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Nashville Stereotypes

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Today, I rented a car to a family from Downstate New York. They were chcking out Vanderbilt University for their son. I picked them up from the Milennium Maxwell House Hotel. They were amazed that I had classical music playing on the car stereo rather than country music.

Why is it appropriate to have stereotypes about one thing, but not another?

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Why is it appropriate to have stereotypes about one thing, but not another?

Hey, imagine what the reaction would've been if you were Black and playing polka music. :blink:

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Is it really so bad that people associate Nashville with Country Music? While we can know we are much more than that, there are worse assumptions people could make.

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Were Music City man what do you expect? People always get a vision of a place in their mind before they ever see it. The vision they get of Nashville happens to be country music and a bunch of people that enjoy country music. Country music put us on the map. So when someone stereotypes you just let them know that we apperciate country music(id hope most do) and go on to tell them that as a city we are much more than that. We are as diverse as it gets, but most people would have to some see that for them selves. If they decide not to then they are the ones who missed out on our beautiful city.

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LOL I was visiting in Upstate New York and everyone thinks Elvis was from Nashville, hehehe.

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I have a quick anticdote to add to this. True story! A friend from Michigan visited me a few years ago. It was her first time in the south. Upon giving her a tour of the house she noticed the ironing board. She asked "where is the spitoon?" I of course asked what she meant and her reply was; "I heard every southerner chews tobacco while doing their laundry." :rofl: This is a true, yet absurd example of how stereotypes can be taken out of hand.

I hope someone enjoyed that as much as i did!

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If they think of country music when they think of Nashville, then our branding is working. Even though I am not a big fan of country music, I'm glad that Nashville has managed to use it, and other music, to create a unique brand image. Country music is part of what allows us to make our own, funky, different way in the world from all of those other 500K+ urban centers. UP forum needs a smiley with boots, a cowboy hat, and a guitar. :thumbsup:

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I would like to make mention that, at one time, Nashville was the place to go if one wanted their music recorded. Period. Before Detroit, New York, or L.A., Nashville was Music City. I believe the term "Music City, U.S.A" was coined sometime in the 50s or 60s.

It just so happens that as certain types of music (rock n roll in particular) branched out from the Southern black community and were accepted by the greater [white] population other cities (with larger populations/resources) surpassed Nashville in the popular music recording industry.

Country music remained here because of geographic location and cultural tradition; therefore, by default, it became our most outspoken musical export. (Sure, country music is just as popular out West, but that opens another can of worms.)

All stereotypes have some root in truth (or some facsimile thereof); nonetheless, they are propagated by overt bigotry or general ignorance.

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If they think of country music when they think of Nashville, then our branding is working. Even though I am not a big fan of country music, I'm glad that Nashville has managed to use it, and other music, to create a unique brand image. Country music is part of what allows us to make our own, funky, different way in the world from all of those other 500K+ urban centers. UP forum needs a smiley with boots, a cowboy hat, and a guitar. :thumbsup:

Well put Cliff. From a business standpoint, if people aren't asking about "Nashville" and "Country Music" in the same sentence, somebody has failed at doing their job. While I am not a big fan of the genre, I am proud to have it here and hope the best for it. The most fun is telling these people that country isn't what it used to be here and then proceeding to tell them about the "indi" scene and the undergorund scene that resides here. They are literally floored about the revelations you tell them. We aren't called "MUSIC CITY USA!" for nothing you know.

But seriously, if you thnk Americans are bad about stereotypes, go to Canada one time and tell them where you are from. You will seriously laugh your arse off! LOL!!!

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I personally don't have against country music. Its just that people that stereotype Nashville are people who has never been here, or there responding to what they see on TV. CMT, Wildhorse, Grand Old Opry, Fain Fair, ......etc......etc....etc. :wacko: must I continue. Most people that see that over and over agian think that's the lifestyle of the city. Oh yea, and all of the gift shop retail downtown that caters to the industry and tourist. But that's the old Nashville :whistling: I think people are starting to look at the city in a different light now. :D

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I lived in Germany for half of last year, and whenever I mentioned Nashville, the locals I met would immediately know it as Music City. Their perception wasn't the Robert Altman image, but more of a "Dallas" (the TV show) meets Hollywood (as opposed to the rhinestone trash). In fact, a lot of non-country bands in Germany and Poland (the other place where I worked) dream of someday going to Nashville and trying to "make it." I must admit that I was surprised by this discovery.

Also, I've noticed a good deal of European tourists at the usual spots in Nashville (on the rare occasions that I've been). Finally, I was amused to see a poster promoting Nashville as a destination at the Frankfurt Airport at the American Airlines terminal... right up there with New York, San Fran, Miami, and Vegas.

