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House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 2

As you travel clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, the second fence you come to is one of the youngest. It and the fence just to the east were the last two created by  Scott Guion for the Nashville branch of the House of Blues. Despite that, the people featured on it are artists whose careers mostly got started back in the ’60s and ’70s. The youngster among them is Jim Lauderdale, whose first album came out 1986. Like all the fences, it’s an eclectic mix of iconic artists from a wide array of genres, many of whom have crossed genres themselves. It’s also interesting that Guion has chosen to show these artists at different stages of their lives. Nina Simone, who was born the earliest of the group (in 1933) is shown relatively young. Meanwhile, Emmylou Harris, born a few years after Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is depicted a couple decades older than both men. Also included are Gregg Allman, Jerry Garcia, Joni Mitchell, and Otis Redding.

Fence face mural Nashville street art
Gregg Allman and Otis Redding

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.

Fence Faces mural Nashville Street art
Joni Mitchell and Jim Lauderdale

Lauderdale by a decade is the baby of this group, born in 1957. Harris and Allman are next, both born in 1947.

Fence faces mural Nashville street art
Emmylou Harris, Nina Simone, and Jerry Garcia

Garcia seems to have a halo here, which is an interesting choice.

Fence faces mural Nashville Street art
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Located at 524 East Iris Drive, which is the address of the building behind the fence, Premier Protective Services. The mural faces south towards the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 1

Back in 2016, a series of portraits of iconic musicians began to appear on several fences surrounding Columbine Park. They were sponsored by the Nashville branch of the House of Blues, and are the product of Nashville artist Scott Guion. The House of Blues calls them the “Wall of Fame,” but for obvious reasons, I went with “fences.” While often featured in lists of Nashville’s best murals, or used in various media about music in Nashville, they don’t show up on social media quite as much as some of the other well-known murals in Nashville. I  say Nashville – to be exact, this is Berry Hill, which is separate from Nashville, with its own municipal government, though it is part of Metro. And this has something to do with why these murals have not been gotten quite the attention you might think. There are no sidewalks in Berry Hill, and until recently, there was absolutely no parking in Berry Hill, unless you were visiting one the businesses there. Four spaces at Columbine Park had a sign that made it clear they were for users of the park only. It wasn’t an inviting place.

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art
George Jones and Bill Monroe

But things have changed. The loop around the park has been made one-way only, and the inner lane on both sides has been turned into parking places. As a park, Columbine Park has been dismantled, and the Berry Hill police don’t seem to mind if you park on the grass, or in the park parking spaces – that sign is gone. So I feel a lot better about telling people to go and visit.

BH Faces Elvis
Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the fences and some of the surrounding art, starting from the entrance off Bransford Avenue on East Iris Drive, looping around the park clockwise. That means I have to start with the hardest fence to photograph, because of the heavy vegetation around it. But it is chock full of icons, mostly from mid-century rock and country. One feature of Guion’s portraits is that he has chosen to show many of these musicians when they were young. I have to say, I didn’t recognize George Jones.

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art
Dolly Parton and Willy Nelson

Right to left, this fence features, Bill Monroe, Jones, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams. Quite a lineup – did I really need to link those?

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art
Hank Willams and Bob Dylan

I think it’s somehow right that Dylan has a vine growing out of his face. Why not?

Berry Hill faces mural Nashville street art

Located on the 500 block of East Iris Drive, right off Bransford Avenue. The mural is on the south side of the road. Parking is available a bit to the east, surrounding the nearby park.

R. Crumb and Pink Tags at Cahal

The building at Cahal and Gallatin has been empty and unused for some time. It’s attached to The Cobra Bar (which itself has some murals) and has had its share of minor graffiti tags. This large installation went in sometime back in the spring. Its longevity is uncertain, for the building is for sale, and presumably, future owners will want to brand the building in their own way. For that matter, these kinds of installations are generally not thought of as “permanent,” even in the sense that word usually means in the mural world, which is only kind-of-sort-of permanent. It carries tags from the UH Crew and may include the work of others. The large banner at the top on the black wall reads “Under Hypnosis.”

