heavy It’s just amazing. I’m still at it. If so she’s walking up the stairs and I’m I ever go stiff, I want to have my holding the back of the dress like scissors in my hand.” we’re in a wedding precession so she Everyone wants to look their can get up there without stepping on best and artists appreciate how the dress. Then I go back downstairs a great stylist can boost their until she is finished performing confidence. “Every woman should because there are too many people have the feeling of feeling as there. Everybody is there trying to beautiful on the outside as her represent their star and to make sure best moment on the inside and their star looks good. It’s not just me clothes help,” says Grant. “I’ve and her. There are 200 stars there had that feeling many times when Stylist Tiffany Gibbons (above, right) works with Taylor Dye of and they all have a me. We’re all Maddie and Tae. Trish puts something on and go, waiting downstairs for our celebrity ‘I kind of felt like a frog when I Allison. She was wearing a white satin dress to come back, and then we get in our woke up this morning and now I with a bow on the back, when before they left feel like a princess.’ It was the clothes. I have car and go home.” There are also days when things don’t the hotel her zipper broke. known the magic of somebody coming in with “I basically grabbed my sewing kit and told go according to plan. Murphy remembers just the right outfit and making me feel like, ‘I being in L.A. for the American Music Awards Allison I was going to sew her into the dress can do this. I can do this! I was feeling shy but with Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus and his wife on the way to the show,” Murphy recalls. “So now I can do this.’”





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Tony Giarratana


o meet Tony Giarratana as he is walking into the lobby of his gleaming new towering high-rise, the 505, you would never expect that the ultra-successful real estate developer kicked off his day shoveling manure. But the three thoroughbreds on his Williamson County farm demand just as much attention and care as the Music City skyscrapers he’s dreamed up over the last three decades, and he clearly enjoys taking care of them just as much. The Florida native is no stranger to hard work, having grown up in a loving, blue collar family that encouraged creativity and passion, and it wasn’t long before he was on the path that would lead him to his destiny. “Both of my parents were artistic, My dad was a barber and mom worked in a savings and loan and we didn’t have money but we lived in paradise five miles from the beach in Clearwater,” Giarratana says. “It was just fantastic! And the artistry of nature was very inspiring, but my folks encouraged me to follow my bliss. I heard this over and over -what are you passionate about, what do you love, that’s what you need to do. And they meant it. And the other thing my dad would

say is learn a trade so you can support your family no matter what happens in the economy, so my trade was real estate.” Following college Giarratana worked in the real estate industry in Tampa, Denver and New Orleans before finally landing in Nashville. He paid his dues, learning the business from the ground up and working in property management, office leasing, and finance before finally landing a job with Nashville’s Metro Center. Fond of urban living since his early days in Tampa, upon arriving he scouted a place to live in downtown Nashville and was promptly told no one lived down there – a fact Giarratana quickly made it his mission to change. With the help of then-Mayor Phil Bredesen, Giarratana began planting the seeds to develop areas of downtown including Church Street, the current home of his sleek 45-story tower, the 505. He owned the land for the 505 for decades before bringing the dream to life, and Giarratana personally occupies a breathtaking penthouse at the top with its unparalleled views of the skyline and gorgeous amenities. As he surveys the now completely changed downtown landscape full of buildings he helped develop, Giarratana muses

on the long, winding roller coaster ride that helped him reach his current success, and also aided Nashville into exploding into the major city it’s become today. “2014…that year was a pretty pivotal year for us. That’s when Bridgestone got done, the 505 got inked then. That’s also when SoBro got underway, so we were very busy,” he says. “But it’s like the lightbulb came on then, and everybody in the world wanted to be a part of Nashville. And it hasn’t abated.” A key to surviving the ups and downs of real estate development was Giarratana’s parking business, which subsidized the tracts of land he owned for decades. “Every project has a parking component, and properties we owned that were not ready for development were used for parking and the revenue allowed us to carry the sites to pay debts and property taxes while we were waiting to develop the site,” explains Giarratana. That led him to form his own parking company in 2001. “Carrying a piece of land is very expensive and it’s killed many a deal. This site at 505, we owned this for 25 years, and it was a very successful parking lot. And there’s zero risk running a parking lot. But developing a tower is a lot more fun,” he adds, his eyes sparkling. “And here we are!” When he’s not expanding the downtown skyline, Giarratana and his wife Lisa’s charitable efforts are busy upgrading the lives of many fellow Nashvillians quietly in the background. They also enjoy the sea as much as the sky and balance time between their penthouse, their farm, and their boat, which they race to Bermuda, cruise to Nantucket, dock in Maine occasionally, and totally love. For Giarratana, there are definitely parallels to weathering the volatile ups and downs of multimillion dollar real estate deals and the challenge of the open seas. “Sailing was a big part of my childhood and it’s becoming a bigger part of our life. We base out of New England and when a project doesn’t come together it’s, ‘hey bad news we’re not developing a building this summer, but we’ll get over it on the boat,’ he admits, grinning. “And I love being out there on the sea. The wilder the weather, the better!”