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I'm one of the few that grew up here, and even fewer who did it in the 50s and 60s. I wasn't even aware of country music really until my first music industry job in 1979, then it began to grow on me. Now, I've nurtured a huge respect for the old music, and a love for the new. My radio buttons are set on 89.5, 90.3, 96.3, 97.1, 100.1 and 103.3 so I guess I'm all over the dial in what I like depending on the time of day. When I'm by myself in my truck, it's almost all country, in my car, almost anything but. It took a long time to get where I am musically, but I tell you what, living in the same city with so many people you're fans of, and listen to on the radio, see on tv, movies, etc. is pretty cool. It makes me a little sad that some people can't intentionally try to accept and appreciate our most famous musical export. It takes a bit of familiarity and acclimation, but it's well worth the effort. Besides most modern popular mainstream music gives me the willies.

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You're right Brain, glad you brought that up. It's pretty amazing. I was in Paris and a black girl in a record store was wearing a shirt with Nashville on the front. Communicating about it was impossible as she spoke French and I didn't, but I thought it was very cool.

Hee Haw's not dead yet in so many people's eyes, but hey, I love having other people's misconceptions to laugh about. Nothing wrong with that is there? We know we're cool.

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I personally don't have against country music. Its just that people that stereotype Nashville are people who has never been here, or there responding to what they see on TV. CMT, Wildhorse, Grand Old Opry, Fain Fair, ......etc......etc....etc. :wacko: must I continue. Most people that see that over and over agian think that's the lifestyle of the city. Oh yea, and all of the gift shop retail downtown that caters to the industry and tourist. But that's the old Nashville :whistling: I think people are starting to look at the city in a different light now. :D

I agree that some people are starting to look at Nashville in a new light. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Nashville has cleaned up so much in the last few years, and really does have more to offer the casual tourist who may not have a specific interest in country music. Downtown is a lot better place to hang out than it was a few years ago when the streets were lined with adult bookstores. I used to take the Greyhound down from Ohio to visit family in Tennessee in the '80s, and I was nervous if they weren't waiting for me at the station. Now, not only is downtown better, the areas on the perimeter of downtown are improving, too, and lots of people acress America are really starting to take notice. But whatever your musical inclination, just about everyone can appreciate the exciting fact that there are so many talented people around, and there may be a "legend" of the music biz, or someone who wrote your favorite song (of any genre), or a musician who played on your favorite track on your iPod, standing next to you at the stop light, and by and large they are regular folks. For example, I ran into Aaron Neville at the airport two weeks ago dragging his bags the same way that I was dragging mine - what a nice guy! Pretty much the only places that can compete with that are New York and LA, which are a lot less down-to-earth and approachable.

I do believe that Nashville needs to keep promoting its links to Country Music, which is also undergoing its own drive toward the mainstream these days, both in sound and image. Even better, keep showcasing how Country/Bluegrass/Rock/Soul/R&B/Gospel/Blues/Jazz are all inter-related and that you can find them all in Nashville, although you might need to look closely.

One thing that interests me is that in Chicago, while a lot of people do think of Nashville as "Music City USA," they do not immediately think of it by another nickname, "The Buckle of the Bible Belt." A lot of people also tend to forget about Vanderbuilt, and almost noone thinks about Nashville as a healthcare center.

As for Hee-Haw, personally, I wish that family entertainment, no matter how corny, would return to television. I watched that show as a child, and I am glad that it exposed me to many very talented entertainers like Buck Owens, whom I may have missed out on otherwise. The older I get, the more that I miss that show.

Even for the Country Music tourists, what I like best about those T-shirt shops downtown is that they are not some sanitized "Disneyesque" second-rate shopping mall, but are mostly contained in great old buildings that give you a true sense of place. As much as I want downtown to keep improving, I would hate for all of those stores to turn into yet another GAP or other generic national chain, and I would hate for all of the bars to turn into sushi joints or wine bars that only the wealthy can afford or appreciate. While Nashville should continue to add to its legacy, it would be a shame to throw away its legacy as a centrally-located, very friendly vacation destination for the working-class of Middle America.

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bwithers your post just reminds me how much I love this city and how far its came in just the past few years.

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You're right Brain, glad you brought that up. It's pretty amazing. I was in Paris and a black girl in a record store was wearing a shirt with Nashville on the front. Communicating about it was impossible as she spoke French and I didn't, but I thought it was very cool.

Hee Haw's not dead yet in so many people's eyes, but hey, I love having other people's misconceptions to laugh about. Nothing wrong with that is there? We know we're cool.

That doesn't suprise me. I've seen trendy decorative t's with "Nashville" written across in places like Urban Outfitters. It seems that many don't look down on Nashville as a big redneck town but increasingly more as another American entertainment destination with rich history. Of course, many still see the city as the former from my experiences as well. But those are mostly those that probably still snub their noses at those in the South outside of Atlanta and South Florida unaware of the amazing development and growth in other places. Perhaps Nashville owes this improved image to the crossover of more country artist to pop. Or maybe it's news of the city's great pro-business climate. Who knows? Who cares?!? It's great to see the city making even more of a name for itself.

