Ten years ago, Nashvillian Jenny Carson had an epiphany while watching people board a local sight-seeing tour bus, only to see there wasn’t enough room for everyone in line. Carson didn’t know a thing about running a tourism business—or driving a bus, for that matter—but she didn’t let that stop her. And that’s how the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree came to be.
The first few years saw Carson cruising downtown’s Broadway, picking up tourists, cracking jokes and pointing out landmarks, all while driving a self-renovated former school bus. In the years since, she’s scooped up numerous awards—including the prestigious TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and Traveler’s Choice awards—en route to being voted the #1 tour in Tennessee by BestThingsTN.com.
Nashville party buses have come under increased scrutiny lately, but that’s not what Carson’s bus tour is about. Part comedy act, part country music sing-along, the 90-minute show (note ‘show,’ not party!) has been featured on several national TV programs such as ABC’s Good Morning America and HGTV’s Flip or Flop.
Last year, Carson teamed up with eight-time Canadian Country Music Association nominee and CCMA “Male Vocalist of the Year” Gil Grand, whose traditional voice and winsome acoustic guitar are the perfect foil to her comedic mania. The Jamboree is currently billed as Nashville’s only country music and comedy bus show.
Carson’s irreverence and bawdy humor might offend some, but as entertainment writer Bethany Bowman noted in a feature for digital media outlet Main Street Nashville, “Jenny Carson is a breath of fresh air. She goes there. But when you offend everyone equally, no one feels left out.”
“You get on our bus, put everything down and 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. “Hilarious things happen when strangers let their guard down with one another and no joke is off limits. We don’t make fun, we have fun.”
While accurate, the Jamboree website disclaimer “If you don’t like attention, great music or irreverent comedy, this isn’t the ride for you. But if you like cutting loose, singing loudly and belly laughing with your loved ones, get a ticket” hasn’t thwarted almost 200,000 riders to date.
Tourists and locals alike—even celebrities like Reba, Kelly Clarkson and Melissa Peterman—ride the Jamboree bus, so tickets sell out quickly. The Music City Rollin’ Jamboree offers two shows daily Tuesday–Saturday at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm.
Due to the Jamboree’s popularity and continual requests for a full show, Carson and Grand have signed on for a residency at the newly renovated and rebranded Troubadour Nashville on Music Valley Drive. Beginning this fall, the Nashville Jubilee Country Music Comedy Show will be held every Wednesday night at 7:00 pm and sponsored by local spirits and veteran-owned company, Leatherwood Distillery. More details coming soon!