Musicians living in Nashville; how is it?!

Meiyo

Junior Member
So, I was wondering if there were any Drummerworld members who are making a living doing Music in Nashville. I've heard a lot of mixed things about the scene there. From what I hear, it's thriving... but mainly on Country music. Don't get me wrong- if it pays the bills, then why not? But, no one wants to be stuck doing one style of music... especially if it's a style you don't particularly like (My situation) However, one of my closest friends lives in Nashville and he says he hardly ever hears Country music. I'm a drummer who's just getting out of the LA Music Academy who grew up in East TN. I've been to Nashville a number of times, but, I've never really gone out to see music and all that stuff. LA is not really for me at this point in my life, and Nashville sounds good since It's a big scene and it's close to my home and all.

But my main inquiry is making a living in Nashville. So, If you live in Nashville, and are making a living doing music... could you (anyone) elaborate on just anything you have to say about it? Do you find yourself doing a lot of different types of music? Are there lots of opportunities to perform as well as record, teach, etc.? How do you like the lifestyle? How competitive is it? I would love to hear anything anyone as to say.

Even if you don't live there... I would like to hear a lot of different takes on the matter. Thank you!
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
Hi Meiyo,

I live in Los Angeles and I'm familiar with LAMA (couple friends have worked as teachers there), I also know some players who have moved to Nashville - and away from it.

You are doing the right thing by asking questions before moving. I play with a guitarist who lived and worked in Nashville but moved to L.A. because the general music of the sessions he was doing was driving him crazy.

However. To even start to make money in Nashville is a tall order, even for a player with a track record. Right now AFAIK, you don't have a track record so it makes it even harder. You are not just competing with players like yourself. You're competing with the established, experienced players for paid gigs.

I don't like to refer people from one forum to another but I highly recommend that you go to this forum area and check out all of the 'Starting Over' threads by pro drummer Steve Bowman. He bravely chronicled his move from the Bay Area to Nashville. Please check it out ASAP to get a bead on what you would be in for.

HTH

Jim

http://www.drumforum.org/index.php?/forum/40-steve-bowman/
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I've always thought that Nashville would be a very interesting place to live if you could get into the studio scene there, but that's a huge "if." I have a couple of friends who live and play music there and they're doing great.

Plenty of places to play live there as well.

Also, Nashville isn't only about country music. There's a lot going on. A friend of mine owns a studio there and he records everything from metal to jazz.

It's not the prettiest city in the world, and culturally speaking it sure isn't New York, but for a musical career I think it would be great. And some of the best players in the world live and work in Nashville.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
Nashville is a great city! Musically, there are 500,000 drummers competing to play 2&4. You can nail a gig & groove your butt off and they still may just call an old buddy to play next time because who cares?

I also get the feeling that drummers are viewed as tools here--just get a guy to play a beat and get the job done. Many don't seem to realize just how much a great drummer can embellish and breathe life into a tune.

In the end it's all about relationships, which is ultimately a very good thing.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've never lived in Nashville, but I've visited Nashville.

I was certainly impressed walking around down town just how many bars there were that had live bands. You could wonder around and see 10 different bands all without paying a coverage charge, 7 nights a week. It's a busy place! Driving down music row, you can feel the excitement of all the studios and record companies at work.

But then I was talking to a local working drummer, and he pointed out the bar scene is pretty competitive and cut throat; i.e. there are more drummers after those gigs then there are gigs, and thus most of the bars don't pay much (if at all). We all know the studio scene is tough to break into. Which pretty much also describes the Los Angeles music scene.

So from purely "making a living playing drums" I don't think Nashville is any better/worse than Los Angeles; both cities have more drummers than there are gigs for them all.

However, don't take that as being negative, because obviously both places are where numerous drummers do many a living, and/or get their start to making a name for themselves.
 

Meiyo

Junior Member
Thank you all for your posts! It really helps to get a lot of good feedback from people who know what they're talking about. Shedboyxx, that you very much for that link. It was a really helpful read to me and that guy seems to have a lot going for him. He's a good writer as well. I guess the only way for me to really get the feel of how things work in Nashville, is to go and stay there for a couple of weeks to check it out. Go to shows, meet different people, and hopefully go to some jams.

