Arts and Culture | Nashville Public Radio

Arts and Culture

Emily Siner / WPLN

The Grand Ole Opry is country music's Holy Land.

It's home to the weekly radio show that put country on the national map in 1925. And it's where this summer, 30 people with a rare genetic disorder called Williams syndrome eagerly arrive backstage.

Thomas Maupin buck dance
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A Tennessee master of a waning dance style has earned national recognition.

Thomas Maupin is a scrawny 78-year-old buck dancer from Eagleville. His elbows, hips and knees jangle like a country puppet while his black shoes clack out intricate rhythms across wooden dance floors. After years of local notoriety, he's been named as a National Heritage Fellow.

Teri Nine / Alive Hospice

Camp Evergreen has all the trappings of a typical day camp. The counselors greet the kids with the requisite amount of cheer at the beginning of each day. They go swimming every day after lunch. They do arts and crafts.

But all of the campers also have something in common that they’d rather not: They’ve all recently lost a close family member. In other words, it’s grief camp — and although, understandably, that does not sound like fun, kids and counselors alike end up finding some comfort in grieving together.

Laura Partain/Courtesy of the artist

Each year, the CMA Music Festival annexes seemingly every square foot of downtown Nashville, but only one of the eleven official festival stages is positioned on Lower Broadway, an area packed with kitschy honky-tonks and discount boot stores that caters to country-music tourists year round. Though Lillie Mae, the fiddle-playing singer and songwriter born Lillie Mae Rische, is still in her 20s, she's been plying her trade on this strip for a decade and a half.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

It’s hard enough to deal with the financial burden of losing a job. But there’s also a loss of identity: How will you see yourself outside of that career? Chris Echegaray experienced this when his job as a reporter was cut during the recession. He talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner in our live series Movers & Thinkers about weathering an identity crisis after a layoff. 


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. 

Pages