When WSM began broadcasting a one-hour radio "barn dance", which would later become known as the Grand Old Opry, aspiring musicians flocked to Nashville hoping to become the next "big star".
More than 100 years prior to that first Grand Old Opry radio show in November 1925, Nashville, Tennessee had a foundation in music. In the late 1700's, settlers celebrated their arrival on the shores of the Cumberland River by playing fiddle music and buck dancing. By the 1800's, Nashville became known as a national center for music publishing. According to Visit Music City, the first world wide music tour was conducted by the Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville’s Fisk University. In the early 1900's, the Ryman Auditorium was nick-named the “Carnegie Hall of the South.” Before long, Nashville became known as "Music City USA".
Those coming to Nashville to "make it big" in the music industry needed venues in order to showcase their talent. Honky Tonks began to emerge just a couple of blocks away from the Ryman Auditorium. Before long a five block stretch on lower Broadway became known as Honky Tonk Row. As the popularity of the local honky tonks grew, more began to open along 2nd Ave.
Music legends ranging from Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson to more contemporary artists like Dierks Bentley and Gretchen Wilson all performed at more of more of the "lower Broad" honky tonks. Tootsies Orchard Lounge and The Stage are two of Music City's most famous honky tonks.
Although tourists and locals alike can be found roaming from one honky tonk to another seven days a week, Friday and Saturday afternoons and evenings are certainly the most popular.
Digital Journal visited several honky tonks along Broadway and 2nd Ave., photographing some of the common sights that can be seen on a typical Friday afternoon and early evening.