Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

The dilemma of choosing between commercial success and artistic independence is a familiar one for many musicians in Nashville, including Vanessa Carlton. After releasing hits like “A Thousand Miles,” she says she felt stifled by her major labels and decided to go independent, a shift that also changed the way she saw herself.

Carlton talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner in the live taping of our podcast Movers & Thinkers about starting over on her own.


Danny Clinch

Jason Isbell’s new album The Nashville Sound rethinks that historical phrase and sees the songwriter contemplating the mood of Middle America, post-Trump.

WPLN’s Jason Moon Wilkins sat down with Isbell to discuss how the last election changed the direction of his music and how where he recorded is changing the sound of Nashville.

Danny Clinch

On Jason Isbell’s new album The Nashville Sound, the songwriter does not shy away from politics. It’s a move many prominent Nashville songwriters avoid in order to not alienate their audiences.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

After spending decades working in one industry, it can be hard to walk away from it. But former music manager Chip Peay did just that. 

Webster Public Relations

The family of Bill Monroe is looking for someone to take over his legacy.

The estate of the bluegrass legend and Grand Ole Opry star is selling his name and likeness, along with his hundreds of personal items and live recordings. Fans of the father of bluegrass have the chance to buy the rebuilt cabin and 2 1/2 acres in Kentucky where Bill Monroe lived and played music with his Uncle Pen.

Emily Siner / WPLN

It's not a real Stanley Cup, but it will do for a town that loves music as much as Nashville. Shane Chisholm, an Americana bass player who moved here recently from Canada, has been building upright basses where the body is a homemade replica of the NHL Stanley Cup. The NHL, it turned out, wasn't happy about it.


Amy Eskind / WPLN


An abandoned concrete silo looms over The Nations neighborhood, eerie and empty. The historic Nashville landmark was nearly torn down. Instead, it’s becoming the centerpiece of the community’s redevelopment. 

Prairie Home Productions

Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is the backdrop for a story Garrison Keillor tells pretty frequently.

In 1974, the New Yorker magazine dispatched him to document the Grand Ole Opry. The show was moving out of the decaying "Mother Church of Country Music" and into new digs near Opryland. The experience changed his life. Within months, he was creating his own radio variety show. And 43 years later, Prairie Home Companion still airs every Saturday night, though now with a new host.

WPLN's Blake Farmer spoke to Garrison Keillor, who is performing at the Ryman this weekend  to celebrate the venue's 125th year.

Tony Gonzalez

Having a singular interest in something particularly nerdy can be isolating. But Chris Lee, who lives in Nashville and has loved the Star Wars franchise ever since he saw A New Hope in 1977, has found a community of people around the country who share his passion. He talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner during a live taping of our podcast Movers & Thinkers about finding his tribe. 


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