AirBnB on No.9 Farms: Glamping at its Best
A GETAWAY IN THE WOODS… SPRINGS FROM MUSIC.
“It all starts with a songwriter,” says Brian Oaks of the music industry. The musician and producer and his wife, Stephanie, stand at the entrance of their Ashland City farm—No. 9 Farms—and squint in the morning sunlight. Together, the couple creates a unique blend of Nashville. They are the nexus of southern farm-life and music: think chicken coop meets clear-rimmed glasses.
A winding, idyllic drive thirty minutes outside of Nashville leads me to the couple’s rural home on No. 9 Farms. I’ve driven out to discover their take on music and organic farms, and to investigate their Airbnb hideaway—a luxury, 1949 vintage Spartan Royal Mansion trailer.
Music brought the couple to Nashville from Seattle in 2007 and has been an immense blessing, but with the financial pressures on the industry, Brian and Stephanie knew that at some point they would be looking for ways to supplement their income.
For many musicians today, it’s a struggle to make a living solely on playing music. File-sharing started the downward trend years ago, and when record labels can’t make money, that affects everyone down the line. The response is artistic erosion.
Songwriters, according to the Nashville Song Association International (NSAI), have decreased by 80% in Nashville. Many have changed occupations, or have moved cities. The majority of musicians require alternative sources of income. Still, Oaks’ love for music is tangible. “I have the best job in the world playing music and producing and I love what I do,” Brian explains as he leads me around the farm. “Some of the best musicians in the world live in Nashville, but many now struggle to make a living playing music. The endgame for most isn’t touring and neither is the hope of playing sessions for the long term anymore.” He pauses. “At some point as an artist, you have to ask yourself: 'what am I worth?'”
And yet, songwriting planted the seeds for a new idea for the Oaks—one involving an Airstream trailer. Brian reminisces upon a song he wrote with Cindy Morgan that sparked an idea:
“Oh the simple life yeah don’t it seem? Like everything we need’ ll fit in between... The door and bed and the Bible and the record machine In our Airstream.”
The simplicity of the Airstream lifestyle stuck, and now it is a part of the Oaks’ everyday life. We wander a gravel path, which leads to a vintage trailer that resembles an upscale Airstream. The couple acquired the Spartan Royal Mansion trailer in Asheville NC, inspired by other musicians who have done similar things with Airnb. But this trailer—available for a rental as an Airbnb— is one of a kind in Nashville.
“The word for this trailer is experience. We want people to take a step out of time, to unplug. We want visitors to restore,” the couple explains.
Indeed, stepping into the vintage Spartan Royal Mansion feels like stepping into a liminal space; time seems suspended between its cozy quarters. Shining oak panels encase the walls. The trailer’s gleaming, spotless surfaces belie any dusty relic of the past. A large bed and cozy couch bedeck both ends of the trailer, and allow plenty of room to lounge. The kitchen features stainless steel touches and a vintage GM refrigerator—and tastefully, a French press and Oolong tea. A new porch, grill, hot plates, and other outdoor cooking amenities surround the trailer. A stone fire pit is just steps away. There is also an outdoor bath house with a clawfoot tub and his and her showers. Brian and Stephanie emanate a pride for their getaway, which is geared towards couples and quiet-seekers: “There’s nothing like slowing down.”
Visitors may also wander the couple’s farm, which services local organic produce to over forty Nashville restaurants. No. 9 Farms allows the couple to make a living as well as spread the word about sustainable, organic farming.
Supplemental incomes define the current music scene in Nashville. But the importance of quality art remains central to Brian and Stephanie’s vision for music, food, and vintage getaways. Despite the challenges of the music industry the Oaks respond with the adage from Dr. William Lane, a college professor of Brian’s:
“Let the excellence of your work be your protest.”