Nashville is a long way from Havre. In fact, it’s not just miles which separates the two cities, it’s culture, it’s weather, it’s geography, it’s history and so many other things that make the Music City so different from Marc Mariani’s home town.
But that doesn’t mean Mariani isn’t finding it easy to make a home in Nashville. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
The transition on the football field has been a relatively smooth one for the former three-sport star at Havre High — even though LP Field holds about 70,000 more fans than Blue Pony Stadium and about 57,000 more fans than the University of Montana’s famed Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
But adjusting to every day life in a new city is something completely different, and Mariani has been making those adjustments well.
“The first thing is, people are somewhat surprised when I say this, but Nashville isn’t all that different than life in Montana,” Mariani said. “Yes, it’s obviously much bigger than Havre or even Missoula, there’s traffic and things like that that takes some getting used to like there is when you move to any metropolitan area.
“But the people here are so great, they are so friendly and that makes it feel a lot like home,” he added. “There is still that feeling here like there is in Montana where everybody knows each other, so it’s like a small, big city if that makes sense. It’s just been really great here and the people who live here and how good they are to everyone has made the transition a good one. I’m very lucky.”
And while his first year of NFL football has been taking up much of his time, Mariani has still found moments to soak in the Nashville experience, something else he says was very easy for him because of what he likes in the way of entertainment and music.
“I’m a country music guy,” Mariani said. “I always have been. And this is the Music City. So it’s been awesome being here. There is music everywhere you turn. You can go downtown and see countless bands performing on any given night. For someone like me, who loves that style of music and who loves to listen to it performed live, Nashville is an amazing place to be.”
The Music City indeed. And for a guy like Mariani, it’s impossible for him to put his finger on just one spot to see his brand of music performed at it’s very best.
A quick google search of the best places to see live music in Nashville shows world famous venues like the Wildhorse Saloon, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Woofy’s, The Stage and famous clubs in historic Printer’s Alley.
“You can’t really have a favorite spot here,” Mariani said. “There are just too many great places, too many good bands. It’s really an amazing place for live music and you can go all over and see it and hear it seven days a week. There’s really nothing like it.”
And there’s one other Nashville specialty Mariani has grown quite accustomed too, the food.
Nashville has world famous barbecue spots all over the city, and while the type of foods the Music City is famous for, aren’t necessarily the kind that’s good for star football players, Mariani is certainly enjoying the cuisine.
“It’s definitely a different taste here, but there are so many good places to eat,” he said. “I’ve really gotten into the southern-style barbecue, and also fried foods. Catfish and things like that. This is a city where you can find a lot of good things to eat, that’s for sure.”
And Nashville is a city with so many things to do and see, and that’s why it’s world famous. And with Mariani making his mark in his first season with the Tennessee Titans, he’s also making the Music City is home away from home.
“I’ve gotten a chance here and there to get out and explore the city,” he said. “And the more time goes on, the more comfortable I’ve become. This is a great place to live with great people, a great culture and it just has a great feel to it, much like Montana. It’s great living here and I’m really enjoying it.”
Note: Fans can follow Mariani for the remainder of his rookie season with the Titans every Thursday and Monday in the Havre Daily News and online at www.havredailynews.com.