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Insider's Guide to Nashville

From his favourite record store to hot chicken at Hattie B's, Canadian songwriter Gordie Sampson takes us to his top spots in Music City.

Gordie Sampson

In 2001, Cape Breton musician Gordie Sampson moved to Music City and hit a high note as a songwriter. The Grammy winner teams with artists to dream up the next big hit, like his co-write with Florida Georgia Line, “God, Your Mama, and Me” (featuring Backstreet Boys), which topped the country charts last summer. “Nashville is the perfect size for an artist community to thrive.”


Photo: Doyle Davis

1. Grimey’s

It's the vibiest record store you could ask for and the best place to hang out and look for vinyl. I’ll go in there at lunchtime on a Saturday and, all of a sudden, it’s 5 p.m. Some pretty heavy-duty artists do signings there and I got to see one of my favourite bands, Mutemath, perform an amazing in-store show.

1604 8th Ave. S., 615-254-4801,

Hattie B’s

Photo: Joseph Woodley

2. Hattie B’s

Nashville and hot chicken are synonymous. Hattie B’s has a fast-food feel because you order at the counter, but it’s great quality. I love their spicy fried chicken, though I wouldn’t recommend anything hotter than medium, even to brave souls. I go to the one in West Nashville to avoid the line at the Midtown location.

5209 Charlotte Ave., 615-712-7137,

3. 3rd and Lindsley

If I had a guitar-player friend visiting, I’d send them to this spot, confident they’d catch a mind-blowing band. A lot of the higher profile acts on the circuit play here, including Train, Wilco and Norah Jones. The first time I went Radney Foster was playing, and I’m a massive fan. We’ve since become good friends and have written a lot of songs together.

818 3rd Ave. S., 615-259-9891,


Photo: Jeni’s Art and Design

4. Jeni’s

It’s hard for me to pass this ice cream shop without going in. My go-to flavour is Brown Butter Almond Brittle. There’s a location in my neighbourhood of 12 South, which is a great strip for walking around – don’t miss the cupcake vending machine, down the street from Jeni’s.

2312 12th Ave. S., 615-292-7794,



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