HomeWorld NewsEric Church among Nashville trio honored with Music City Walk of Fame inductions
Eric Church among Nashville trio honored with Music City Walk of Fame inductions
June 7, 2023
A quartet of advocates for Nashville’s socioeconomic growth via the power of song are now engraved into the city’s legacy via their May 4 inductions into the Music City Walk of Fame.
Multi-platinum country artist Eric Church, co-founders of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Joe and Linda Chambers, plus soon retiring Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. (NCVC) CEO Butch Spyridon, were honored at Walk of Fame Park, directly across from the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The monument now honors 100 people or musical acts who, as the NCVC’s website notes, “have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration and made a significant contribution to the music industry with connection to Music City.”
Present to induct Church was ESPN personality Marty Smith, while Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member Garth Brooks inducted both Joe and Linda Chambers, plus Spyridon.
As has been the case for many of the Music City Walk of Fame induction ceremonies, morning show host of WSM’s “Coffee, Country & Cody” and Grand Ole Opry announcer and host Bill Cody served as emcee for the proceedings.
Church was feted as a North Carolina-born Nashville outsider whose genuine desire to “be his own man,” as Smith noted, led to his near quarter-century run of iconoclastic country music success.
“Eric doesn’t chase what’s popular, he chases what’s right,” Smith continued, highlighting Nashville songs’ melodies as the “brick and mortar that builds memories.”
“I came here with a guitar, mediocre songs and big dreams,” stated Church.
“My career is now beyond those dreams.”
A voluminous crowd of his “Church Choir” of fans wildly cheered to support Church’s honor.
Notable to Church’s induction is his being highlighted as a fundamental part of Nashville’s development as a city-as-brand.
Ascend Amphitheater’s July 30 and 31, 2015, opening involved sold-out concerts from the 10-time Billboard chart-topper. Moreover, in December 2021, when North Nashville’s historic African-American favored venue, the Club Baron (Pride of Elks Lodge), was considered an endangered historic property, Church led a group of nearly three-dozen investors in renovating the space.
Moreover, in 2024, Church will open “Chief’s,” a six-level Lower Broadway bar and restaurant containing an intimate, 500-seat performance venue.
Insofar as Joe and Linda Chambers, the co-founders of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, have long represented the stalwart, timeless heart of Nashville’s creative community for four decades.
Joe Chambers passed away in September 2022. The native Georgian entrepreneur, guitarist, record producer and songwriter was intrinsically linked to numerous generations of Nashville stars.
For the past decade, his 25-year-old idea of the Musicians Hall of Fame has been housed under downtown’s Municipal Auditorium.
There, he — alongside his wife, Linda and family — have preserved Nashville’s national legacy alongside other vaunted American musical hubs via an astonishing collection of artifacts large and small, including many instruments, clothing and studio effects.
However, Joe Chambers had one request — of many (including getting artists like Church to help save the Club Baron) — he made to Music City Walk of Fame developer and feted outgoing NCVC CEO Butch Spyridon.
He wanted to see his wife, Linda, honored on the Music City Walk of Fame.
She, alongside Joe, had personally funded the museum, aided in moving the artifacts from the area now occupied by Music City Center and in work required to restore many of the artifacts also damaged during the 2010 Nashville flood.
“Shining a light on musicians and the music industry by preserving legacies is a blessing and honor,” stated Linda Chambers to The Tennessean. “From priceless artifacts to the Club Baron and the Municipal Auditorium, it’s all iconic and deserves to be remembered.”
“Moments like these ensure that musicians’ legacies and the Musicians Hall of Fame — like Nashville’s growth — will go on for perpetuity,” added Chambers about her and her husband’s honor.
Humbled by the moment was Butch Spyridon, who for 32 years has been employed by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. On June 30, he retires as its CEO.
“People wonder if Nashville’s losing its soul,” he continued.
“As long as Nashville gives artists, musicians and songwriters a home, it cannot and will not lose its soul.”
“Nashville was once a city floating down the Cumberland River that hoped things would happen. Now, it’s a thriving city in charge of its own destiny,” Spyridon stated to The Tennessean.
In regards to the intersection of Nashville’s music industry and Spyridon’s tireless efforts to more prominently intersect them with the city’s overall socioeconomic evolution over the past two decades have seen CMA Fest successfully relocate itself from Nashville’s Fairgrounds to Lower Broadway and Universal Music Group move into the 25-floor 222 Second Avenue S (formerly SunTrust) Building in 2005 and 2007, respectively.
By 2019, the National Football League’s Draft was hosted on Lower Broadway. Then, two years later, CBS’ New Year’s Eve festivities were lured to Lower Broadway.
For over half of his 32 years working with NCVC, Spyridon also worked to establish the Nashville-based National Museum of African-American Music (NMAAM). Considering that the NMAAM broke ground after Spyridon had already worked 15 years on the museum’s development and opened for service on January 18, 2021, his version of “tireless passion” is an incredible definition of the phrase.
Spyridon’s work isn’t without amazing rewards.
Visitor spending in Nashville in 2022 was estimated at a record $8.8 billion. The number of visitors to Nashville in 2022 was 14.4 million, an increase of 13% over 2021.
Though humbled by the honor, Spyridon is alongside former Nashville mayor Karl Dean and philanthropist Martha Ingram as one of few non-specifically music industry-employed people enshrined on the Music City Walk of Fame.
Concerning why he is deserving, Spyridon instead stated that his star belonged to the city at-large instead.
“I’ve always done the right thing for the right reason. I’ve always asked myself, ‘What does Nashville need and how can that be best executed?’ As a result, Nashville’s [civic arms] have gone from having no [formal] connection to the music industry to being friends and colleagues in helping Nashville’s growth.”
In a summation of the event, as well as his place within it, Spyridon’s smiling statement speaks volumes.
“Nashville’s metamorphosis is beyond my comprehension.”