Second Day in Nashville: Visit Jack Daniel’s

On Tuesday, March 13, we had breakfast in another of the bars that Dave had recommended to us and it was a success. They served very complete breakfast menus. You could choose between the typical greasy but delicious American breakfast, or other more “healthy-cool” ones with the typical toast with avocado, orange juice, etc. Then we got in the car and took the road in the direction of the little town of Lynchburg. Population: 361 inhabitants. And what about this modest town an hour from Nashville? Well, the most famous whiskey distillery in the United States: Jack Daniel’s.

Once there, at the information point they told us the bus to take to get to the factory, and in no time we were there. There are different types of guided tours to do around the distillery and we chose the cheapest among those that include a whiskey tasting at the end ($ 20).

Within half an hour, we joined a group and the visit began. They put us in a stroller and took us along the paths until we stopped in front of a wooden cabin. Interestingly, the guide explained to us that in the county where the distillery is located, drinking whiskey is prohibited, although it is allowed to buy it. Even so, the federal tax on each bottle is $ 13.50. That’s why the tasting area is just outside the county lines, even if it’s only a few feet away from the distillery. 650 employees work here and the factory has 80 whiskey maturation warehouses, which house a total of 20,000 barrels (although they are very ugly on the outside). The factory has its own team of firefighters, so you can get by, and they make their own barrels, the wood of which gives the whiskey a special flavor and color.

In the guided tour we learned a lot of things. For example, the difference between whiskey and bourbon. In the cabin they told us about the beginnings of the business. As a teenager, Jack learned all the art of distilling from Nathan Green, an African-American who was a slave until the Emancipation of 1863. Later, Jack would hire several of his sons in the business and turn one of them, George Green, into the chief distiller. Jack Daniel died in 1911, as the story goes, due to gangrene in the big toe he suffered after kicking the safe of his business. Apparently he had a really bad soon, man. We then visited the fresh water spring that Jack Daniel used to make his whiskey. Even today this water is still used, which arises from a cave.

Then we visit the factory area where the gigantic fermentation tanks for rye malt stand, each with a capacity of 150,000 liters. Fermentation lasts 6 days, and no heat is applied to it, but rather ferments with the natural heat of the fermentation process as it is enclosed in the tank. A curious fact is that the yeast they use for fermentation has been reused since the days of Jack Daniel himself. And the “mash” or must from the fermentation is sold to local farmers to feed the cattle, and here the guide made a joke and told us that surely that’s why the county’s cattle are the happiest in all the United States, heh, heh, okay.

Then we went to the modern tasting rooms and were able to sample shot glasses of 5 different varieties of Jack Daniel’s whiskey: the double smoothed Gentleman Jack, the typical Jack Daniel’s No. 7, the Jack Daniel’s single barrel, a that had a touch of honey “Tennessee Honey” and another with hot spices “Tennessee Fire” that has a reddish tone and has cinnamon.

Although there was the glass to spit out the whiskey, I think most of the visitors were content with the tasting. I just sipped the last two because later it was my turn to drive back to Nashville. To finish, we walked around the store a bit, but we did not buy any bottle because in the United States it is very expensive and totally, you can find them anywhere. In fact, it costs € 17 at the English Court and $ 43 at the factory.

For lunch we ended up going to a traditional restaurant in the town of Lynchburg. It was very authentic, because it was a simple hamburger joint, the kind of a lifetime. Then we returned to Nashville and on the way, just before entering the city, we stopped for a walk in a typical American mall. We were about to go into the cinema to see a movie. In the end, as we were tired, we went back to Dave’s house and spent the rest of the afternoon watching episodes of Friends on TV.

First Day in Nashville: The Bluebird Cafe and Music Street

We went to eat at a nearby pizzeria that Dave had recommended to us and ate some good portions. Afterward, we headed straight for our first visit to the city: The Bluebird Cafe concert bar.. This bar is famous in Nashville because now famous musicians have passed through here when they tried to make themselves known. We had discovered it months before in a Sonic Highways television docuseries, created by the Foo Fighters singer, in which he visits several cities in the US to tell his musical past. At The Bluebird Cafe, for example, years ago, a young 14-year-old singer-songwriter whom no one knew at the time, called Taylor Swift, played. This is how Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group discovered it, with which he would end up recording his first album in 2005. On the other hand, if you’ve seen the Nashville TV series , I think this famous bar will sound familiar to you.

We had not managed to book a ticket for that day, so we got in line an hour before to try our luck. It was bitterly cold, but we held on stoically until opening time. From the outside, this bar would go completely unnoticed, because it is in an area away from the center. When we parked, the managers of the premises warned us that it was unlikely that we would ever enter, but we were stubborn and got in line anyway.

The Bluebird Café opened in 1982 and has a very comprehensive acoustic concert and performance schedule. Several days a week there are concerts by specific artists and other days there are sessions of what is called “open microphone” ( Open Mic ), in which debut singer-songwriters sing to be heard. That’s what we were going to see that day… if we could get in!

After a long wait, we saw how all the people who were waiting in front of us gradually entered the bar. When the session had already started 5 minutes, we arrived right in front of the entrance door. It seemed that there was no more free space. We were already cursing our luck, when the person in charge of the queue told us that we could enter without making noise, although two of us had to sit on stools by the wall and another had to share a table with 3 strangers. We do not hesitate for a second and accept the offer.

Sitting in the tight space of the audience, we enjoyed for about two hours the songs of various singer-songwriters in acoustic format. There were all kinds of singers, from very young and accompanied by their parents, to regular local customers. Talents who had come from the next town, from California or even from far away Canada. Obviously, we liked some songs more than others, but it was great and time flew by. At the exit, I remember congratulating one of the singers who had performed that afternoon and she gave me her card.

We didn’t know it at the time, but two weeks later there was a surprise performance at The Bluebird Cafe. Taylor Swift herself appeared there to sing a song as she had at 14 years old. Oh if we had been there that day! (Isabel dies)

When we left the Bluebird it was dark and we went downtown to visit Broadway . Like Memphis and New Orleans , Nashville could not miss its great music street, where most places offer live music, every day. After looking around, we went into the Honky Tonk Central a bit and ordered a good plate of nachos with cheese and everything, accompanied by some beers.

A group played on stage that sang hit songs and carried a lot of energy. Pure hard rock to all chestnut, mixed with some songs by Shania Twain or Sheryl Crow. The atmosphere became progressively heated and towards the end people bounced on top of the opposite bar, grabbing the singer’s neck, giving it their all. Sitting at our table, enjoying the music, we freaked it out. It was only Monday night . I imagine that on Fridays and Saturdays it must already be the evening. Downtown Nashville doesn’t have much to brag about, there’s the basketball stadium, the many traditional concert halls, the Cumberland River… but Broadway Street and its endless musical offerings give it a sensational life.

Shortly after we returned to Dave’s house very happy. We slept like logs and the next morning we got ready to go hiking. We didn’t see him downstairs before we left, so we assumed he was still sleeping.…