In that span of two decades, the boundaries of Nashville did not change. But something did. Or rather, many somethings changed, and kept changing, until many who lived in Nashville began to feel they no longer recognized their own city. And some began to feel it wasn't their own city at all anymore as they were pushed to its fringes by rising housing costs. Between 1998 and 2018, the population of Nashville grew by 150,000. On some level, Nashville has always packaged itself for consumption, but something clicked and suddenly everyone wanted a taste. But why Nashville? Why now? What made all this change possible?
This book is an attempt to understand those transformations, or, if not to understand them, exactly, then to at least grapple with the question: What happened?
Steve Haruch is a writer, editor and filmmaker. He worked as a staff editor at the Nashville Scene from 1997-2014, covering music, art, film, politics and culture. His writing has since appeared at The New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR’s Code Switch, The Guardian, Gravy and Chapter16.org, among other outlets. His audio stories have aired on Nashville Public Radio and WBUR’s Here and Now. In 2018, Haruch edited the collection People Only Die of Love in Movies: Film Writing by Jim Ridley (Vanderbilt University Press), which was first runner-up for the Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Reference/Primary Source Work in Popular and American Culture from the Popular Culture Association. He lives with his family in Nashville.
Nashville’s Band of Outsiders
Ann Patchett is the author of eight novels, most recently The Dutch House, and three books of nonfiction. In 2019, she published her first children’s book, Lambslide, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Patchett has received numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Bookseller’s Association’s Most Engaging Author Award, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville with her business partner Karen Hayes. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
Miracles and Ice
J.R. Lind is a native Middle Tennessean, and has covered the region since 2006, reporting on sports and other, less important topics for The Lebanon Democrat, Nashville Post, Nashville Scene and The City Paper. The Navy veteran wears his love for his local teams on his sleeve, literally: He has a tattoo of a catfish on his left arm. His daughter’s favorite stuffed animal is named for a former Predators back-up goalie. Over the past two decades, the Titans and Predators have brought him hours of joy and taken years off his life. He lives in West Nashville.
Zach Stafford is the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and host of the BuzzFeed News morning show AM2DM. Prior to these roles, he served as the chief content officer of Grindr and editor-in-chief of INTO, the award-winning LGBTQ digital magazine. He has also served as the editor-at-large of Out Magazine and was an award-winning journalist at The Guardian. Zach regularly provides commentary on radio and podcasts, and has appeared on the BBC, CNN and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He is the co-editor of the book Boys, An Anthology, the co-author of the forthcoming children’s book When Dogs Heal and host of the recent documentary BOYSTOWN. In 2019, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 and to the Root 100 list of most influential African Americans.
An Open Letter
Ben Folds is widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation. He’s created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums and numerous collaborative records. For over a decade he’s performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and currently serves as the Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. In addition to solo rock and orchestral touring, Folds has recently written a critically acclaimed memoir A Dream About Lightning Bugs, which debuted as a New York Times Best Seller. An outspoken champion for arts education and music therapy funding in our nation’s public schools, Ben has served for over five years as an active member of the distinguished Artist Committee of Americans For The Arts (AFTA), and serves on the Board of AFTA’s Arts Action Fund. He is also Chairman of the Arts Action Fund’s ArtsVote2020 national initiative to advocate for a greater commitment to the nation’s creative economy through improved public policies for the arts and arts education.
Bobby Allyn is a general assignment reporter at NPR in Washington, focused on breaking news and criminal justice. For more than four years, he was a reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia covering law enforcement, courts and usually the big story of the day. He has been a staff reporter at The Oregonian and The Tennessean, and his work has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Black Nashville Now and Then
Ron Wynn is currently sports and entertainment editor for the Tennessee Tribune, a columnist for the Tennessee Jazz and Blues Society, executive editor of the online publication Everything Underground and a frequent contributor to the Nashville Scene. He has been co-host of the radio show “Freestyle” on WFSK-FM 88.1 since 2000. He previously worked at several newspapers, among them the Bay State Banner in Boston, the Bridgeport Post-Telegram (now Connecticut Post), the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Nashville City Paper. He was nominated for a liner notes Grammy for From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music, and contributed to the Grammy-winning Night Train to Nashville.
Steve Cavendish grew up in and around Nashville and after graduating from Belmont University, he began his journalism career at the Nashville Banner. After working at a number of outlets around the country, including the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post, he returned home to edit The City Paper and the Nashville Scene.
Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collections I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Clark is a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow and a recipient of a 2019 Pushcart Prize, as well as a winner of the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize and 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. Clark is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, VQR, Tin House Online, Kenyon Review, BuzzFeed News, American Poetry Review and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Welcome to Bachelorette City
Steven Hale is a staff writer for the Nashville Scene, where he’s covered Metro government, criminal justice and the effects of the city’s rapid growth. His work has also appeared in The Washington Post and The Daily Beast.
Desegregation and Its Discontents
Ansley T. Erickson
Ansley T. Erickson is an associate professor of history and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She researched Nashville’s schools for her book Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and its Limits (University of Chicago Press, 2016). Her writing has appeared in numerous scholarly and public venues, including the Nashville Scene, TheWashington Post and Dissent.
Next Big Something
Ashley Spurgeon is a columnist and longtime contributor to the Nashville Scene. Her work has appeared in magazines NME and NYLON, and websites The Hairpin and The Toast. She is co-host of the podcasts Hott Minute and Chris Gaines: The Podcast. She lives in Nashville with her boyfriend Dave and dog Gilda.
Richard Lloyd is associate professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City (Routledge, 2010), and has written extensively for academic and popular outlets on the arts, urban development and American politics.
The End of the Beginning
Carrie Ferguson Weir
Carrie Ferguson Weir moved to Nashville in 1991. A long-time local newspaper journalist, she now works in communications for the public school system, after stints with a local nonprofit and state government. She still owns all the antiques she bought from Nolensville Road salvage stores of the early ‘90s.
Tech of the Town
Meribah Knight is a reporter for Nashville Public Radio and producer of the podcast The Promise. Before moving to Nashville she lived in Chicago, where she covered business, the economy, housing, crime and transportation. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times,The New Yorker, Chicago Magazine, Crain’s Chicago Business and The Chicago Reader. Her radio and multimedia work has been featured on NPR, WBEZ, The PBS News Hour and Chicago Public Television. A native of Cambridge, Mass., Meribah has a Masters of Journalism from Northwestern University and a BA from New York University. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a photojournalist with The Tennessean, their young son and six cats.
A Monument the Old South Would Like to Ignore
Margaret Renkl is the author of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss. She is also a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where her essays appear each Monday. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Oxford American, River Teeth, and The Sewanee Review, among others. A graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina, she lives in Nashville.
Who Will Hold the Police Accountable?
Ted Alcorn is a journalist, researcher, and educator with expertise in gun violence prevention policies and programs. An associate at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, he also reports on health and justice for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications. He was a founding employee of Everytown For Gun Safety, where he was the Research Director and then the Director of Innovation, and he previously served as a policy analyst in the Office of the Mayor of New York City. He earned graduate degrees as a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and their School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and lived in Beijing, China as a Henry Luce scholar.
Florida Nashville Line
Betsy Phillips is the Marketing Manager at Vanderbilt University Press. Her writing has appeared in TheNashville Scene and The Washington Post. She is the author of Dynamite Nashville: The KKK, the FBI, and the Bombers Beyond Their Control.
"Consider this fascinating encapsulation of time and place a must-read—not only for Nashvillians seeking self-awareness as a community, but for leaders of every growing city in America."~Mary Laura Philpott
—Mary Laura Philpott, author of I Miss You When I Blink