Nathan & Caleb Followill on Nashville’s New Scene

You’ve heard from Jonathan Waxman on his his decision to join Nathan and Caleb Followill (of the Kings of Leon) in hatching our inaugural Music City Eats Festival, now check out what the musically-gifted brothers themselves have to say about what will most certainly be a weekend overflowing with great food, lively music and spirited good times — all in an intimate setting in the heart of Nashville.

Caleb and Nathan Followill with Chris Grdovic, Publisher and Senior VP of Food & Wine Magazine.
Image courtesy of @kolkolkolkolkolkol

MCE: You have plenty of experience in the music festival world, but this is your first foray into the organized food realm of things. How did you decide to be a part of this inaugural event?

I think it was a no brainer for us. We felt like Nashville was a prime city to have a food fest because of the growing food scene going on in Nashville coupled with our love for food. Plus, in the past few years we’ve become great friends with a lot of chefs, like Jonathan [Waxman]. 

MCE: Most people always immediately associate Nashville with music, but how would you describe the city’s food + drink culture? What are you most looking forward to about Music City Eats’ arrival on the Nashville scene?

Caleb: In the last five years Nashville has seen an explosion – not only in hipsters moving here, but musicians moving here from all walks of music. There are now as many rock bands as country bands, and when you have that influx of creative people moving in, the city has to grow and cater to that new crowd.

Nathan: Just even since the time we conceived the festival to now, Nashville has grown leaps and bounds. It’s growing at such a great pace and it’s definitely deserving of all the praise. For us as musicians, it’s really cool to add Petty Fest to add a music element to the festival – to marry the two. Nashville can be a great music city but it’s obviously a cool food spot now too

MCE: How does the gastronomic culture there differ from other places you’ve lived and worked?

Nathan: There’s more beans in the food here. (laugh) No but really, you have a lot of young chefs who are excited for what’s going on in this city. This city has always been about the classics. From the music to the old school chefs who have been here doing their thing for a long time, but with the youth movement, young chefs are pushing the boundaries. A lot of these restaurants are taking this old-type Southern cuisine and turning it on its head.

MCE: Seems like Nashville is a hotbed of creative ventures, and we’d like to think that developing a food and wine festival helmed by both you guys and Jonathan Waxman falls pretty strongly in the innovative partnership category… So what’s your relationship with Jonathan like and what’s your favorite dish or specialty of his?

Caleb: I used to walk past his restaurant every day on my way to another restaurant,  then one day I walked in and tried his chicken and it became my new spot. And if you’ve had that chicken you’d agree. He’s as good of a guy as he is a chef. When it came time to decide who to partner with for this festival we thought it would be ideal for him to be in charge of it. He’s a great guy, terrible dresser though.