Phil Vassar Celebrates 20th Anniversary of His First Solo Hit, “Carlene”


ountry music icon, multi-platinum selling Phil Vassar is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of his first solo hit, “Carlene” this year. When “Carlene” was released in 1999 it was the first time Vassar had heard his own voice on the radio. The single, included in Vassar’s self-titled debut album, received its praise ADD: when the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Since then Vassar has gone on to have many hits as a solo artist and as a writer, as well as mentoring acts like reigning Academy of Country Music Group of the Year Old Dominion and No. 1 Billboard artist Russell Dickerson, both of whom have credited Vassar’s advice throughout their careers.



The outstanding question that Vassar continually gets, even two decades later, is, “Who exactly is Carlene?” Vassar has said the radio hit was originally inspired by his schoolmate, the now famous model Cindy Crawford, when she was the valedictorian of her class at the time and Phil was quarterback of its football team. “I actually got to meet Cindy because of that song. She knew it was about her, and her husband Randy had heard about it and we got to meet. It was really great,” Vassar said in an interview. Twenty years later, “Carlene” still proves to be a dominant force in country music history. The song has nearly 4 million streams on Spotify and more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

Vassar’s reign of signature songs includes ten No. 1 singles and 26 Top 40 hits, including his debut release, “Carlene.” Previous to Vassar hitting the road solo, he was an accomplished songwriter, penning hits for Jo Dee Messina (“Bye Bye”), Tim McGraw (“My Next Thirty Years”) and Collin Raye (“Little Red Rodeo”), among others. He signed a record deal of his own with Arista in 1998 and was named ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year in 1999. Vassar continues to churn out incisive, soulful lyrics and infectious melodies that capture the heart and soul in the unique and special way that only he can. He is currently on his “Hitsteria” tour celebrating his long road of success and 20 years of hits.

Couples Say ‘I Do’ To Nashville By Courtney Keen


ore couples than ever before are saying “I do” to Music City. It may be old news that it’s the number one spot for bachelorette parties, but now Nashville has climbed into the top five U.S. destination wedding locations—where people infuse everything they already love about the city into their special day. Featuring rolling hillsides, world-class music, and country cooking—Nashville’s an ideal spot to seal the deal. “It’s such a hip city. It’s on the map, and people are interested in coming,” Jessica Sloane says. Named by Martha Stewart Weddings as one of the top wedding planners in the country, she specializes in designing destination weddings in Nashville. A local since 2002, Sloane has watched the city grow in popularity with out-of-towners who’ve had a great visit and want their friends and family to see what Nashville’s all about. “When I’m working with clients getting married here, it’s usually because they want to show the town to people who haven’t experienced it,” she says.

With the airport close by, a plethora of hotels and Airbnb options, and an Uber or Lyft around every corner, guests can easily navigate the city. They’re within walking distance of unique activities to stay entertained—from pedal taverns and party tractors to live music at nearly any hour of the day. Sloane likes to help couples make their own Nashville guide to give to their guests. “Going out on Broadway is generally a draw for people, whether it’s a before- or after-party— those are more popular,” she says. Sloane also confirms it’s become a trend for the bride and groom to go honky-tonking with their guests after the reception! Beyond downtown, the greater Nashville area boasts a beautiful southern landscape that appeals to couples looking for an outdoor location. “Aesthetically, people are drawn to weddings that are more casual and outdoor these days, and we have a lot of barn venues,” she says. What’s more Tennessee than a barn wedding? A quick search for “wedding barn near Nashville” brings up more than 60 locations with everything from high-end modern to simple rustic. “It’s a place people are drawn to because of the landscape and farmland, and it appeals to people who just want to get married in a big open space,” Sloane explains. Of course, no Nashville event is complete without the city’s signature foods. Couples are finding creative ways to incorporate these



crowd-pleasers into their wedding weekends. Sloane says barbeque is a popular choice to serve at welcome parties because options like Martin’s, Edley’s, and Bar-B-Cutie are local and cost-friendly. Hot chicken tops the list as well. “A lot of people serve hot chicken as late-night snack [at the reception] and also use food trucks,” she says. “I’ve had people get those for events that they want to be more casual and feel like Nashville.” With so many inventive and enjoyable options for hosting bachelorette parties and weddings, one can only wonder where Music City stands in the ranking for honeymoon destinations.




