Travel magazine Fifty Grande has announced its first-ever music special feature, which includes a comprehensive ranking of America’s top live music cities and an in-depth look at several cities’ rising music scenes. The magazine’s readers have spoken, and in a recent survey named Nashville the number one live music city in the United States, followed by New Orleans, New York, Austin and Los Angeles. Several other cities that made the list may surprise some, including Asheville, NC and Columbus, OH.


Asheville’s music scene is born of age old traditions, nurtured by a spirit of independence and the muse of the mountain landscape. Here you’ll find a rhythm that is proudly rooted in old time mountain music, but also a full spectrum of innovative musicians who truly define the sound of Asheville. Whether it’s street buskers or lively music venues, Asheville has something for every music lover. One of the most iconic venues in Asheville is the Orange Peel, which has hosted legendary artists such as Bob Dylan, Dave Grohl and Lauryn Hill. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, check out the Grey Eagle Music Hall and Pub, which features local and national acts in genres ranging from folk to rock to world music. For a taste of Asheville’s bluegrass scene, don’t miss the Shindig on the Green, a free outdoor festival that showcases the best of Appalachian music and dance.


Columbus may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of live music, but it has a vibrant and diverse scene that will surprise you. From indie rock to hip hop to jazz, Columbus has it all. One of the most unique aspects of Columbus’ music scene is its horror band scene, which blends spooky aesthetics with various musical styles. For example, Mummula is a surf-rock band that dresses like mummys and sings about monsters. Doomsdale High is a synth-pop band that creates catchy tunes inspired by horror movies. Emmy Lazarus and the Recently Deceased is a punk rock band that pays homage to classic horror icons like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. If you’re looking for a thrill, check out these bands at venues like Ace of Cups, Spacebar or Rumba Cafe.


Nashville is known as Music City for a reason. It’s the home of country music, but also a place where you can find any genre of music you can imagine. From honky tonks to symphony halls, Nashville has it all. One of the most famous venues in Nashville is the Grand Ole Opry, which showcases the best of country music legends and newcomers. Another iconic venue is the Ryman Auditorium, which was once the home of the Opry and now hosts concerts by artists from all genres. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, head to the Bluebird Cafe, where you can catch songwriters performing their original songs in an acoustic setting. For a taste of Nashville’s rock scene, don’t miss the Exit/In, which has hosted acts like R.E.M., The White Stripes and Kings of Leon.

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