experience nashville

your insider guide for a local perspective on Nashville, Tennessee.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pilgrimage Festival -- Music. Food. Celebs.

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville
Touring the art vendors at Pilgrimage Festival -- thanks for the photo, Kristin Luna @ Camels + Chocolates.
Last weekend was certainly a hot one, but it did not keep fans from across the country from making the pilgrimage to Franklin for the second annual Pilgrimage Festival. Two days of music, art, and food -- and attended by over 15,000 folks. It was my first year attending, and y'all -- I LOVED it. Despite the heat, the festival was incredibly well executed, from the art vendors, to staff, to the top-notch talent.

Speaking of talent, this year's lineup included Daryl Hall & John Oates (!!), Beck, Jason Isbell, Grace Potter, Kacey Musgraves, Violent Femmes, The Arcs, Cake, Anderson East, and more. Only in Nashville.

Ms. Kacey Musgraves killing it on stage, per usual. 
Speaking of Nashville... In typical Nashville fashion, celebs abounded. Lily Aldridge and Caleb Followill were there to catch Beck, Miranda Lambert danced side stage during boyfriend Anderson East’s setand Haley Williams of Paramore hung backstage to support friend Kacey Musgraves. N’Sync’s Chris Kirkpatrick (!!) and GRAMMY-Award winning producer Dave Cobb were also spotted partaking in festival fun. Sadly, I heard of no (Pilgrimage Festival partner) Justin Timberlake sightings... There's always next year, I suppose?

Did you #MakeThePilgrimage this year? What was your favorite part?

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville

High school/college me was freaking out about Better than Ezra.

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville

The art vendors were incredible, and the locale of the festival was stunning.

Pilgrimage Festival Nashville

The Park at Harlinsdale, where Pilgrimage Festival is held, is stunning.

Kacey Musgraves Nashville Pilgrimage

Speaking of Ms. Musgraves, this happened. I love her. The perfect way to cap of a perfect weekend.

(Thanks to George Dickel for having us out, and for the VIP treatment. I do love your whisky.)


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Music City Food + Wine - Nashville's Ultimate Foodie Weekend

music city food and wine nashville
Held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Music City Food + Wine Festival is my favorite festival of the year.
Y'all. Last weekend was perhaps my favorite weekend of 2016.
...and 2015.
...and 2014.

Notice the trend?

Hanging with mah boos, Maneet Chauhan, Beth Sachan of Eat. Drink. Smile. and Kristin Luna of Camels & Chocolate
Music City Food + Wine Festival, one of Nashville's premier foodie events put on by Food and Wine magazine and the Kings of Leon. Mingle and meet with your favorite chefs at the Grand Tasting (unlimited bites and drinks), attend culinary demos, boozy tasting sessions, and listen to the best music in town. Food + Booze + Music = my absolute favorite kind of combination.

Let's get to it the best way I know how to recap: via a photo round-up of the weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

CONTEST TIME! Meet / Workout with Erin Oprea + Shawn Booth!

erin opera shawn booth nashville celebrity trainer citystrong
You too, can look this good whilst working out with CitySTRONG
Y'all, it's time for a fun giveaway!

What is it? TWO VIP passes to CitySTRONG, an innovative outdoor workout led by celebrity trainers Erin Oprea and Shawn Booth, September 4 at 9:30AM! Your VIP pass includes a premier spot for the workout, a meet and greet with Erin and Shawn, and a swag bag.

Erin's clientele includes Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Kaitlyn Bristowe, and Jana Kramer. Shawn, well, you all mayrecognize Shawn as the winner of the Bachelorette season 11, and fiancee to Ms. Bristowe.

A fabulous way to stay fit, take in the beautiful sights of Nashville, all while being led by (+ getting to meet) these two beautiful humans? Sounds like a win to me.

Here's how you enter:

(Choose one, or do them all! Winner will be chosen at random + you will receive one entry for every task completed.)

