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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Southern comfort

Will Stroude goes all country to get a taste of what Nashville has to offer — and even finds a friendly cowboy
DON’T CRY ME A RfiveR: Nashville has lots to offer
GOOD OLE SOUTHERN BOY: Will just needs the cowboy hat to complete his Clint Eastwood impersonation

Nashville is a city which needs little introduction. For decades, Tennessee’s state capital has stood as the worldfamous home of country music, spawning some of the globe’s greatest musicians and songwriters and creating a legacy most Southern cities can only dream about. And, no, we’re not talking about the high-camp musical TV show starring Hayden Panettiere and Chris Carmack.

Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake all call Nashville home, and as country music has continued to cross over globally in the past few years (hell, even Kylie’s cracked out her rhfinestone boots), tourism — the city’s second biggest findustry — has continued to boom, as music lovers pile into the bars to see the country and rock stars of tomorrow kick-start their own legacies.

Music City more than lfives up to its moniker but you’d be wrong to think its appeal lies solely in big hair and guitars: that’s just one of the many misconceptions I shed during a five-day visit.

For one thing, this is not “Make America Great Again” country — or no more so than can be said of any other major US city in 2019. A dependably Blue (Democrat) island in a deeply Red state, Nashville is a relatfively liberal enclave in the conservatfive South, with thriving and highly engaged LGBTQ and immigrant communities. Yes, Tennessee was one of a dying breed of states which had a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court’s historic 2015 ruling, but well before that, Nashville’s city council had already introduced domestic partnership beneits for same-sex couples and anti-discrimination ordinances for public employees. That said, Taylor Swift still found it necessary recently to donate $113,000 (more than £86,000) to the Tennessee Equality Project, an organisation that lobbies for the rfights of local queer people and opposes anti- LGBTQ legislation.

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About Attitude

On the cover: Taron Egerton on bringing Elton John to the big screen in Rocketman. Plus: Queen Zee, BenDeLaCreme, and what next for Parkfield School?