experience nashville

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

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.

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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!

<Sponsored Post>

Friday, June 24, 2016

Open Mic Night June 27 at the Bluebird Cafe!

open mic night bluebird cafe

Hey Nashville. I have exciting news!

But first, let’s talk about where it's all going down, the historic Bluebird Café: a Nashville institution where legends are born. Perhaps you’ve heard of Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, or maybe Taylor Swift? Yes –- they ALL had their breaks at Bluebird. Who’s next you might ask? Well, I’m SO excited to team up with WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® to host #LiveWhollyTour, an open mic night June 27 at 6:00 PM -- where we just might discover Nashville’s next big name in music.

We all know Snapchat turns us into adorable puppies and gorgeous flower-crowned goddesses, and auto tune turns any of us hairbrush-singers and traffic-harmonizers into Carrie Underwood. Life is best when lived unfiltered and authentic, right? This is why we’re teaming up with Wholly Guacamole, who is making a cross-country journey to find America’s most talented, unfiltered musical talent. The ultimate winner will receive $10,000, and a chance to pursue their music dream opening for a national act -- proving these crazy dreams can and do come true, especially when you stay true to your authentic self. Not making it to the Nashville audition? You've still got a chance! Submit your audition online here.

We all know Nashville is home the most authentic, raw-talented musicians in the world, and what a fabulous opportunity we have to showcase this yet again to the world. You’re not going to want to miss out on the chance to see our next hometown superstar – and I’ve got the scoop on how you can watch it all go down: Follow along the night of with Experience Nashville! Here’s how:

@experiencenash on Instagram
@experiencenash on Twitter
@mattniehoff on Snapchat

See you June 27!

This post was sponsored by WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® -- a brand which knows real life is best lived unfiltered and authentic. Those who truly live, know how to #LiveWholly. With no added preservatives or artificial colors or flavors, but instead made with Hass avocadoes and nutritional ingredients like tomatoes and garlic, WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® is authentically delicious and nutritious, with no compromises.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

LGBT Friendly Guide to Nashville

lgbt friendly nashville

Despite being located in the South, as a 9+ year resident of Nashville, I can personally attest it is a city which warmly welcomes both its LGBT residences and guests. An incredible, vocally supportive mayor (who married the first gay couple in Nashville when it became legal in 2015, who's office promptly arranged a memorial following the tragedy in Orlando) stands alongside so many businesses and residents alike who strongly support equality amongst all.

I recently sat down with Nashville's LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Loews Vanderbilt Nashville to discuss this idea of creating a LGBT-friendly itinerary for Loews' #TravelForReal campaign, and through said conversation hand-selected businesses and compiled a three day agenda of my faves who strongly support the LGBT community. This was initially designed as a "staycation" for LGBT Nashvillians but certainly can be used by all locals and visitors, as well!

Without further adieu:

Day 1:

Brunch at Mad Donnas
One of Nashville's most popular Brunch spots and one you definitely do not want to miss. Don't let the line scare you -- you'll be through it and casually brunching in no time. Brunch features reasonable prices, 2-for-1 Mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar, their fabulous burgers, Cap'n Crunch French toast, and more.

1313 Woodland Street, Nashville

Dinner and Cocktails at Mason's

The hotel-restaurant stigma is completely thrown out the window with Mason's restaurant and bar, located in the lobby of the Loews Hotel. Chic atmosphere, top-notch service, and delicious food and beverage menus round out one of my favorite spots in town. Watching your figure? Erin Oprea, Carrie Underwood's personal trainer, has you covered. Oprea herself worked with the Mason's team to create delicious (healthy) options on both the food and cocktail list -- just look for the barbells next to the menu item. Like me and prefer to go all out? I highly recommend the Lamb meatballs, Shrimp and Grits, Ancho Spiced Berkshire Pork Chop, Brussels Sprouts, and Springer Mountain Farms Chicken. Don't forget about dessert too -- the pastry chef is certainly bringing her A-game.

2100 West End Avenue, Nashville

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