Andy and Charlie Nelson and the exterior of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery.

Brothers Bring Nashville Whiskey Back To Life By Courtney Keen


he Nelson’s Green Brier story is hard to beat. “It’s like a movie script,” says Hospitality Director AJ Soldo. Only folks on their distillery tours get the full scoop. But here’s a taste. In 1885, Charles Nelson was pioneering Tennessee whiskey, running production from his buildings in Greenbrier on what’s now Second Avenue in Nashville. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was one of the first to put whiskey in bottles—selling nearly two million that year around the world, and outselling his closest competitor sixteen to one. When Charles died in 1891, his wife Louisa ran the company for another 18 years (a pioneer in her own right) until prohibition arrived in Tennessee in 1909. Fast forward to 2006, when brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson went to see a butcher in Greenbrier with their dad and noticed a historical marker with their family’s name on it. Curious, they inquired with locals and learned about the legacy of their great, great, great grandfather, Charles Nelson. With a newfound calling and determination, the brothers set their sights on reviving his distillery in Nashville. Nelson’s Green Brier reopened to the public in 2014. Anyone who walks in the door can sense



its rich and meaningful history—from black and white photos and newspaper articles to Charles’ obituary taking up a full wall. “Getting people here, getting them to hear the story and taste the product is everything,” Soldo says. The distillery quickly made a name for itself through its award-winning Belle Meade Bourbon—a proprietary blend sourced from another distiller. But in 2019, all their hard work culminates in the highly-anticipated rerelease of Nelson’s Tennessee Whiskey. “It’s our own product that we’ve crafted from grain to bottle,” Soldo says. Nelson’s Tennessee Whiskey uses Charles Nelson’s 1885 recipe. Extensive research led the team to an old newspaper article in which the distillery foreman disclosed the ingredients. This, plus grain receipts and other findings, enabled them to reverse engineer to the original recipe. “When Charlie and Andy put that whiskey into those barrels four years ago, it was a powerful moment, and then came the patience and waiting,” Soldo says. The wait is over. This year, the historic product can be enjoyed again. “When people think of our Tennessee Whiskey, that’s Nashville’s Tennessee whiskey, because it has always been

Following Charles’s footsteps as a community leader, Charlie and Andy have also teamed up with a variety of local brands. Christie Cookie’s bourbon cookie, Donut Distillery’s whiskey glaze, TruBee Honey’s barrel-aged honey, and 8th & Roast’s barrel-aged coffee are just a few products on the list. “We’re always trying to get creative about what more we can do to partner with start-up companies here in Nashville,” AJ Soldo says. here. Nashville is home,” Soldo says. The distillery has become a top destination in the Music City. On weekends, tours hit capacity with a mixture of locals and visitors from the U.S. and beyond. “We see all walks of life come through here,” Soldo says. “You’ll have everything from Midwestern folks just looking to get away on a vacation to bourbon connoisseurs, who are a little pickier about what they drink.” An advantage of touring the facility is the chance to taste and purchase Nelson’s First 108, a small batch preview of the Tennessee Whiskey only available at the distillery. And the site is set to expand. Nelson’s recently acquired about 10,000 square feet of adjacent space in their building with plans to open up a tasting bar, lounge, private event area, and more. Looking around, it’s easy to envision the cavernous warehouse coming to life. It’s a new chapter in the Nelson’s Green Brier story, and the excitement is palpable. “We find a lot of passion in what we call ‘spreading the whiskey gospel.’ We truly do,” Soldo says. Is this resurrected whiskey good news for Tennessee? Sip it and see.


