Nashville is nicknamed Music City for a reason. It’s where the country music industry is based in Nashville, and musicians from all around the world seek to land a coveted spot at one of the legendary honky-tonks on Lower Broadway. Tourists flock to the city because of the music, history, geographic beauty and Southern hospitality but, as with most cities, not everything is as it seems. These ten songs about Nashville depict the dark and light side of Music City.
10. Steve Earle – Guitar Town
Earle’s 1985 debut single tells the tale of a traveling musician from Nashville; however, it depicts the life on the road for many of Nashville’s musicians.
9. Hank Williams, Jr. – The Nashville Scene
The notoriously and unapologetically honest Hank Williams, Jr. depicts a somberly cynical image of Nashville, using dialect such as “from the outside it’s a castle, from the inside it’s a prison” to describe his feelings towards Music City
8. Kris Kristofferson – To Beat the Devil
Dedicated to his friends Johnny and June Carter Cash, Kristofferson poetically talks about the struggle with pride and strength associated with making it in Nashville.
7. George Strait and Alan Jackson – Murder on Music Row
6. Trisha Yearwood – Wrong Side of Memphis
This early hit from Trisha Yearwood depicts the dream and pursuit of moving to Nashville, something everyone who has relocated to has experienced.
5. Ricky Skaggs – Highway 40 Blues
Touching on the distance and sacrifice necessary to pursue a musical career, Skaggs’ 1983 hit hits an emotional chord to the perfect combination of banjo and mandolin.
4. Tim McGraw – Nashville Without You
McGraw takes a descriptive and seemingly optimistic approach to his homage. From tourists to country legends, to the surrounding geographical landmarks, Music City would not be what it is without numerous contributions from numerous sources.
3. Jason Aldean – Crazy Town
A somewhat chronological journey in the pursuit of musical glory, Aldean’s 2009 hit skims the surface of what it takes to make it in Nashville. Playing in honky tonks for tips and competition are two staples of being a musician in this “crazy town.”
2. Eric Church – Devil, Devil (Prelude: Princess of Darkness)
Highlighting the loss of romantic art, the tenacity to make it and the general conception of selling your soul, the 3:30 introduction, aptly titled “Princess Of Darkness,” accounts for a more disturbing side of the city.
1. Charles Kelly – Leaving Nashville
Charles Kelley showcases a hauntingly mournful testament about music city on his debut solo album. Although focusing on trying to make it as a songwriter in Music City, the eloquent tune strikes a chord with all involved in the country music industry.