You can hardly look skyward in Nashville lately without seeing a crane dangling impossibly like a giant double-jointed skeleton above a slowly ascending heap of concrete and steel beams. (JK, we don’t look up from our phones either.) The city is in flux — its hard guts are being excised and reconstructed, its crosshatched mythologies rewired and retuned. But even as we welcome the new (or try to stave it off — no Thirty-Mile Zone here!), the city improves not so much because of who arrives, but for who stays. For our annual People Issue, we’ve once again assembled a gallery of movers and shapers — citizens pumping energy and oxygen into the civic bloodstream: from an Opry star who can take a joke as well as he deals them out — that’d be cover model Brad Paisley — to a recording engineer who also fronts one of the city’s best young bands; from an attorney from Missouri fighting for women’s and children’s rights to a teenage entrepreneur from Nairobi with big tech dreams; from a nurse plying chess pies in her spare time to a former nurse who quit her day job to build a blogging career; from a hit songwriter who stumbled into the trade to an animal photographer who found her way back to the art after a detour in professional wrestling. In other words: a cross section of Nashville in 2014 as told through a few of its people. (And for the first time, Scene readers helped determine the selections.) Things are looking up, all right.