Tin Pan South, Johnny Cash Museum are real fan pleasers Nashville – Music City! Home to an exciting mix of all kinds of live music, television, movies, and entertainers galore. There are tons of attractions – musical, historic, sporting (that’s where our former football team went), culinary, and just so much it is hard to describe it all.
Everyone knows not to miss the Grand Ole Opry on a visit to Nashville, but I recently had the chance to visit Nashville and was among the first to catch a glimpse of the brand new Johnny Cash Museum. Happening at the same time was a great citywide event called Tin Pan South. You’ll surely want to partake if your visit coincides with this flavorful festival. There is so much to see and do, I’m focusing on two highlights.
Tin Pan South
While the singers get most of the attention from fans and the media, in Nashville, songwriters are held to the highest acclaim. Many residents can name the writer of a famous song before recalling who may have recorded it. Nashville is home to more songwriters than any other city in the U.S., and wow, do they turn out for Tin Pan South! The Nashville Songwriters Association International produces Tin Pan South, the world’s largest all-songwriter festival. Each year, hundreds of talented songwriters gather at venues all over the city where fans line up for hours ahead of performances. In 2013, more than 350 talented songwriters performed 92 shows at 10 of Nashville top music venues. Thousands attend the event – enjoying the performances which vary from favorite hits to new compositions. The writers often
share from the stage about the stories behind the songs. Sometimes the songwriters are the singers as well, but more often than not, they are the behind-the-scenes creators who provide music and lyrics to the songs we’ve all come to know and love.
The festival is normally at the beginning of April, so be sure to check out their website for updates on the 2014 event (tinpansouth.com). For five nights, Music City’s aspiring songwriters converge on venues like The Bluebird Cafe, The Listening Room and The Station Inn to perform – some are seasoned and well known, while others are thrilled for the opportunity to perform for maybe their first gig. It’s truly a great time to be in Nashville and get a taste of so much, for so little. Expect respectful crowds, uplifting songs and an intimate experience with those who craft hopes, joys and sorrows into memorable words and melodies. Average tickets are $8-$15.
Johnny Cash Museum
There probably is not another performer so revered in Nashville as Johnny Cash, and it is a wonder that the first museum dedicated to his life and accomplishments has not been created before now. It is the result of the hard work and determination of friend and fan, Bill
Miller. Miller befriended Cash in his later years through a common love of autograph collecting. Miller agreed to give a permanent home to many of Cash’s possessions and the result is this small yet stunning museum. The day I was visiting, Cash family members were there looking it over. I was treated to an a cappella performance of “Jackson” by Johnny’s brother, Tommy Cash, and sister, Joanne Cash Yates, … simply magical. Yates explained that Johnny told her that he was going to be a singer when she was just 6 years old. “One thing Johnny never did … he never changed what he was going to do. He’d say, ‘I am going to sing on the radio, on television, and maybe even in the movies.’ … I thought that was absurd!” she said.
The family’s humble beginnings were in Dyess, Ark.; a small, farm town founded in 1934 and planned as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Cash was a leader even in childhood, graduating from high school as senior class president. Then he was off to find his way in the world. Yates described a time when Cash came home in his pink Cadillac, with just a taste of the fame to come under his belt. “Baby,” he said to her. “You want to go to a show?” She said, “Sure.” and off they drove. And on the way he told her a story that ended up meaning a lot more later. “Baby, I got a guy who will front the show,” he told her. Cash explained, when she asked, that this meant he would go out first and “get the crowd happy, singing, clapping, and then bring the star out.” “Well, who’s the
star?” she asked her brother. “That’s me!” said Cash. This had us all laughing. And then she explained the real clincher. The front man turned out to be none other than Elvis Presley. Yates also told our group that Johnny’s first guitar was ordered by their mother from the Sears Roebuck catalog. Speaking for Tommy and herself, Yates said that Cash was an artist, but also “so much more than an entertainer … he was a giver of life to the prisoner, to children, to the poor … We can live in a world without Johnny Cash, but we miss our brother.”
The museum is divided into periods of Cash’s life. Visitors will see stage costumes, notes, letters, awards, photos, guitars, and memorabilia from the dramatic life of “The Man in Black.” It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and just steps from the honky tonks of Broadway. A recent press release about the museum stated that they have “solidified an agreement to continue the legacy of the “Man in Black” on the airwaves of 650 AM WSM and wsmonline.com. Live endorsements for The Johnny Cash Museum, which earned the highest AAA rating as a GEM Attraction, will be heard on Saturday broadcasts of the Opry on WSM beginning Aug. 31.” For more information on planning a trip to Nashville, go to visitmusiccity.com.
Photos, clockwise from top: It’s said that Nashville has the greatest concentration of guitar pickers in the world, more than 1300. The Johnny Cash Museum features the earliest known Johnny Cash letters and documents as well as the handwritten manuscript to the last song ever written by the prolific songwriter, just days before his passing. Many never before seen historical documents, letters, awards, costumes and instruments take the visitor on a three dimensional journey through Johnny Cash’s life with innovative interactions. Tin Pan South is the world’s largest songwriter festival.
Photos courtesy of VisitMusicCity.com. The Johnny Cash Museum teams with 650 AM-WSM to continue the legacy of the Man In Black Fifty-seven years after Johnny Cash’s first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, The Johnny Cash Museum has solidified an agreement to continue the legacy of the “Man in Black” on the airwaves of 650 AM WSM and wsmonline.com. Live endorsements for The Johnny Cash Museum, which earned the highest AAA rating as a GEM Attraction, will be heard on Saturday broadcasts of the Opry on WSM beginning August 31st. “We are honored to help introduce our worldwide audience to the amazing Johnny Cash Museum,” says 650 AM WSM General Manager Tom English. “Our listeners will be excited about the museum just as they are about calling and emailing us every day to request their favorite Cash songs.” "650 WSM and Johnny Cash have a long history together,” says Bill Miller, founder of The Johnny Cash Museum (pictured above with WSM's Eddie Stubbs). “He was a regular member of the Grand Ole Opry through much of the 60's; he first met June Carter backstage at the Opry years before they would marry, and 650 has never stopped playing Johnny’s records. I'm proud to be part of extending and carrying on the Cash tradition by partnering with this iconic station.” Nashville Documentary "For The Love Of Music: The Story of Nashville" To Air on ABC November 3rd Read more at: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=16038