NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Making it big under the bright lights of Lower Broadway is a dream many country music performers have. One of the first to make it happen was Jimmie Rodgers, who is known as the “Father of Country Music.” He started singing and playing in bars along Broadway in the 1930s.
Now, at almost any time of day, you can hear the melodies of musicians hoping to make it big.
Billy Dalton and his band “The Not So Grand Ole Opry” has entertained at Layla’s several times.
“The very first time I played on Broadway,” he pondered, “I don’t know if I can remember back that far. It was close to 35 years ago.”
Dalton continued, “You come to Nashville looking to be a star. Remember, it’s not as easy as you think.”
Dalton, like many young entertainers, came to town with stars in his eyes.
“A lot of people think you come down to Nashville, start playing the clubs on Broadway, and you’re going to get discovered.”
In the decades he’s been down here, he’s only seen it happen a handful of times and mostly to musicians.
“No matter how good you think you are coming into Nashville, I promise you the first night you’re going to see 10 that can blow you off the stage.”
Stage after stage is filled with top-notch talent.
“You will be playing with some of the best musicians you’ve ever worked with in your life.”
If you’re good enough to get booked nightly, which is rare, Dalton said you never know who you’re going to be playing with.
“You could be playing with one band one day and a completely different band the next day.”
He admitted the pay is modest. People don’t know his name well, so why play his heart out every night?
“It’s all about the music.”
And most of the performers on Lower Broadway feel the same way, he said especially ones who have grinded for years.
“They’re down here because they can get hired, and they love it. And they’re earning a living playing music. What’s better than that?”