Nashville is not called Music City for nothing. Did you know that Nashville has over 150 live music venues? This Tennessee town is filled with music history and it all starts in the live music venues across town. How do you know where these places are? Well pay attention to the guitar pick shaped signs on the streets that say “Nashville Live Music Venues” or just open your ears and you will hear the sounds of country, bluegrass, jazz, pop, or rock 24/7, 365 days a year. Here are some of the most iconic, and mostly free, live music venues. But there are many more, so make sure to download the Nashville Live Music Guide app and get all the latest news and calendar updates of all shows in Nashville.
Open and delivering some of the most well-known Bluegrass and Roots music since 1974, the Station Inn was a place for people and artists to come in and feel comfortable in a laid back environment. It is known for famous artists dropping in unannounced and performing a treat to the guests. After performances at the Opry on Friday or Saturday nights, famous Bluegrass singers like Jimmy Martin, Bobby Osborne, and Bill Monroe stop in and sing a song or two. The Station Inn is located in the Gulch and cover is cash only.
Originally names “Mom’s,” Tootsie Bess bought the building in 1960 and give credit to the man she hired to paint the building because he painted it the color Orchid. Tootsie then named it Tootsie Orchid Lounge, and it has been a staple for country music on Broadway ever since. Famous early customers and performers include Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Rodger Miller. Willie Nelson also received his first songwriting job after performing live at Tootsie’s. There have also been movies filmed here such as “W.W and the Dixie Dance Kings” and “Coal Miners Daughter.” This is a great place to stop in while you are on Broadway and you will see a performance that will not disappoint!
The Bluebird Cafe
We all know of the large hits on the country stations, but what many people do not know, is that almost all of those songs were written by extremely talented songwriters out of Nashville. And the Bluebird Cafe is the perfect place to listen to those talented songwriters. Located in a small strip mall in Green Hills, the Bluebird is an intimate 90-seat listening venue that houses famous singers and songwriters who perform acoustically. Garth Brooks performed at the Bluebird before he signed to Capitol Records. But it is most famously know for being featured on the CMT (previously ABC) hit show, Nashville. Open Mic night is on Monday nights and Songwriters night is on Sundays and both are first come-first served, so make sure to get there early.
The Stage on Broadway
If you want a live music venue that you can be hanging out and having a great time then suddenly a famous country singer like Toby Keith gets up on stage and starts singing his hit songs all for free, then The Stage is the place for you! It is known for big stars casually making appearances constantly such as Rascal Flatts, Montgomery Gentry or Tim McGraw. But even if you are not lucky enough to catch a celebrity appearance, do not worry, all of their live performers are equally as talented and you will not be disappointed. It’s Nashville, only the best come to perform.