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Don Williams: Music Of The Gentle Giant 

Don Williams: Music & Memories Of The Gentle Giant 

Gears Up To Premiere With Nashville Symphony Oct 31-Nov 2 – Curated by Keith Urban

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Spanning nearly 50 years, the music of Don Williams continues to connect adoring fans around the world, reminding them of simpler times and traditional country music. Now in 2019, Don celebrates two remarkable milestones; first being the 45th anniversary of Don’s first #1 hit “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me” and secondly being the first country artist to tour post-death as his touring band will be performing live with Don’s vocal and presence appearing via special technology.

“It has taken us over a year to get this show together,” says Don’s longtime manager Robert Pratt. “Fans will experience something that is truly remarkable as they will see performance footage of Don that has rarely been seen and all of Don’s vocals were taken from live recordings as they were performed around the world. In addition, I am honored that Keith Urban is serving as the shows curator.”

In total, Don Williams’ illustrious career generated a total of 17 #1 Hits and 38 Top 5 Hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Charts.  2019 also marks the 40th anniversary of his #1 hits “It Must Be Love” and “Love Me All Over Again.” He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, and was best known for his straightforward, yet smooth bass-baritone voice and soft tones which earned him the nickname The Gentle Giant of Country Music.

Don Williams: Music & Memories of The Gentle Giant takes its residency at Nashville’s famed Schermerhorn Symphony Center for three nights starting October 31 and will reflect on the Country Music Hall of Fame members music, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony.

Williams – (1939-2017) – was one of the earliest Country artists to take their music globally. In addition to his North American success, The Gentle Giant toured extensively throughout Europe and Africa and his legendary songs reached all corners of the globe and continue to capture the hearts of fans worldwide. His catalog is among the most streamed music from his era.

About Don Williams:
Williams first came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the folk group The Pozo-Seco Singers. The trio recorded several hit records, with the biggest being “Time.” By 1971, Williams had gone solo, and had signed a publishing deal with Jack Clement. The Hall of Fame producer was so taken with Don’s style that he offered him a recording contract with his JMI Records in 1972. Early hits included “Atta Way To Go” and “Come Early Morning,” as well as “We Should Be Together,” which became his first Billboard top ten hit from 1974. He then moved to ABC / Dot (Later MCA), where the hits increased. Tracks such as “Rake and Ramblin’ Man,” “Tulsa Time,” and “Nobody But You” helped to make him one of the most-played artists on Country Radio in the 1970s and 1980s. He took home the Male Vocalist of the Year trophy from the Country Music Association in 1978, and notched his biggest hit in 1981 with “I Believe In You,” which also crossed over to the top-30 on the Hot 100.

Subsequent moves to Capitol Nashville and RCA kept Williams o n the charts into the 1990s, as he continued to play for huge crowds on the road. His success in the United States is well. Tickets for these shows are on sale via Ticketmaster and are also currently available with Nashville Symphony season ticket packages at NashvilleSymphony.org, 615-687-6400 or the Schermerhorn Symphony Center box office.

Don Williams: Music & Memories Of The Gentle Giant

Jack Blanchard’s Column: We Named Him Donn

Jack Blanchard’s Column: We Named Him Donn

We named him Donn, but called him Donny when he was little.
He was a beautiful kid. His mother, my ex-wife, raised him,
except for a couple of years,
so when we finally met, as people, he was all grown up.
We tried to figure each other out,
and worked at getting to know one another.

At first he had resentments toward me and tried to hide them,
but we both felt something needed to be resolved.
For some reason it was hard to talk directly at the REAL subject.
I knew that he had heard a lot of things about me from his mother…
not all good.
Some were probably true.

Then he went away for a few more years before we tried again.
The next time was better.
We both had had time to think things over.