Is that the wisest thing? Take a little vacation down there first before I decide? It sounds like it to me... who knows, it's all very exciting! Thanks again for all the feedback!
 

techristian

Senior Member
Nashville is a great city! Musically, there are 500,000 drummers competing to play 2&4. You can nail a gig & groove your butt off and they still may just call an old buddy to play next time because who cares?

I also get the feeling that drummers are viewed as tools here--just get a guy to play a beat and get the job done. Many don't seem to realize just how much a great drummer can embellish and breathe life into a tune.

In the end it's all about relationships, which is ultimately a very good thing.
I sense that you may have overplayed? Even a simple 2/4 can have feel without alot of junk in between. It is all in WHEN you lay that beat in. A few milliseconds one way or the other can change the feel dramatically. If it was a country gig then remember that LESS IS MORE. It took me 5 years of 2-4 nights a week playing country to learn that. Even some rock gigs are the same. Just play solid, fancy only if it is called for.

Dan
 

mrbling

Silver Member
i can see it a a place full of music but ive only really heard of one guy from there Jack white :p
 

Eric

Senior Member
I don't like to refer people from one forum to another but I highly recommend that you go to this forum area and check out all of the 'Starting Over' threads by pro drummer Steve Bowman. He bravely chronicled his move from the Bay Area to Nashville. Please check it out ASAP to get a bead on what you would be in for.

HTH

Jim

http://www.drumforum.org/index.php?/forum/40-steve-bowman/
I just read that read, I like it. In part 3 he's talking to his new friend who's also trying to break into the Nashville scene for a few months. My favorite quote:

"The other day, after having exhausted the stores of humor we use to protect ourselves, we were standing around, arms crossed, staring at the floor. I said "Glenn, I've made $62 since I've been here." He said "Ya, buddy. I've made $75." We didn't talk for a while and then I said "Man I wish I pulled down your kind of bread." And we started laughing again. And then we laughed until tears came out, like it was the funniest thing we'd ever heard".
 

KnockOut86

Senior Member
However, one of my closest friends lives in Nashville and he says he hardly ever hears Country music.
This has to be taken out of context. If you walk down ANY street in Nashville you are going to hear country music. I'm sure there are other genres lurking in studios and such but to say he never hears country is ridiculous.

Anyway, as everyone else is saying of course it is going to be competitive. You either have to dive in head first and give it your all or just stay where you are...but I'm sure you know that. Good luck to you!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I don't like to refer people from one forum to another but I highly recommend that you go to this forum area and check out all of the 'Starting Over' threads by pro drummer Steve Bowman. He bravely chronicled his move from the Bay Area to Nashville. Please check it out ASAP to get a bead on what you would be in for.

HTH

Jim

http://www.drumforum.org/index.php?/forum/40-steve-bowman/
I'm glad you posted that.

Steve Bowman used to come into the store I worked at before he "went pro". I remember one day he walked an, and basically declared that he decided he going all in to become a pro. Then I didn't see him for a while, until one day I saw him on stage with the Counting Crows opening for another band, and the rest is history.

Since I moved out of San Francisco, wasn't sure what happened to him. Glad to hear he's still doing well.
 

Destroy1

Senior Member
So, I was wondering if there were any Drummerworld members who are making a living doing Music in Nashville. I've heard a lot of mixed things about the scene there. From what I hear, it's thriving... but mainly on Country music. Don't get me wrong- if it pays the bills, then why not? But, no one wants to be stuck doing one style of music... especially if it's a style you don't particularly like (My situation) However, one of my closest friends lives in Nashville and he says he hardly ever hears Country music. I'm a drummer who's just getting out of the LA Music Academy who grew up in East TN. I've been to Nashville a number of times, but, I've never really gone out to see music and all that stuff. LA is not really for me at this point in my life, and Nashville sounds good since It's a big scene and it's close to my home and all.

But my main inquiry is making a living in Nashville. So, If you live in Nashville, and are making a living doing music... could you (anyone) elaborate on just anything you have to say about it? Do you find yourself doing a lot of different types of music? Are there lots of opportunities to perform as well as record, teach, etc.? How do you like the lifestyle? How competitive is it? I would love to hear anything anyone as to say.

Even if you don't live there... I would like to hear a lot of different takes on the matter. Thank you!


