The vibrant, eccentric, doggedly authentic capital of Tennessee is in the midst of a massive makeover; thankfully, the city’s many old-time charms remain very much intact
Author Joe Keohane Photography David Eustace
SO PEE-WEE HERMAN AND JACK WHITE WALK INTO A WESTERN-WEAR store two doors down from Dolly Parton’s house….
This is not a joke. This is Nashville. The New Nashville, as some call it. But that’s not quite right, as it implies a disparagement of the old Nashville. Today’s Nashville isn’t a departure from the “Nash Vegas” of old. It’s still Music City, the unforgiving big-money capital of country music, a place where, as Marty Stuart has sung, “they sweep broken dreams off the street.” But it has diversified. And upgraded. The food scene is booming, the art scene is booming, the non-country music scene is booming. The buoyant economy, easy pace and quality of life have attracted newcomers from all over—including the likes of Jack White, Jack Black and Nicole Kidman. The city that once branded itself the “Athens of the South” has, in the last few years, laid a legitimate claim to the title.