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House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 7

Of the many fences surrounding Columbine Park in Berry Hill with murals that depict famous musicians, only one is not immediately visible from the street, as it is in the parking lot 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.) The mural can be seen from East Iris Drive, but a water tower partially obscures the view. Like the whole set, this fence was created by Scott Guion for the now closed Nashville branch of the House of Blues.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
T Bone Burnett

This particular fence is just as eclectic as the others, with a range of artists representing everything from classic country to modern hip-hop. Like the other fences, the people depicted are shown at a range of ages, and this is also one of the only fences where the majority of people shown are alive. Prominently displayed with a halo of rays that make his image look almost three-dimensional is T Bone Burnett, a guitarist and song-writer best known for his work as an influential and prolific producer.

Faces mural Nashville street art
Patsy Cline and Stevie Ray Vaughan

In the middle are two stars who perished young in aviation accidents, the legendary Patsy Cline and the wildly talented guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. They were only 30 and 35, respectively, when they died.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
Joe Walsh and Snoop Dogg

Next to Vaughn is a portrait of another guitarist, Joe Walsh, who fist gained fame with the James Gang and then became a superstar with the Eagles. And at the far left is Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, aka Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. He’s labeled here as Snoop Lion, a name he used for a time in 2013 in promotion of reggae record, and is depicted engaging in one of his favorite activities.

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. The mural faces north across the parking lot towards West Iris. The parking lot is most likely to be empty on Sunday. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 6

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.

Berry Hill Faces Nashville street art
Johnny Cash and 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.

Berry Hill Faces Nashville street art
Albert King and Carl Perkins

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.

Berry Hill Faces Nashville street art
Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, and Ralph Stanley

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.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 7

Do the Dew, Again

This colorful mural by Atlanta artist Kevin Bongang is not the first “Do the Dew” mural in Nashville. PepsiCo launched their “Do the Dew” global advertising campaign back in 2015, and as part of that campaign they have sponsored a number of murals. In early 2019, Eastside Murals produced their own “Do the Dew” mural on the old Family Dollar near Five Points. That was one of the many murals destroyed by the March 3, 2020 tornado. Indeed, the building it was on completely collapsed.

Almost exactly two years after that first Nashville “Do the Dew” mural went up, Bongang created this one. This is at the Citgo station at Fifth and Main, an intersection that is something of a gateway to East Nashville.  (The other main one would be Woodland and Fifth, near where the giant EAST mural is found.) The bulk of people coming from downtown pass by this spot as they come to the east side. Before this new mural went in, there was a small, rather quirky mural on this wall greeting drivers that focused more on Nashville themes.

Bongang’s mural fills the whole wall and spills around the corners on to the other walls (see below). While highlighting the “Do the Dew” theme, it’s more of a wild pastiche of images, including several birds. The mural faces across the river towards Nissan Stadium, which may explain the football, and the musical notes are likely a nod to Nashville’s status as Music City – or they may just be birdsong. This by the way is not Bongang’s first Nashville mural. He has a few others in town, including one just a few blocks away at Center 615.

Located at 500 Main Street. The mural is on the west wall, facing towards Fifth Street and downtown. There is parking at the Citgo.

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

Tucked away underneath the Nashville Municipal Auditorium is the Nashville Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. It hasn’t always been there, having once been down on 6th Avenue. But they had to give that site up to make room for the Music City Center in 2010, reopening in 2013 in what was once the Municipal Auditorium’s convention exhibit space.

Being a little tucked away, all the visual bling they can get to help people find them is useful. Enter Steve Mellgren, CEO of Dimensions in Screen Printing, who designed and donated the mural to the museum in 2019. (Dimensions is a small screen printing company in Irvine, California and does not appear to have an internet presence.) The mural makes a nice logo, and in fact, you can get it on a T-shirt, in teal and black (my preference).

This part of downtown doesn’t have a lot of outdoor art, though the main entrance to the auditorium does have a giant mural of concert tickets. I see the Musician Hall of Fame mural as another data point in the evidence that Nashville businesses increasingly understand that art is an essential part of any commercial enterprise. Maybe it will inspire more art in the neighborhood.

Located at 401 Gay Street. The mural is behind a gated area (facing towards James Robertson Parkway), so if the museum is closed, you can see it, but not up close. This is downtown, so lots of parking, none of it free. There are metered spaces across Gay Street.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 5 – B.B. King

Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, count to the fourth fence, and you arrive at this building, 516 East Iris, with the largest of all of the portraits, one of B.B. King. It’s of course not on a fence, but on what appears to be a permanently closed garage door.

