December 14, 2005

Music City

Music City really lives up to its name. I remember about a year ago The Wife and I took a trip here to explore the idea of my working at an insurance defense firm in Nash. While driving down Broadway in downtown Nash, we passed all the big clubs and saw people spilling out into the street and heard all sorts of live music coming from inside. That was at ten in the morning.

So upon driving in to Nashville yesterday, I noticed a great proliferation of radio stations. In fact, as I drove about town today, it seemed there was a radio station about every three clicks of the FM "dial" (dials are outdated technology, but you know what I mean). Contrary to what you might think, I heard all sorts of music and very little of it was country/western. I know that WSM is the station that made Nashville with its broadcasts of the Grand Ole Opry, and I passed its very distinctive diamond-shaped transmitter on my way down here to Franklin for my conference. But there is a lot more to the Nashville music scene than that, judging just by what I hear on the radio.

The first station I got was hip-hop and it sounded pretty ghetto. Then I found a Spanish station, then a pop-rock station, then a Christian contemporary rock station, then an NPR news broadcast, then reggae or some other world music, then Christian rap. Yes, that's right, some guy (who sounded white) was throwin' down for the Lord. Only after that did I find a country station (and thanks to Mental Floss, I now know the difference between country and bluegrass music, and it's bluegrass that The Wife likes) and after that, I found the local Jack-FM station. There's classic rock, jazz, alternative rock (like Los Angeles' 106.7 KROQ), preaching, blues (which I'll listen to going home), and probably more that I haven't found yet. So far I haven't happened across any classical stations but that's because I've only gone halfway through the FM frequencies.

Knoxville is kind of a wasteland for music. There is practically no live music scene to speak of; the jazz we went to hear with our friend and the quasi-Scottish band covering eighties hits is about it. There are some decent radio stations -- the college rock station plays lots of alternative stuff and we have a Jack-FM station in Knox now, and there is the corporate rock station and the "independent" rock station, that's about it. There's some country, some religion, and some rock. Certainly no blues, and the only other thing to listen to is the NPR that is broadcast on the public radio station (also affiliated with the university) during morning and evening drive time when it's not playing classical or jazz. So it's quite pleasant to find a variety of music here.

I remember back in Los Angeles, it seemed I was listening to music all the time. Not so much in Knoxville. I really ought to change that; music enriches one's life and one's soul. If nothing else good comes from my trip here -- and I think other good things will come from this, not the least of which is maintenance of my law license -- then I can take away the inspiration to listen to more music.


Pamela said...

Sweet deal! Andrew and I have talked about taking a mini vacation to Nashville just to check it out!

Anonymous said...

I must completely disagree with you in regards to the "no music" in Knoxville. The music, your wife likes, is flourishing in big K-town. Almost any night of the week, you can find genuine Bluegrass. We are not exactly the music city, but we do have some honest to goodness Bluegrass.