Cahal Graffiti mural Nashville street art

One interesting feature is the inclusion of three figures (and one human head) based on the work of Robert Crumb, often known simply as R. Crumb, which is how he signs his work. The one image of his that people are most likely to know is the “Keep on Truckin’” man, a figure who leans back at an extraordinary angle as he walks, with one leg jutting far forward. Crumb’s work has been thought of as revolutionary, but also has been very controversial. Not surprisingly, the homage here is pretty tame. It can be seen from Gallatin Road, after all.

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Cahal Graffiti mural Nashville street art

Located at 2521 Gallatin Avenue, at the corner with Cahal Avenue. The black mural faces north towards Cahal, and the pink mural faces east, on the opposite side from Gallatin. Parking is available in a lot beside the building.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant (The Nations)

There are now at least three Kobe Bryant memorial murals in town – the ones featured in Strength and mourning and Kobe Bryant (Nolensville Pike), and also this one, by Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun, at the branch of Red Bicycle Coffee on 51st Avenue.  Like the Nolensville one (by José Fernando Vargas), it also features Gianna Bryant, Kobe’s daughter, who was one of the seven other people killed in that January helicopter crash. Also, like the Nolensville piece, this one features a quotation from Bryant. There’s also a wide geographic dispersal of the three, with one at Lafayette and 2nd close to the city’s inner core, another well south near Nolensville and Harding, and this one on the west side of town in The Nations, at Red Bicycle. It’s interesting that of all the celebrity deaths, this one has inspired so much art in Nashville.

Kobe Bryant Mural Nashville street art

Aka-Bashorun’s work should be familiar to anyone who has participated in the Downtown First Saturday Art Crawl. His gallery, DBO Gallery, which features his work and that of others, is in The Nashville Arcade, where many galleries featured in the crawl are found. One his Instagram page, you can watch a time-lapse video of him creating this mural.

Kobe and Gianna mural Nashville street art

Located at 712 51st Avenue North. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing Indiana Avenue. Red Bicycle has some parking, and a little further east on Indiana, there is street parking available. The strip of parking across the street from the mural is private.

Red Headed Stranger

The mural at Red Headed Stranger in the McFerrin Park neighborhood of East Nashville is one of the most understated of all of Nashville’s murals, which makes it a little difficult to photograph. It’s subtle, not loud, with its light colors and large expanses of white. It’s was made by I Saw the Sign las August, and is based on a design by Mode, a branding and design company out of Charlotte, NC. Red Headed Stranger (an obvious homage to Willie Nelson and the album of the same name) is a taco shop owned by the same people as Butcher & Bee. I Saw the Sign also did the sign/mural on the face of Butcher & Bee’s Main Street branch. RHS’s menu indicates that their tacos are all on flour tortillas, which is not usually my thing, but they have good reviews. To each their own! The portrait at the end is of a cowgirl with an eye-patch, so it’s definitely not Willie Nelson.

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RedHeaded Face mural Nashville street art

Located at 305 Arrington Street, at the corner with Meridian Street. Street parking is available.

Riding!

Tucked away on the back side of Block E of the massive Capitol View project is this charming mural of a kid on a trike by Music City Murals. Though sort of hidden in an alleyway between the building and a raised railway track, the subject is appropriate, for there’s a short tunnel just across the alley that leads to Frankie Pierce Park, a green space that includes a children’s playground that was built as a public-private partnership between Capitol View and Metro ParksPierce was a civil rights activist who played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement in Nashville. The mural is one of three that Music City Murals has done for Capitol View, the other two in much more visible places. They’ll be on the blog soon. The hardest part of researching this (since I already knew who had done this unsigned mural) was working out exactly where it is on a map. Google Maps, as of this publication, has still not fully incorporated this relatively new development project. Google wants you to believe this patch of land is on the border between “North Gulch” (ugh) and Hope Gardens, but long-time locals know that it’s Hells Half-Acre.

