2012

10 Best Music Cities

Best Music Cities

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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Both new and established bands can find success in Fort Worth, TX, according to Texas-based artist Bart Crow, who leads Bart Crow Band. He says the city allows for a “growth process” – giving bands the ability to get their start in small clubs, eventually gracing the stages of larger, more frequented venues.

Spots such as Lola's Saloon and the Thirsty Armadillo host up-and-coming artists, while the beautiful 2,056-seat Bass Performance Hall near Sundance Square features well-known acts from all over the United States. And then there's Billy Bob's – the largest honky tonk in the world.

“Great musicians and bands have played Billy Bob's,” Crow says. “It's a very nostalgic place, and once you get to play there it's a feeling of pride and accomplishment.”

While country music is certainly prevalent, Fort Worth's music scene thrives on variety. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Worth Opera regularly perform in the area, and The Aardvark is known for attracting indie bands.

 

“The city promotes music,” Crow says. “Having a good radio station in downtown makes a great opportunity for the fans and residents of the area to be involved and help support and promote live music.”

Fort Worth is also located near Denton, TX, which was awarded “Best Music Scene” by Paste Magazine in 2008. The city is home to 35 Denton, a music festival spanning four days and featuring more than 150 bands, as well as several venues including the Boiler Room, Dan's Silver Leaf and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio.

Music aside, Crow says he's a fan of Fort Worth in general, citing its easy-to-access and welcoming downtown area.

“I'm not huge on 'downtown' environments really, but Fort Worth is a beautiful city with a really cool downtown that's clean and small enough to walk around easily,” he says.

Artists with Fort Worth, TX ties: Meat Loaf, Neon Indian, The Toadies, Jay Boy Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Kirk Franklin, Pat Green

Noted venues: Billy Bob's, Bass Performance Hall, The Aardvark, Thirsty Armadillo, Scat Jazz Lounge, Lola's Saloon, White Elephant Saloon

Cool record store: Doc's Records and Vintage

Fun fact: Fort Worth hosts the Fort Worth Music Festival each fall, which is open to individuals of all ages and consists of two days of non-stop music from 20 acts on two stages.

Read more on Fort Worth and its thriving arts scene, booming business climate and great restaurants.

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Both new and established bands can find success in Fort Worth, TX, according to Texas-based artist Bart Crow, who leads Bart Crow Band. He says the city allows for a “growth process” – giving bands the ability to get their start in small clubs, eventually gracing the stages of larger, more frequented venues.

Spots such as Lola's Saloon and the Thirsty Armadillo host up-and-coming artists, while the beautiful 2,056-seat Bass Performance Hall near Sundance Square features well-known acts from all over the United States. And then there's Billy Bob's – the largest honky tonk in the world.

“Great musicians and bands have played Billy Bob's,” Crow says. “It's a very nostalgic place, and once you get to play there it's a feeling of pride and accomplishment.”

While country music is certainly prevalent, Fort Worth's music scene thrives on variety. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Worth Opera regularly perform in the area, and The Aardvark is known for attracting indie bands.

 

“The city promotes music,” Crow says. “Having a good radio station in downtown makes a great opportunity for the fans and residents of the area to be involved and help support and promote live music.”

Fort Worth is also located near Denton, TX, which was awarded “Best Music Scene” by Paste Magazine in 2008. The city is home to 35 Denton, a music festival spanning four days and featuring more than 150 bands, as well as several venues including the Boiler Room, Dan's Silver Leaf and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio.

Music aside, Crow says he's a fan of Fort Worth in general, citing its easy-to-access and welcoming downtown area.

“I'm not huge on 'downtown' environments really, but Fort Worth is a beautiful city with a really cool downtown that's clean and small enough to walk around easily,” he says.

Artists with Fort Worth, TX ties: Meat Loaf, Neon Indian, The Toadies, Jay Boy Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Kirk Franklin, Pat Green

Noted venues: Billy Bob's, Bass Performance Hall, The Aardvark, Thirsty Armadillo, Scat Jazz Lounge, Lola's Saloon, White Elephant Saloon

Cool record store: Doc's Records and Vintage

Fun fact: Fort Worth hosts the Fort Worth Music Festival each fall, which is open to individuals of all ages and consists of two days of non-stop music from 20 acts on two stages.

Read more on Fort Worth and its thriving arts scene, booming business climate and great restaurants.

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An All-America City Award Winner, Fort Worth offers a rich tapestry of affordable neighborhoods, an enviable cultural scene and a world-class school system. Visitors enjoy shopping and dining in downtown's Sundance Square. City attractions include the Fort Worth Zoo, major sports, and the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, enhancing the city's reputation as one of the premier travel destinations in the nation.

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An All-America City Award Winner, Fort Worth offers a rich tapestry of affordable neighborhoods, an enviable cultural scene and a world-class school system. Visitors enjoy shopping and dining in downtown's Sundance Square. City attractions include the Fort Worth Zoo, major sports, and the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, enhancing the city's reputation as one of the premier travel destinations in the nation.