Meiyo, the cost of living here in Nashville is great and housing is VERY affordable! My wife and I moved here to Nashville from Portland OR about a year and a half ago after 8 years of living on the river in a floating home with 25' of water under the house, a 28' Bayliner cabin cruiser, and outboard-motored 10' dingy (Just pull up to the house on your boat and park. Can you spell F.U.N? LOL). But each year the weather got progressively worse until there really wasn't much of a 'boating season' left. :(

We came out here from Portland to visit my wife's cousin a couple of years ago and fell in love with Nashville, the people, the clubs and bands we checked out, and the polite society. We liked it so much that we decided to go house-hunting while we were visiting and couldn't believe the great deals! We bought a gorgeous 1/2 acre corner lot backing up to natural woods in a sub-division and picked out a house-plan from the builder to build a brand new brick home here in a Brentwood, just south of Nashville. The house was nearing completion when they had the big floods and we were in OR in the process of selling our floating home and boats, so her cousin went out to our new house site and reported that our new brick home was high and dry in the beautiful low rolling hills hills and in perfect shape. Big sigh of relief!

After moving/settling in to our new TN digs, I started doing some music networking; open mics and auditions for bands here in Brentwood, Nashville, and surrounding environs before I formed my present entourage with a working 'core'. Oddly enough it was me and a producer I met on Craigslist. He liked my playing on Myspace, we emailed, did lunch, and Tony and I struck up a friendship and started looking for players. We found a harpist, and a bassist. Held auditions and found the other three people. Found a studio/engineer we liked, recorded 11 tunes, built a website, joined ReverbNation, shopped the CD. So really, you can find a management person first, and then form a band. It's all about networking. Tony wanted to find a drummer to form the core. I fit the bill and now I'm the bands drummer and I'm also a partner in his (our) T2 management company!

Lauren Zoeller and BluZe Lightning. We just finished printing our CD "Right Track" and already have a pro review. Liv Carter is a very well respected music reviewer for Country Urban news, so we're stoked. Also Tony had a meeting with her last night about getting us some primo gigs around town, so we're doubly-stoked!

Here's Liv's review:
http://www.urbancountrynews.com/cd-review-right-track-lauren-zoeller-bluze-lightning/

AND we're not REALLY totally blues, some Blues Rock, Swing, and Ballads mixed in and I'm a ROCK drummer. Go figure...But it's REALLY all about the music and the F.U.N. So yes, it was relatively easy to find what I was looking for here in Nashville, and it didn't take all that long or that much effort. A lot of different types of music here, just name your genre.

http://www.reverbnation.com/destroyer429#!/laurenzoellerbluzelightning

I guess the bottom line is that it doesn't really matter where you live, you just have to make the right connections, network a little and then when you find the right people make a commitment. My rule of thumb is to commit for 6 months and go from there. And be true to others and yourself. If you say commit, MEAN it, and go to rehearsals, gigs, ON TIME.

Even in Portland OR, where the 'scene' (I don't really like the term) was 'Metal' I found players that were into a more 'Rock' scenario and I had lots of fun playing, recording, and gigging with many great and diversified players. ALL genre's. The primary reason my wife and I moved to Nashville was to be closer to my daughter and Son-In Law in Brooklyn, my family in Jersey/NYC, my siblings and their families in Minnesota, my wife's Mom and family in Jersey, her brother in Florida, and to get out of the ever-worsening NW weather. Seemed like in 8 years the spring and summer months were slowly collapsing until the final year when it just seemed like drizzle for 9 months non-stop. Searching for the ubiquitous "Scene" was secondary. Flying to the East Coast 4-5 times a year, those long flights from OR to NY were just not comfy for me at 6'2. Now me and my wife drive and make the trip in 14 hours over a couple of days of leisurely driving, stop and see local scenery, caverns in VA, shop, and dine along the way. Again, it's fun and we like the 'road trips'.

But back to your query:

Once in Nashville I went to the drum shops, asked questions, attended some open mic nights and made the right connections for what I was seeking. Too, I would go to Craigslist 'auditions' and if I didn't like the session I would be completely honest and tell the folks if I was or WAS NOT interested. This is important. Like many of you, I can go to a Myspace and listen to the first 30 seconds of a song and tell if I like it or not. I'll try 2-3 songs on a site and if I DO like what I'm hearing, I'll go ahead and contact the CL person and make an audition date. Met Tony on CL and together we got the ball rolling. And I really found what I was looking for. A band that can write songs together with input from everyone, and perform not only originals, but some covers as well, but in our own fashion. When Lauren sings Melissa Etheridge's "I'm The Only One", she definitely holds her own and we can rock it out with lots of energy (See Album Review above and song #3 on ReverbNation). Liv is actively giving us input for local bookings and I've got a long-time promoter friend of mine working on Spring blues festivals for us.

