When country’s hottest stars descend on Nashville, Tenn., for the CMT Music Awards tonight, followed by the CMA Music Festival Thursday through Sunday, they’ll hit up all their favorite hot spots.
Example: Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber noshed on pancakes at The Pancake Pantry on May 27. (Bonus: The eatery is also preferred by Jessica Simpson.)
Here’s a guide to the places Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Jewel, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker, Gloriana’s Cheyenne Kimball and Laura Bell Bundy love to go in Music City.
“I go to bed,” the Temporary Home singer says of what she likes to do during the CMA Music Festival. “That’s my spot. ‘Club bed.’ It’s wonderful, I tell you. Yeah, there’s so much that goes on. You get out there and boy, it’s so dang hot here! And it’s humid and everybody’s sweating. I go home and I feel like that makes everything that much more tiring. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon in the sunshine all day.”
“There’s my farm – that’s outside of town – but I love the Opry,” he tells me of his Nashville must-see. “I love it. I would call that my favorite place in the city of Nashville. That hallowed place that feels like home that has accepted me from the very beginning. If I, on a rare weekend off, am able to go out there and sing a song or two, I feel like I’m doing something important and part of the birthplace.”
“I like this little bar called Losers,” the country singer, who is engaged to Blake Shelton, tells me. “It’s fun. It’s got the best jukebox in town.”
“My little boy, Bo, loves a baked potato, and Jason’s Deli makes a big ol’ baked potato. Every time I’m home, my wife and I, we take little Bo to get a big ol’ baked potato. I know that sounds totally random, but that’s our deal.”
“Nashville’s an amazing town,” the singer-songwriter ,whose album Sweet and Wild is out now, tells me. “I think listening to music is one of my favorite things – and eating the good food. There’s a little place that’s tiny called Calypso. Their black bean salad is good.”
“Go to The Station Inn in Nashville to watch the Time Jumpers perform,” the country icon tells me. “They’re a group of studio musicians and performers who come to play every Monday night. They play Western Swing, traditional country music. They’ve got three fiddles and a steel guitar. It is unbelievably good.”
She continues, “My favorite place to go is the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium. I’ve got family in right now, and they said, ‘What do we want to do?’ And I said, ‘I can’t think of a thing. I’m not good at that. I need the tour manager to show me around. But one of the first places that we ever went sightseeing when we came to Nashville from Oklahoma was The Hermitage, where [former President] Andrew Jackson lived. That’s really interesting.”
What should we know about the culture in Nashville?
“Nashville has a lot of history from the Civil War,” Reba says. “That’s the number-one thing that I find so interesting. Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn is a history buff, and I keep saying I’m going to get him to drive me around Nashville and show me all the historic points and give me a little of the lay of the land. I love history. It intrigues me.”
“I love to go to movies, go out to eat. Sometimes we go bowling. We don’t get out a lot in Nashville. We’re gone so much that when we get home, we want to stay home.”
“I like to go gamble at the Hard Rock. It’s always a party in there.”
Gloriana’s Cheyenne Kimball
“I love to go to Fido and I love to go to Café Cosa because it’s open 24 hours. I can go drink coffee and eat hummus.”
Laura Bell Bundy
“Go to The Patterson House, which is like a speakeasy on Division Street. That’s my favorite bar to go to. It’s a speakeasy – it’s like an old speakeasy. You have to sit there, and you can’t walk around. There’s rules – guys aren’t allowed to hit on girls. You have to talk to the people you came with. You can have a real conversation and also have a weird funky drink that was made in the ’20s.”
Here are my pics with Carrie, Miranda, Jewel, Reba, Martina and Darius.