Pickin' on Nashville 

Guitarist and Music City ambassador David Anderson prepares to play his 1,000th consecutive gig at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Guitarist and Music City ambassador David Anderson prepares to play his 1,000th consecutive gig at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Think of David Andersen's playing as public art. Certainly, it's part of the ambience in the lobby of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. There, on his wireless Epiphone archtop guitar, he picks a trickle of chords and notes that take shape as familiar songs, float into the vast room and mingle with the splash of the fountain and murmur of conversation.

This music is so unobtrusive that you almost don't notice it. Andersen himself seems incognito; behind his shades, dressed in dark and sober tones, he might be mistaken for a young Roy Orbison cutout until he starts his stroll amongst the lunchtime diners at the SoBro Grill. At that point, taking requests and offering painless tutorials on the common elements of jazz and country music, Andersen becomes a complement to the museum, as interactive as any pushbutton display.

"I'm very fortunate to be the face that so many visitors associate with music in Nashville," he says. "People come here from all over the country to hear some sweet, smooth pickin', and I'm the face they put onto what they hear."

If this seems a little cocky, consider that tens of thousands of folks from all over the world have passed through the Hall of Fame. Except for those who came during the first few weeks after opening day, every one of them who showed up between noon and 3 p.m. was greeted by Andersen's serenade.

On April 20, Andersen will play this gig, just as he does every day, seven days a week, aside from Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. It should be business as usual, except that this date marks his 1,000th consecutive performance at the hall. Maybe someone will mark the occasion; if not, hearing Andersen flow from "My Romance" to "Wildwood Flower," like a stream winding through the American landscape, should make the day memorable just the same.

—Robert L. Doerschuk


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