Nashville’s Soul Music City Tour

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Come take a tour of Nashville with us and learn about the city’s rich history of soul music! We’ll visit all the important landmarks and give you a behind-the-scenes look at the music scene today.


Nashville is famously known as the country music capital of the world. But did you know that Nashville is also home to a thriving soul music scene? This tour will take you to some of the most iconic soul music locations in Music City, including historic recording studios, performance venues, and more. You’ll learn about the history of soul music in Nashville and get a behind-the-scenes look at how this unique genre is created. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience the soul of Nashville!

The Beginnings of Soul in Nashville

Although Nashville is widely known as a country music city, it also has a rich history in soul music. Join us on a tour of some of the most historic soul music venues in Nashville. We’ll start at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, where many legendary soul artists got their start.

The Nashville Sound

The Nashville Sound is a subgenre of country music and pop music, created in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1955 by producer Owen Bradley. It was most popular during the late 1950s and 1960s.

Musicians who defined the Nashville Sound included Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Bobby Bare, Loretta Lynn, and Floyd Cramer. Characteristics of the Nashville Sound included natural vocalists with a polished production. The music was designed to appeal to both country and pop fans.

In 1955, Bradley produced “Heartbreak Hotel”, the first major hit for Elvis Presley. Presley’s success with “Heartbreak Hotel” helped to make the Nashville Sound more popular. By the 1960s, the Nashville Sound was being used by musicians such as Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Porter Wagoner.

The Nashville Sound began to decline in popularity in the 1970s as country music became more divided between progressive and traditional sounds. However, the Nashville Sound remains an important part of country music history.

The Civil Rights Movement in Nashville

The late 1950s and early 1960s were a turbulent time in American history. The country was struggling to recover from the Great Depression, and racial tensions were high. In many southern cities, African Americans were treated as second-class citizens. They were forced to live in segregated neighborhoods, attend segregated schools, and use segregated public facilities.

In Nashville, however, things were different. The city had a long history of racial cooperation, dating back to the days when Tennessee was part of the Confederacy. African Americans and whites had been working together for years to improve the city’s schools, hospitals, and other public services.

This cooperation continued during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1960, Nashville became the first southern city to desegregate its public schools. The following year, Nashville’s businesses began voluntarily desegregating their workplaces. And in 1963, Nashville became the first southern city to pass a fair housing ordinance.

Thanks to the efforts of both African Americans and whites, Nashville was slowly becoming a more just and Equality community. However, it would take many more years of hard work before equality was truly achieved in the city.

The Golden Age of Soul in Nashville

Nashville is known as the country music capital of the world, but it’s also home to a rich history of soul music. Join us on a tour of Nashville’s soul music City, and learn about the golden age of soul in Nashville. We’ll visit the places where the greats performed, and hear stories about the music and the people who created it.

The Nashville Number System

In the 1960s, a group of musicians in Nashville developed a new way of writing and playing music together that would come to be known as the “Nashville Number System.” This system made it possible for musicians of all kinds to play together, even if they didn’t know each other’s songs. It also made it possible for songwriters to easily write and record songs with complicated harmonies and arrangements.

The Nashville Number System is based on assigning a number to each chord in a song. For example, the chord C would be represented by the number 1, D would be 2, E would be 3, and so on. This makes it easy to transpose a song into any key without having to rewrite the entire song.

The Nashville Number System was first used on recordings by country artists like Chet Atkins and Willie Nelson, but it soon became popular with soul and R&B artists as well. Some of the biggest hits of the 1970s were recorded using the Nashville Number System, including “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison and “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Nashville Number System, there are plenty of resources available online. You can also purchase software that will help you write songs using this system.

The Nashville Sound

Nashville’s soul music history began in the late 1950s with the rise of the “Nashville Sound.” This new type of music incorporated elements of country, pop, and R&B to create a unique sound that was perfect for radio play. The Nashville Sound was pioneered by artists like Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, and Brenda Lee, and it quickly gained popularity across the country.

In the 1960s, Nashville became known as the “capital of country music,” and its soul scene began to take off. Artists like Arthur Alexander, Jerry Butler, and William Bell had hits on both the country and R&B charts, and they helped to put Nashville on the map as a soul music destination. The city’s soul scene continued to grow in the 1970s with the addition of new venues like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World. These clubs provided a home for up-and-coming artists like Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings.

The 1980s brought even more changes to Nashville’s soul music scene. Hip-hop and rap began to influence soul artists like James Brown and Bootsy Collins, and they helped to create a new subgenre called “urban contemporary.” Artists like Al Green and Otis Redding continued to find success in Nashville, and they helped to solidify the city’s reputation as a top destination for soul music.

Today, Nashville is still home to a thriving soul music scene. Newer artists like Janelle Monae and Fitz and The Tantrums are keeping the city’s reputation alive, and there are plenty of venues where you can enjoy live soul music any night of the week. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just getting started, there’s something for everyone in Nashville’s soul music scene.

The Contemporary Soul Scene in Nashville

Nashville is well-known as the home of country music, but in recent years, the city has become a hotbed for soul music as well. On this tour, we’ll visit some of the best places to experience the contemporary soul scene in Nashville. You’ll get to visit local businesses, talk to the people who are involved in the music scene, and experience the city’s soul music culture firsthand.

The Nashville Sound

Nashville’s sound is a unique blend of country, blues, gospel, and R&B that has been dubbed “country soul.” This sound was popularized in the 1960s by artists like Booker T. & the MGs, Percy Sledge, and Arthur Alexander, and it continues to be influence contemporary artists like St. Paul & the Broken Bones, John Paul White, and Alabama Shakes.

If you want to experience Nashville’s soul scene for yourself, there are a few places you need to go. First, check out the city’s iconic music venues like the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. Then head to East Nashville for a dose of contemporary soul at bars and clubs like The 5 Spot and The Basement East. You can also catch a live show at one of the city’s many record labels or music festivals devoted to this genre. Whatever you do, don’t leave Nashville without experiencing its unique brand of soul music!

The New Nashville Sound

This city has long been associated with country music, but in recent years, Nashville has become just as well known for its thriving soul scene. With its rich musical history and strong community of up-and-coming artists, Nashville has become a hotbed for contemporary soul music.

If you’re looking to experience the best of what this city has to offer, be sure to check out our Nashville’s Soul Music City Tour. This tour will take you to some of the best venues in town, where you’ll get to see live performances by some of the most talented soul artists in the business. You’ll also get to visit important sites in Nashville’s musical history, like the former home of legendary soul singer Nashville Minnie.

So whether you’re a longtime fan of soul music or you’re just getting started, this tour is sure to give you an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Come experience the best of what Nashville has to offer!

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