Of the many fences surrounding Columbine Park in Berry Hill with murals that depict famous musicians, the only fence that faces the park from the east lies directly in front of what used to be the main House of Blues building. The whole complex of House of Blues properties in Berry Hill was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group. This fence is not as crowded with portraits as some of the others, probably because when it was first painted, there were two large trees in front of it that have since been removed. Like the whole set, this fence was created by Scott Guion for the now closed Nashville branch of the House of Blues.
The people portrayed on this fence were all deeply influential, and it includes a couple of superstars. Like the other fences, Guion plays around with ages, with some of the artists shown as quite young, while others much older. Unlike some of the other fences, all of the artists depicted here have died. The left side of the fence includes the two biggest stars, with a middle-aged Johnny Cash and younger Aretha Franklin.
The rest of the artists shown are important for their instrumental work, their singing, and their songwriting. Albert King was an important blues guitarist and singer best known for the song “Born Under A Bad Sign.” Carl Perkins was a was one of the key singer-songwriters of the early the rock-and-roll era who was known as the “King of Rockabilly.” He worked with a Rolodex of major artists, including a number of collaborations with his fence-mate Cash.
On the right side of the fence we find Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf and Ralph Stanley. Reed was highly influential in the development of electric blues guitar playing. Howlin’ Wolf was also deeply influential in blues, as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonic player. Stanley was a towering figure in the creation of bluegrass music. The reality is American music would sound very different without the people depicted on this fence.
See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.
Located at 517 East Iris Drive. That’s the address of the building it stands in front of. It faces west towards the park and Columbine Place. Parking is available around the park.