Just below Grimey’s New & Preloved Music store is The Basement, a small live music venue that hosts singers, songwriters and bands from different music genres. Tuesday is New Faces Nite, which promotes unsigned and/or newly signed artists from all across the country. On other nights of the week, shows by independent artists and more high-profile musicians can be enjoyed. There is a sister venue, The Basement East, that also hosts different art and entertainment events throughout the year.
The Station Inn
The Station Inn is known for booking country, roots and bluegrass artists. Every Sunday, the venue has its Bluegrass Jam. Country singer Alison Krauss frequented the venue in the 1980s and today is one of the biggest artists in country music. On Tuesday nights, you’ll find The Doyle & Debbie Show, which is a satiric performance that showcases the truths about country duos, particularly ones with a man and woman.
The Bluebird Cafe
Many aspiring singers and songwriters hope to play at The Bluebird Cafe, a well-known Nashville venue that has hosted many of today’s biggest names in country music. The small but distinguished venue has performance rounds every night, as well as an open mic night on Mondays. You’ll hear everything from classic country songs to pop and rock numbers, but the tiny establishment ensures there won’t be any music that will break your ear drums.
3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill
From those new to the Nashville circuit to legendary names that have been around for decades, musicians of all genres have graced the stage of 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill. This restaurant/music venue has full lunch and dinner menus and can also be rented for private events. On most nights, you’ll find a roster of talent that reminds you of why Nashville is so competitive in the music business. Country, rock, pop and more music styles have found a friend in 3rd and Lindsley.
Tootsies Orchid Lounge
For some classic, stompin’ in your boots country music, Tootsies Orchid Lounge is the place to be; in fact, Willie Nelson got his first songwriting job after singing at Tootsies! Located on Broadway in the heart of downtown, it’s one of the most frequented honky-tonks in Nashville. You won’t hear any pop, rock or contemporary music at Tootsies, but you might, however, get to experience the talent of local budding songwriters trying to get their big break.
Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom
One of the larger live music venues in Nashville is Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom, a two-story venue with a standing room capacity of 500 on the second floor, along with a back bar and booth seating. Artists like Katy Perry, Adele, Counting Crows and The White Stripes have played at Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom, and that is a testament to its influential status in Nashville. Independent artists also get the chance to perform here — the venue hosts a variety of musical acts and welcomes booking inquiries from songwriters interested in performing.
Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium lives up to its reputation. The best of the best in country music have performed at the venue, as well as musicians in other genres of music. With two levels of seating, including a balcony level, the venue can seat over 2,300 people. The acoustics are like no other, and of course, getting to watch a show at the Ryman is a once in a lifetime experience.
Robert’s Western World
On the home page of its website, you’ll find the words “Welcome to Hillbilly Heaven.” Robert’s Western World is the place to go for a large dose of traditional country music. If you’re looking for country music with a twist, the venue’s house band, Brazilbilly, plays music with a Latin flair on Friday and Saturday nights. You’ll want to wear your dancing boots no matter what night you visit, as the crowd isn’t one to just sit and listen.
Not only is the Wildhorse Saloon one of the best places to hear live music in Nashville, but it’s also a great place to sign up for free line dancing lessons. With 66,000 square feet and three stories of seating and entertainment, you won’t be bored at The Wildhorse. The venue hosts events large and small, showcasing a range of local artists and national touring ones. Inside is a gift shop, as well as a bar and restaurant; and, for extra kicks, you can snap a photo with one of the many horse statues while you wait for the biggest names in music to hit the stage.
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For everyone who wants to hear something other than country music while in Nashville, Exit/In is where they’ll find it. The venue proudly opens its stage to rock bands, rappers, punks and even metal heads. With a location close to Vanderbilt University, the venue attracts college students who are interested in rocking out to loud tunes after class; you won’t find any teenagers inside, however, because Exit/In is an 18+ establishment.