In Vacationer’s Black Queer Guide to Nashville, we recommend a visit to the Jefferson Street Sound Museum to learn about local legends, including singer Jackie Shane. After her death five years ago, the city will make the R&B/Soul trailblazer the first transgender person to receive a historical marker set to be placed in North Nashville early next year.
Jackie Shane was born in Nashville on May 15, 1940, during the time of the Jim Crow South. She started her career performing as a drummer and vocalist in the 1950s, becoming a member of Excello Records’ studio band and part of the house band at the nightclub called the New Era.
In the late 1950s, she moved to Canada to live more freely as her authentic self and gained much success, filling Toronto’s nightclubs for 10 years. She recorded “Any Other Way” with trumpeter Frank Motley, garnering a No. 2 spot on the Canadian singles chart in 1963.
Shane moved back to the U.S. to take care of her mother in Los Angeles during the early 70s, becoming a recluse for more than 40 years. And now if you find any of her original recordings, you’re more than likely to pay hundreds of dollars to get it.
In 2017, Numero Group released Shane’s anthology, which was nominated for “Best Historical Album” at the 2019 Grammy Awards.
Want to know more about Jackie Shane and the Jefferson Street Sound Museum Nashville? Check out our Nashville Travel Guide for Black Queer Travelers!