People told us we walked and laughed exactly alike.
We understood each other’s humor.
We were sitting with our wives in a barbecue restaurant
on one of his visits.
We both reached for the check, and I said,
“I’ve never done a damn thing for you,
so I’m going to do this one thing, and then THAT’S IT!”
He said this: “Aw, gee, pops. I wanted to go to college.”
We all broke up laughing.
That was the last time Misty and I saw him alive…
at least I think so.
That whole period is sort of mixed up in my mind.

He was riding his motorcycle in traffic
when the car in front of him hit the brakes.
Donn’s bike hit the car and threw him.

We rushed from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale to the hospital,
and he looked perfectly healthy,
except he was brain dead.
I talked to him anyway.

After that it’s all a blur.
Somebody pulled the plug and Donn died,
There was a little funeral in northern Tennessee.

I keep thinking of things I should have said and done differently.
I guess that’s natural.

Maybe someday we’ll get another chance to hash it all out.

Jack Blanchard

Jack & Donn.

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan —

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan... 
Home Page: http://www.jackandmisty.net
Awards: Grammy, Billboard, CMA, BMI, ASCAP.

Mastering & restoration studio: 352-530-2068.
Email: jackandmisty@gmail.com.

© Jack Blanchard, 2019.

Dolly Parton: 50 Years At The Grand Ole Opry’ Special

NBC Announces Dolly’s 50 Years Grand Ole Opry TV Special

If You Just Can’t Make It To The Opry NBC Has You Covered!

The 50th anniversary celebration of Dolly Parton’s Opry induction will soon be available to watch from a living room near you. Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Grand Ole Opry, a special airing on NBC, will highlight the country icon’s return to the Opry stage for her milestone anniversary. “I’m so thrilled to be celebrating my 50-year anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry,” Parton said in a press release. “I’m also excited that NBC wanted to share in this milestone with me. Together we hope to entertain a broader audience on what the Grand Ole Opry is and what it means to me. We have some special treats, surprises and great performances by some very talented artists and I’m looking so forward to sharing it with you.”

“Dolly Parton’s impact on country music is beyond description, and she remains a cherished icon,” added Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs, NBC Entertainment. “Dolly will always have a home at NBC and we can’t wait for her to deliver her wonderful collection of hits to the Opry stage.”  In addition to celebrating her 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry member, the special will feature new interviews from Parton, as well as a new performance. In addition, Dierks Bentley, Emmylou Harris, Chris Janson, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Margo Price, Hank Williams Jr. and others will take part in celebrating the legend. Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Grand Ole Opry airs Tuesday, Nov. 26 from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Scotty McCreery To Play Historic Ryman Auditorium

Scotty McCreery To Play Historic Ryman Auditorium

McCreery will play Iconic Ryman Auditorium for first time in six years March 11, 2020

Fresh off the success of his hits “This Is It” and “Five More Minutes,” country crooner Scotty McCreery will play the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 11. Joining him as special guests are country singer-songwriter Heather Morgan and up-and-comer Adam Doleac. This will be McCreery’s first time playing the historic venue in six years. “When you play in Nashville, you’ve got to be on you’re A-game, and when you play the Ryman Auditorium, you have to give it everything you’ve got,” the singer shared. “I cannot wait to be back on that stage where my heroes have performed.”

McCreery took to Instagram to announce the show in a video. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now,” he said. “We’re going to have a fun night.” McCreery will head overseas later in October to play shows in London and Manchester, England, as well as Berlin and Cologne, Germany, selling out both of his London shows. In November, the country star will join Old Dominion on their fall tour, and he will host the 2019 iHeart Country “One Night for Our Military” Veteran’s Day radio special, performing alongside the likes of Jason Aldean and Kelsea Ballerini.

Blake Teams with Hallmark for Christmas Movie Sequel

Blake Shelton Teams With Hallmark For Christmas Movie Sequel

‘Time for You to Come Home for Christmas’ premieres December 6.