Tasting Room


GREAT BANKING ISN’T A LOST ART. 13 Nashville area locations


Banking today isn’t the art of the deal, but the art of offering a great deal more time, accesibility, attention and fresh ideas.




ixteen million passengers fly through Nashville International Airport— BNA—each year. While many of those travelers may never set foot outside the airport, according to Community Affairs, Arts & Events Director Cathy Holland, they still deserve an authentic Nashville experience. Arts at the Airport was born in 1987 as a dream to decorate the airport’s executive offices. It quickly morphed into a much more adventurous project, spotlighting artists with diverse interpretations of what Tennessee is all about. The art—which includes 220 original works—appears in both the non-secure and secure sides of the airport, enhancing concourses, lobbies, and terminals with color and stories. One popular piece is Shan Shan Sheng’s sound-wave sculpture depicting the first few notes of “Pan American Blues”—the final song ringing through Nashville the night the Grand Ole Opry was named. One thing you may not see in this unconventional art gallery is explicitly guitarthemed artwork. “Although we love Music City and we love music, we’re not literal about it,” Holland jokes. Most of the airport’s large-scale art came in to define new spaces in the building. The three keystone projects were Dale Eldred’s “Airport Sun Project,” a dazzling array of mirrors; Sherri Warner Hunter’s “Flights of Fantasy,” a mosaic playground with whimsical magic carpets; and



On Air BNA Terminal Garage Mural

Jack Hastings’ “Dancing on Air,” two 15-foot mobiles that float above passersby. Why is this eclectic collection so important to the city? “We’re about the BNA experience,” the passionate Community Affairs Director says. “We’re the first and last impression of someone new to Nashville.” Arts at the Airport has grown alongside Music City, resonating with the city’s exploding arts scene. Recent airport art additions have been murals, just like those visitors would find downtown. One of BNA’s most frequented murals, “On Air,” is passed by thousands of people hourly and features a recording studio over a runway looking toward the Nashville skyline. “It’s a popular spot for selfies,” Holland shares. While visual art kick-started the initiative, Arts at the Airport embraces art of all forms. Visitors can experience five musical stages, two performance areas, interactive art events, and craft

demonstrations in partnership with local groups. “The goal is to reach outside the box,” she explains. “It’s still an airport. People are not coming to the airport to see art; they’re coming to fly. They’re moving quickly. But, if they happen to see something intriguing, they’ll look at it.” For the Cherry Blossom Festival, Arts at the Airport hosted a Japanese country singer. For International Make Music Day, they handed out 400 kazoos with Make Music Nashville. In celebration of Bonnaroo, four stunning sculptures hung in skylights. It’s all representative of the energy happening right outside of BNA’s walls. “Because Nashville is such a creative city,” Holland says, “having art and music in the airport creates a vibrant port of entry into a just-as-vibrant culture.” Visitors and locals can check out Art at the Airport’s calendar of events at


Airport Sun Project

Bonnaroo Skylight - Radiating Positivity - Gabriela Noelle

Depena Garage

Bonnaroo Skylight - Decidedly Bonnaroo - Nicholas Meyer

Public Art - Waveform

Bonnaroo Skylight - Cosmic Dance - Andy Harding



Murals Showcase Nashville’s Expressive Side


Gold Baloons Mural


ositivity, love, kindness, and good vibes abound in the mural scene in Nashville,” Mary Meeuwis says. She started Nashville Mural Tours in 2017 after taking her family to see the artworks and realizing there was little accessibility between neighborhoods. Now she’s leading tours five days week for people from all over to enjoy this imaginative movement in Music City. You never know where the next piece will pop up or be replaced. The best thing about it? All you need is an adventuresome spirit and a camera to take part. “Guests come with the desire to experience the interactive playfulness of the Wings by Kelsey Montague and to celebrate being in Nashville at the I Believe in Nashville mural by Adrien Saporiti,” she says. Murals started showing up more frequently several years ago, and it became clear the trend was here to stay. Nashville has dozens and counting—created by both local and international artists. “Business owners have caught on to the power of art,” Meeuwis says. “Many of the new establishments want a mural to make their business identifiable. Some business owners want murals to create a space that is more aesthetically beautiful. Others want a mural with more of a commercial purpose—and some businesses are sponsoring community murals with the purpose of nurturing civic pride.” It seems as though every blank wall is a canvas waiting to be splashed with colors and textures. The creations mostly live near busy



Mary Meeuwis at Brett Whitaker’s mural on Retrograde Coffee shop.

streets, but some are tucked away in alleys or lesser-known hangouts, so there’s something out there for the casual onlooker to the muralhunter to discover. Likewise, there’s a range of ways to enjoy them. One option for folks who want to take the guesswork out is to book time with Nashville Mural Tours. Meeuwis takes groups to the most popular murals in the heart of town as well as off the beaten path in various neighborhoods. “The murals downtown offer more of an imaginary and expressive art experience, as does Off the Wall Charlotte Avenue, a project which showcases a community collection,” she says. “The murals on Jefferson Street and North Nashville are more narrative. East Nashville—I can’t even categorize East Nashville’s art. It’s abundant and varied and lovely.” To cap it off, the tour stops in The Nations at Guido Van Helten’s massive mural on an old grain silo. “It leaves guests awe-inspired,” Meeuwis says. The city’s dynamic and often surprising mural-scape does not disappoint. However, sometimes the long lines do. One tip for those who have their heart set on seeing the iconic I Believe in Nashville piece is to head over to Marathon Village. You’ll find the same design that’s in busy 12 South without the line.