It’s also the only portrait in the entire set that isn’t labeled. I guess you’re just supposed to know that that’s B.B King. And there are no other portraits of him in the set, and you couldn’t do a set of portraits like this without B.B. King. Most of us know King as an older man than the one we see here, and I did look at some photos of a younger King to be sure. The artist,  Scott Guion, likes to play around with the ages that he depicts the music icons in these portraits, and here he goes against convention. King is smoking a cigarette and of course playing Lucille, though which one is unclear (King has a series of black Gibsons he called by that name).

The building is labeled House of Blues, but as I mentioned in a previous post, two years ago the whole complex was sold to Universal Music Group. This portrait is of course at the end of short driveway. I’ve always visited on the weekend, and found the driveway empty, but that may not be true during the work week.

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 516 East Iris Drive. The mural faces south towards the water tower. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 6 Part 7

Drum Cat

It’s a little unusual for a mural to be geared to two businesses, but this little gem on the side of a small building next to Mas Tacos Por Favor guides you to both businesses it holds, Drum Supply and and Relik Vintage. It used to be three, as Drum Supply once cohabited with Nelson Drum House, which has since decamped to Gallatin Pike.

Appropriate for a mural for two businesses is that it’s the product of two artists, Folek Kelof and Christian Branger. That the design features a drum makes a lot of sense, and while I don’t know where the cat comes from, it certainly looks like the sort of thing you’d find on a vintage T-shirt.

While the mural itself is about a year old and has weathered the past year fine, the signatures have faded. If you look at this photo Folek posted to his Instagram account right after the mural was painted, you’ll see the signatures are bold, and the Instagram accounts of both Relik Vintage and Drum supply are clear, along with the hashtag #NashvilleCat. Those account names are now almost invisible, while the signatures are faded and the hashtag can be only faintly seen.

Relik Vintage dodged a bullet. They used to be on Woodland. A few months before the tornado, they moved to McFerrin. When the March 3 storm came, their old location was devastated. Scrolling through their Instagram page, I recognized murals that used to be in the alley behind their Woodland shop being used as backdrops for people modeling their clothes. Some of those you can read about here in my post about the storm’s aftermath.

Located at 730 McFerrin Avenue. This is a very busy commercial corner, and while there is business parking and street parking nearby, you may have to do some walking.

Happy Notes

One of the more significant works of outdoor art in Nashville doesn’t get much attention. It’s seen by thousands of people every day (even in the pandemic) and yet hardly anyone talks about it. In part, that’s because its not easy to photograph, and it’s impossible to see the whole thing at once. That said, not many artists featured on this blog have their own Wikipedia page.

Happy Notes Mural Nashville street art

Along the west side of the tunnel that runs under Music City Center is a 165-foot mural-mosaic by Canadian artist Bob Zoell (who resides in Los Angeles). It was installed in 2013 and is called “Happy Notes,” and features many birds and musical notes.

“Besides flight, little birds are synonymous with songs and singing. How delightful it is that our everyday life is filled with the music and songs of these little creatures that project joy in their songs. For this reason I have chosen a theme of singing birds for the Music Center landscape mural. Little birds with their simple songs express the freedom in music that is so symbolic to Nashville history.” – Bob Zoell

Nashville Arts Magazine

The late-lamented Nashville Arts Magazine wrote about this mural in 2012, after Zoell got the commission. In their article, you can see Zoell holding up a version of the mural-mosaic, which gives you an idea what it might look like unobscured by the columns. The mosaic is a surreal journey between night, day and the passing of the seasons. Music City Center has a photo album of it being installed on their Facebook page.

I think it’s a bit of a shame that it’s not more prominently displayed, somewhere where people aren’t laser focused on getting from point A to point B. But it’s a lovely piece of whimsey, by a major artist, and it’s a delightful secret hidden in plain sight.

  • Happy Notes Mosaic Nashville street art
  • Happy Notes Mosaic Nashville street art
  • Happy Notes Mosaic Nashville street art
  • Happy Notes Mosaic Nashville street art
  • Happy Notes Mosaic Nashville street art
  • Happy Notes Mosaic Nashville street art

Located at 201 5th Avenue South. That’s the official address of Music City Center. The mural-mosaic is found on the 200 block of 6th Avenue South, which runs under MCC. Google Maps does not indicate this block of 6th Avenue exists, but it does! (It is visible on Street View in some very bad photos, but not on the regular map.) This is downtown, so lots of parking, almost none of it free. The tunnel is well lit, and there are crosswalks near each end.

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