Blake Shelton is teaming up with the Hallmark Channel again this holiday season, announcing a made-for-TV movie titled Time for You to Come Home for Christmas. Shelton is not expected to act in the film but is signed on to produce the project, which is sequel to his 2018 movie Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas. Both films are based on the song “Time for Me to Come Home,” which appears on Shelton’s 2012 album, Cheers, It’s Christmas. The hit country hit maker wrote the song with his mother, Dorothy Shackleford, and along with the Christmas movies it has also led to a book titled Time for Me to Come Home in 2013.

According to reporting by Entertainment TonightTime for You to Come Home for Christmas will star Lucas Bryant (Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD) and Alison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives), who will play a military veteran and young widow heading back to their Virginia hometown for Christmas. Over the course of the holiday and despite mysterious factors which seem likely to keep them apart, a wholesome love story will begin to snowball.

Time for You to Come Home for Christmas is part of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ “Miracles of Christmas,” and will premiere December 6 at 9 p.m. ET.

“Donny Richmond” Inducted Into IDSS Hall of Fame

Singer, Composer, Actor & TV Personality

‘Donny Richmond’ Now Officially a Member of IDSSA

Donny Richmond has been inducted into the Independent Superstars “Recording Artists” Hall of Fame. Frans Maritz (Wildhorse Entertainment) signed the official certificate placing Donny into this prestigious organization located in South Africa. Donny has the distinct honor of being inducted into the IDSS Hall of Fame for his life-time contribution to the Independent Music Industry as a Recording Artist. Donny is seen holding his award below in the animated Hall Of Fame, confirming his induction into the HALL OF FAME. “ Thanks again, Pardner. I’m very honored and excited at this, being in the Hall Of Fame is just so great”- Donny Richmond 


Biography of Donny Richmond

Donny Richmond is a multi-talented, multi-award winning entertainer. The singer, composer, actor, and TV personality has achieved success in various music genres including country, gospel, and pop. Numerous awards and accolades bestowed to Donny include Artist Of The Decade, Entertainer Of The Decade, The Living Legend Award, and nominations for Best Lead Actor in a Feature Film. With his induction into the Airplay Express Recording Artist Hall Of Fame, Donny is now an inductee of 4 different music Halls Of Fame.

Early in his career, while living in England, Richmond was signed to a worldwide contract with London based EMI Records, before experiencing a spiritual renewal, which led him to approach his music differently. Returning to the States, he was, during the late 1990’s, at the forefront of what became the “Christian Country Music” movement.

Today, Donny Richmond is recognized as an innovator, leader, and consummate entertainer. In fact, entertaining has been a way of life for Donny since he was a child. His winning smile, pleasing personality and healthy appearance helped Donny win a contest to pose for a milk advertisement when he was a baby. Donny was just four years old when he began singing for the neighbors around the kids’ swings in the backyard. In the second grade, if it rained and the class couldn’t go outdoors for recess, the teacher would call on Donny to sing.

Richmond grew up in the suburbs of Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. In Junior and Senior High School, he became interested in writing songs and wearing “dude” clothes; and would entertain his classmates. Donny sang at his own Senior Prom, wearing an outlandish gold outfit, including gold sparkle shoes. After high school and while appearing with bands at night, Donny attended college by day, studying music and acting.

In 1992, while visiting Nashville, Richmond was invited to appear on a special recording project with Stonewall Jackson, featuring many of the all-time top country music artists. Donny found himself in the recording studio alongside Garth Brooks and others. The resulting Album is entitled “Stonewall Jackson & Super Friends”. Other artists featured include Vince Gill, Alison Kraus, Tim McGraw, Charlie Daniels – a host of the country music superstars and “legends”.

Richmond moved to Nashville in 1993, and since that time has gone on to make history by charting both on mainstream Country Music Charts and Christian/Country Gospel Charts simultaneously. In the U.S. during the 1990’s, Richmond was at the forefront of the “Christian Country Music” movement. Donny was arguably the emerging genre’s most publicized artist, and was its first recording artist to be selected to appear on the mainstream Country Music CDX Compilation disc, distributed to thousands of radio stations across America, and internationally. Also appearing on the disc were Garth Brooks, George Jones, Wynonna Judd, and Kenny Chesney.

