Nashville, Tennessee has got to be one of the coolest cities in the world! It's nicknamed "Music City" because of its country music dominance and heavy music influence on the downtown Broadway strip. It's also been dubbed "NashVegas", but I would say they're more like "NashvillyWood". And being the country music Capitol of the world, on Music Row you'll find the offices of just about every major record label. You'll also find recording studios, rehearsal studios and the famous companies ASCAP and BMI. They collect license fees on behalf of its songwriters, composers and music publishers. Nashville is also my favorite city to visit and photograph at this moment. I find the people in Nashville to be very friendly, the food is good and most importantly, I can find parking.
As I cross the Tennessee State line, I become anxious because I have a shoot list that's waiting to get out of my camera bag. My first stop was to find Hartman Park. I was going there to find Buddy Jackson's "Emergence" sculpture...a large face of an African-American woman emerging from the earth. This face serves as a symbol of every individuals story of danger, loss, strength and determination to push through the setbacks caused by both nature and man. This is an awesome sculpture, and a definite "must see". Next, I head over to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, also known as the Bicentennial Mall. From the Mall you have great views of the State Capitol Building and a few downtown buildings as well. You can also visit the World War II Memorial, the 95-Bell Carillon, which chimes out music at the top of each hour. There are lots of markers which display the history of Tennessee. They are great reads while walking through the park, and you can find out just how historic Tennessee really is. On the far end of the park, I make my way over to the "Rivers of Tennessee Fountain". Once there, I see kids running through the water getting refreshed from the beating sun. The back walls of the Fountain also display the history of Tennessee. In front of the Farmers Market, there were two cool bike racks sculpted into a sliced tomato and tall corn stalks. I thought those were cool public art sculptures. I also came upon some very interesting looking round blocks forming a circular sculpture of sorts. I later found out that those were part of the original columns of the Tennessee State Capitol from the 1850's. In just a few minutes later, I feel a few rain drops falling, so I head back to the car to wait it out. About 20 minutes later, i leave and head into downtown. I find a nice $10-all day parking lot across the street from the massive Music City Center. I get out to photograph Christian Moeller's "Stix" sculpture...twenty-seven 70-inch tall wooden poles spaced in an irregular pattern. Made of red cedar, the poles are painted in stripes of various heights in colors of red, orange, light blue, dark blue, and light green. It's a nice view when driving the Korean Veterans Boulevard roundabout. Next stop was Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators hockey team. Across the street is the Ryman Auditorium, the original Grand Ole Opry building. Working my way over to AT&T Tower, also known as the "Batman building" because of the two antennae sticking up on the sides, I photograph the "AT&T Tower sculpture" in the courtyard. Although it's still nice and warm out, the clouds open up and the heavy rains pour...end of day 1.
Day 2 finds me back at my $10-all day parking spot. This day's shooting is cut short due to me covering the "Music City Walk of Fame" event with Sam Moore and Alabama receiving stars on the Music City Walk of Fame. After the event, I head further downtown walking past the Music City Center and grab a photo looking up at the huge structure. This building is a challenge to photograph the way I want to because it's so huge, yet awesome! Across the street at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, I photograph two statues that attracts lots of attention...the "Birth of Apollo" and the "Recording Angel". Next stop is the Shelby Street Bridge, where I get nice, sweeping views of downtown Nashville and the Cumberland River. End of Day 2.
My final day starts out at Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans football team. The stadium had a huge "facelift" since the last time I saw it. It was freshly painted with awesome new signage. Another cool twist were the different Nissan vehicles at the entrance gates...great idea! I drive around the stadium to get different angles and other interesting things on the grounds. I park and walk over to the newly remodeled Riverfront Landing. I take more photos of downtown Nashville along the Cumberland River while watching two fisherman try to catch their lunch. From that low vantage point, I get a nice view of the Shelby Street Bridge and the Pinnacle Building. I also photograph AT&T Tower("Batman Building") and more photos of the all-mirrored glass Pinnacle Building. Another interesting sculpture on the Landing was the "Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks", which sits on the East Bank of the River. From there, I head over to my favorite parking lot. I walk past the Music City Center again on the way towards the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge. This was a long walk in the 90-degree heat, so it was a good thing I brought water along with me. From the bridge, I was able to get even better views of downtown and the Cumberland River. And because the bride was over the River, that made for great photos of the pushboats pushing huge barges along the way. I later leave the bridge heading over to the Riverwalk. While walking past the Ascend Amphitheater, I photograph a cool, but weird looking sculpture. It's called "Light Meander" by Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan. It is 45 feet tall, three-feet wide and 12-inches thick. It's made up of a Stainless steel plate and tube, hardwood, color-changing LED strip lights, and Acrylic rod. The form of the sculpture is based on the meandering curves of the Cumberland River as it passes through Davidson County. Once on the Riverwalk, I get there in time to catch the General Jackson Showboat making its way up the River. I later grab lunch and sit on the Riverwalk to eat and bask in this great weather. From there, I walk around and photograph other sites like the Hard Rock Cafe guitar and the Johnny Cash Museum. I also saw a Ford Explorer being towed on Third Street. I'm sure that person wasn't too happy when they returned to drive off. The "Nashville Firefighters and EMS Memorial" was a moving statue to photograph, especially after reading the inscriptions. Next, I head over to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for a well deserved tour. This building is pretty cool, because if you look closely it looks like a curved piano keyboard. After the 2-hour tour, I walk back to the car but I stop to photograph an American flag, Tennessee State flag and Music City Center flag flying on the side of the Music City Center.
As my time in Nashville comes to a close, I reflect on the great time I had, the wonderful things I learned and photographed and the new friends I met. You can best believe I'll be back again before the year is over. Man, I love this city!