Arts and Culture | Nashville Public Radio

Arts and Culture

Nina Cardona / WPLN

Not long after the turn of the 20th century, poets stopped rhyming and painters turned to abstractions. Composers who write classical music threw out their long-established rules around that time, too. Most audiences didn't like that change. Most orchestras just stopped playing new music.

A century later, that’s finally changing. And in Nashville, some musicians who play contemporary and avant-garde compositions are starting to draw even the youngest of audiences.


Courtesy BMI

One of the most sought-after producers in country music died Tuesday. Billy Sherrill was 78 years old. He discovered Tammy Wynette, turned George Jones into a superstar and became a Nashville taste-maker for decades.

Elliot Root/Facebook

If you check out Spotify’s Nashville Top 100 playlist, you’ll find Elliot Root, an alternative band led by frontman Scott Krueger in the top spot.

"Doesn't mean he's getting more plays again, than anyone in Nashville, but you could say he's the 'Nashvillist' artist right now,” said Eliot Van Buskirk, Data Storyteller and editor with Spotify. 

Jessi Zazu Those Darlins photo
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville rocker Jessi Zazu, of Those Darlins, has come full circle, from attending the Southern Girls Rock Camp for teenage female musicians, to teaching guitar and performing at the camp.

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One of the most respected pedal steel guitar players of all time died Wednesday in Nashville.

Buddy Emmons may not be a household name, but he played on records for everyone from Ray Price to Ray Charles and George Straight to Judy Collins.

Emmons mastered one of modern music's more complicated instruments. Country music wouldn't sound like itself without the pedal steel. And the instrument sounds the way it does today because of Emmons.

Lily Williams / WPLN

Live outdoor music, an arboretum and a dog park — all downtown. On Tuesday, reporters received a sneak peak of the 11-acre expansion to Riverfront Park.

In the place where a city thermal plant used to burn trash for energy, there is now an amphitheater that is applying for LEED Gold Certification, the second highest level of environmentally friendly construction.

Monument Records publicity photo / Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum

Nearly fifty years ago, Bob Dylan gave Nashville his stamp of approval, and an astounding number of pop, rock and folk musicians took notice. For more than a decade, they flocked here to cut song after song. But a look at the credits of those songs hints at a deeper tale about how the city’s session players used that influx of star power to expand their own careers -- and Music Row.

Jim Ed Brown via Facebook

Mourners gathered Monday morning at Ryman Auditorium to remember Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown, who died late last week at age 81. He was known for his smooth singing style and performing with his two sisters. “Three Bells” and “Pop-A-Top” were two of his biggest hits.

Ralph Hatcher is a retired Nashville bus driver who used to give riding tours to see the homes of country music stars. When they would pass Brown’s house in Brentwood, Hatcher says Brown always stopped what he was doing.

Sarah McGee / WPLN

Country music icon Loretta Lynn and alternative rocker Jack White received stars on the Music City Walk of Fame on Thursday. 

Nina Cardona / WPLN

Nashville is in a building boom. But for new skyscrapers and condo buildings to go up, something else often has to be knocked down. One local artist is trying to capture what could be lost in the process.

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