It took about 6 months to form this band. Start-up to completion. It really was about a core of two people, me and Tony. Then we held auditions and gathered the rest of the members, rehearsed, and recorded the CD. T2 Music Management Co. offered me a partnership, so I'm also now a partner with T2 Music Inc. in addition to the drummer of the band, so it's all a matter of how you conduct yourself with people in a professional mien.

http://t2musicinc.webs.com/

I also play in a Classic Rock band and we play Vegas and NYC hard Rock Cafe's and Casinos, so it's good that I'm centrally located. Vegas flights are short, and for East Coast gigs me and two, three, of the members of the band I pick up along the way to the city can drive straight through, PLUS I can claim a partial business expense and make it a business/family trip (Seeing my daughter and Son-In-Law and their friends, my aunts, uncles, cousins in the audience, clapping and whistling and cheering is priceless) And playing with a pro Classic Rock band on Broadways Hard Rock Cafe with old friends from all over the good old USA....the Mid-West, NW, SW, NE, and SE of the country? And Casinos in Vegas? Yeah, Nashville baby! I LOVE this town.

Nashville. The lifestyle here is great. Plenty of talented musicians and bands, good clubs to frequent and perform in, (I'll know more about pay once we start performing, although I get paid $30 per rehearsal, $25 per hour for studio time, plus a stipend and portion of all proceeds as founding member and partner with Tony). There are open mics, talented engineers and good studios are plentiful, and very nice weather, FOUR SEASONS (although it's humid in the summer months, it's relatively short-termed and there's not much snow in the winter). The 'turning of the leaves' is a wonderful thing to see, and as a matter of fact, people come from all over the country and the world to view it. And even though the floods were devastating a couple of years go, it really hasn't been that inclement this or last year. Weather right now is absolutely gorgeous, almost Spring-Like. The city is not huge, freeways circle the city, the Airport is easy to navigate, and there's plenty of fun stuff to do downtown. The zoo is quite nice and has a variety of animals, the riverfront is chock full of activities and shopping, and every where you go the store clerks are all about "Yes Sir", "No Sir", "Yes Mam' "No Mam', and, at least for me and my wife, it's REALLY not that hard to get used to living in a polite society...The drivers are not the best in the world, most don't know what a turn signal is (Portland OR had some of the most polite drivers I've ever seen bar none!) but this is a 'melting pot' city, so no surprises there. .lol.


So my advice to you is choose a demographic location you would enjoy living in, make connections (investigate, like you're doing here) and go for it!
I hope this helps. Wherever you decide to move, I wish you the best of luck!

Stephen Abernathy

http://www.reverbnation.com/laurenzoellerbluzelightning
http://bluzelightning.webs.com/
http://www.myspace.com/tapoco
http://www.reverbnation.com/destroyer429
 
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Destroy1

Senior Member
Come to Austin, get busy, then take your band to Nashville.
My partner Tony was in Austin TX this past Christmas while I was in NYC. He shopped our CD around Austin-town and got good responses, (As I did in NY) so you might just see my band in Austin, RH.

BTW, I have a good NW friend who relocated from Portland OR to Austin for a year and a half for the company he was working for, but he couldn't find a band, and Al is a great guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. I don't know all the particulars, just what he said upon his return when we formed up another NW band. He said he couldn't wait to get out of Austin and was totally turned off by his inability to find players of his caliber that were willing to form a group.

I DO know that in '75 when I lived in Austin, my band played UT frat and sorority parties, 'Mothers' (used to be out on Guadelupe I think), and myriad other clubs in and around Austin-town and I made a good living just playing music. I grew up in the Great Lone Star State Of Texas...Snyder Texas, out by Abilene, closer to Big Springs, so Texas is close to my heart.

