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Berry Hill - A Pure Personification of Nashville's Remaining Music Industry

by Rich and Laura Lynch

What happened to Music Row? Longtime Nashville residents have mourned the loss of many historic buildings and structures - including several signature period style houses that were once the centerpiece of this famed strip of creativity in Music City - that were not destined to last beyond an unprecedented period of booming growth and rising real estate prices.

You can still find a Music City thrill in Berry Hill.

One only needs to look at the recently opened Virgin Hotel prominently erected at the Row's gateway to know that the region's innocence is surely lost. The strip centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South (called Music Square East and Music Square West, respectively, within the Music Row area), along with several side streets, was once widely considered the heart of Nashville's entertainment industry. Now, visitors to Music City will have to look elsewhere for a more pure personification of music in the city. They may just find that thrill in Berry Hill.

Berry Hill is a trendy town on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. In recent years it has become a music service hub where artists can find lawyers, photographers, producers and more. Even the famous garment designer Manuel Cuevas has opened up a boutique in the community. The House of Blues (now part of Universal Music) also has locations in the neighborhood. Among the albums recorded in their studios are Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour, Kesha's Rainbow, Robert Plant's Band of Joy, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell's The Traveling Kind and numerous others.

Icons of the 50's and 60's represented in Berry Hill.

In addition to music the House of Blues (formally known as East Iris Studios) supports public art. Back in 2016, they commissioned Nashville artist Scott Guion to paint a series of portraits on the fences that surround Columbine Park. One would imagine that it would be difficult to work with that medium yet Scott has painted life-like images of musicians from various genres in front of bold backdrops. These wondrous works are referred to as the "Wall Of Fame". In addition to the fences some of the buildings in the area are decorated in colorful diverse designs that complement the murals.

As you follow the loop one of the first visuals you will spot are early images of George Jones and Bill Monroe - both country music icons. Most of the artists featured are ones who got their start back in the 1960's and 1970's. Guion has opted to depict these famous people at different stages of their careers. Nina Simone is shown as a relatively young woman whereas Emmylou Harris's picture is from more recent years. Next to Ms. Harris is an older version of Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead juxtaposed by youthful portrayals of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones whose band has been in the business for over five decades.

Icons of the 70's and 80's represented in Berry Hill.

Scott's selections are eclectic ranging from Bob Marley to Waylon Jennings with Minnie Pearl and Amy Winehouse mixed in. Fats Domino, James Brown and Janis Joplin are among those memorialized. A number of Nashville's favorite sons - Jim Lauderdale and Marty Stuart are also featured as is Elvis along with Johnny Cash. Members of Outkast and Tanya Tucker add to the variety of the "Wall Of Fame" thus making a trip to this town well worth the effort.

Located at 518 East Iris Drive (Berry Hill) the murals face south towards the park and can be seen by turning onto Bransford Avenue a one way road with some parking spots so that fans can get out of their cars to enjoy the art but be aware that there are no sidewalks. After viewing the fences folks can check out the nearby cafés and stores that add to the hip vibe of this creative community.

Country Music icons represented in Berry Hill.

Related Links: For more information on BERRY HILL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Berry Hill | House of Blues Studios


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