Courier October Courier - Page 31

For more information about Nashville, contact LouAnna Henton of the Nashville CVC at louanna@visitmusic or go to CITY SPOTLIGHT ‘This is Nashville. Everybody plays.’ BY BOB ROUSE NASHVILLE IS HOT. And happening. Nearly 14 million visitors tuned into Music City last year, up 45 percent in the past decade. I became another one of those Nashville visitors this summer, when I toured the town with a dozen or so travel writers. And we weren’t the only ones experiencing group travel in Music City. “Nashville has become a premier destination for our company and our clients,” says Joey Spellerberg, president of Moostash Joe Tours, an NTA member based in Fremont, Nebraska. “We started running Nashville programs over 15 years ago, and it is truly amazing to see the growth and excitement that is happen- ing there. Its mixture of entertainment, attractions and country music history make it a truly unique place.” Yeah, about that country music. I’m really more of a pop music guy—a child of the disco ’70s—but I figured I could still enjoy Nashville. I don’t have to write about country music. Right? Wrong. Within 48 hours of arriving in Music City, I had writ- ten a country song. We were touring Ryman Auditorium, known as the “mother church of country music,” and it got to me. The National Historic Landmark, which turned 125 years old this year, was the home of the “Grand Ole Opry” radio show from 1943 to 1974, and it remains a vibrant venue for live music. After watching a sensational orientation film, perusing the exhibits and soaking up the vibe, I sat down in the second row and wrote “Nothin’ Makes Me Happy When You’re Right.” It’s a horrible song but clear evidence that Nashville can flat out grab you. 29