Dayna Duncan on the Nashville Music Scene

January 29, 2012

As a first time blogger for, I’d like to begin by introducing myself. I’d like to say that I’m a music guru of sorts…but that would be stretching it for many of you readers. But then again, what you don’t know can’t hurt you. (Well, except for the fact that I just ousted my own fraud.) More to the point, my name is Dayna. I am a musician, songwriter, offspring of a ridiculously awesome musical family, and a genuine lover of all music. Actually, I often say that I enjoy talking about music more than I enjoy performing it! I currently live in Nashville, TN and I will be offering my take on the beautifully prevalent and profound music scene here. Shall we commence? Indeed, we shall. A question that I get asked a lot when someone learns of my residence is, “So…you like country music?”

No. Actually I loathe mainstream (radio) county music. So why did I pack up my entire life, leave all of my family and friends, and move to “Music City?” It’s exactly how our title proclaims it: music city.

Nashville’s independent music scene may be one of the best in the country. With the likes of The Civil Wars and singer/songwriters like Trent Dabbs, the nation is subtly, but swiftly taking notice of our “big-small town.” Our scene can be summed up simply as a genuine love of music. Musicians move here mostly to be inspired by other musicians, not to compete. And as I’ve seen it and continue to see,
friends share in each other successes…and struggles.

At its core, music is the heartbeat and tone of all of our lives. Whatever culture you call your own; your music is your home. What you listen to defines and shapes you. Personally, my style is all over the board. But as bipolar as my ipod shuffle can be, in the forefront are my favorites that act as my very breath. The way I speak, dress, act, and live are direct results of the bands and musicians that I call my home.

However, my schizophrenic musical choices seem to have suited me well here. Whether you want alt rock, electronic pop, instrumental, party, glam, alt-country (Americana), bluegrass, folk, or one that pulls from it all…we have it. It’s not just independent alt-country versus the mainstream country and CCM conglomerates, as many would assume. Variation is the spice of life. And spice is delicious.

Now, I knew this when I decided to move here two years ago, obviously. But, I have to admit that I didn’t fully understand how all that the above mentioned would drive this city. Within days, literally, I was in a legendary bluegrass bar that gave Alison Krauss her start. A week later I was at a free acoustic show featuring Dave Barnes, Steve Moakler, Ben Rector, and Andrew Ripp. Within a month, I had seen The Civil Wars (pre-fame), Andrew Belle, Keegan DeWitt, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Matthew Perryman Jones, Madi Diaz, and Thad Cockrell! Don’t know these names? Get to know them. These are some of the biggest local names. And they are all making some amazing headway in the national thread of music. That’s not even including all of the bands that I’ll be reviewing as well. And I will be reviewing the heck out of them! You bet your sweet bippy, I will!

So in conclusion…sure, you will have some competition in any town where music or any kind of creative arts are the driving force. But in my personal experience in the music scene here, with my dear musician friends, producers I have met and worked with, and meeting many local music lovers, we can all honestly say that Nashville is about support. And a collective passion for the true art that is music. That is why this northern gal calls Nashville home. And as I continue to write for Ear to the Ground, I will do my darndest to review my favorites; those who are making headway in this town and in the nation, and give ya”ll a big ‘ol portion of downright great music.

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