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They are the future, and we want their input now. [format] => [safe_value] => We want the young professionals to be involved in Fort Worth as early as possible, and hopefully for a lifetime. 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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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Both new and established bands can find success in Fort Worth, TX, according to Texas-based artist Bart Crow, who leads Bart Crow Band. He says the city allows for a “growth process” – giving bands the ability to get their start in small clubs, eventually gracing the stages of larger, more frequented venues.

Spots such as Lola's Saloon and the Thirsty Armadillo host up-and-coming artists, while the beautiful 2,056-seat Bass Performance Hall near Sundance Square features well-known acts from all over the United States. And then there's Billy Bob's – the largest honky tonk in the world.

“Great musicians and bands have played Billy Bob's,” Crow says. “It's a very nostalgic place, and once you get to play there it's a feeling of pride and accomplishment.”

While country music is certainly prevalent, Fort Worth's music scene thrives on variety. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Worth Opera regularly perform in the area, and The Aardvark is known for attracting indie bands.

 

“The city promotes music,” Crow says. “Having a good radio station in downtown makes a great opportunity for the fans and residents of the area to be involved and help support and promote live music.”

Fort Worth is also located near Denton, TX, which was awarded “Best Music Scene” by Paste Magazine in 2008. The city is home to 35 Denton, a music festival spanning four days and featuring more than 150 bands, as well as several venues including the Boiler Room, Dan's Silver Leaf and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio.

Music aside, Crow says he's a fan of Fort Worth in general, citing its easy-to-access and welcoming downtown area.

“I'm not huge on 'downtown' environments really, but Fort Worth is a beautiful city with a really cool downtown that's clean and small enough to walk around easily,” he says.

Artists with Fort Worth, TX ties: Meat Loaf, Neon Indian, The Toadies, Jay Boy Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Kirk Franklin, Pat Green

Noted venues: Billy Bob's, Bass Performance Hall, The Aardvark, Thirsty Armadillo, Scat Jazz Lounge, Lola's Saloon, White Elephant Saloon

Cool record store: Doc's Records and Vintage

Fun fact: Fort Worth hosts the Fort Worth Music Festival each fall, which is open to individuals of all ages and consists of two days of non-stop music from 20 acts on two stages.

Read more on Fort Worth and its thriving arts scene, booming business climate and great restaurants.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

[summary] => [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

[summary] => [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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At first glance, choosing Concord, CA, for music lovers seems an easy pick if for nothing more than its residents are a mere 30 miles from San Francisco, which makes frequent appearances on music "best of" lists.  San Francisco has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters and Chris Isaak. Forbes named it one of America's Most Musical Cities, crediting the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra

But what is most interesting about Concord's own scene is its Music & Market Series at Todos Santos Plaza, a one-city-block space that dates to the 1869 founding of the city. For almost 25 years, hundreds have packed the plaza weekly from May through September to enjoy that same kind of musical variety found across the bay, for free.

"Concord is the biggest city east of Berkeley and it's the most culturally diverse, so we book very eclectically," says Jim Ocean of OceanWorks Productions, who books the annual series for the city. "It's such a good feeling, seeing all the different families blending here, enjoying all different types of music, creating a cultural melting pot, as they say."

"It's such a beloved community event," says Leslye Asera, community relations manager for the city. "It's not just entertaining but educational for the families that come often, and they do. The younger children learn each week about a different type of music by hearing quality artists from just about every genre."

The series was threatened in 2012 after state redevelopment funding cuts, but is growing its base of support from city leaders, residents and businesses to help sustain the concerts.

Artists with Concord ties: Dave Brubeck; 14-time DCI World Champions, Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps

Noted venues: Todos Santos Plaza, Sleep Train Pavilion

Cool record store: Rasputin Records

Fun fact: In 2008, 2052 guitarists convened for Concordstock, joining Woodstock performer Country Joe McDonald in playing Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," to break what was then a Guinness Book World Record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Click here to learn more about Concord, CA.

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Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

[summary] => [format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

Most music lovers know Nashville, NYC and L.A. are great places to indulge in their passion, but for this list, we explored other cities off the beaten path where they might feel just as at home.

So, these picks go beyond the benchmark industry towns like Nashville, with its 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs and 80 record labels. To select them, we researched other music and travel media rankings and accolades about scenes, venues and record stores. Then we asked for more direction from musicians who've toured the country extensively and gave nominations and tips.

We found there's a lot happening musically outside the big industry centers, in cities attracting music fans and musicians seeking a change of pace or scenery.

Sometimes it's even the food that helps sway them (doesn't it always?). One of our sources, accomplished Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, nominated Asheville, NC: "It's the only city I'd want to live in other than Nashville. I really can't endorse that place enough. It's a big hub for the Olde Tyme and Bluegrass world and has tons of other awesome stuff there, too. And don't forget the biscuits at Tupelo Honey ... Mmmm."

Ultimately, while Asheville was a hot contender, it gets an honorable mention this time around (while we concede no one matches those biscuits).

From our 500 Livability.com best places to live, we chose these cities for their combination of noted music venues – ranging from outdoor amphitheaters to sprawling honky tonks and pristine concert halls. Our picks have some of the best independent record stores, have produced household-name artists in a variety of genres and nurture current scenes to support rising stars.

"Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once,” wrote poet Robert Browning. So here are our Top 10 lesser-known locales where the music-minded won't feel a lonely moment.

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