Nashville, Tennessee aka Music City is packed with plenty of free music, history and world class venues. As the narrative goes the sounds of bluegrass and country music were crafted and made famous right here in the “little big town”. Over the years other styles such as blues, jazz, rock and more have found footholds in Nashville which is home to the elegant Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the revered Ryman Auditorium and the well-appointed Bridgestone Arena. Yet there are lots of options for free music too. Grimey’s is one of those special places.
Grimey’s is located at 1604 8th Avenue South in Nashville. Grimey’s is a pair of old-school record stores who sell new and preloved music in various formats with an emphasis on vinyl. Grimey’s regularly supports new releases by hosting in-store events where artists play a short set of songs from their most recent albums. In August, Jeremy Pinnell, Blank Range and Lilly Hiatt are scheduled to perform at Grimey’s. The store set-up is straightforward where shelves on wheels are pushed to the side to make room for fans and gear. Of course the walls of Grimey’s are graced with accessories, posters and records. After the show fans can meet the musicians and have their merchandise signed. On August 10, 2017 we had the pleasure of attending an intimate concert at Grimey’s featuring Will Hoge who was launching his newest project Anchors.
“I hit a wall,” says Will Hoge, reflecting on Anchors. “I was doing the best touring of my career and I had a great, steady gig writing songs, but I was falling out of love with being in a band. I didn’t have a good answer when I asked myself, ‘Why am I still doing this?’ So I walked away. I had to figure out what was next.” Will performed as a solo artist for a period. “All the solo work made me fall back in love with the process and really inspired me from a writing perspective,” says Hoge. “I was so excited when it was time to record this album because I didn’t have any parameters that I had to stay inside anymore. I could reach out to anyone I wanted and put together a band that could play these songs in a way that just felt cool and natural, like we used to do in my garage back when I was a teenager.”
Anchors showcases Will’s strong storytelling and song craft. It’s a heavy album spiked with hopeful moments. At Grimey’s, Hoge opened with the reflective first track “The Reckoning”. “This Grand Charade” was a melancholy look at a marriage dying then “Anchors” revealed more pictorial prose from Will. Hoge shared that he was excited that Sheryl Crow was a guest on “Little Bit of Rust” then jested that she tried to come to Grimey’s to sing it but she could not get in the door so she had to leave which left Will and his talented team to present the tune. The closers “17” and “Young As We Will Ever Be” were perceptive looks at the past. Will’s new album sounds like a winner and it’s great to have a venue such as Grimey’s to buy and listen to music.
Another cool place to hear free music is Live On The Green, produced and presented by the local radio station WRLT (Lightning 100). The free outdoor music festival is held every Thursday in August with a big three day finale running 08/31/17 through 09/02/17. On Friday September 1st Sheryl Crow will headline. Since its inception in 2009 this popular event has attracted hundreds of thousands of fans from Nashville and beyond. The concerts have featured a wide range of artists such as Alabama Shakes, Local Natives, Band of Horses, Matt & Kim, Matt Nathanson, The Wallflowers, Citizen Cope, Dr. John and The Wailers. Live On The Green also focuses heavily on eco-friendly solutions regarding the site and community.
Live On The Green Music Festival held at the Public Square Park, adjacent to the historic Metropolitan Courthouse also has plenty of local food trucks along with an array of vendors including the City Winery another highly regarded venue in town. The City Winery had a comfortable sitting area and they were giving away some generous prizes including tickets to an up-coming show of your choice. On Thursday 08/10/2017 we were interested in hearing Michael Franti & Spearhead who are well known for peppy music with a purpose. Michael quickly engaged the crowd encouraging folks to dance, jump and sing along to Spearhead’s up-tempo grooves. As is Franti’s custom he invited an audience member on stage to sing with him. Later he went out into the crowd to engage his fans. Michael as we hoped delivered a dance party with depth and was a highlight of Thursday’s free concert. Grimey’s and Live On The Green are some of many fabulous free things to do in Music City.
Related Links: For more information on WILL HOGE and MICHAEL FRANTI and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links — Will Hoge | Will Hoge 2015 | Grimey’s | Michael Franti | Michael Franti WMA | Live On The Green