While having many National U.S. #1 Country Gospel songs and winning a host of Music Association Awards, Richmond has also clocked up an extremely impressive list of television appearances, including his own “The Don Richmond Show,” which had its beginnings in September 1997 for the Christian Television Network in Nashville, Tennessee, and has been viewed by millions since.

In 2001, Donny Richmond’s Christmas video, “Heartbreak Holiday,” was a smashing hit on American National Country Music Television Networks, including Great 

American Country (GAC) and VH-1. It has continued to receive airplay each Christmas season, and is now regarded by many as a classic. “Heartbreak Holiday” also led to the Christmas 2005 short feature film of the same name and starring Richmond, which drew rave reviews on American television. Donny has also been featured on TV networks circling the globe.

The wonderful response from European television audiences inspired Donny to release more material and to tour there.

Many notable successes are included in Richmond’s string of hits. Donny’s “Ask The Man Upstairs”(co-written by himself and David Walker) was #1 throughout Europe in 2007 on both the Christian and the Country charts. “That’s What Christmas Means” recorded by Donny with an all-star cast of musicians including Hall Of Famers Charlie McCoy(harmonica,vibes), Boots Randolph(sax), and James Burton(guitar), was #1 on Europe’s Christmas Charts, 2009. This song was co-written by Donny, David Walker and Randy Smith.

In 2011, Richmond’s recording of “Gospel Jukebox”(written by Walter Cunningham) became the longest running #1 song in the history of the European Christian charts, breaking the previous record set by Vince Gill. 2012 saw Donny’s “I Believe” become the longest running Top 20 song of the year.

Donny’s 2015 international Chart Hit; “The World Keeps Loving Elvis” was recorded with the largest collection ever of Elvis Presley’s former musicians to back up any singer other than Elvis himself. Other unique details about the song are detailed on YouTube. 2016/2017, Donny’s duet recording with country music legend Stonewall Jackson of “JESUS IS MY LIFELINE” once again became an international #1 Chart Hit, now having reached #1 in 3 different decades. In 2019, Donny’s “There Is An Answer” broke the all time record for longevity at #1 on the international Airplay Express Charts. Donny’s recordings have reached #1 in more than a dozen countries.

Donny has appeared in a national or international chart every month for the last 5 years. World famous backup singers, The Jordanaires, are also to thank for Donny’s success, as they have appeared on many of Donny’s hit recordings.



Shelton & Pitbull Ready For ‘Get Ready’ Dance Anthem

Shelton & Pitbull Team Up For ‘Get Ready’ Dance Anthem

Check out this unusual all-star collaboration

Worlds collide on a new track from Latin American hip hop star Pitbull, who’s featuring Blake Shelton on a mind-bending dance number titled “Get Ready.” Crossing the frenetic, relentless energy of wedding-reception staples like “Cotton Eyed Joe” with Ram Jam’s classic garage-rock anthem, “Black Betty,” the track is part of Pitbull’s just released album Libertad 458 — dedicated to his father and the 458 people he helped escape from Cuba as part of the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.

Shelton appears to deliver the track’s “Whoa, get Ready (Bam-ba-lam),” chorus hook, while Pitbull raps lyrics about letting loose and living it up. The unlikely pair have a bit of history together, with Shelton jokingly “blaming” the dance hit maker for a fall on stage in Oregon in 2018. And way back in 2015, the country favorite told Ryan Seacrest he turned down a Pitbull collab over concerns about how it would play with his fans. Shelton’s current single, “Hell Right,” is out now, and so is Pitbull’s Libertad 458.

