When I was growing up, my parents had a funny machine in the living room. A square box with a black disc on top. As you probably guessed already, it was a LP player and underneath a row of LP’s. This magnificent device immediately caught my interest and I spend many hours playing the records of my parents. In particular, records from one artist. His name was J.R. ‘Johnny’ Cash.
I played his records over and over again. That deep baritone voice was mysterious, dark and it felt like nothing could touch it. He always worn black clothes so it was no surprise that his name was ‘The man in black’.
But who was Johnny Cash? What did his life looked like? I often asked myself these questions but I never really took the time to find out. Our meeting took place last April. I had to go to St. Louis because they asked me to emcee at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival. I decided to go a couple of days earlier so that I could go to Nashville and Memphis in search of Country Music, Rock & Roll, Graceland, Elvis and of course Johnny Cash. And for Johnny I had to go to Nashville.
In Nashville you find the official Johnny Cash museum and that is where I went. It is not a big museum. It can take you 30 minutes but this can easily add up to 2 hours if you want to take it all in. There are a lot of memorabilia of Johnny in the museum. Just some items from the collection are: the movies he played in, handwritten letters and notes and a lot of different costumes we worn in which he became a legend.
The museum also gives you an inside in the different stages of Johnny Cash life. The best is maybe his world famous prison concert tour. And they also tell you about his different marriages. The walls in the museum are covered with the albums and records he published. Make sure you take the time to see the documentary about his movie career.
The nickname of Nashville is Music City. Not surprising when you realize that a lot of country music is being produced here. Besides this, it is the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and famous venues like the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Theater. Do you want to hear live country music? No problem, just go to Broadway and enter one of the many music bars. Every afternoon and evening there are many performances from artists in search of fame.
Nashville was a fun city to visit. The people are relaxed and helpful. The city is small and a nice place to go to for 1 or 2 two days. In the evening the bars are loaded with people. Another thing are the beer bikes riding up and down the streets transporting the bachelors and bachelorettes. Keep this in mind because this is something you might need to get used to.
If you are going on a longer holiday, add the city to your travel schedule. The Deep South if full with cities booming with music. You will not be disappointed. I myself went to Memphis the days after which I will write about later.