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Ring in the New Year with Live Music All Over Nashville

How will you ring in the new year?

Written by Chris Chamberlain
Ring in the New Year with Live Music All Over Nashville
Keith Urban; Photo credit: Amy Richmond

Music City will really live up to its name on New Year’s Eve with all sorts of fantastic live music options to ring in 2020. If you would rather watch the calendar flip surrounded by fellow revelers listening to bands instead of in some fancy pants restaurant, you’re in luck! Here are some of the best options around town to rock in the new year.

The biggest party in town will doubtlessly be the huge Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight celebration in Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Keith Urban returns as the headliner to play the midnight set, and he’ll be joined by a host of other impressive musical acts. Local favorite Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit will play a rare free show at the gala, which kicks off at 4:00 and runs until late. Isbell’s talented wife Amanda Shires will also be a featured act along with The Struts, Bren Joy and Kalie Shorr. Nashville will offer a nod to the city’s musical heritage with a very special appearance by The Fisk Jubilee Singers. Plan for a long night, because chairs and coolers are not permitted on the grounds, so bring money to buy your drinks and shoes you can stand in for an extended evening of fun!

Legendary singer/songwriter John Prine will entertain the crowd at the Grand Ole Opry House with a concert of his clever songs and aching ballads. Prine will be joined by special guests Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and The Secret Sisters in what should be a quintessential Nashville musical event. At the old home of the Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, Old Crow Medicine Show will bring their unique brand of rollicking modern bluegrass and folk to the stage where they’ll be joined by recent sensation Yola. Her debut album was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and has introduced the world to the country soul of this amazing British import.

It’s always great to see local kids hit it big, and Nashville indie duo Cherub has scored the headliner spot for Marathon Music Works’ big New Year’s extravaganza. Jordan Kelley and Jason Hube have toured the world playing their infectious brand of genre-bending music, but they’re coming home to celebrate the holidays. They’ll be joined by Mike Floss and Gibbz for a show which could blow the roof off of MMW.

It’ll be a little more chill at the venerable Exit Inn on Elliston Place where Terrapin Station will jam in the new year. This band of players, who have all been members of the Grateful Dead or other combinations of Dead-related groups, is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, so it’s a big deal that they have chosen Nashville as the place to be for the dawn of 2020. And we do mean “dawn,” because they may be jamming until sunrise to keep the noodle dancers happy.

3rd & Lindsley will play host to one of Nashville’s favorite cover bands, Guilty Pleasures. This group of talented touring and session musicians runs through sets of the music of the 80’s and 90’s that you’re ashamed to admit you love. But you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of like-minded music fans, and the rotating roster of guest lead singers will put their all into note-for-note homages to the cheesiest hits of the past century.

A brewery might seem like an odd place for a concert, but Little Harpeth Brewing Co. right across the Cumberland River near Nissan Stadium has made a name for itself as a premier music venue in East Nashville. They’ve booked acclaimed Southern rockers (and apostrophe hogs) Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ for their New Year’s Eve show, where they’ll be joined by the Minks and Okey Dokey. As a bonus, the outdoor lot behind Little Harpeth offers a tremendous unobstructed view of the downtown fireworks.

Finally, The Sutler in Melrose is offering a party with two venues in one at their Jingle Boot Rock New Year’s soiree. The stage at The Sutler will feature local funk favorites The Aquaducks laying down the groove accompanied by an open bar and continuous buffett all night plus a Champagne toast at midnight. Downstairs at the cool Rambler Cocktail Bar, a DJ will be spinning the wheels of steel plus fancy drinks. VIP access and private table service are also available if you want even more special treatment.

Happy New Year and make sure to arrange a safe ride home!