Nashville’s Music Row has given rise to epic successes and shaped the future of one of music’s most popular and populist genres. In Music Row: Nashville’s Most Famous Neighborhood, NPT tells the story of how a group of unremarkable bungalows became the heart of the country music industry and helped Nashville become known around the world as Music City USA. The hour-long documentary is narrated by singer-songwriter Pam Tillis and premieres on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. on NPT.
In the years since the first studio was founded on Music Row, the neighborhood has seen highs and lows, but has always represented the joy and opportunity of music to millions of fans and artists worldwide. It is a physical place that also exists as a dream, an opportunity and a goal. Music Row houses an artistic community unlike any other in the world, a place where collaboration has led to great music and great profits. This unique neighborhood started as a collection of unassuming cottages and bungalows and is now lined by glass and steel structures. The area is in a constant state of change, but still holds on to the spirit that made it so influential on the world’s stage.
“We’d talked about doing this documentary for the last 10 years, but the impetus to do it now was partly because of how quickly Nashville is changing,” said NPT’s Justin Harvey, the documentary’s producer. “And certainly the fight to save RCA Studio A underscored the need to do it now. We wanted to preserve these spaces on film at least and, in fact, one building was lost while the documentary was being shot.”
Music Row: Nashville’s Most Famous Neighborhood first examines how Nashville became Music City, with a focus on the rise of the Grand Ole Opry and the subsequent opening of recording studios in the downtown area. Then, comes the influence of the records made in Owen and Harold Bradley’s Music Row studio and its Quonset hut counterpart. Next, the documentary looks at how Music Row developed into a complete neighborhood housing the full spectrum of the music industry, from session musicians and recording engineers to record labels and entertainment lawyers. Finally, Music Row: Nashville’s Most Famous Neighborhood reflects on what Music Row means today in the changing music business.
Music Row’s story is told through vintage photos and footage, current footage of the area and interviews with musicians Bill Anderson, The Bellamy Brothers, Harold Bradley, David Briggs, Kathy Mattea, Charlie McCoy, Jay McDowell, Bob Moore, and Ray Stevens; engineer Ernie Winfrey; studio managers Sharon Corbitt-House and Pat McMakin; music journalists Don Cusic, Michael Gray, Craig Havighurst and Robert K. Oermann; and Joe Chambers of the Musicians Hall of Fame.
Additional broadcast times for Music Row: Nashville’s Most Famous Neighborhood are below; the documentary will also be available for streaming via the NPT Passport portal.
- Sunday, Aug. 20, at 9 a.m. on NPT
- Monday, Aug. 21, at 7 a.m. on NPT2
- Tuesday, Aug. 22, at noon on NPT2
Music Row: Nashville’s Most Famous Neighborhood is being made possible through the generous support of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Dell, Aubrey Preston, Creative Nation and Curb Records.