Another Successful Josie Music Awards Show

Another Successful Josie Music Awards Show 2019

The Josie Music Awards Gives The Independent Music Industry A Magical Spectacular

The 5th Annual Josie Music Awards was held in the Celebrity Theater inside The Dollywood Theme Park on Saturday, September 21, 2019. According to press reports the show was sold out. Artists came from far and wide in the hope of receiving one of the Josie Music Awards. Some artists were over the moon and some just had a great time but it seems from the social media clips and comments that the event was enjoyed by all who attended. AirplayExpress would like to congratulate all the winners and especially the nominees who did not make it and the many, many worthy artists who were not nominated for reasons not known to them, we wish them better luck next year. As with all award shows only the few took home the awards, which should be an incentive for those who did not, to do better the following year. After the awards there unfortunately would be some who would give up on their dreams. Others would lose their expectations of winning and then there would be those who would strive to do better next time.

Well no matter what your opinion of the Josie Awards are at the end of the day, this award show is necessary for the  Independent Artists who struggle to make a name for themselves in a business which the major artists and recording companies dominate.

In closing it was a job well done and we hope next years awards show will be bigger and better.

– WHISNews21

Miranda Lambert ‘Fooled Around And Fell In Love’

Miranda Lambert & Friends Cover ‘Fooled Around & Fell In Love’

“The girls on the Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour can sing their asses off”

Miranda Lambert is marking the start of her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour with a special new throwback collaboration, covering the smooth-rocking “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” with her supporting acts. Featuring Maren Morris, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, and Caylee Hammack, the the feel-good hit gets a lush vocal update — complete with the uplifting feel of a newfound romance which made the original so satisfying. Written by Elvin Bishop (and sung by Mickey Thomas), “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” was released as a single in 1976, and Lambert and company re-record the track live with an in-studio video capturing their easy-going process. Her all-female cast will hit the road starting tonight (September 13) in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“The girls on the Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour can sing their asses off,” Lambert explains. “There’s something crazy about seeing these artists with a new fire in their eyes. It reignites your own flame. I’m so excited to watch them every night on tour.”

The Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour features 26 dates and runs through November 23 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Morris, King, McBryde, Townes and Hammack will all be features as opening acts on select dates. Meanwhile, Lambert’s upcoming album Wildcard is due November 1, featuring the new single “It All Comes Out in the Wash.”

Nashville Neighborhood Watch: Time To Visit Melrose

Nashville Neighborhood Watch: Time To Visit Melrose

A decade ago, visitors to Nashville rarely paid any attention to the Melrose neighborhood of 8th Ave South/Franklin Pike between Wedgewood and where the I-440/65 interchange soars over the edge of the neighborhood. This was more of a “blink-and-you’ll-miss it” stretch of road which didn’t really offer many opportunities for drinking and dining. Nowadays, both tourists and locals have discovered what a vibrant neighborhood Melrose has turned into, and easy access to downtown via 8th means it’s a short rideshare or scooter ride from the neon highway of Lower Broad.

Sinema Restaurant + Bar Green Room; Photo credit: Anthony Matula
Sinema Restaurant + Bar Green Room; Photo credit: Anthony Matula

The area used to be popular as the home to an opulent old movie house and a fun bowling alley, but those went dormant years ago, and the strip that housed them lay basically empty until finally being developed as a new retail and residential complex. Five years ago, Sinema opened in the former theater space and was a major part of revitalizing Melrose. Paying homage to the old cinema, Sinema exudes an elegant vintage Hollywood cool vibe, with classic movies playing on large screens, a sexy upstairs lounge featuring crafty cocktails named after movie titles and one of the city’s deepest whiskey collections. The glamorous ladies bathroom has become one of the most popular selfie spots in town, spurring the hashtag #sinemaselfie. Chef Kyle Patterson has created a menu of elevated classic American cuisine, and the weekend brunch at Sinema is an excellent opportunity to try out his food.