Mountain Dew Born in TN Mural I believe in Nashville Marathon Village


By Courtney Keen

A mural tour guest taking a photo of Kevin Bongang’s Coffee Time mural at The Loading Dock coffee shop.

Another trick is to pick one walkable neighborhood, like Germantown, and try to see every mural it has to offer—no driving around or dealing with parking. But, if your curiosity itches for more, hop on the 2.5-hour tour. They run Monday and Wednesday-Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit


Sounds Owner Frank Ward



he baseball diamond isn’t the only gem at First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds. Just off right field, visitors to the park will find another lively game in full swing: miniature golf. The Country Club at the Band Box is a nine-hole putt-putt course unlike any other. Nashville-based artists designed every hole, and the result is a game that combines galleryworthy creativity with golf course fun. “First Tennessee Park is a little bit unique in that we try to be more than just play on the field,” says Sounds General Manager Adam Nuse. “The advantage to coming to games here is that we always look for things to do other than watch a baseball game, to improve the fan experience.” That list of activities runs pretty long. In addition to mini-golf, the Band Box features ping pong, cornhole, table hockey, shuffleboard

and an epic bar (oh, those frozen whiskey and Cokes!). The 4,000-square-foot space was created by the Sounds’ ownership team in partnership with Strategic Hospitality—the visionary folks behind Pinewood Social and Bastion, among other local hot spots. Though the Band Box has been a major draw on game days since First Tennessee Park opened in April 2015, the Country Club wasn’t added to the roster until the following year. Drawing on their passion for the arts, Strategic Hospitality co-owners Benjamin and Max Goldberg dreamed up the idea and teed up with the Nashville Sounds, OZ Arts Nashville, and the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville to turn their mini-golf vision into reality. A dozen local artists were tapped to create each of the nine holes, including designer Jeff

Stamper, metalworker Andrew Ferrin, and abstract sculptor Alex Lockwood. The course features everything from a bank shot and gravity-defying “flare loop” to a Gibson guitar– shaped green and Skee-Ball setup. But don’t let its whimsical nature fool you—it’s pretty darn tough. “One of the side effects of having everybody design their own hole is that they made them really hard,” Nuse says with a laugh. Sounds fans have proven to be up for the challenge. Since its debut in the summer of 2016, the course has attracted about 150 players every game day, according to Nuse. It’s also garnered some national acclaim. Nashville was named “best minor league baseball town in America” by SmartAsset in 2017 and 2018, and the Sounds received an honorable mention for minor league baseball’s “Team of the Year” from Ballpark Digest two years running. “We’ve gotten a lot of awards,” Nuse says. “And any time we get [them], the putt-putt course is always one of the top things listed as a reason why.” The Country Club at the Band Box is open on game days, from the time gates open until just before the ninth inning. Each round costs $5 per person. For schedules, tickets and more, visit


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From the downbeat to the encore, our Doctors of Audiology are committed to making sure you enjoy the arts to the fulles t. Enjoy the Performance!

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Better Hearing. Better Life. We would like to congratulate Nashville’s Top Medical


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Hamilton DEC 31, 2019 – JAN 19, 2020 Elijah Malcomb, Joseph Morales, Kyle Scatliffe, Fergie L. Philippe and National Tour Company, photo © Joan Marcus 2018

Dear Evan Hansen SEPT 10-15, 2019 Ben Levi Ross in the First North American Tour, photo by Matthew Murphy 2018

WAR MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM Moon Taxi, photo by Dusty Draper 2014


NASHVILLE REPERTORY THEATRE Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Chicago, photo by Michael Scott Evans

NASHVILLE OPERA Nashville Opera’s Turandot

NASHVILLE BALLET Nashville Ballet’s Attitude, photo by Anthony Matula

CATS NOV 19-24, 2019 Dan Hoy and the North American Tour, photo by Matthew Murphy 2019

