Arts and Culture | Nashville Public Radio

Arts and Culture

Getty Images for Americana Music

The Americana Music Awards last night leaned heavily on heritage, but it was two of the genre's more contemporary stars who struck the sharpest chords.

Laura Partain

Over its 18 years, Nashville’s Americana Fest has consistently shown an inclusive approach. And this year they stretched the boundaries of the genre even more by inviting a band with a folk touch and a punk rock punch.

Rick Malkin / courtesy Nashville Shakespeare Festival

In the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s new production of Antony and Cleopatra, Egyptian characters are outfitted in bangles and golden dresses, with heavy black eye makeup. The promotional artwork depicts Cleopatra as a dark-skinned woman, which may be historically accurate.

However, the actress playing the leading role is white — a fair-skinned redhead. It’s a casting decision that upset some local actors, who took to social media throughout the summer to criticize the company’s perceived lack of sensitivity.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Today is the day: Nashville Public Radio's newest podcast is live, and the first three episodes of Versify are waiting for your ears with more to come.

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

Theatergoers who walked out of the Broadway hit Mamma Mia! singing Abba songs may be in for another good time. In the same way that show cleverly used familiar old songs to tell an original story, a new musical does the same, using well known songs of the late Dan Fogelberg.

Wayne Brezinka

In a portrait of a young Elvis Presley, painted by Nashville-area artist Wayne Brezinka, there’s something odd going on in that trademark pompadour — 40 years after the superstar's death. The three-dimensional hair is striped with green, yellow, blue, red and white wires.

Those wires were ripped from a 1950s-era phone system in the home and office of Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker. In fact, it’s likely they're the very wires that carried the voice of Ed Sullivan, when he called Colonel Parker to discuss Presley’s now-famous appearances on Sullivan’s TV show.

Emily Siner / WPLN


In this episode of Movers & Thinkers, we interview Tiana Clark, a poet from Nashville.

Tiana has been tackling uncomfortable truths for years, ever since she wrote in her diary as a child that she hated her mom (who then discovered the writing). Now, she is a nationally lauded poet from Nashville who is the author of Equilibrium, a book of poetry published in 2016. She has a forthcoming poem in The New Yorker.

Emily Siner / WPLN

The Grand Ole Opry is country music's Holy Land.

It's home to the weekly radio show that put country on the national map in 1925. And it's where this summer, 30 people with a rare genetic disorder called Williams syndrome eagerly arrive backstage.

Thomas Maupin buck dance
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A Tennessee master of a waning dance style has earned national recognition.

Thomas Maupin is a scrawny 78-year-old buck dancer from Eagleville. His elbows, hips and knees jangle like a country puppet while his black shoes clack out intricate rhythms across wooden dance floors. After years of local notoriety, he's been named as a National Heritage Fellow.

Teri Nine / Alive Hospice

Camp Evergreen has all the trappings of a typical day camp. The counselors greet the kids with the requisite amount of cheer at the beginning of each day. They go swimming every day after lunch. They do arts and crafts.

But all of the campers also have something in common that they’d rather not: They’ve all recently lost a close family member. In other words, it’s grief camp — and although, understandably, that does not sound like fun, kids and counselors alike end up finding some comfort in grieving together.