The Sutler Saloon; Photo credit: Anthony Matula
The Sutler Saloon; Photo credit: Anthony Matula

At the other end of the complex is another reimagined locale, The Sutler Saloon which was for years a legendary music venue, casual restaurant and dive bar. New ownership managed to keep the old school vibe of the joint, but with a complete transformation of menu and decor. The kitchen still pumps out Southern food classics, but executed in a much more upscale fashion using premium ingredients. A lunch of their brisket-topped mac n’ cheese may require an afternoon nap, so consider yourself forewarned. The small stage at the back of the dining room still hosts musical performances with an emphasis on Americana, country and bluegrass, and their beloved bluegrass brunch on the weekends features bottomless mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar, hot biscuits, brisket hash, sweet potato pancakes and more.

Rambler Cocktail Bar; Photo credit: Alex Bodenheimer
Rambler Cocktail Bar; Photo credit: Alex Bodenheimer

Downstairs at The Sutler is a dramatic little hidden speakeasy called Rambler Cocktail Bar. This sultry upscale cocktail lounge offers a cozy getaway from the hustle and bustle of Nashvegas with a menu of classic cocktails and specialty drinks, a well-curated list of craft beers from around the world and a tight offering of fancy bar snacks. Rambler also hosts a fantastic happy hour Wednesday through Friday from 5:00 until 7:00.

Melrose Billiard Parlor; Photo credit: Alex Bodenheimer
Melrose Billiard Parlor; Photo credit: Alex Bodenheimer

For a more old-school bar experience, sneak through the back door of Rambler into its neighboring establishment Melrose Billiard Parlor. This subterranean refuge has been a place for neighborhood residents to disappear for a few hours of shooting pool and whiskey, table tennis, darts and cheap beers. First opened in 1944, Melrose Billiards survived the years when the strip mall above them was practically razed to the ground during renovations, still welcoming friends down the steep staircase from the sidewalk into an appropriately dark and dank pool hall. When the owners of the Sutler took over the property, they knew they didn’t want to mess too much with success. Instead, they gave the joint a fresh coat of paint and banned smoking inside until after 10:00 pm so that non-smokers could join in the fun. They also updated the menu to include decadent delights like a cheesy Frito pie, deep-fried Spam bites and one of the best double cheeseburgers in town.

Between Sinema and The Sutler complex is Fenwick’s 300, a quaint restaurant from the team behind Bongo Java that describes itself as “breakfast, lunch and diner.” Indeed, Fenwick’s does close after lunch at 2:00, but during the hours it is open every day, they serve up a classic diner menu of egg dishes, sandwiches and salads. The staff is dedicated to the sort of friendly customer service that you’d expect from your neighborhood hang, and the retro decor even includes a long bar made from the wood from one of the original Melrose bowling alley lanes.

M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers; Photo credit: Southern Fatty Photography
M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers; Photo credit: Southern Fatty Photography

When M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers first opened across the street from Melrose Billiards, it was called “Melrose Pub,” leading to a lot of confusion. Neighborhood residents differentiated between them by saying they were going to “Old Melrose” or “New Melrose.” Now that the burger bar has tweaked the name and both are under the same ownership, there’s little need for confusion, and both are worth checking out. M.L.Rose was early in the craft beer game, offering many Nashvillians their first taste of beer more interesting than the typical light lagers on tap at other beer bars. The vibe is still dark and cozy at M.L.Rose; they just have much better beer and burgers than at your typical dive bar. Their Nash Vegas Burger features a sweet potato bun, pimento cheese, crispy tobacco onions and BBQ sauce, making it a perfect pairing with a cold craft draft on their shaded back patio on a summer afternoon.

Holler & Dash; Photo Courtesy of Holler & Dash
Holler & Dash; Photo Courtesy of Holler & Dash

Holler & Dash is one of the better fast casual options in Melrose, concentrating on Southern hospitality and Southern fare, usually served atop a flaky biscuit as part of a breakfast sandwich. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, Holler & Dash’s menu also extends past just biscuit sandwiches to more traditional sandwiches, salads and bowls. They partner with local vendors whenever possible to supply their ingredients, and local honey and jam are important parts of their delicious desserts. Don’t fill up on just biscuits!