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Big Green Tractor Tours

Nashville Booze Cruises NASHVILLE PARTIES GO MOBILE—ON TWO OR FOUR WHEELS By Beth Tipton If you’ve visited Lower Broadway at all in the last few years, chances are you’ve noticed a trend in the city’s tourism sector. There are a growing number of mobile party tours, in all shapes and sizes, where the idea is to get a group of friends together with music and adult beverages and tour the city in style. Nashville Pedal Tavern may be the most ubiquitous of the mobile booze tours. It pedals through the city in what’s essentially a 15-person bike with built-in bar onboard and certified tour guides. Expect high fives from passersby, because pedestrians on foot seem to love to cheer on the pedaling partiers. Many of these rides are, understandably, 21+. The Honky Tonk Party Express, for

example, is a roofless party bus marketed as a “Honky Tonk on Wheels.” With a name like that, you know these guys are here to help you have a good time. Their bus also includes a built-in bar, a certified bartender, and an LED dance floor for when the liquid courage starts to kick in. Still others are BYOB, but have prearranged bar stops, like the Nashville Party Wagon and Big Green Tractor Tours. This is a wagon pulled by an actual tractor. Think hayride without the hay. Most also operate rain or shine, like the Nashville Party Barge. Like a “pontoon on wheels” this pirate-themed tour has contingency plans for unfavorable weather. Perhaps the award for most original party tour has to go to the newest addition to the lineup. Music City Party Tub was designed to be a new experience and to stand out from the crowd of other booze cruises. It is probably also the most comfortable, as guests get to soak in a hot or cold tub (your choice) while being chauffeured around the streets of Nashville. These rides are popular for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, tour groups, and corporate events. But even for Nashville locals a party tour can be a chance to see the city from a new point of view. Why not see what all the fuss is about?



To Learn Country, Music Streaming Companies Set Up Shop By Beverly Keel


s streaming has taken over the music industry, it is no surprise that the major digital streaming services have opened up shop in Nashville. Spotify, Apple and Pandora are among the companies that have planted a flag in Music City to work closely with country artists to better serve their listeners and the music industry. For many young people, Spotify has become the place they first discover new music. Spotify’s flagship playlist is Hot Country and it’s approaching 5.4 million followers making it the third most-listened to genre playlist in the world. Indeed, Spotify is taking Nashville’s music around the globe. “From the day I started, Spotify has recognized the importance of having a presence in Nashville,” says John Marks, who joined Spotify four years ago as Global Senior Editor and Music Programmer for Country. “Nashville is a music universe unlike many others and it is imperative for any brand to grow to have people embedded into the culture who understand the unique music culture and can build partnerships and relationships to help our form continue to be strong.” “The age-old question of ‘what is country music’ has never been more relevant than today,” Marks continues. “With creators moving to Nashville from all parts of the world – in all sorts – from songwriters, performers, producers and more, it’s exciting to contemplate the new and creative sounds and songs that will continue to drive country in a favorable way in global markets.”



Marks serves as a country music ambassador to the rest of the music industry, as well as to media and countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Finland and Ireland. Marks works with co-workers in other countries to develop playlists and programming that appeal to their country’s specific tastes, and he also works with artists’ teams to ensure that they are utilizing all of the opportunities offered by Spotify. After all, getting a song played is only the beginning. “Spotify works with artists and music creators in many ways,” he says. “Artists and their songs landing on a playlist is a powerful element. However, we always say, ‘Playlist is not a strategy.’ It’s a powerful tool

to accelerate exposure on a song. The Spotify marketing team continues to develop and make tools available to all artists. Our goal is to have a million artists make their living from Spotify.” Spotify’s Nashville team continually works to improve the experience for its listeners. “Even in more less-developed playlists, hundreds of thousands of people a week weigh in on their music preferences,” Marks says. “It’s our job to evaluate research, provide more great music, less of what is not acceptable and to suggest new artists that music listeners may like, and to act accordingly and rapidly to preferences and cultural events that affect moment-to-moment listening.”



