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Happy Jack

Memphis or Nashville ... and why?

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Thinking about a musically-themed holiday in the States for next year, want to break away from the East Coast, so I'm looking at heading West towards the Mississippi.

Trying to combine Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans in a single road trip totals over 1200 miles of driving which means I'd spend more time in the car than actually doing stuff.

Looks like I need to base myself in either Memphis or Nashville so ... which?

I've never yet been West of the East Coast so I have absolutely no preference as to which city or state I end up in and they're both in Tennessee anyway. :rolleyes:

Any musical prejudices I may have can be ignored - part of the purpose of the trip would be to open my mind to music I may have ignored.

So, oh Collective Wisdom Of Basschat, what's your thinking?

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NO would be cool, but based on reports from musical friends who have made the trek, Memphis and Nashville sound disappointing.

Fer my money, route 66 from East AZ to San Francisco and LA - the ultimate musically-themed road trip.

Again, fer my money.

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Did all of those back in '00 - New Orleans was brilliant (big Meters fan), Memphis a bit rough (did Stax and Royal studios) and Nashville was cool if you like c & w !!!

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Most people do both Nashville & Memphis together. Nashville is horribly commercial but then that's part of the charm to some. I lean towards Nashville in theory but the reality is I'd do both

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I'm doing that trip in a few weeks - Phoenix AZ through New Mexico, across Texas, into Louisiana, New Orleans, up through Mississippi then into Tennassee for Memphis and Nashville. So I'll be able to tell you more when I'm back! I can see more to do in Memphis but they both look great. Particularly looking forward to Sun and Stax studios!

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Supposedly Austin Texas is the new music capital of the USA. All sorts of stuff going on.

Here's the wikipedia entry [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Austin,_Texas"]http://en.wikipedia....f_Austin,_Texas[/url]

Edited by gjones

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A lot depends on what kind of things you would like to do on your holiday.

In terms of music , both Memphis and Nashville have plenty of music venues that cater primarily for tourists with what I can only descibe as mixed results , but if you want to see genuine local talent and some world-class musicians I would say Nashville is a better bet. Whereas Memphis will always be an important town in the history of American music , the fact is that the music industry all but abandoned the town by the end of the 1970s. The close proximity of Nashville meant that it was impractical for companies to have two bases so close together , and Nashville has long been one of the four most important cities in the world for music. The great thing about Nashville is that there are loads of clubs and venues where you can go and see some amazing musicians play in a relatively intimate environment , as well as see some shockingly good unknown players and performers. Places like the Bluebird Cafe and The Station Inn , or for more alternative bands The 5 Spot , offer a slice of what the real local music scene is like rather than the usual kind of down-home pastiche that is all too often served up for tourists in cities famous for music. Particulaly at the country music venues you can often see players that you have read about in Bass Player magazine ( presuming anybody still reads it ) backing up the local acts. Nashville is very much in vogue for "alternative" acts at the moment , and loads of rock stars like Jack White and The Kings Of Leon have moved there , and while there is still a huge touristy side to the city, it is also a lot more diverse than it was twenty years ago. There's also a very big student population in Nashville and as you can imagine, just like students everywhere they demand clubs, bars and nightlife to keep them happy.

The good news is that the whole region you are looking at visiting is a beautiful and fascinating part of the world, and if you do a bit of research and get a bit of of an idea of some things you would like to see and do then I'm sure you will have no problem putting together some kind of an itinerary .Memphis is well worth a visit and is an easy commute from Nashville , and the Smoky Mountains are a stunning backdrop to any visit to eastern Tennesee ( if you fancy a bit of that nature stuff). If you eat meat then you should be forewarned that you are entering arguably the barbeque capital of the world, so be prepared to join Weight Watchers when you get home. If you do feel like driving around a bit then you can drive straight down from Nashville to Memphis and then further on into the Mississippi Delta and visit historic towns like Clarkesville. Have you thought about looking at some travel guides like Lets Go...ect? They are fully up to date every year, well -researched , and can be very helpful for practical local information about accomodation and at finding places of interest that usually only locals would know about.

Edited by Dingus

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Did the Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans thing in '99. Great vibe in Nashville. Memphis not pleasant - apart from Graceland if you like that sort of thing. Beale St. was a bit "edgy". New Orleans was a bit tacky (and a bit rough in places) and as far as Bourbon street goes I can get a similar vibe in Whitley Bay with all the stag and hen do's. Music was crap but maybe we didn't know the best places to go. Highlight was Natchez but not from any musical perspective.

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[quote name='AntLockyer' timestamp='1349544831' post='1827638']
Memphis is awful, Nashville is the greatest city on earth.
[/quote]

Just goes to show how opinions differ - I'd say almost the complete opposite, lol.

Memphis is great but you have to work at it & put some time in on the more historical things. Nashville is somewhere that you can just tip up to, have a nose around, see most things in a couple of days & get out of town :)

We did Nashville, Memphis, Tupelo & the 'blues delta' down to NO last year. I still have all the hotel details etc.

Gimme a shout & I'll fill you in from my perspective :)

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I was in Memphis for 5 days working in 2001... Gracelands a must. Experience of a lifetime.
Beale Street.. dip your toes in the Mississippi, some wonderful 'slow-folk' sitting on wooden porches, beggars here, beggars there, a beggar in a wheel chair ( I mean whizzing around!)

carry some dollars in your pocket to surrender to dodgy looking beggars

It's a cool place to spend little time in, otherwise...hmm.... :)

Edited by leftyhook

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I went to both Nashville and Memphis in 1995. I loved Nashville but found Memphis not so great. Beale Street was one of the tackiest and intimidating places i've ever been. Although this was some years ago i wouldn't return to Memphis in a hurry.

P.S I agree that Gracelands is a must if you're in Memphis.

Edited by BetaFunk

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Did the three back in 2010 as part of a coast to coast road trip. Start in Nashville, hit Memphis, and then New Orleans. Nashville's commercial, but cool. Memphis is fun but reminded me of stag and hen nights in Blackpool (Beale St had police body searches in the evenings!). New Orleans has a whole different vibe (kind of European) and is probably the most interesting place to be if you just want to hang out and take in the sights, sounds..... and smells. If I were to do the three again, I'd spend most time in Nashville and New Orleans. You can hit the Gibson factory in Nashville and Gruhns is fun. Make sure to get to Gracelands and Sun studios in Memphis.

Have a great trip!

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