Mangia Nashville started out as a pop-up restaurant at a cafe in Franklin before moving into town off 8th Avenue at Craighead. Chef Nick Pellegrino is perhaps best known for his entertaining appearances doing cooking demos on local midday television shows and for his position as ringleader of the culinary circus that is his weekend Italian feasts at Mangia. Guests dine on family-style servings of classic Italian cuisine while listening to festive music and watching The Godfather.. projected on television screens ringing the dining room. Pellegrino keeps the party pumping, and oh yes, there will be dancing between courses! During the rest of the week, the vibe is slightly more sedate, but the menu of pizzas, pastas, snacks and sweets served during their casual dinner seatings Mon-Thu is worth a visit.

Hattie B's; Photo Courtesy of Joseph Woodley
Hattie B’s; Photo Courtesy of Joseph Woodley

Hattie B’s had already earned a reputation for taking Nashville Hot Chicken into the 21st century with their streamlined approach to volume service, even in the face of huge lines stretching perpetually out the door at their original location in Midtown. Although their chicken doesn’t emerge one piece at a time from an ancient skillet like at some of the OG hot chicken joints, it is still admirably juicy and layered deeply with flavor and spice. With heat levels ranging from their mild Southern to the infernal Shut the Cluck Up, there is something for everyone at Hattie B’s. Proceed with caution! Be sure to order some of their bangin’ Southern sides like greens or pimento mac n’ cheese to help ease the burn.

Across the street from Hattie B’s is Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish, one of the old school purveyors of fiery fowl for decades. Bolton’s chicken depends on a dry spice rub for much of its heat, so it’s a different experience than at other hot chicken spots, but no less enjoyable… Or painful. In addition to side dishes that rival the best at any meat-and-three in town, Bolton’s still serves that other more exotic spicy Nashville specialty, the hot fish sandwich. Huge slabs of catfish, whiting, grouper or tilapia are perfectly fried golden brown and then sprinkled with peppery spice. The filets are served on top of spongy white bread with yellow mustard, pickles and raw onions. It’s a church supper classic that absolutely must be experienced to be appreciated, and it’s also a nice change of pace from all the hot chicken in this town.

The Smiling Elephant is a tiny spot with a minuscule parking lot to match. Get there early if you want to eat quickly, because there are only a few woks in the small kitchen to pump out all that amazing Thai food. If a big table gets their order in before you, you’ll just have to wait your turn. But it’s totally worth it for the amazing depths of their flavors and the spice levels that can be pushed to insane heats if you’re willing and able. Smiling Elephant’s Tom Kha coconut soup is a fantastic way to start your journey, and their Pad Thai is among the best in town. Don’t be afraid to venture past that most popular Thai dish or you’ll miss out on some other winners like their Pad Kra Pao or Pad Kee Mao.

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The draft board….

A post shared by Craft Brewed (@craftbrewed) on

Craft Brewed has evolved into a sort of a clubhouse for craft beer lovers thanks to their multiple taps pouring local, regional and national brews by the pint or for you to take home in a growler. They have diversified over the years, adding a retail store stocked with rare beers and exotic wines and spirits. They also offer a short menu of snacks to accompany your session of drinking session beers, or you’re welcome to bring your own food in.

8th & Roast; Photo Credit: Nathan Knox
8th & Roast; Photo Credit: Nathan Knox

For caffeination in the neighborhood, look no further than 8th and Roast. They source their beans from a global network of fair-trade suppliers and then roast them in house, ensuring the freshest possible coffee. They even host a podcast where their roasters and baristas can get all nerdy about coffee and trends while they entertain and enlighten listeners at the same time. In addition to fantastic specialty coffee drinks prepared with care by expert baristas, 8th & Roast also serves breakfast and lunch menus that rise well above what you’d expect from a coffeehouse. The menu changes seasonally, and everything is made from scratch, so don’t be afraid if your favorite dish rolls off. It’ll be back and most probably be replaced by a new favorite in the meantime.

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