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Experience the Soul of Music City With the Old Town Trolley


Thanks to Old Town Trolley Tours for providing tickets for the Soul of Music tour. All thoughts are my own.

Did you know that Nashville is named the Music City, and it's not because of Country Music? In the 1920's, the famous Fisk Jubilee Singers visited England and graced the presence of Queen Victoria with their beautiful music. After hearing their gospel renditions that we know as Negro Spirituals, Queen Victoria claimed that they have such beautiful voices that they must come from a city of music! 

Fisk University, a historically black liberal arts school, founded in 1866 is home to the Fisk Jubilee singers. These singers had(ve) beautiful voices that have traveled across the world. The original Jubilee singers broke racial barriers in the 1800s and early 1900s as they traveled across the world telling their story. 

After their visit to England, and Queen Victoria's exclamation, Nashville started to become known as the Music City. Of course, the Grand Ole Opry Radio Show, the Ryman Auditorium, and various other venues make this city into what we know it today.

I learned all of this and more on the Soul of Music City Tour that Old Town Trolley  offers on a regular basis. Our tour, held on a Wednesday evening, was packed full of an hour and half of music, and not just country! 

We visited the past to learn how some of the greats got started at local clubs in Nashville, how the racial tension caused the development of more music, and how outlaw Country grew its roots too. 

This is a family friendly tour as no alcohol is allowed on the bus, it's full of videos and music, and of course singing! There were two guides on our tour. One drove the bus and the other operated the music and video, telling us the tales that make Music City into the destination place that we know today. 

We started at Marathon Motor Works and headed out to see various venues across Nashville. A lot of the route was the same as the hop on/ off tour, but there were exciting stories, while the other tour focused more on attractions to visit and some of the history. 

We learned about Music Row a little bit more in depth. We learned about the honkey tonks and how the Ryman got its routes (something that wasn't really shared on the hop on/ off tour). We learned who played in smaller venues before they became the big names that they are today! We even learned recommendations on nightlife to visit, if that's up your alley. Our guides recommended visiting the smaller bars in midtown as they still have great music but aren't as packed as the lower broadway bars (such as Winner/ Losers). 

This is a nonstop tour, so be sure to pack your water and use the restroom beforehand. For us, the tour guides let us into the Marathon building (mostly closed at that point) and even gave us tips on parking. There's a smaller lot that is cheaper than the larger lot, and of course, street parking might be available too. 

We learned about The Exit, Music Row (did you know that Sony is the largest record producer, but that several smaller names got started along Music Row too), the National Museum of African American Music, and its influence on Nashville, and even the Municipal Auditorium & Musicians Hall of Fame + the famous Tootsie's. 

I think that this is an evening well spent, especially if you aren't into the local nightlife. Of course, if you are, there are plenty of places to visit post-tour, as this is held at 7 PM nightly right now! 

If you are thinking about experiencing the Soul of Music Tour, save money and purchase a bundle to combine your on/ off tour. It's highly worth the expense and I know that you will enjoy singing along to the greats, witnessing some videos that might bring tears into your eyes, and seeing Nashville at night without having to drive yourself!

Want to visit? 

Purchase your Soul of Music Tour tickets to see Nashville at night. 

Starting at Marathon Motor Works, with ample paid parking available, this tour can be found at 1200 Clinton Street, Nashville. 

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