Unraveling Nashville

Legends of country music and much, much more.

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The Unsung Black Musician Who Changed Country Music

From the moment DeFord Bailey stepped onto a stage in Nashville, country music would never be the same. It was decades after his death before he finally got his due.

Chasing Nashville’s Ghosts

Growing up, I wanted to get as far away as possible from Tennessee’s shameful Confederate past. It took a stint up north—and a longing for southern cooking—before I made peace...

Cashing in on Johnny Cash

On a family visit to the Johnny Cash Museum, a Nashville local explores the very fine line between revering our cultural icons and hawking baby bibs with the face of the Man in...

The Forgotten Supervillain of Antebellum Tennessee

In a brutal business defined by cruelty, Isaac Franklin was perhaps the worst slave trader in all of cotton country. Yet today his heinous crimes are long forgotten.

A Bittersweet Ballad for a Bygone Music City Mash-up

My mom and dad were fun-loving lounge singers with endless energy and outrageous perms to match. Then they became parents, Nashville became “cool,” and we all started to...