Nashville Sings A New Tune

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When trend spotters talk about emerging music scenes in various places, be it Portland, Detroit, or Berlin, they might be tempted to use the phrase “The Next Brooklyn.” By which they mean cheap rent (at first), and enough young musicians and fans to sustain a bunch of bands and a few places to play.

To be clear, Soundcheck does not endorse the "The Next Brooklyn" tag. We prefer the current Brooklyn, and we would never want to tell you to go anywhere else. But, if you’re a 22-year-old musician who likes hanging out with other 22-year-old musicians and you've crossed Brooklyn off your list, there is another place that you should consider living. It might surprise you that that place is Nashville.

"Just about everybody you meet in Nashville has the goofy grin of the newly popular," says Kim Severson, who recently profiled the city for The New York Times. Spurred by a resilient local economy and job growth, "Nashville has really come into its own in ways that even people in Nashville can't believe."

Severson, the Atlanta bureau chief for the Times, joins us to talk about other factors that have contributed to the cultural boom -- including the ABC drama Nashville, which is set (and shot) in the city.


Plus, Craig Havighurst, a local journalist and senior producer of the variety show Music City Roots, reacts to all the hoopla, describes the scene outside mainstream country's "Music Row," and gives us four Nashville artists to watch in 2013.

Craig Havighurst's Picks Artists To Hear In The "New Nashville":

Seth Walker

Blue-eyed soul meets early blues. He has a silky voice and an approach to songwriting that evokes the American song book.

The Vespers

Quartet of two brothers and two sisters, unrelated to each other. Earthy stompy folk pop that would appeal to fans of Mumford & Sons.

Derek Hoke

Easy-going, swinging alt-country. He's had a few major media moments, including an interview on NPR's All Things Considered and a Daytrotter session.

The Delta Saints

A real surprise. Swampy and soulful electric music steeped in Louisiana but with urbane edge and superior musicianship.

Ashley Monroe

Her upcoming debut album was produced by Vince Gill. Typical of the artist trapped between her own talent and the narrow parameters of country radio. She deserves a home. Doesn't have one. Even though she's on a major label.

The Apache Relay

Initially categorized as alt-bluegrass, they're really a rock band with mostly acoustic instruments. Big lusty folk vibe too, again very much in the Mumford space. In fact they've opened for Mumford multiple times including the Ryman Auditorium. Excellent band.