I LOVED Austin TX and my wife and I even thought about moving there instead of here since I had so many fond memories of Austin, the great times and the fine people, but again, those long flights to NYC entered into the equation and we didn't know a soul out there. So the visit to my wife's cousin here and falling in love with Nashville was the clincher. Believe me, if we didn't like Nashville on that trip, the next city on the list for us to move to was DEFINITELY Austin. We had both already decided that. :)

Stephen A.

http://www.reverbnation.com/laurenzoellerbluzelightning
http://bluzelightning.webs.com/
http://www.myspace.com/tapoco
http://www.reverbnation.com/destroyer429
 
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Destroy1

Senior Member
This one from I Am Entertainment Magazine. It just just came in....You can read it on our Reverbnation site also as part of the press clippings.

http://iaemagazine.com/music/2012/012012/bluze-lightning.html#.TyAh5beipxc.facebook

“Blues music is one of the few genres that simply cannot be done correctly without a great live band, and Lauren Zoeller and Bluze Lightning is a real live band that is exactly where their album title implies, on the RIGHT TRACK. The title song to the album, "Right Track", is an instant blues classic that plants a very strong stake in the ground for Lauren's band, as it relates to rock tinged blues music. Getting into the song, you'll immediately notice the bands cohesion and you'll appreciate the incredible voice that Lauren Zoeller possesses. The music is very well orchestrated and the song is very well written and sang. Get on the right track and check this tune out, I'm sure you'll take a liking to this band's awesomeness.

Moving into the rest of the project, I was able to find multiple songs that I enjoyed just as
much as "Right Track", including: "Travelin Alone", "Pocket Full of Blues", "Angel From
Montgomery" and "Wake Up". I highly recommend this band to every true blues fans.
senseitional - I am entertainment magazine



Stephen A.

http://www.reverbnation.com/laurenzoellerbluzelightning
http://bluzelightning.webs.com/
http://www.myspace.com/tapoco
http://www.reverbnation.com/destroyer429
 
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Mike Mandaville

Senior Member
Meiyo, the cost of living here in Nashville is great and housing is VERY affordable! ...
Stephen, this is the best post which I have ever read here at Drummerworld. I am an amateur who has become sort of stranded out here in the Austin hill country because of the high cost of gasoline, but I enjoy keeping up with my fellow musicians, both amateur and professional, on the internet. It looks like my next project will be to replace the fingerboard on my folk guitar. To do my best guitar work, I need a fingerboard which is flat, wide and scalloped.
 

Destroy1

Senior Member
Hi Mike, Just trying to be helpful to this person. It's not easy moving across the street, let alone across the country. You still have to box everything up and carry walk or ship it. In our case we moved not only our household but our offices as well. That floating home ramp was the pits, let me tell you. Mayflower had 10 guys humping stuff for half a day. I had the job of boxing/taping/labeling items for the two weeks previous. And it took us a good 6 months to get fully moved in, buying shelves for the garage, workbenches, tool roll-away, shop for this, shop for that, but it's nice having a garage again. 8 years without one in Portland really makes me appreciate the one I have now.

As for being a pro....Hahahahaha...I'm far from that. I wouldn't know a blues shuffle if it landed in my lap....but I'm happy that I can still bang away half-decently and have a bit of fun with these kids.

I tried playing guitar, bass, and piano, but I just couldn't hang with it, I thought blisters on my left thumb web were painful back when I was learning the traditional grip in '65, but blisters on the ends of my fingers...uh, I'll pass.

What I know about guitars in general and fret boards in particular I could write on the head of a very small pin, but I found this re: your project which might be helpful:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-1059109-p-2.html

"As for the finish on the neck, just put regular fingerboard oil on a board that was unfinished before, e.g. rosewood or ebony, but if you scalloped through the hard finish of a maple board you might consider spraying a new lacquer finish or whatever was on there before you cut through it...some people don't, or finish with oil. It's up to you, but replacing a hard finish with another hard finish would be ideal."


http://www.reverbnation.com/laurenzoellerbluzelightning
http://bluzelightning.webs.com/
http://www.myspace.com/tapoco
http://www.reverbnation.com/destroyer429
 
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DrumDoug

Senior Member
Most of this post has been about making a living playing in Nashville. What's it like for the average drummer that has a day job and just want's to play and have fun on the weekends? Is that possible there? Are there too many "pro" drummers looking for a gig for the normal weekend warrior drummers out there to have a chance to play?
 
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