NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new mural dominates Fourth Avenue S. in the Wedgewood-Houston/Chestnut Hill neighborhoods with 5,775 square feet of concert tickets from the past.
"At the very basic level, this is kind of a love letter to Nashville live music, but really when you peel back the layers and you understand that all of these artists are connected to each other as well as this neighborhood," explained Adventurous Journeys VP Lesley Florie.
Adventurous Journeys, Studio Delger, and Eastside Murals collaborated to create the eight, 50-foot paneled mural complete with 62 tickets from a wide range of genres.
"Wedgewood-Houston, Chestnut Hill is kind of at the intersection of really [the] arts and entertainment industry, but it's always been a unique pocket of Nashville," explained Florie. "We wanted to tell a story that was unique [compared] to the rest of Nashville...So much of Nashville public art, as well as the marketing for the town, is about country music. But, this town has so much more rich and diverse music history and that's really what we wanted to capture for this location."
Florie said, "We sourced all of these tickets, they are actual ticket stubs. Photograph them. We got them from different band members, fans, collectors. You know, having that real authenticity and all those details and the handwriting is really important to us."
Each ticket came with a story—many of which have a connection to the Wedgewood-Houston/Chestnut Hill neighborhood:
- The Fisk Jubilee Singers: In August 1941 during a research trip in Mississippi, folklorist Alan Lomax and Fisk University music professor John Work III interviewed and recorded local musicians who went on to blues fame. Among them: McKinley A. Morganfield, nicknamed Muddy Waters. The mural features a Muddy Waters ticket stub from Muther’s Music Emporium.
- The Rolling Stones name their band after Muddy’s song. There is a Rolling Stones ticket from 1972 in the mural. The Stones chose a then 22-year-old Stevie Wonder to open for them on tour. Wonder was on the Tamla label and has pressed many records at United Record Pressing on Chestnut Street.
- Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan had a very special friendship. When Cash started the Johnny Cash TV Show and filmed the first episode in 1969, Dylan was his first guest appearance.
- Jack White pressed many records at URP until Third Man became its own vinyl pressing operation. White and Loretta Lynn collaborated on Van Lear Rose in 2004. Lynn and Conway Twitty had five consecutive No. 1 hits between 1971 and 1975. Twitty was an original investor in The Sounds when they played at Greer Stadium.
- The 2009 Eric Church ticket stub at the Cannery Ballroom is the show that convinced his label not to drop him.
- One of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, Ella Sheppard Moore, was interred in 1914 in the Nashville City Cemetery, which is next door to the mural.
- On the panel facing the cemetery is a ticket for a 1914 Fisk Jubilee show at The Ryman.
"At a certain point it worked out better to get up there with an actual physical ticket, hold it up and have like a different lighting on it and use that to get all the wrinkles and details painted," explained Eastside Murals artist Ian Lawrence.
The Big Tickets Mural took more than three months to paint with a mix of bucket paint and spray paint.
"It's super exciting to have done something that's gonna hopefully be here for a long time and like the big landmark in the neighborhood and for the city as a whole," said Eastside Murals artist Sterling Goller-Brown.
The mural featuring 120 artists gives visitors a walk back in time to concerts and artists they, too, may have gone to see.
"It's just kind of a nice reminder that as long as people are making music and having the opportunity to experience music, that's what matters," Florie said.