Searching for the best route to explore Nashville while laughing your way through a country music sing-along and comedy tour? Take a ride on the multi award-winning Music City Rollin’ Jamboree.
Jenny Carson, owner and comedienne extraordinaire, makes one thing very clear. “It’s a show, not a party bus, but the show is a party. This is a tour of Nashville you aren’t going to find anyplace else.”
A TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and Traveler’s Choice Award winner, and featured on Good Morning America and HGTV’s Flip or Flop, the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree celebrates its ten-year anniversary in 2022. After taking a year-and-a-half off during the pandemic, Carson added musician Gil Grand, CCMA and GRAMMY® winner, to the experience. Together they’ve created an alchemy that garners repeat business, as well as referrals from previous satisfied customers.
The idea for the Rollin’ Jamboree came to Carson ten years ago, when she and her grandparents took a ride on the Nash Trash Tour. All seats were sold out, and the pink bus ended up leaving a crowd of people behind. That crowd, and memories of the old Dolly Trolley that used to tour downtown, led her to an epiphany.
“This is it. This is the time.”
A week later, she purchased a retired school bus for five thousand dollars, painted it, put in a sound system, and the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree was born. When asked what she would do if the business failed, she insisted that she knew “it was going to work, no matter what.” Ten years later, and she’s been proven right.
“I wanted to make it so my grandparents could get on it – anyone’s grandparents – have a good time, and leave knowing more about Nashville.” Back then, she drove the bus herself, and took a couple of years to develop the tour and find her rhythm. The gates opened once she started making people laugh.
“You get on that bus, you put everything down, and you have a good time for 90 minutes. You enter as a stranger, you leave as a friend, and possibly as part of our family,” Carson says. Her warmth and humor carry over once people disembark. She texts every rider to thank them personally, and they keep the jokes going. She even occasionally hears from participants when they run into fellow attendees at other Nashville landmarks.
“It’s just special,” she says, “when strangers let their guards down with one another and no joke is off limits. We don’t make fun, we have fun.”
And don’t forget the music. Carson has high praise for Gil Grand. “People don’t expect the music to be as excellent as it is. He surprises people.” Grand leads a dual life. After spending time in his native Canada touring, performing his own award-winning music and traditional country shows, he then he returns to Nashville, gets “on a bus, and starts acting goofy. There’s never a ride where something unexpected doesn’t happen.” He holds Carson in high regard as well. “She commits to the jokes, and there’s nothing she doesn’t talk about. She makes the comedy happen. I’ve never seen anyone pull out the character aspects of people like she does.”
As the straight man with a quick wit, he relishes both the irreverent comedy and performing his music. “It’s a show, not a party. Many people come back, and it evolves the longer we work together.” As he says on the website, “I never realized how fulfilling it is to bring laughter to people. There’s something special that happens on the bus that I don’t get from the stage and that’s why I love it.” The same two drivers have been with Jenny for ten years, which speaks to the warm atmosphere she and Grand create. The tours take place at 11:30 and 1:30, Wednesday through Saturday, for ages 21 and up. No bachelorette parties or large groups are permitted. “We will not tolerate disruptions,” Carson says. “People are here for a show.” Soon, the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree might park the bus outside its own venue. “We’re looking into it,” says Grand, “trying to develop a stationary show in Nashville.” They’d like to create something like the old Johnny and June show, with country music and comedy.
Recently, some visitors from across the pond took the tour. When asked how they found out about the experience, they said, “You are quite popular in England. Everyone recommends this show there!” Locals recommend it, too. So, take some time to see downtown with the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree, famous worldwide, and relish in the opportunity to laugh, sing, and leave all your worries behind.