Country music has an illustrious history, steeped in a treasure trove of unforgettable moments. Yet, what truly illuminates our musical heritage are the iconic venues where these legendary moments took place. So, saddle up and let’s turn our attention to a handful of these renowned landmarks right here in Nashville, the heart of country music.
Did you know that The Bluebird Café has been a songwriter’s paradise for almost 40 years now? It all began with the incredible Amy Kurlander, who founded this legendary spot where future music legends like Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift got their start. Not only that, but this intimate hideaway has also been a sanctuary for Nashville’s most gifted songwriters to showcase their talents and spin their musical tales.
Nestled in the heart of music city, the Grand Ole Opry has seen it all. From its grand opening in 1974, graced by President Richard Nixon himself, to weathering the storm of the devastating 2010 Nashville flood, this iconic venue has etched its name in the history of music. But what makes the Opry House truly exceptional is not just its brick and mortar, but the countless stories, and memories woven into its very foundation. As the longest running radio show for nearly 100 years, may the Circle be unbroken!
Ryman Auditorium, aka “the Mother Church,” has been a Nashville legend since 1892. It started as a church, but soon became the place where country music found its soul. With a history as rich as grandma’s pecan pie and acoustics that’ll make your heart sing, it’s the ultimate spot to witness music in it’s truest form. Not to mention those iconic stained glass windows and Church pews that give The Ryman it’s historic look.
Since its beginning in 1994, the Wildhorse Saloon has been a vibrant cornerstone of downtown Nashville’s music scene, serving as a lively hub for live performances, dancing, and even television shows. From country crooners like Trace Adkins and Kenny Chesney to Shania Twain, a diverse array of artists has graced its stage. The dance club phenomenon at the Wildhorse kicked off during the line dancing craze of the ’90s and hasn’t missed a beat since, with free line dancing lessons keeping the party alive every single night. Recently it was announced that Wildhorse Saloon will be reimagined into Luke Combs’ very own honky tonk, adding yet another layer of history to the venue.
From Tootsie Bes to Kris Kristofferson to Chris Janson, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge played a star-studded role in the revival of lower Broadway.
And don’t even get us started on the unforgettable nights. Whether it’s Terri Clark who got her start at Tootsie’s, Cher making a surprise appearance, Steven Tyler rocking the stage, or Hank Williams Jr. casually dropping in for a drink, Tootsie’s is where music meets magic, and the good times never stop. Who could miss it’s signature bright purple facade?
Want to learn more about country music’s most iconic venues and studios?
Tune in to a new season of Circle Network‘s original series, Landmarks: The Stages of Country Music to experience the sounds, feelings, history, people and stories behind the greatest venues and recording studios of Country Music across the country, as told by journalists, artists and the people who lived the legends.
Catch it Wednesday nights at 11:30/10:30 pm on Circle Network. Learn how to watch at FindCircleNetwork.com
Download the new Circle Now app to stream the first two seasons on-demand for free! Or watch right here below.