She calls herself “Music City”, the city of music, and an electric guitar is her logo. The first glance confirms the speech. Posters of rockers in the window, neon instruments, vinyl and CD stores not found elsewhere, posters of upcoming concerts … The legend takes on its full thickness at the level of the pavement. Let’s rock!
It is true that all American musicians have passed through Nashville and Tennessee, a state that American imagery leaves to the “ass-earthy” with an accent to be cut with a knife. Elvis, of course, but also Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, The Beatles like the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Dylan and even our Johnny frequented the city’s recording studios. Rock and country music united in the same vibrato. Besides, with the production houses, they form an entire district that has developed around the legendary Studio B of the American record company RCA. A square marks the center with the giant statues of a group of mad guitarists.
These surprisingly modest rooms, when we know that in the 1960s the tubes were recorded with all the speakers – singers, musicians, choristers … -, invented the famous Nashville sound, the sound that Elvis Presley magnified on 56 of his titles put boxed at Studio B between June 1958 and May 20, 1971. During the visit, we learn that the King recorded the legendary seated on a chair Are You Lonesome Tonight at 4 a.m. on April 4, 1960, after requesting that all lights be turned off. A total of 35,000 RCA songs were born in these Nashville studios.
Hundreds of Honky tonks
After theory, quickly, practice! Nashville devours its ears on the lookout, pulsating legs and glass in hand. From 10 a.m. until dawn, tapping your foot and lifting your elbow. The city must have several hundred bars and restaurants. In each, a mini-stage with loudspeakers, amplifiers and keyboards. Groups (like soloists) follow one another in the chain. In the profession, it is said that a career necessarily begins in these lairs of Nashville, the honky tonks (“glaucous lines”). Convict of the decibel rock as tattooed as a comic strip or country singer straight out of the neighboring farm, whatever, the atmosphere is hot and boiling: we scream instead of talking, we smoke in the chain (here, it’s is allowed), we drink beyond thirst, we greet the Tennessee flag red, white, blue struck with a star, hung at the entrance between two memories of the American Civil War, a sixties Wurlitzer jukebox , a dented Stetson… And we applaud everything by demanding the rest. Please pour your donation into the hat that goes from hand to hand with the last song. It is the stamp of the artists.
Elvis’ pink cadillac
The greatest concentration of these places that vibrate in the yardstick of true America is in the city center, on Broadway, the main artery, as well as on the 4th and 5th Avenues which cross it. Do not miss either Coyotte Ugly or Tootsie’s, let alone Burbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Fuel, BB King Bar, where it is possible to dine very well during the show, and many others. Above all, let the inspiration speak: the first open will do the trick as the musical level of Nashville is high! In between, a record store, a boot or guitar store and the crowd of American vacationers who pass on the good musical tips of the evening.
One day break, you will have to cross the doors of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This temple dedicated to country music and rock tells the sources (moving archive films to support it) and exposes sumptuous nuggets: gold records, stage costumes, vintage guitars, delirious Pontiac with colts fixed on the wings and no less dazzling Cadillac rose lined with gold, with integrated record player … That of Elvis …
If we have to get back on the road, it will necessarily be towards Memphis, the other capital of music, rock and blues combined. A name banned here. When Chuck Berry, pope of rock, sings Tennessee, Memphis wins. Unforgivable, but not bad! The city of music sings and sings again.
No direct flights between Paris and Nashville. The stopover is therefore compulsory. For example, Air France flight to New York (or Atlanta), then Delta flight, the American partner company, for Nashville. Count a good ten hours of travel and around 900 ¤ in economy class, around 2000 ¤ in Premium class and between 3425 and 4526 ¤ in Business. Tel .: 36 54 and www.airfrance.fr
All travelers (including children) to the United States must apply for an ESTA on the official website esta.cbp.dhs. gov ($ 14). Beware of the many pirate sites that charge much more.
When it’s noon in France, it’s 5 a.m. in summer in Nashville.
Sheraton Hotel, a comfortable, but not surprisingly, very functional establishment in the city center. From ¤150 per room. 623 Union Street Tel .: 00 1 615 259 20 00 and www.sheratonmusiccity.com
GOOD TO KNOW
Bars are prohibited for those under 21 years of age.
For carefree travel (plane, transfers, hotel and car rental), consult the travel specialists in the United States, which are La Cie des Etats-Unis (www.compagniesdumonde.com), Travelers in the United States (www.voyageursdumonde .com), Equinoxiales (www.equinoxiales.fr), Fabulous Holidays (www.vacancesfabuleuses.fr)
Nashville Tourist Office: www.visitmusiccity.com
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