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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

Frankie Pierce Park, Part 3

In August, 2019 Anthony Billups of Music City Murals and Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun did a series of murals in the new Frankie Pierce Park. The murals all honor one of Nashville’s most important Black activists, J. Frankie Pierce.  Pierce was a civil rights activist who played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement in Nashville, and who opened the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls in 1923, which remained open until 1979.

There’s a long Pierce mural on the east side of the park. On the southwest side, there are two Pierce murals flanking a railroad underpass, the southernmost of which I’ve already featured. Today being the first day of African-American History Month, it’s a good time to wrap up this series. This third mural lies across the street from the second one. Here we can read a short biography of Pierce’s life and work in the form of a newspaper article, and learn about her campaigns for civil rights and women’s suffrage.

Frankie Pierce Park is a green space that includes a children’s playground that was built as a public-private partnership between Capitol View, a massive multi-block development, and Metro Parks. It lies in a triangle of land between two elevated railroad lines that separate Capitol View from Capitol Hill.

Today, the neighborhood the park is found in is know as Capitol View, after the enormous development project. There are even developers and real-estate agents who like to call it “North Gulch,” which is truly awful. But as the “newspaper article” that makes up the mural notes, when Frankie Pierce was alive, this patch of land was called Hell’s Half-Acre. Founded during Reconstruction, the neighborhood was populated by Blacks and immigrants. As it lay outside of city limits at the time, it was a place where saloons and all kinds of vice flourished, but was also home to a rich African-American culture. It was razed in the 1950s as part of a Capitol Hill Redevelopment plan, and largely remained empty (or used as parking lots) until the Capitol View development project was built. Gentrification, or just outright destruction of neighborhoods, is not a new problem in Nashville.

Here you can see the “newspaper” mural with its companion, looking out of the park towards the Capitol View development.

Underpass murals Nashville street art

Located at 130 Lifeway Plaza. That’s the address of the park. The mural is found on the south end of the park, on the southern railroad underpass, right off of Nelson Merry Street. The easiest parking is off of Nelson Merry, which you can see in the bottom image, and at Capitol View.

Part 1 Part 2

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

Dolly by MuckRock

There’s been a spate of Dolly Parton murals lately. Sadly, the one by Bryan Deese was painted over right after I posted about it, but the one by Kim Radford still greets me whenever I drive down my street to get to downtown. And of course she’s on one of the fences by Scott Guion in Berry Hill. And now you can find her on Gallatin Road.

Jules Muck, who signs her work “MuckRock” is a New York artist who now lives and works in Venice, California. She has work all over the United States and around the world, and is currently touring the States leaving murals wherever she goes. She was here in mid-October to do the Dolly portrait, and is apparently travelling with a dog. (Scroll her Instagram page – the pup shows up in several places.)

Parton’s portrait is found on the south wall of Blue Door Framing, painted with poppies in her hair, as Parton is known to do. Parton’s hair spells out “Nashville’ and “MuckRock.” Muck also did some poppies on the front of the building.

(By the way, the funny crop on the lead photo is entirely a Facebook thing. They have really dumb cropping rules for shares.)

Dolly Parton Mural Nashville street art

Here you see them together.

Dolly Parton Mural Nashville street art

I imagine it’s only a matter of time before more Dolly murals appear in town. Wildflowers don’t care where they grow, after all.

Located at 2809 Gallatin Pike, at the corner with Burchwood Avenue. The main mural faces south towards downtown, while the flower faces Gallatin. Blue Door has limited parking, and it’s possible to park on the side of the building towards the back. There’s street parking a little ways down Burchwood.

Frankie Pierce Park, Part 1

As part of the massive Capitol View project off of Charlotte Avenue, the developers agreed to create 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 Parks. It lies in a triangle of land between two elevated railroad lines that separate Capitol View from Capitol Hill. Real estate folks like to call the area around Capitol View “North Gulch,” but it used to be known as Hell’s Half-Acre, long a Black neighborhood, which was torn down in the mid-twentieth century.

Frankie Pierce Mural Nashville street art

Because of its history, it’s appropriate that the park be named in honor of one of Nashville’s most important Black activists, J. Franke Pierce.  Pierce was a civil rights activist who played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement in Nashville, and who opened the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls in 1923, which remained open until 1979. Her work for women’s voting rights is honored in the Alan LeQuire statue of suffragette activists found in Centennial Park I wrote about in These women came to vote!.

Frankie Pierce Mural Nashville street art

This mural, as well as two others nearby that I’ll post about later, is the work of Anthony Billups of Music City Murals and Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun, and it went up back in August. On his Instagram page, Billups discuss the fact that every day they worked on the mural, they were questioned by police. Billups, who is white, found himself needing to defend Aka-Bashorun, who is Black. Billups says that he has never been questioned by police on any project before, but police repeatedly questioned what Aka-Bashorun was doing. He says:

It was also apparent that when I showed up, the situation de-escalated because I am white. What if I hadn’t been there??

All this while they were working on a mural honoring an important Black activist.

Frankie Pierce Mural Nashville street art

Located at 130 Lifeway Plaza. That’s the address of the park. The mural is found on the south end of the park, on the left side of the eastern railroad bridge, right off of Nelson Merry Street. The easiest parking is off of Nelson Merry, on the other side of the western railroad bridge, at Capitol View.

Part 2 Part 3

Frankie Pierce Park sign

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 4

Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, this is the fourth fence you come to (on the outer part of the loop). It’s also the first one that’s on what used to be House of Blues property. I say used to be, because when I started this series, I did not realize that the whole complex that had once been House of Blues was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group. (That story has a picture of the artist who created these murals, Scott Guion, working on the first fence I featured in this series.) That of courses raises some concerns about the future of this art, but in the nearly two years they’ve owned the complex, UMG has taken no steps to remove any of it.

The artists featured on this fence are an eclectic group, as all of them are. Unlike the most recent fence in this series, some of these artists are still alive, namely Marty Stuart, Tanya Tucker, and the members of Outkast, André 3000 and Big Boi. The remainder are deceased and included Tom Petty, Fats Domino and Janis Joplin. As with the other fences, Guion is a little inconsistent about what age he shows these artists, even accounting for the ones who dies prematurely.

Faces mural fence Nashville street art
Marty Stuart, Tom Petty, Big Boi and André 3000 of Outkast

There’s a also a sign attached to this fence, with the slogan “I found my thrill in Berry Hill,” and obvious reference to Domino’s signature song, “Blueberry Hill.”

Berry Hill Sign Nashville street art
Berry Hill Sign Nashville street art

The art in the background is also by Guion. On the picture at the top of this post you can see a portrait of B.B. King on a wall which I’ll feature as a separate post later. Along the driveway that heads to the back of the building there are other murals, which I shot from the entrance to the driveway.

Presumably there’s more work in that parking lot, but you might want permission before going back there.

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 518 East Iris Drive. The mural faces south towards the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

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