Buskers. Street performers looking to be discovered. You can find them in most any city in the world, but there is probably no other place in the world where you can find them to such abundance as Nashville. On any given day (yes, even in the cold and damp) you're sure to find some guy (or gal) with his worn and trusty 6-string entertaining the passers-by with country, jazz and good old fashioned folk songs. On any given Saturday night, under the warm neon summer lights, the city seems filled with them.
A few months ago, we had cause to go down town for dinner. Afterward, we walked around, looking at the tourists, listening to the myriad music styles from both the bars and the buskers. It was an eclectic mix, with one country bar sitting quite literally door to door with a jazz club and a busker playing a violin standing on the sidewalk just outside both.
Friends who know me always ask when they're going to find me out there performing for spare change and, of course, the chance to be discovered. The answer is, of course, never. I don't play many instruments and I'm not about to practice on the streets. (Besides, rolling down the street with a baby grand is not really easy no matter how little traffic this city has.) Most of those Buskers are experienced with the moving transient audience, quipping back to the hecklers and singing songs of thank you for folding donations rather than clinking donations.
So, the next time you make a trip into Nashville, pick a nice warm day and be sure to walk downtown in the neon night and enjoy all the performances. Be sure to bring lots of folding donations when you do.