It doesn’t take much to try and ﬁnd live music when you’re in downtown Nashville. Weary travelers may not know that a less chaotic, enticing display of musicians lies just a few streets over from Broadway: The Listening Room.
When entering the dimly-lit, young-adult-staffed music joint right across from the town’s new Ascend Amphitheater, it’s easy to get the vibe that there are about to be some good memories made in this room.
There are polished black tables and chairs, sleek enough to be in an Ikea commercial. Enough seating for 225 guests and standing room for 700 people, this was no place for amateurs. But when you are in Music City, the rules get changed just slightly.
The song “Sweet Thing” by Keith Urban ﬁltered through Bose speakers, white bulbed lights swung from a center point of the ceilings stretching to the walls. This allowed just enough light to ﬁnd the shadows of others’ faces.
After checking in to verify our reservations, which are highly recommended on weekends, we were led to the line of high chaired tables lining the walls. We paid a cover charge of $20 for the fundraiser that night, but it varies by night usually being a free show or a maximum of $5.
Without a bad seat in the house, it allowed a perfect line of sight to all of the musicians. It was a simple stage built to no extreme, with a brick wall and a thin black sheet hung to dress it.
I grabbed my menu and ordered a plate of chicken tenders and homemade chips, at a cost of $13. The meal completely satisfied my hunger.
Chase Armstrong, manager of music and booking, came over for a chat. We stepped outside onto the wooden patio that held a considerable amount of seating and a view that overlooked 2nd Avenue.
With the ability for the deck to be tented, a question of rain would not sway one’s ability to hear the show from the speakers that broadcast every bit of the live action going on inside.
Armstrong related the history of the venue. It started as a business in 2006 in Franklin, Tennessee, and just two years ago evolved into what is now known as The Listening Room on SoBro (South of Broadway). It has become a hit among Nashville natives.
“It’s great food, the best you’ll ﬁnd in Nashville with live and original music every night. It’s a convenient location and you get to experience hit songwriters,” said Armstrong.
That personal touch
Almost needing a ﬂashlight to maneuver my way through the tables and chairs, something about the element of the place immediately relaxes. Throughout the night, experienced and accomplished songwriters from Jimmy Wayne, and Rivers Rutherford—to Victoria Shaw’s children, took the stage.
I made a friend who went by the name of Fran, who said, “This is just a place of refuge. I like the atmosphere. It’s fun and laid back. Last time I came there was a group of younger writers. All great musicians.”
The show was one that radiated personal feelings and memories that brought each of the songwriters to the lyrics that they sang through the single microphone. With acoustic chords ﬁlling the quiet air, the life and rhythm that ﬂowed throughout the atmosphere is one that a single person shouldn’t ever have to miss.
People scattered throughout the venue with their families, on a romantic night out, or alone enjoying live music.
A chance to sit back and drink a few with some of Nashville’s coolest locals, not trying to toot my own horn, is an evening any visitor would be lucky to experience.
Each night there’s a variety of live music, and to keep up with upcoming shows and performances you can check http:// www.listeningroomcafe.com/ for more information and to make online.
Every evening has a variety of shows, sometimes two, and are known for selling out on weekends, it is recommended to make reservations for Friday and Saturday night shows.
The Listening Room is located at 217 Second Ave. S., and free parking can be found at Nissan Stadium right across the Pedestrian Bridge. Call (615) 259-3600 for more information.