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Sep 24, 2021

Axios Nashville

Happy Friday! Looks like we made it to the end of week one — thank you for joining us.

  • ☀️ Today's weather: Plenty of sunshine and a perfect 73 degrees!

Today's newsletter is 882 words — a 3.5 minute read.

1 big thing: Mickey Guyton has arrived

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Mickey Guyton's debut album, "Remember Her Name," is a watershed moment for country music, a genre with precious few commercially successful Black female artists.

Why it matters: Rave reviews and industry buzz signal Guyton is ready to break into a new stratum of mainstream success as country music faces an ongoing reckoning.

  • As virtually every aspect of American life was scrutinized for systemic racism, the genre faced withering criticism over its lack of diversity. The controversy over Morgan Wallen using a racial slur intensified the conversation.
  • At the same time, Guyton brought searing songs about racism and sexism to country's biggest stages. Her continued success could open doors for artists and fans who once felt shut out.
  • "Black Like Me," a song Guyton released last year after George Floyd's death and nationwide protests, was a turning point in her career.

The latest: The initial reviews of "Remember Her Name," which Guyton dedicated to Breonna Taylor, are glowing.

  • Rolling Stone hailed Guyton’s "knack for transforming her own profound testimony into aspirational universality."
  • ABC News praised Guyton for her "empathic songwriting and an underlying optimism in humanity that doesn't just rely white-washed nostalgia."

Yes, but: Guyton, 38, has Grammy, CMA, and ACM nominations to her name and a series of successful singles. But she has yet to score a country radio hit.

  • Guyton told the New York Times that radio success wasn't her main goal: "I can't write songs that don't mean something."

Context: Guyton is the latest example of an overnight Nashville success who was more than a decade in the making. She first signed with Capitol, a Universal Music Group label, in 2011.

  • In that sense, Guyton's rise parallels Chris Stapleton, another UMG juggernaut who got Music Row buzz but sat on the national shelf before debut album "Traveller" became a smashing success — without initial support from country radio.

🔊 Listen: Guyton's deft "All American" makes a subtle argument for acceptance and diversity over a boot-scootin' beat right at home on a honky-tonk jukebox.

  • "Remember Her Name" is available today to stream and purchase.
2. Two dead after mass shooting in Collierville

Thirteen people were shot and one killed Thursday in a mass shooting at a Kroger in Collierville, about 35 minutes east of Memphis.

  • The shooter also died, according to police, who said he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane told the Commercial Appeal it is the most horrific incident in the town's history.

The latest: Four victims at Regional One Health were in critical condition Thursday evening, the newspaper reported.

3. A new proposal for bomb-ravaged Second Ave.

A rendering of the proposed reconstruction planned for Second Avenue. Image courtesy of the Callen family

A handsome brick building with a pedestrian mall connecting Second Avenue to First Avenue and the riverfront would replace the four buildings blown to pieces by the Christmas morning bombing, according to new renderings released Thursday.

Why it matters: The Callen family, which owns the properties, detailed their plans in a presentation to the city Thursday, quelling fears that the lots could sit vacant or be replaced with an out-of-place skyscraper.

  • The pedestrian mall, akin to the nearby Printer's Alley, would be a first-of-its-kind connector in the historic district.

What they're saying: Mayor John Cooper's administration has prioritized saving Second Avenue, Nashville’s first-ever historic district.

  • "The mayor expects a great product to arise out of the collaboration among city agencies, other stakeholders, and the owners of these four properties," Cooper spokesperson Andrea Fanta said.
  • Councilmember Freddie O'Connell, who represents the area, told Axios that the new renderings could restore the neighborhood's character while revitalizing sleepier parts of the entertainment district, such as First Avenue.
  • "In some ways it's as good an outcome as we could have secured," O'Connell said. "They have the potential to leave it better than they found it."
4. The Setlist: Pilgrimage returns

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏈 The Titans still don’t know which quarterback they’ll face when the rival Colts visit Nashville on Sunday. Indianapolis starter Carson Wentz is nursing injuries to both ankles. (NFL Network)

The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival returns to Franklin this weekend with Dave Matthews Band and The Black Keys performing. (The Tennessean)

🦠 COVID-19 cases are trending down in Tennessee, although concerns remain. (WPLN)

5. Opening night for JT's Supper Club

Photo courtesy of Hall Strategies

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, when the opulent 400-seat Supper Club is set to open on Lower Broadway.

Why it matters: The restaurant backed by James Beard Award mainstay Sam Fox and Justin Timberlake is likely to become a date-night attraction for tourists and curious locals alike.

  • The dapper design could set a new standard for entertainment and dining on Lower Broadway.
  • Getting a table at a reasonable time might be a challenge. The restaurant is accepting reservations online.

On the menu: Nashville's love affair with high-end cuisine seems intact, based on an overview of the menu. The Supper Club will offer wagyu steak tartare, oysters on the half shell, and lobster spaghetti "al Limone."

  • We're most intrigued by the seriously comfortable-sounding comfort food. Truffle cheese garlic toast and crunchy thick hash browns? Yes, please.
  • The "magic iceberg wedge" salad is apparently served as a whole head of lettuce with all of the ingredients stuffed inside.

The big picture: The Supper Club is part of the three-story Twelve Thirty Club housed inside the Fifth + Broad development.

  • The Twelve Thirty Club includes an upscale take on a honky tonk, an intimate cocktail lounge, and a rooftop bar with views of The Ryman.

Nate is preparing for a weekend of watching his son's soccer game, grilling brats, and watching the Packers.

Adam is listening to vintage Mary Chapin Carpenter as he closes out the first week of the newsletter.