“If you’re passionate enough about what you do, if you’re good enough at what you do all your dreams can come true in this town,” says Eric Church in the opening scene of the award-winning For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville.
From the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the historical Grand Ole Opry to insights from Kings of Leon insights and Martina McBride, For the Love of Music tells the story of how Nashville became the music capital of the world, Music City.
“If you go back to where it all began,” muses Bill Anderson, “We owe a lot to an insurance company.”
The documentary explores the 1866-established Fisk School – which opened with the purpose of educating freed slaves – and the history of the Grand Ole Opry.
“There’s something about standing on that stage,” Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member Emmylou Harris reflects, “[it’s] one of the most beautiful sounding rooms… You know that it’s going to sound exactly like it did the night that Hank Williams first played there.”
Kris Kristofferson, Dan Auerbach, Peter Frampton and more of music’s biggest names reflect on Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash—and why they called Nashville home.
“Owen Bradley was a genius, he’s responsible for modern day country, he’s probably also responsible for rock and roll…in order to have a really successful scene you have to have visionaries,” says Auerbach.
“The first time I heard Kris Kristofferson do ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down,'” remembers Church. “There was something about it. No one’s going to accuse Kris of being the best singer ever,” he jokes. But Church instantly wanted to know who the songwriters were; he was intrigued by the “authenticity and the grit that I heard from the guys who penned that song.”
“That’s what put Nashville ahead of other places,” says Kristofferson, “it was heart and soul.”
It’s the heart and soul that attracts musicians to Nashville today more than ever; the city boasts one of the biggest booming creative scenes in the United States. And while the southern city is associated with country music, the bands that have found their stride there know no limits of genre.
“[Nashville] runs the gamut from the most devout gospel singer to the most hedonistic rock-and-roller,” says GRAMMY Award winner Tommy Sims.
“Nashville is way, way bigger than country music,” says Church, despite being at the top of the genre himself. “I think genres are dead. There’s good music and bad music. Nashville’s at the epicenter of that thinking.”
See below for a sneak peak of the next chapter in the award-winning documentary series, coming soon.