Tricycle Kid mural Nashville street art

Located at 500 11th Avenue North. That’s the address of Block E of the Capitol View development, the building the mural is located on. The mural is found in an ally/driveway that separates Block E from the raised railroad that lies to the east, in the direction of the Capitol. The alley runs between Nelson Merry Street and LifeWay Plaza. The mural faces south, towards Nelson Merry, and is about in the middle of the block. There is plenty of parking available in the complex’s garages.

July 4, 2020

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Of course, this year, the 4th is a little different. 2020 has not been an easy year, and we are only halfway through it. Maybe this stern-faced eagle by the artist JamersonSGC (who often signs his work “Low Key Art”) is exactly what we need. Its gaze seems a little disapproving, reminding us of our civic duty, implying that we haven’t quite measured up. Or maybe I just read it that way in the face of – waves hand around – everything that’s been happening. Sometimes being a citizen is easy, and sometimes it is hard, and in 2020 it isn’t easy.

Jamerson has engulfed the whole building in art. The eagle is found on the back of Marley’s Market and Restaurant on Lafayette Street, roughly the south side of the building. On the east side, the left if you are standing at the entrance, is a brown-and-black American flag. And wrapping across the front and the west side of the building is an American flag with an African-American man’s portrait. I’ve seen convenience stores with flag murals before, but nothing on this scale.

Again, have a happy and safe holiday weekend. And think about what that eagle might be trying to tell you.

Located at 141 Lafayette Street. There is parking at the market.

Kobe Bryant (Nolensville Pike)

Since the death of Kobe Bryant, at least three memorial murals have appeared in Nashville honoring him. I’ve already written about one by JamersonSGC, which I featured in Strength and mourning. Another, which I’ll feature soon, is found on 51st Ave North at This Red Bicycle Coffee. It is interesting that of all the icons that have been lost of late, Bryant has gotten this much artistic attention.

The one above is on Nolensville Pike at the building that houses La Sierra Western Wear. It is by José Fernando Vargas, who has been on this blog many times before. He’s one of the principal muralists who decorates Latino-owned businesses in town. Unlike Jamerson’s mural, which features a young Bryant alone, this mural also includes Bryant’s daughter Gianna, as well as the names of all the victims of the helicopter crash that killed them. As well, the mural includes the jerseys Bryant had in his career, an action shot of Bryant dunking, and one his quotes. A golden basketball rim stands in as a halo over Bryant’s head.

Long ago, this wall had a mural of graffiti art I featured in The Vape USA Gallery, which was painted over some time ago.

Located at 3807 Nolensville Pike, a few hundred yards south of the entrance to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. This mural faces north towards downtown. Parking is available.

Little Jimmy Dickens

As he was a long-time stalwart of the Grand Ole Opry, it makes sense to find a life-size sculpture of Little Jimmy Dickens right in the center of the plaza in front of the entrance to the Ryman Auditorium, the Opry’s long-time former home. It’s actually fairly new. It and a statue of Bill Monroe nearby were unveiled on June 7, 2017. Both are by the Mississippi sculptor Ben Watts. (I’ll write about the Monroe statue in a later post.) Brad Paisley, who cites Dickens as an important influence, helped dedicate the statue, noting Dickens’s hard work and commitment to entertaining his audiences. Dickens, who died at 94 on January 2, 2015, had been on stage at the Opry just days before.

Besides his diminutive size and love of funny novelty songs, Dickens was also an early pioneer of the rhinestone style, which West has captured in bronze. Dickens was also a Shriner, and consistently wore a Shriner symbol on his cowboy hats, also seen in West’s work.

The Ryman has announced plans to work with Watts again to produce more statues of iconic country music figures, so expect to see even more bronzes at the Ryman in the coming years.

As you can see in the slideshow below, this is another in a series of works that has a helpful suggestion as to where the photographer should stand for your photo with Dickens. The empty plaza in my photos also tells you that I shot this during the pandemic shutdown. Even so, I did have to wait for a small group to finish their pictures first.

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Located at 116 5th Avenue North. That’s the official address of the Ryman, and long ago it was where you entered the building. However, the modern entrance faces the 100 block of 4th Avenue North, about a half-block north of Broadway. That is where you will find the statue. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free.

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