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Kesha (Olivia Bee), R.LUM.R (artist), Margo Price (Danielle Holbert), Luke Bryan (artist)

It’s the end of the year and time for critics' picks, best of lists and top 10s — but we’re going to take a slightly different approach and ask a question: What did Nashville sound like in 2017?

Caleb Shiver / WPLN

More and more musicians are going old-school when they record — using reel-to-reel tape machines. But manufacturers aren't producing these massive devices anymore, and the used machines that are still functioning are hard to come by.

Quintron Weather Warlock Third Man Records total solar eclipse
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

To fully appreciate this eclipse story, WPLN recommends the audio version (above).

An experimental musician brought his weather-controlled synthesizer to the roof of Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville for the total solar eclipse. The so-called “Weather Warlock” made a soundtrack based on the atmospheric conditions of wind, temperature and sunlight.

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is hoping to rebound from its worst attendance ever last year, and organizers are betting on a sound that’s a little different than what made the fest famous.

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.


Photograph: Ilpo Musto, By Permission From Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

When musician and poet Leonard Cohen died last year, there was little mention made of the time he spent in Tennessee. But the songwriter lived for nearly two years in a remote cabin outside of Nashville in the late '60s and early '70s, where he worked on songs like "Bird on the Wire" and "Famous Blue Raincoat."

Those who did mention of Cohen’s Tennessee period always brought up the cabin, which was located near Leiper's Fork. 

Tennessee State Prison
Tennessee State Library & Archives

The old Tennessee State Prison, also known as “The Castle,” has drawn a lot of attention this year. There’s been talk of redeveloping the largely dormant site along the Cumberland River. And with the blessing of the Tennessee Department of Corrections, a flying drone video documented the property extensively.

But it was in a different medium, back in 1933, that the prison produced some little-known musical recordings.

As music journalists are compiling their top ten and best of lists, we asked a small group of Nashville writers to define the sound of the city's music scene over the last year.

Copyright Reto Sterchi / Used By Permission From Artist

 

The Grammys announced their nominees for the 2017 awards and numerous Nashville artists made the cut, in a wide array of musical categories. 

Over this Thanksgiving millions of people are expected to return to the fictional village of Stars Hollow. They’ll be revisiting the characters of the Gilmore Girls including the town troubadour, Nashville songwriter Grant Lee Phillips.

He appeared numerous times over the course of the show's seven seasons, either playing his own songs or covering everything from Wham to Merle Haggard to House of Freaks.    

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