Tennessee band with Georgia roots recounts Music Row history

ATLANTA (AP) — A Nashville band with Georgia roots is documenting the hidden history of music in Nashville, with a book out this month that was inspired by their songs.

Granville Automatic, named for a 19 century typewriter, formed in Atlanta before moving to Nashville in 2014.

“The Hidden History of Music Row” delves into the stories about the buildings on music row, and also about the songwriters and musicians who shaped its history such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Bob Dylan, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“When we started the band, we made the decision that we wanted it to be about storytelling,” said Elizabeth Elkins, one of the band's co-founders. “We felt like storytelling was kind of a lost art."

A key theme is artists who came to Nashville searching for dreams that sometimes came true, but sometimes ended in tragedy.

One chapter, “More Than Just Country,” recalls the years between 1966 and 1972, when Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young came to town, “and the town was never the same," Elkins said.

As it has for most bands, 2020 has been a tough year for Elkins and band co-founder Vanessa Olivarez. In March, they survived the devastating Nashville tornado that struck near their homes. Then, the coronarvirus pandemic shut down most live music.

“It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t been able to do music for people,” Olivarez said. “But there still is the ability to create. I try to remember that, and that I still have the ability to record and make music. And we still have the opportunity to write these books and tell people’s stories. That’s a blessing in and of itself.”

Nashville historian Brian Allison joined Elkins and Olivarez to write the book. A second volume, “The Lost Music Row” is expected to be released next year.