Winning songwriters from the inaugural Tennessee Songwriters Week Open Mic Night events performed at the historic stage at The Bluebird Cafe Sunday, March 31. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, in partnership with The Bluebird Cafe, held four open mic nights in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Johnson City during the first-ever “Tennessee Songwriters Week” back in February. Pictured are (L to R) Austin Carroll & Shara Matlock (Memphis winners), Katrina Barclay (Chattanooga winner), Barbara Cloyd (Judge & Open-Mic Night Host for The Bluebird Cafe), Gov. Bill Lee, Travis Bigwood & the Lonesome Doves (Knoxville winners), Seth Thomas (Johnson City Winner), Erika Wollam-Nichols (General Manager, The Bluebird Cafe), Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (sponsor of bill), Brian Wagner (Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development), Mark Ezell (Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development)

Songwriters Are The Stars During Tennessee’s New Songwriters Week By Beverly Keel


here’s a saying frequently heard on Music Row, “It all begins with a song.” But too often the songwriters are overlooked, remaining in the shadows of the famous superstars who recorded their songs. That is something the state of Tennessee hopes to correct with a new statute that designates the last week of February each year as Tennessee Songwriters Week. “There is no album sold, no record produced, no song sang until there is a song written,” explains Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Indeed, Tennessee is home to at least seven musical genres—blues, rhythm & blues, soul, rockabilly, gospel, country and bluegrass.

Songs are the common thread that links the cultures of West, Middle and East Tennessee. Regardless of the decade, many residents have come to the state with the same dream: writing a hit song. The bill creating Tennessee Songwriters Week was sponsored by state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, Rep. David Hawk and Sen. Rusty Crowe. “They were looking to promote how valuable songwriters are as an industry and a trade to our state,” Ezell says. “So it was really, how do we celebrate the foundation of the craft to recognize these past and present songwriters? How do we create something for future artists? How do we encourage more people to be involved in the process?” The Department of Tourist Development

has joined forces with the famed Bluebird Cafe to host open mic nights in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Johnson City the last week of February. The week was selected because it is traditionally a slow week in the state’s entertainment schedule. Barbara Cloyd, Bluebird’s longtime open mic host, emcees each night and a panel of local judges and audiences select the top two songwriters from each event. Those eight songwriters will perform on the Bluebird’s stage in front of an audience that includes industry professionals. In 2019, the event’s 200 songwriter slots were filled in just four minutes. CUT: The week was a greater success than had been anticipated. “We went back to our people and said, ‘How do we involve more people?’” Ezell says. “We ended up having other events throughout the state, which turned into 30 statewide events where venues and places designated a night as their Tennessee Songwriters Night.” Of the 17 counties that took part, three are considered at-risk and distressed, which Ezell says is a focus for the Department of Tourist Development. “This is an asset that rural communities could promote to start bringing people in to create tourism events, which helps the economy,” he says. Selected songwriters will also participate in the Songwriting University, which was created by entrepreneur and publisher Gary Glover and hit songwriters Billy Sprague and Joe Beck. Established songwriters will mentor the writers and co-write alongside them. The songwriting initiative is expected to be even bigger in 2020, as several of the state’s universities have agreed to come on board. “Next year, we are going to have to start in the beginning of February,” Ezell says. “We realize that it is almost going to be a March Madness of songwriting.” He predicts as many as 2,000 songwriters will take part, and that will require a structure that not unlike a sports competition will require a sort of playoffs around the state. “It’s fun to promote the power of what songwriters are for Tennessee,” says Ezell, who adds, “And we are just getting started.”



Creativity On Display At Tennessee Craft Fairs By Courtney Keen





wice every year, hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors gather at Centennial Park to celebrate American handmade craft. Tennessee Craft is a nonprofit that champions the local fine craft movement by supporting artists and reinforcing the importance of fine craft for the community. “There is a lot of excitement around this. It’s definitely a Nashville tradition,” says Julia Wilburn, Communications Manager for Tennessee Craft. “We create opportunities for independent craft artists to thrive.” Tennessee Craft Fairs held each spring and fall are the signature outdoor events for artists to showcase their work in an intimate setting. The juried shows present more than 200 of the region’s finest artists. “These are the best of the best,” Wilburn says. The spring craft fair is the largest of its caliber in the area, attracting approximately 45,000 visitors. Basketry, furniture, leather, jewelry, and much more are on display. Wilburn knows one patron who’s been waiting all year to purchase another hand-made broom from an artist she likes. A unique feature of the fairs is that visitors can purchase directly from local artists, hear about their creation process, and learn how they take raw materials like clay, wood, metal, and glass and transform them into fine craft. Visitors can even watch pieces being made. “We encourage our artists to demonstrate in their tents if they can,” Wilburn says. “Jewelers a lot of times will demonstrate their technique, and they’re happy to talk to people and help them learn what they’re doing.” In the official Demonstration Tent, there’s always an artist at work. The most recent fair featured representatives from the Tennessee

