Axios Nashville

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Today's newsletter is 883 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Three more to enter Hall of Fame

A composite image of executive Joe Galante, Jerry Lee Lewis and Keith Whitley
Executive Joe Galante, Jerry Lee Lewis and Keith Whitley. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images, and Michael Ochs. Photos: Archives/Getty Images

The three newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame represent the genre's highest levels of success and influence.

  • Keith Whitley, Jerry Lee Lewis and executive Joe Galante helped shape country music as it exists today.

Why it matters: Their contributions will now be honored in one of popular culture’s most exclusive clubs.

  • Including this group, only 149 members have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since 1961.

🎤 Whitley's brief career, cut short by his 1989 death at 34 years old, had an outsized influence on the genre.

  • His smooth vocals and emotionally complex song choices set the standard for a generation of artists who expanded country music's cultural impact in the 1990s and beyond.

Between the lines: Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton are among the heavyweights who cite Whitley as an influence.

What they're saying: Whitley lived less than five years after his first single hit the charts.

🎹 Lewis, part of the inaugural class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, found widespread acclaim in country music.

  • The "Great Balls of Fire" singer regularly topped the country charts even as he found mainstream success.

Driving the news: Lewis has been a long-time contender — icons Kris Kristofferson and Kenny Rogers supported a recent campaign to put Lewis into the HOF, per The Tennessean.

What he's saying: "I've always loved country music," Lewis told The Tennessean. "It's made more sense for me than anything."

💼 Born and raised in New York, Galante was reluctant to accept a promotion to RCA Nashville early in his career.

  • Galante ended up conquering the town he was slow to embrace, rising from budget analyst to the CEO of Sony Music Nashville and shepherding some of country music's most impactful artists.

The big picture: Credited with modernizing country music, Galante helped the genre expand from a niche format to one where its top artists sell out football stadiums.

  • Dolly Parton, Alabama and Kenny Chesney are among the countless artists whose careers benefited from Galante.

2. "Clerical error" increases stadium estimate

Exterior shot of Nissan Stadium
Nissan Stadium. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Three days after Mayor John Cooper's administration filed the capital improvement budget showing a new Titans stadium project would cost $2 billion, officials told Metro Council the actual dollar figure was $2.2 billion.

  • Metro Council members were alerted to the clerical error during Monday's budget and finance committee meeting.

Why it matters: The capital improvement budget is a spending wish list. If the cost of a project exceeds what is budgeted, it must be amended.

  • It would take 27 council votes to pass such an amendment — a high bar to clear.

Yes, but: Metro Councilmember Bob Mendes tells Axios he believes the newly filed CIB needs to be amended regardless.

  • Mendes takes issue with the description of how a new covered Titans stadium would be funded.
  • The document says the stadium will be partially paid for with user-generated sales tax revenue, which Mendes contends is an incomplete description. But the actual amount of sales tax that would be used to pay for the stadium is substantially more than that, he says.

What he's saying: "It's not just people buying Cokes and hotdogs at the stadium," Mendes says. "It's sales tax collections from the massive [approximately 130-acre] development around the stadium."

3. Judge strikes bathroom law

Illustration of a series of gavels, some of them transparent.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A federal judge struck down a Tennessee law yesterday that would have required businesses to post a public notice for allowing transgender people to use restrooms aligned with their gender identity.

Why it matters: Tennessee has emerged as a leader in anti-trans legislation. LGBT+ advocates say the legislation, which passed into law last year, is offensive and transphobic.

Driving the news: Nashville restaurateur Bob Bernstein, who owns Fido and Bongo Java, is a plaintiff in the suit filed by the ACLU, which argued the law violated the First Amendment. Bernstein's businesses allow individuals to decide which bathroom is most appropriate for them.

  • U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger blocked the law from taking effect while the lawsuit continued.

Between the lines: Under the law, businesses like Bernstein's would be required to post a sign saying they had "a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom."

The latest: Trauger struck the law down in a blistering 40-page ruling criticizing the state's position that the required signage was "a simple truthful statement of fact."

  • Trauger described the law as "a brazen attempt to single out trans-inclusive establishments and force them to parrot a message that they reasonably believe would sow fear and misunderstanding."

4. The Setlist

Illustration of a concert-style poster reading "The Setlist, catch up quick, weekday mornings, the internet," and two silhouettes of the Nashville skyline, over a three-color gradient.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🍎 The state is teaming up with the University of Tennessee to grow the teacher pipeline. (Chalkbeat)

🥕 Tennessee State University got a $1.9 million federal grant to study sustainable farming and conservation. (Associated Press)

🏈 The Titans agreed to contract terms with first-round draft pick Treylon Burks. (Music City Miracles)

Look who’s hiring

🌎 Find a job that’s out of this world with our Local Job Board.

  1. Associate Director of Data Analytics and Systems at Vanderbilt University.
  2. Supervisor, Client Implementation at Health Equity.
  3. Associate Director, IT Professional Services Category Management at The Hartford.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

5. 1 stat to go

The sign outside Metro police headquarters.
Metro Nashville Police Department. Photo: Adam Tamburin/Axios

There have been 575 guns stolen from vehicles so far this year, according to a review by the Metro Nashville Police Department.

  • That accounts for 70% of all guns stolen so far in 2022 in Davidson County.
  • Last week alone, 29 guns were stolen from cars and trucks.

Editor's note: Yesterday's Setlist item on Tennessee's 2023 football season opener was corrected to state the opponent will be Virginia, not Virginia Tech.

✈️ Nate and Adam are traveling to meet their Axios colleagues in Washington, D.C.

  • Don't worry. The Nashville newsletters will keep coming while we're away.