All Articles A music lover's guide to Nashville's soul

A music lover's guide to Nashville's soul

Dana Givens
By Dana GivensFeb 1, 2021 2 minutes read
National Museum of African American Music
National Museum of African American Music

In Music City, everything is served with a side of soul. Here’s where to find it.

Nashville is home to some of the nation’s most beloved musicians. From country to bluegrass and even rock and roll, Music City has always attracted artists from every musical genre. Outside (and within) its famous country music roots, Black artists and locals have contributed significantly to the city’s musical landscape. From live music venues to notable eateries, these spots will help immerse you in the Black culture that is at the heart of Nashville’s musical lore.

National Museum of African American Music
National Museum of African American Music

National Museum of African American Music

Fittingly located “in the heart of Music City,” this brand-new venue is the first of its kind in the country. The institution “dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating more than 50 music genres and styles…created, influenced and/or inspired by African Americans” offers a modern, immersive dive into the cultural contributions past and present.

Prince’s Hot Chicken

No trip to Music City is complete without tasting some of its famous hot chicken. Prince’s is the birthplace of the Nashville specialty, and the Black-owned eatery has been a popular staple in the city’s restaurant scene for almost a century.

Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar

Stepping into this bar and live music venue, which brings the sounds of New Orleans blues to Nashville, feels like being transported to the streets of the Big Easy.

Willie B’s Kitchen and Lounge
Willie B’s Kitchen and Lounge

For the brunch set, Willie’s is always a good time. This lounge is the perfect weekend hotspot for visitors and locals, where delicious food comes with a side of lively music and dancing bartenders.

This Caribbean eatery comes from private chefs who cooked for big-name entertainers such as Rihanna and Drake. What started as their popular food truck has now grown into a local hotspot, with tasty options including honey jerk chicken and Trini-style fried rice.

Jazz lovers can enjoy a delicious Creole or Cajun dinner and show at this live music venue, where the performances are the perfect way to end the day.

This Black-owned tour company focuses on the Black history of Nashville, as shared by locals who know it best. Tours highlight the people, history, food, art and music of the African- American communities in the city.

Sankofa African Drum and Dance Academy
The Sankofa African Drum and Dance Academy

Sankofa African Drum and Dance Academy

This performing arts company and center teaches the community about African traditions through music. Catch one of their live events or schedule a dance class to learn more about West African culture.

Jefferson Street Sound Museum

In the city’s historical nightclub and entertainment hub, this nonprofit entertainment center preserves the community’s musical legacy. Tour the space - which also includes a music production studio and rehearsal hall - for a sense of its soul music history and to learn about the legends and icons who frequented the area.

The 5 Spot

During the pandemic, this lounge, which showcases Music’s City’s diversity outside the dominant country music scene, has kept the music going through video livestreams. When it’s over, expect a return of locals to this chill hangout that draws emerging talent from around the city.

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Dana Givens
Dana Givens is a freelance journalist who writes about travel, food, mental health and lifestyle topics. When she’s not traveling, she enjoys reading a good book and is currently studying French. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.