The Best US Cities For Musicians (That Are Not NYC Or LA)

TThe Big Apple and the City of Angels boast success for many musicians, but the music world is vaster than just two cities. The U.S. is a melting pot of musical genres, and every region offers a new opportunity. A room, egg-crate foam, a laptop and a dream is all you need to take off on your musical journey— and these cities are here to help:

Cambridge, MA

The Boston area may be home to some of the best universities in the world, but it’s not all studying. Aerosmith, The Lemonheads, Dick Dale, The Modern Lovers, Dinosaur Jr. and Joan Baez all come from the Boston area. The center of Cambridge boasts a street with noteworthy venues. Jimmy Pemberton, a drummer and music educator from Boston, tells Livability.com that he’s never had a bad experience there the numerous times he has performed.

Cambridge, MA

Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco, CA

The San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra sets the tone for the Classical music scene in the U.S., but that’s not all. San Francisco was the epicenter of the new music scene in the 1960s, and it defined an entire generation. The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana and others gave the world a whole new sound to cheer for, and much of that remains. Stuffy old ballrooms were converted into live music venues, and many still remain (Rockhall.com). For the laid-back bohemian looking for a perfect place to free your unique sound, San Francisco is for you.

San Francisco, CA

Photo by Christian Mehlführer via Wikimedia Commons

Chicago, IL

The Windy City is the Mecca of the Midwest when it comes to music. Perusing apartments for rent in Chicago from ForRent.com or Craigslist.com might have you stressing to find the perfect place, but the music scene will not. Chicago is the place to be for girl power. The new, Chicago-based magazine “Boxx” points out that women are making a bigger splash in the music industry, and Chicago seems to be their jumping point. The Girl Group collective was born in Chicago, which consists of 20 talented women from different projects, all with a love of 60s-girl-band sounds. Although Chicago has produced Kanye, Common and Lupe, it’s now the era of the femme fatale.

Chicago, IL

Photo by Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

Nashville, TN

Aside from charm and livability, Nashville is the epicenter of twangy crooners. Diane Pecknold, country music’s go-to history author points out that it’s no accident either (Forbes.com). Nashville fought tooth and nail for its position, and now young musicians can reap the benefits. Nashville is a competitive place, but it’s uniquely livable. You won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to rent an apartment in the city— great news for part-time servers with a guitar and a dream.

“Rolling Stone” magazine called Nashville the country’s best music scene in 2011, and it’s not hard to see why. The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Taylor Swift and others have relocated to Nashville, making it the place to star gaze in the South. Nashville is also home to some prolific music venues. The Bluebird Café offers a buffet of established and new artists, whereas the Ryman Auditorium encapsulates the very essence of country music.

Nashville, TN

Photo by Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

Raj has been to every Nine Inch Nails show since “Pretty Hate Machine.” His cat’s name is Ozzie, and he has a canary named Sid Vicious, so yeah, he likes his music hard core.

Comments

  • Peace

    Hattiesburg, MS. The birthplace of rock and roll. :)

  • Adam

    Sacramento, Ace Of Spades

  • Natalia

    I’d consider replacing San Francisco with Austin, TX. SF hasn’t been a supportive place for live music since the 60’s. These days, most SF residents prefer cover bands and DJ’s. Austin, on the other hand, is a haven for original bands, with hundreds of live venues and no cover bands in sight.

  • ralf

    totally agree. whoever wrote this was clearly no musician.

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  • Kevin Stokley

    I second this! Austin has some of the most diverse live music in the nation.