Getting to Know Nashville

Alexander Spacher

Tennessee’s capital has emerged as a progressive beacon of the South, where conservatives, celebrities, and creatives come together—and everybody is just folks.

It was an elegant evening. In a large, columned house on Nashville’s Belle Meade Boulevard last November, the big green lawn outside darkening in an unseasonably warm Tennessee dusk, patrons of the city’s vibrant public library sipped drinks and politely jockeyed for a moment with the guest of honor. They clasped his hand again and again, often reaching out to touch his shoulder; more than a f...