Nashville is a city of great food, outstanding nightlife and pure Southern charm. I created this portrait on a working farm in the Nashville suburbs.
And of course, Nashville is nicknamed “Music City.” Country music is still the heart and soul of Music City but you could hear all kinds of live music when you walk down any Nashville sidewalk.
Music has been the common thread connecting the life and soul of the city and its people. I caught these western line dancers in the act at the Wildhorse Saloon.
Music is synonymous with this town. I took this photo of Nashville singer-songwriter Margo Price in the legendary Grimey’s Record Store where she performed for about 60 fans. She was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live one week later, playing to over 9 million homes.
Nashville is rich in culture and history, including battle sights of the American Civil War.
In Nashville, the past and the future peacefully coexist. This is the only full-sized replica of The Greek Parthenon in the world, built in 1897. I created this long-exposure to catch the wind blowing the cherry blossom tree under a street lamp.
The “Mother Church of Country Music” aka the Ryman Auditorium. It has been around since the turn of the 20th century, and was the full-time home of The Grand Ole Opry for 31 years. The historic Ryman is often named the best performance venue in the world by industry awards.
Sometimes you don’t want the best photo… you want the fastest photo! I had to sneak this image under my jacket as pictures are not allowed backstage. This dressing room was used by Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn and others in the 1940s… and just about every major artist since.
The Ryman stage introduced many Nashville music fans (and a national radio audience) to artists like Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and others. More recently, Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran have performed here. It is designated a National Landmark.
Detail of a guitar custom-made for Johnny Cash. It was used extensively by “the Man In Black” for many years.
This piano was built in the 1880s and belonged to Johnny Cash’s grandparents. They purchased it from a mail-order magazine advertisement. Johnny eventually became the owner when it became the first piece of furniture in his Nashville home in 1967. Friends and family – and many famous house guests – would gather around the Cash family piano to be serenaded by Johnny and June.
One of the highlights of my trip was a private tour of Gruhn Guitars and the chance to photograph some of their musical inventory. Gruhn has one of the world’s premier collections of vintage, used and new fretted instruments – the classic Martin, Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, Gretsch and others. Since 1963, musicians would seek out George Gruhn for expert repair. His customers include Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney. He was very gracious to open his private office and workshop to me. The 1957 Gibson I photographed above can be bought for $16,500.
For 45 years, extensive restoration work is done by hand using techniques familiar to craftsmen a century ago. Gruhn is known for its unrivaled expertise and respectful repair practices. I captured master-repairman Dave skillfully restoring a 1945 Martin acoustic guitar. His hands were calm. Mine were not when asked to hold a similar 1937 Martin… price tag $125,000
I got to photograph, touch or even play some iconic instruments on this trip. Nashville’s connection to music is unequaled, and its reputation as Music City has been consistently proven for over 200 years. Wanda Jackson was 17 when she toured with Elvis in 1955. She was soon titled “The Queen of Rockabilly.” This is her personal guitar used throughout her tours in the 1960s.
Keith Urban’s guitar road case. So many fun things to document with my camera!
Beyond Repair…. I shot this at Gruhn Guitars.
Live music can be seen and heard every day and night of the week in Nashville. The world-famous honky tonks, located on Broadway, offer free live music 365 days a year. And with more than 130 music venues around town featuring nearly every genre of music, it’s easy to see why this is the city that “music calls home.” I photographed a few musicians but mostly sat back to enjoy the performances.
All images on this page were created by Spike and are copyrighted by Buzz Click Photography.
Nashville at Night
I snapped a few photos at Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America. Established in 1879, their designers use large hand-carved wood blocks to creative iconic concert posters for the earliest stars of the Grand Ole Opry like Hank Williams and Minnie Pearl, and continuing into this century with artists such as Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison and Mumford & Sons.
I was impressed with the amount of green space and public parks in Nashville. I got a chance to capture a different side of the city including abstract reflections of a weeping willow above.
Quentin on Southern Trace Farm
Quentin was very patient… with my camera and with the horse.
My visual goal on this trip was to capture Tennessee through its people.
run wild & free
Nashville is where music lives; a place where music hangs its hat and puts its feet up on the furniture.
Elvis recorded more than 250 songs at historic RCA Studio B, and he would often sit at this piano through long nights of writing and recording. This room is known as “The House of 1,000 Hits” as it helped to define the Nashville sound. The Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and dozens of legends inbetween have recorded their number one songs here.
Sun Records founder Sam Phillips introduced the world to Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and many more. He developed rock & roll in 1954 out of a country-blues mix and many of those earliest artists were recorded with this converted radio mixing console board.
Nashville has also long been known as the “Songwriting Capital Of The World” and writers from all over the world come to Music City to learn the art and share their passion of songwriting. In q strip mall a few miles from downtown Nashville, the famous Bluebird Cafe (above) can be found by looking for the long line of people in the parking lot. Songwriters perform their original music in an intimate “in the round” setting. Garth Brooks, LeAnn Rimes and Taylor Swift got their start at Bluebird’s Open Mic Night. It’s a bit tough to get a seat at the Bluebird Cafe since it made its primetime debut on the ABC drama “Nashville” in 2012.
Just an iPhone pic to capture the decades of history on the walls of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, the honkeytonk located behind the Ryman Auditorium. Artists would sneak over for a drink before their Grand Ole Opry performance but forget to go back! This is where Willie Nelson sold his first song (“Crazy”) to Patsy Cline. Everybody in country music has played the three stages here and had a beer. Or as they say, they came “for a holler and a swaller!”
Lower Broadway: where honky tonks, bars and good restaurants converge.
Plenty of historic buildings with stories from Civil War days. Belmont Mansion sits upon one of the highest hills in Nashville. The staff allowed our small group of photographers onto the property after-hours for a private shoot.
Our model Haley wore a Civil War era dress for our shoot. Belmont Mansion was constructed in 1853, boasting 36 rooms and 19,000 square feet of living space. It was one of the most elaborate antebellum estates in the South… it even had a bowling alley, and a zoo.
The weather was great so I also enjoyed Nashville’s natural beauty with a stroll through Cheekwood Botanical Garden.
Cheekwood was bursting with 55 acres of colorful annuals and rare perennials.
Nashville was such a great town to photograph, especially for a music fan. I feel like I only scratched the surface… I can’t wait to go back!
All images on this page were created by Spike and are Copyright 2016 by Buzz Click Photography.
All Rights Reserved.