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I get it all the time form the airline crews I bring in. They want to hear Country Music and I have a hard time finding a country station as I cant stand it. When I say I dont listen to county music they act as if I have committed the ultimate sin. "We thought everyone in Nashville listens to country music" is what I hear a lot of.

Many times they see some one walking down the street with a cowboy hat on and I explain to them its probably a tourist and they seem a little shocked and cant believe all the locals dont dress like that.

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Also, I've noticed a good deal of European tourists at the usual spots in Nashville (on the rare occasions that I've been). Finally, I was amused to see a poster promoting Nashville as a destination at the Frankfurt Airport at the American Airlines terminal... right up there with New York, San Fran, Miami, and Vegas.

Funny you should mention that. Once the summer heat goes away in early fall, and after most American tourists have returned home to put the kids back in school, you see the European tourists come in. Mostly German. You can tell, because the men are often wearing shorts that even Daisy Duke might consider indecent. Sorry for the imagery, but it is amusing.

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I like the fact that Nashville even has a name at all, isn't it the saying "Bad Publicity is better than no publicity at all"..? [i'm not very good with sayings] I would rather us be on the map for something..then work our way up.

Also, how bout the fact that Oprah Winfrey got a start in Nashville at WTVF!? I discovered this the other day at Wikipedia. I guess you always learn something about your home area everyday! :)

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If Nashville is known as "country music", who cares? I don't think anyone should be ashamed of southern heritage. The south is the most culturally rich region of the nation--producing much of the music--country, blues, jazz, rock n roll, etc., and one of the strongest regional cuisines.

The people who put down the south are generally parochial sorts who live on the coasts, and aren't aware of much that goes on outside their area. By that standard, they would be the ones I would call "hicks".

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If Nashville is known as "country music", who cares? I don't think anyone should be ashamed of southern heritage. The south is the most culturally rich region of the nation--producing much of the music--country, blues, jazz, rock n roll, etc., and one of the strongest regional cuisines.

I came to Nashville as an undergraduate music student in the mid 90s. Yeah, i was studying traditional western music (aka Classical), but I figured all Nashville had to offer was Country. One day, as I was sitting in a music theory class, a hispanic guy in sunglasses waltzes in. He was looking for "ringers" to be in his video that he was shooting in town. The guys was Carlos Santana. I was floored. The teacher said that happens all the time. From that point on, Nashville was Music City...no "country" qualifier needed.

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In regards to Nashville's image as Music City, I just read where Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) is movng to town. He's one of many current and former stars, from Kid Rock to Donna Summer, have and are currently relocating here simply because of the depth and scope of the music industry here.

And it is an industry. It's not just recording studios (which CNN once said Nashville has more of than any other City in the nation), it's publishing, distribution, publicity, manufacture, agents, advertising, performance, musical instruments and equipment and on and on. Music is to Nashville what cars are to Detroit.

PS: The industry attracts a number other visitors for various reasons. If you were out and about last week, you might have run in to Cameron Diaz or Nichole Kidman.

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I saw in the headlines of the Nashville Post web site that there was a blurb about the persistence of "Hee Haw" on the city's image. I'm not a subscriber, so I don't know what it referred to.

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I saw in the headlines of the Nashville Post web site that there was a blurb about the persistence of "Hee Haw" on the city's image. I'm not a subscriber, so I don't know what it referred to.

We just linked to a release about sales of Hee Haw DVDs:

"And finally... Nevermind that Nashville has been trying to live down its hayseed stereotype for four decades: Hee Haw has now sold more than a million DVDs, cementing for a new generation our reputation as a cornpone capital"

Copying the beginning of the release below.

Regards,

Tom Wood

NashvillePost.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HEE HAW DVDs TOP ONE MILLION IN SALES

Nashville, Tenn. -- April 18, 2006 -- One of the most popular and longest running variety shows in the history of television, Hee Haw, has surpassed the one million sales mark in total DVD sales. The classic television series featuring numerous stars including Roy Clark, Buck Owens and Minnie Pearl has proven as popular today as when it was the No. 1 syndicated program in America. Some things never go out of style, and if DVD sales are any indication, Hee Haw has secured its place in American culture. Time Life markets the DVDs at retail and via a direct-response television campaign.

Hee Haw, which ran on television from 1969-1992, "is a program people grew up with and one that influences popular culture 35 years later," said Time Life Executive Vice President Gary Newman." We are thrilled to reacquaint America with the whole Hee Haw gang, who are undeniable masters of modern comedy."

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