by India McCarty

Nashville is full of places that boast live music, but it can be difficult to navigate the large number of clubs, venues and bars that are looking for new artists.

Below are seven venues that can get you in front of potential new fans and industry professionals who are on the lookout for the next big thing.

Douglas Corner Cafe
While it may not be as big of a tourist draw as the Bluebird, Douglas Corner is still every bit as revered by those in the know. An industry haunt that’s played host to artists from Trisha Yearwood to Jon Bon Jovi, Douglas Corner is a great place to see big names. However, they’re equally as welcoming to unknown artists looking for a leg up. Every Tuesday is Open Mic Writers’ Night, a great chance to make an impression on a crowd who’s looking for the next big thing.

The Row
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Music Row, The Row bills itself as a place for artists, executives, locals and visitors alike to eat and listen to live music. Open for more than 30 years, The Row has a lineup of new artists playing every night. They even upload videos of performances to their Facebook page; a little free promotion for you!

12th and Porter
Open since 1984, 12th and Porter has welcomed some of the biggest names in music and complete unknowns. Artists like Keith Urban, Sugarland and Dierks Bentley were discovered after playing shows here; the central location and intimate setting of the venue ensure a good mix of tourists and industry professionals at every show.

The Back Corner
Filling the void of live music venues in Germantown, The Back Corner is known for its DJ nights and light-up dancefloor. However, they also frequently book country artists to play the Saturday night slot. With a 200-person capacity, The Back Corner is the perfect place to play to a small crowd and reach an audience that wouldn’t normally venture down on Broadway.

Two Old Hippies
This venue plays double duty as both a store and a place for live music. Most shows start later in the evening while the shopping day is winding down, but there are a few daytime performance slots. Playing Two Old Hippies is a good way to reach people who weren’t necessarily planning on hearing some live music that day and a fun venue to play.

The Local
It may not be on Broadway, but that’s part of The Local’s allure. By escaping some of the large, tourist crowds, you’ve got a little more room in your set to try something new. Still working out the kinks of a song? Try it out at The Local. The patrons are here to listen to some good music and, without the screaming bachelorette parties you find downtown, you’ll actually be able to hear yourself play.

3rd and Lindsley
A partnership with Lightning 100 to broadcast their weekly Sunday night show. A venue that’s used for CMA and Americana festivals. 3rd and Lindsley may seem like a place for well-established artists, but don’t let that intimidate you. Drawing a full-capacity crowd is secondary to the music; if you impress the booking manager, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get a slot – even without a crowd of adoring fans. Bands like Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town frequently played 3rd and Lindsley before going on to achieve international success.

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