Association of Woodturners, The Clay Lady’s Campus, and the Music City Modern Quilters Guild. In addition, the Emerging Makers Tent provides an opportunity for patrons to view fresh, new work and for up-and-coming artists to grow as they work alongside established artists. Wilburn says this format fosters a collaborative, community environment. The littlest artists have their own special place to learn and play in the Kids Tent and the yearly scavenger hunt is a popular activity. “They’re encouraged to get out and find pieces of art or different mediums throughout the fair,” Wilburn says. The Kids Tent also features a community art project. One year a quilt that was created, another year it was a mural. This year it involves a tree, yarn, and lots of wrapping. Regardless of a person’s tree-wrapping skills or lack thereof, Wilburn says the fairs have something for everyone. “There are different ways to engage,” she says. “It appeals to anybody from 4 to 94 years old.” Tennessee Craft Fairs are free and accessible to the public. The 41st annual fall fair is scheduled for October 11-13, 2019, and the 49th annual spring fair is May 1-3, 2020. If you miss them, you can still view the virtual fair at It has photos and contact info for most artists so you can get access to their work all year long.

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Charity Spotlight


ingside: A Fight for Kids is an action-packed evening of gourmet dining, music, surprise celebrity guests, a silent auction full of oneof-a-kind items and fights sanctioned by USA Boxing. Our Rumble on the Row participating amateur fighters included a who’s-who of Music Row celebrities all fighting to raise money for at-risk children in Middle Tennessee. Each year our celebrity pugilist train for months, taking significant time from family and friends, to get into the best shape possible. They put their bodies on the line for three, 2-minute rounds representing their Music Row label, company or firm. The annual Ringside event supports The Charley Foundation which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides support to charitable agencies addressing the critical needs of children. “Our mission is simple: to improve the quality of life of children in need,” founder Carolyn Miller says. “Through donations, sponsorships and fundraising events, we distribute funds to qualified non-profit organizations who share our mission to improve the lives of children.” Specifically, the Charley Foundation supports agencies that provide relief in one or more of the following areas: • Children who are victims of neglect, abuse or other crises • Children who live with chronic or critical illness • Children who endure poverty or homelessness • Children who require mentoring or other proactive outreach An entirely volunteer-driven organization, the Charley Foundation guarantees that each supported charitable agency is a non-profit, tax-exempt charity governed by volunteers. Additionally, all organizations that are funded must submit an annual independent financial audit, keep overhead and administrative expenses to a minimum and maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.




he mission of Nashville Public Education Foundation’s is to support teachers and leaders to build schools where ALL kids thrive. That is why they created the Show Your Love for Teachers program. Launched in 2016, Show Your Love is the Foundation’s way of bringing the Nashville community together to show thanks and gratitude for Nashville’s hardworking teachers. The program has grown and evolved over the years, but one thing has remained the same: The program’s ability to rally the community to champion teachers and to spark conversation around how crucial they are to the foundation of our city. The two hallmarks of the program are: 1. Bringing community members and businesses together to offer public thanks to teachers through things like videos, email campaigns, social media outreach and online thank-you cards. 2. The Educator Discount program, which now includes more than 200 discounts at local and national businesses available to Metro Nashville teachers. Show Your Love is centered around the month of May each year during Teacher Appreciation Month, but the goal of the program is to foster a culture of teacher appreciation in Nashville all year long. Nashville Public Education Foundation is always showing teachers the love through its social media and community outreach efforts, and the vast majority of the educator discounts are available year-round. For more information about the program and how to get involved, please visit and/or contact Melinda Judd at melinda.judd@












More second chances. “Vanderbilt saved my life. I could have easily been told that there was nothing they could do for me. That’s why I will be forever grateful.”

Maurice McAllister’s heart was failing him, until he had an innovative heart transplant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. With a new heart and a second chance at life, he is raising his teen daughters and going back to college. Vanderbilt leads the way in pioneering scientific breakthroughs that help our doctors understand patients on a personal and cellular level, leading to outcomes that allow more time for what matters most. At Vanderbilt, your care is personal. And each success story defines it a little more.

The creative community at Belmont’s College of Music & Performing Arts offers an opportunity for creative and personal growth that leads to meaningful artistic and career outcomes. To learn more about our internationally-recognized, nationally-accredited programs and performances, visit BELMONT.EDU/CREATIVECOMMUNITY. MUSIC