1) Leave a comment on this blog post and let me know why you want to win (i.e.: I need legs like Carrie Underwood, or, because Shawn Booth's abs are so inspirational.)

2) Follow @experiencenash on Instagram.

3) Tag a friend in the comments section of Erin + Shawn's photo on @experiencenash's Instagram. For every friend you tag, you'll receive an additional entry.

4)  Follow @experiencenash on Twitter.

Winners will be notified Sunday, 8/28. Good luck!


Monday, August 15, 2016

The Best Men's Shopping in Nashville

Guys: Looking to do some shopping outside of the outlet mall? I've got you covered with my picks of the best men's stores in Nashville.

best mens shopping nashville best shopping nashville mens shopping nashville mens stores nashville
Shirt: Jack Randall // Jeans: Imogene + Willie Barton Slim // Shoes: Nisolo Emilio Chukka Boot Noir

Jack Randall

Jack Randall's sister (women's) store, Vinnie and Louise, has been a hit in town for a hot minute. Now, it's the guys turn -- and thank goodness for us Jack Randall has come into the Nashville fashion scene. With affordable, fun, fashionable shirts/pants/shorts/shoes/sunglasses and more, Jack Randall has quickly become one of my top spots to shop.

jackrandall.com  729 Porter Road, Nashville, TN 37206


Nisolo shoemakers handcraft each boot, and ya'll -- they are hot. I'm a proud owner of both the Nisolo chukka and trench boot; not only are they stylish, but are also incredibly comfortable. Almost every single time I wear either pair, I receive a compliment. Quality + fashionable + functionality at an affordable price? A definite win.

nisolo.com  1803 9th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208


Other than Nordstrom, Haymakers offers probably the best selection of denim in town. The remainder of their inventory includes casual wear, and even custom-to-order suiting. Need a haircut? They've got you covered, with a full-service barber in tow.

haymakersandco.com  3307 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

Imogene + Willie

Go-to for t-shirts, hats, and my staple pair of raw denim jeans. The best part? They size, alter, and fit each pair of jeans to your specification. I wear my Barton Slims nearly every day (and have worn I+W jeans almost every day for nearly 3 years) and am absolutely in love.

imogeneandwillie.com  2601 12th Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37204

Top Knot Vintage

Sometimes it's nice to pick up a unique piece of clothing that isn't also owned by the majority of your male buddies. How? See: Top Knot Vintage. A slick collection of curated vintage pieces takes the difficulty of tracking down a unique shirt, pants, or shoes yourself. 

instagram.com/topknotvintage  307 N 16th St, Nashville, TN 37206

J. Crew Men's 

Yes yes yes. I realize it's not a local brand -- however, guys, we have our own, entire J. Crew store in Edgehill Village. Solid staples: my every day button ups, chinos, and tennis shoes typically come from the Crew -- plus, you can grab a post-shopping beverage at of Nashville's greatert bars, Old Glory, afterward. 

jcrew.com   1201 Villa Pl #100, Nashville, TN 37212


Sunday, July 31, 2016

CMA Fest 2016 - Relive it Wednesday, August 3!

sam hunt nashville cma fest
Sam Hunt @ CMA Fest (photo by Chandler Turner)
One of my fave summertime weeks in Nashville: CMA Fest, a four day celebration in June featuring some of the greatest music to come out of our town. It was SUCH a blast to partake in the festivities this year, and I certainly can't wait to relive it all this Wednesday August 3, during “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” at 7:00 on ABC. 

Hosted by Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, the biggest names in Country Music (Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley <swoon>, Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts, Thomas Rhett, Blake SheltonCole Swindle, Cam, and Keith Urban - whew) join talents with Elle King, Pharrell Williams, Steven Tyler, and more for collabs that you cannot miss. 

The special will feature Bentley performing with Elle King; Bryan with Urban; Eldredge and Thomas Rhett; Lady Antebellum with Cam; Little Big Town with Pharrell Williams; Rascal Flatts with Maren Morris; Tyler with Martina McBrideHank Williams, Jr. with Chris Janson and Justin Moore; and Chris Young duetting with Cassadee Pope. You can't make this level of epic up.

