Photography by Paige Rumore Photography and Meghan Aileen
I’m a firm believer that creativity rests in all of us, but sometimes it gets buried under the grueling pace of life. We juggle so many balls in the air, which is amazing to watch if you’re part of the circus, that we forget to fuel and feed the quiet soul of who we are: the writer, the musician, the painter, the crafter. We need a place to slow down and engage our inner artist.
In the heart of Music Row in Nashville, there is a little piece of Jefferson City working hard to make that a reality for people. Kasey Hodges, who grew up in Jefferson City and still visits family here often; her husband, JT; and their business partner and friend, Todd Baldree, have recently opened a new short-term rental home with a musical experience in downtown Nashville. Buffalo Soul, a 1927 historic Tudor near Belmont University, is a musical enthusiast’s dream come true. The four-bedroom home can accommodate 12 to 14 people and includes two writer rooms in the basement with a demo studio. It also has a unique guitar-shaped patio right outside to extend that creativity out in nature.
While the Hodges prep everything for their guests, including a stocked fridge and local beer on tap, they also provide a unique musical experience, including a chance to hear local artists play a writer’s round right at the house. It’s this inside track to the heart of the Nashville music scene, and the pure joy of creating great music, that makes Buffalo Soul a one-of-a-kind experience.
“Our goal was to create a retreat right in the heart of Nashville, a space that is creative and comfortable, where you have the option of experiencing a performance from real Nashville singer-songwriters in a unique and luxurious home. It’s what we like to call ‘your roam away from home,’” says Kasey.
“We’ve always loved meeting new people, picking on the patio, or fireside fellowships,” says JT. “You’ll be around a lot of musical artists, and there’s such a soul that comes with that experience.”
When it comes to music, JT is no stranger to the business. Growing up in Texas, his family owned a recording studio called Buffalo Sound, where his dad worked with many artists over the years. Even though his dad encouraged him to not study music, JT went to LA after college to do music and acting, which is where he got his first recording contract. It’s also where he met Kasey, who was using her creative talents first in television and then for Gibson Guitars in Beverly Hills. A few years later, they made the move to Nashville together for JT to pursue his dreams of songwriting and touring as a country artist. It’s been a dream that has paid off, but the Hodges wanted to dream even bigger.
As the music industry changes, technology has allowed people to consume music at a fast rate. It’s also depreciated the art, Kasey notes. Many artists don’t make it to big stages and bright-light shows anymore, but they still have an incredible story and talent to share. It’s that storytelling, plus the pure love of music, that launched Buffalo Soul from dream to reality.
“When you come here, you will see artists valued, and that gets put back into the music,” says Kasey. “It’s about real artists sharing their story with the people who visit this town in hopes they find a renewed appreciation of modern music.”
That appreciation is noted in every nook and cranny at Buffalo Soul, including in the repurposed table nestled in the house that once was JT’s dad’s large music studio sign in Texas. It’s a reminder that music is always a part of everything they do.
“Buffalo Soul is named after my dad’s studio,” notes JT. “But it also refers to the musical soul of my father, the soul of music, and that Kasey and I are soulmates. We are in this together.”
While JT and Kasey make all the details shine at Buffalo Soul, you won’t find them bunking in the room next to you. The Hodges and their two young daughters, Charlee Joy and Delta, live about 25 miles outside of Nashville in the village of Leipers Fork. Leipers Fork is a community of 600 people, including many artists and creative spirits, where the Hodges have found a place to slow their pace and cultivate their creativity through nature. This sacred space for them will also become a new creative retreat with a late 2019 opening. The country retreat will have a musical foundation with hopes of attracting everyone from creatives to souls that just need to be recharged.
“We live in a world that moves so fast. The idea about bringing it back to a slower pace is what the new Leipers Fork property will be all about,” says Kasey. “I live it every day with my kids running barefoot and playing with their pig. People are really seeking places like this to slow down and be.”
The sister property to Buffalo Soul will be able to accommodate up to 30 rooms with acres of land surrounding them, but it will still have the same creative spirit that the Hodges are well-known for. You can soak up the fresh air by yourself or spend some quality time with other like-minded travelers. It’s this distinct vision, plus the desire to bring people together, that makes Buffalo Soul, both in Nashville and eventually in Leipers Fork, a must-experience destination. It’s one they hope their friends and family in Jefferson City will come out to see.
“As a consumer of experiential travel and a music fan myself, I wanted Buffalo Soul to be a peak inside what makes this town Music City,” notes Baldree. “Buffalo Soul is a high end, unique in-town retreat, and an incredible spot for travelers coming from Jefferson City who want to experience the real Nashville.”
For more information on the Buffalo Soul story, or to book your stay in this musical B&B, visit buffalosoul.com. You can also keep up with Buffalo Soul on Instagram at @buffalo_soul.
The Oola Dream Tour
In April 2017, Kasey happened upon a vintage 1970 VW Surf Bus sponsored by Oola, a lifestyle website, on its Oola Dream Tour. The purpose of the bus is to help inspire people to follow their dreams by writing that dream on a sticker and placing it on the side of the bus. The Oola guys have a goal of collecting one million dreams and guiding people toward finding balance and growth with the Seven Fs of Oola: fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun.
Kasey’s dream was to create an overnight musical experience that fuels the soul. Shortly after her Dream Bus experience, Kasey, JT, and Todd created Buffalo Soul and the experience that comes with it.
The Oola guys are finishing up their 2018 Dream Tour and stopped in Nashville and Buffalo Soul one year after Kasey placed her OOLA sticker on the bus. Check out the video on Oola Life’s Facebook.