1060 E. Trinity Ln., East Nashville
This store has the vibe of a college radio station with its crafty wooden shelves and endless rows of CDs and LPs. They’ve got an extensive selection of indie music, a very knowledgeable staff, plus they host intimate shows inside the shop a few times a week.
2804 Columbine Pl., Berry Hill
Manuel is the costumer par excellence for all the big-time entertainers, from Elvis, to John Lennon, to Bob Dylan. If you remember Elvis’s gold lamé suit, then you remember one of Manuel’s creations. Manuel moved to the United States from Mexico and in his early career worked in another famous costumer’s workshop, Nudie’s, where he learned many tricks of the trade. After years spent in Hollywood, Manuel moved to Nashville and started his own establishment. Each piece in the store is handcrafted and has Manuel’s special touch. Truly worth a visit, if only just to gawk at the intricate, often rhinestone-laden designs; you can visit the store between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays or by appointment.
Hatch Show Print
224 5th Ave. S, Downtown
A working print studio and shop front, Hatch Show Print is a Nashville institution, having produced advertisements and posters for local shows since 1879. Fittingly, it is now in the hands of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Here, you can buy reissued posters of old-fashioned advertisements and concerts—Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Hank Snow, and more. The staff here is incredibly friendly and happy to answer your questions about the studio and its history. You can also have a poster custom-designed and printed there, but conceive your design way in advance, as these limited-edition prints take at least six weeks to prepare.
2120 8th Ave. S, 8th South
This is the place to get a guitar, banjo, mandolin, or any “fretted” instrument, if you’re picky about terminology like the experts at Gruhn. George Gruhn started the store in 1970, and it has come to be one of the—if not the—premier places in the US to buy instruments. The client list is a who’s who of musicians—Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, and many, many more. The store and repair shop specialize in vintage models, and they keep a file on the history of each and every instrument in their inventory. Basically, if music is your thing, you’ve got to pay them a visit. Their website is a frett aficionado’s haven with George Gruhn’s newsletters on fretted instruments and features on particularly special models. If there’s a vintage model you’re particularly interested in, let them know and they’ll keep an eye out for you.
Imogene + Willie
2601 12th Ave. S, 12South
Hailing from Henderson, Kentucky, Matt and Carrie Eddmenson—childhood friends and now a married couple—worked together in Carrie’s family business, developing denim collections for brands like Rogan, Earnest Sewn, Seven, J.Brand, etc. They moved to Nashville in May 2009 and opened a magical store that we were lucky to visit. The store sells handpicked denim from select brands like A.P.C., choice vintage pieces like cowboy leather jackets and boots, scarves hand-dyed by Carrie’s brother in India, and Imogene + Willie brand bespoke jeans, made of tough denim that you have to work into. After a few months, they guarantee you will have a soft pair that fits you and only you and bears the marks of your wear. (For the less hard-core denim buyers, you can also purchase a pre-softened, pre-“lived-in” pair.)
4027 Hillsboro Pike, Green Hills
This store, owned by Holly Williams (who has exquisite taste and happens to be the daughter of Hank Williams Jr.), is the most cutting-edge of the shops in Nashville, carrying brands like Rick Owens, Ulla Johnson, Rag & Bone, and Anine Bing. Check out the second floor, too, which houses Williams's collection of music photography by the likes of Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd.