The deeper I have gotten into the Americana Music scene, I have come to realize that my favorite performing artists all hail from the same neighborhood. East Nashville houses some incredibly talented residents that have forged this tremendous support structure that allows each of them to put their egos aside to help their fellow musician friends. Its a place where when you are hanging out at one of the many neighborhood watering holes, you will feel like Norm from Cheers. Heck, after only one week, I felt like everyone in East Nashville knew my name. It is seriously that welcoming.
The cool neighborhood is home to several great music venues, fine eateries, and hip hang out spots. Upon arriving in my Uber for the first time, I headed straight to Five Points Pizza, smack dab in the heart of East Nashville's music & food scene. I chose Five Points Pizza for a few reasons: 1 Everyone told me I have to check this place out, and the pizza is killer, & 2 they are located
steps away from 2 great East Nashville music venues, and stay open late for post show munchies. Sounded like a win-win scenario if you ask me. What I learned about Five Points Pizza is simple, get there for the happy $5 slice with an iced cold New Belgium brew. Also, sit at the bar and hang out with other East Nashville resident's. You will hear some amazing stories of how everyone loves one another, and that the neighborhood revolves around these amazing artists that often come in before and after gigs to get their fix of some mighty fine pizza. I ended up at this great spot on multiple occassion's throughout my trip. And yes, in a trip that I discovered some great restaurants & delicious food all over the city of Nashville, Five Points was easily my favorite, and it was due to the vibe. Quite simply, Five Points Pizza is East Nashville. Its not pretentious, people are humble, talent runs deep, people take care of one another, and they always have their friends backs. Each time I hung out there, I was made to feel like a local from the cool gal behind the bar, Miss Carter. Carter is a breath of fresh air, so swing by and say hello for me if your ever in the neighborhood.
If its music you crave, and a love for small intimate, divey music venues with character, head to either The Basement East or to The 5 Spot. My first night in East Nashville, I headed to The 5 Spot to listen to my longtime Kent State friend, East Nashville's own Patrick Sweany participate in a Neil Young tribute night. The bill included big names like Patrick, Jon Latham, & Lilly Hiatt, but was pleasantly surprised around 11pm when Margo Price walked in with her band and Lukas Nelson. Yes, Lukas Nelson was at the bar, ready to jam with everyone else on the small dancefloor. After enjoying a few songs, Margo & Lukas jumped on stage and lead an all star jam packed full of East Nashville's finest.
The video I shot for East Nashville is my 12 minute tribute of "What makes East Nashville so special?". I asked several willing residents and musicians alike that one question, for the best 12 minutes I have ever put on my YouTube channel. I came away with a simple answer as to what makes it so special. Its all about community. Friends lifting friends and pushing each other to be great. Its about loving your neighbors. Its about welcoming all walks of life and backgrounds. The video's highlight is a live performance from the beast of East Nashville, Aaron Lee Tasjan. Easily one of the best live performers in this great big world, yet all he ever talks about musically are the things his friends like Brian Wright & Jon Latham are doing. Aaron is that example of "What makes East Nashville so special?".