Highlights and Lowlights:
Nashville: The Undisputed Capital of Country: Where else can you enjoy a pure, unvarnished country sound than where country music stars are born? Landing in first place is Nashville, Tennessee, the official capital of country music as far as we — and just about everyone else — are concerned.
Music City sweeps nearly every category and metric in our ranking: No. 1 in Genre Interest and Everyday Listening and second place in Performance Access.
This chart-topping performance really is no surprise: After all, Nashville is home to the famous Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Want to make country music, not just listen to it? There’s no shortage of recording studios here, which is likely why country stars like Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, and Taylor Swift have made Nashville (or the area) home base.
Other Country Hubs: Besides Nashville at No. 1, America’s iconic country cities seemed to naturally gravitate toward the top of our ranking. Knoxville, Tennessee, lands in comfortable sixth place, while Tulsa, Oklahoma, finishes seventh, and Austin, Texas, boot-scoots in at a respectable No. 12. Bakersfield, California, slips down to No. 61 — mostly due to lack of Google search interest and concert venues (No. 146 in both metrics).
And how did St. Louis land in the top five? Well, the Gateway City known more for jazz and blues is also home to Nelly, who has gone a Lil Bit country. Yesteryear Country Music Hall of Fame act The Kendalls (Heaven’s Just a Sin Away) has St. Louis roots, too. And Redneck Woman Gretchen Wilson hails from Pocahontas, Illinois, about 40 minutes east of the Arch.
Las Vegas at No. 2, Grand Rapids, Michigan at No. 5, and Birmingham, Alabama in eighth place are other surprise acts. A full calendar of country performances and a healthy presence of country radio stations in each of these cities helped them stand out among the competition.
Killeen Me Softly: If you need a good cry, this should make you tear up: Killeen, Texas, hit rock bottom in our ranking at No. 182.
What went wrong? Well, almost everything: Killeen ties for last place in three out of four categories, including Genre Interest, Performance Access, and Everyday Listening. It ranks fifth from the bottom for Venue Access, but what good is an empty concert hall?
Killeen’s country music fans will have to tune in to YouTube and Spotify to get their fix. That or let Jesus take the wheel and drive them down a country road to Austin (No. 12 overall).
Our full ranking and analysis can be found here: https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-cities-country-music-fans/