Wanna Behind-The-Scenes Look? Your Guide to Nashville’s Filming Locations

Wanna Go Behind The Scenes?

Honesty hour: We can’t all be Connie Britton. The woman who plays Rayna James (and also played FNL’s Tami Taylor – clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose – NEVER forget), the not-quite has-been country artist with a thing for bad boys and a heart of gold, has the shiniest hair we’ve ever seen. We also can’t all be Hayden Panettiere. Nashville’s resident vixen with a white-washed public image is as sassy as they come (seriously, no one gives bitchface like Juliette Barnes). However, now that we’ve undergone a collective reality check, we gotta say: there’s nothing wrong with taking a walk in their countrified stilettos. We’re going to help you create your own walking tour of some Nashville’s filming locations, with a local’s insider twist. We encourage a re-creation of Nashville’s most climactic scenes while you visit – it could be your big break. Prepare for your dramatic, imaginary close-up, and get ready to:

Have A Heart-To-Heart With A Tortured Guitarist:
Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge

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Look at that plaid shirt and 5 o’ clock shadow, y’all. If loving him is wrong, we don’t wanna be right.

WHERE:

Hangin’ out over the Cumberland River, connecting East Nashville and Riverfront Park.

WHAT HAPPENED THERE:

The first of many talks between rip-your-heart-out-so-wrong-it’s-right old flames, Rayna and Deacon (her old guitarist/lover, of course). He’s been asked to tour Rayna James adversary, country starlet Juliette Barnes. Rayna and Deacon have a history y’all, so it’s not gonna fly. You don’t say no to Connie Britton or her hair…you just don’t. Also, shouldn’t be hard to recreate this one – there are coffee shops right over the pedestrian bridge with plenty of tortured guitarists just dying to bare their souls. Or talk about amps. Mostly amps, actually.

LOCAL TIP:

It is lit up BEAUTIFULLY at night, and is also a historical landmark. Go near sunset, wear your hair down and be ready to wistfully look over downtown Nashville. You’ll be filled with affection for this city! Fun fact: the video for “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy” was filmed entirely on the bridge. So there’s that.


Wear Short Shorts And Lay On Statues:
Musica Statue

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We all look just as good as Hayden in an all-white Daisy Duke outfit. 

WHERE:

Buddy Killen traffic circle, connecting the bars of Division Street with the offices of Music Row!

WHAT HAPPENED THERE:

Rayna and her kids (the adorable and freakishly talented real-life sisters, Lennon and Maisy) get stuck in traffic at this landmark traffic circle. Why? Because Juliette Barnes is filming a video where she writhes around on bronze naked statues in her shortest, whitest Daisy Dukes. It’s art, y’all.

LOCAL TIP:

This sculpture by Alan LeQuire represents a community that loves the free-form, creative atmosphere of Music City. It has also been affectionately dubbed by locals as “the naked statue”. There’s been a little bit of controversy over the nudity, but we say it’s as tasteful as it gets. When Hayden Panettiere was on it? Only slightly less tasteful. No disrespect, Juliette. We wouldn’t want to get on your bad side. If you’re walking by on St. Patrick’s Day, you might just see the statues dressed to the nines in some kilts (a recurring local prank). Go take your picture there, just have your running shoes on – you’ll have to cross traffic!


Choke At Your First Recording Session:
Historic RCA Studio A

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No judgement, Scarlett. If we were standing where Dolly Parton stood and looking into the eyes of Gunnar, we would have been worse.

WHERE:.

Historic Music Row, of course!

WHAT HAPPENED THERE:

Scarlett freaked out a little. She’s just a platinum blonde waitress with a charming Southern drawl and a hot uncle. She ain’t fancy! So we don’t blame her. Famed (fictional) producer Waddy White invites Scarlett and Gunnar to demo three of their songs in the historic studio. When Scarlett learns about the rich history of the studio (Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, oh my…), she has a tiny little meltdown. But she rallies (with the help of boyfriend Avery), comes back, and delivers, Nashville style!

LOCAL TIP:

There are some great tours of RCA studios on Music Row. Our city’s reputation was solid gold in the 1950’s, much like the records that were created there. Studio A is now owned by Nashville resident and kickass musician, Ben Folds. He has it for personal use, but he rents it out from time to time (and obviously allowed filming there). RCA B and the Quonset Hut were purchased by Mike Curb, and now serve as an educational studio for Belmont University students in the college of Music Business. The studio still has that old-school, legendary flavor. Don’t miss it! Anywhere Elvis has walked is sacred ground.


Capitalize On Other’s Misfortune & Wear A Really Fabulous Dress:
The Parthenon

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Have a Marilyn moment in a white dress and sing someone else’s song while they’re unconscious to increase your album sales. If you have NO HEART.

WHERE:

Nashville’s favorite urban park, Centennial Park. On West End Ave.!

WHAT HAPPENED THERE:

Obviously SPOILER ALERT: Rayna is in a coma. Juliette is releasing an album, and oh yeah, she’s super mad Rayna’s coma is going to get in the way of her album sales. We’re trying to have some sympathy since her mom just died, but Juliette is an ICE QUEEN, y’all. She plays the sympathy card and sings one of Rayna’s songs, citing their closeness. She then proceeds to stomp around stage and turn out an admittedly fierce performance.

LOCAL TIP:

What a beauty, that Parthenon! A recreation of the Athenian original, The Parthenon is the center of activity – an art museum below, craft fairs galore, etc. Wanna actually go to a a concert in Centennial? Musician’s Corner features Nashville up-and-comers and local favorites. This weekend Andrew Ripp is playing . Of course, you can get up there and give your own concert. Just make sure you aren’t making a ton of people mad in the process.


Have A Moment/Get Discovered:
The Bluebird Cafe

bluebirdnashvilleWho doesn’t want to have a moment with their good-looking duet partner and subsequently become a star?

WHERE:

A non-descript shopping strip near the busy Green Hills Mall!

WHAT HAPPENED THERE:

Just about everything happens at The Bluebird. The common denominator is this: if you have an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, just know that you will end up singing a guitar-heavy ballad with them on the Bluebird stage eventually. It’s inevitable. Scarlett and Gunnar, Rayna and Deacon…it happens. Also, you could get discovered! It doesn’t just happen in the show.

LOCAL TIP:

If you like Garth Brooks or Taylor Swift (or both), thank The Bluebird. Both were discovered on The Bluebird stage. This helpful infographic from Vulture shows just how much the Nashville filming has affected the legendary location. We’ve always been fans! If you wanna play, get there way early – the waiting list has gotten up to 100 people signing up on any given night. They’re still bringing you the best of country music; Martina McBride did a special round the other week! They are also full of surprises: Steven Tyler showed up a few weeks ago and did an impromptu performance. For real. There are always concerts going on featuring Nashville’s best songwriters, and they are all listed in the Wannado app.


So play country star for a day, Nashville. Take fans of the show on this little walking tour, and who knows? You might run into Rayna James (we hear she hangs out at Frothy Monkey) or Juliette Barnes (we hear she likes to drink beer and sing karaoke at Santa’s Pub). You can also be an EXTRA in the show. Get the Wannado app for an insider’s guide to Hollywood’s new favorite city!

– Your local guide.