SO, you should check out a little preview of the show with one Carrie's hottest new singles, and a few shots from the night courtesy of experiencenash.com collaborator Chandler Turner. 

luke bryan nashville cma fest
Luke Bryan @ CMA Fest
chris stapleton nashville cma fest
Chris Stapleton @ CMA Fest
carrie underwood nashville cma fest
Carrie Underwood @ CMA Fest


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Q&A with Mr. Dave Barnes!

Dave Barnes is the total package. Funny, genuine, incredibly good looking, and man he can write (+ sing) a song. I was thrilled to sit down with him recently to discuss his upcoming headlining Ryman show (tickets available here), new album Carry on San Vicente, and of course his Nashville faves.

How about we dive right on in?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brad Blackburn Crowned Winner of Open Mic Night @ The Bluebird Cafe!

brad blackburn wholly guacamole nashville open mic night bluebird cafe

Oh, what a night. Had so much fun covering and attending the Nashville stop of #LiveWhollyTour, an open mic competition held at the historic Bluebird Café! There were over twenty fabulously talented entrants, but only one walked away with $500, the opportunity to open for a national act, and a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. Congratulations to singer-songwriter Brad Blackburn – and Nashville, be sure and stay tuned to livewhollytour.eatwholly.com for your chance to help crown Brad the ultimate victor when online voting begins August 19!

I had the chance to catch up with Brad after the show for a quick chat. Naturally, we talked Nashville, Bluebird, and the impact this opportunity has had on his future.

How does it feel to take home the grand prize from the #LiveWhollyTour stop in Nashville?

Incredible. There was so much talent at the Bluebird that night. It was a real honor to be chosen by the judges. And the $500 grand prize... I mean who couldn’t use $500? I’m working on an album, which can be a costly process, so that’ll be a huge help financially.

The Bluebird Café is such an institution for singer/songwriters in Nashville. What does it mean to you to be able to play the stage that launched the careers of so many legends – from Garth Brooks to Taylor Swift?

That was my 7th time playing The Bluebird I believe and it never gets old. It truly is an awesome venue with so much history. The audience is always 100% attentive and respectful of whoever is performing. I’d never turn down a chance to play The Bluebird; it’s a privilege. 

Tell us how “Good Go Bad” – the song you performed and ultimately won with, came about. What inspired it?

"Good Go Bad” is about that girl whose definitely not the best idea for you and who you doubt is looking for any type of commitment, but you’re just sorta powerless to her charm. Basically, she’s the player, you know it’s not gonna end well, but you just can’t say no. I may have found myself in a similar situation once or twice… Anyway, I wrote it with my roommates, Trey Wehrmeyer and Johnny Dibb, our sophomore year at Belmont. We wrote the music before the lyrics, so once we had that dark groove going, I knew it wasn’t gonna be about some ideal happy relationship. 

Nashville itself is home to so many up and coming musicians like you. How has living here impacted you and your career?

There’s so many good writers and players in Nashville.. Too many. But I love it. It drives me to work harder every day. There’s this feeling that someone’s always out there working harder than you, and that can really push you to be your best. On top of the talent, there’s plenty of ways to get connected with publishers, labels, management, etc.. I’ve been to so many great shows and gotten to meet some really great people. It’s an awesome community and I’ve absolutely loved my past 3 years here.

Speaking of Nashville… let’s chat some of your favorite spots!

Favorite venue to Perform: The Listening Room Café
Favorite place to see a Show: Mercy Lounge
Favorite Burger: Fat Bottom Brewery
Favorite place to grab a beer: Village Pub & Beer Garden
Where might we see you out and about in town on a weekend? I’d have to say The Listening Room Café.  I play there pretty frequently and so do a lot of my writer friends. It’s a really cool spot! 

Congrats on your win and thank you, Brad, for taking the time to chat. Finally, a huge thanks to Wholly Guacamole for sponsoring such a wonderful evening in Nashville!

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