Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has announced a new exhibition honoring one of Music City’s most-loved venues and musical communities, the Station Inn. Opening next Friday (January 15), The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon will run until January 2 next year.
“The Station Inn has done so much more than simply provide a venue where musicians and fans alike can gather to play and hear music,” says Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “[It] has built and nurtured a community. The camaraderie, the joy and the sounds that greet patrons entering the club are an experience like no other. We are happy to share the story of a venue that continues to be a sanctuary and haven for some of the finest artists and their music.”
The Station Inn opened in 1974 near Centennial Park, moving to its current address in Nashville’s downtown Gulch district, on 12th Avenue South, in 1978. It describes itself as a “music listening room” spotlighting the best in bluegrass, classic country, Americana and roots music.
The nightspot was founded by bluegrass musicians and singers Bob and Ingrid Fowler, Marty and Charmaine Lanham, Jim Bornstein, and Red and Bird Lee Smith, as a haven for fellow artists and fans with a venue where they could play and hear bluegrass music. Future Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame member J.T. Gray bought the Station Inn in 1981. It has played host to such greats as Vince Gill, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Mac Wiseman, Dierks Bentley, the Fairfield Four, Alison Krauss, the McCrary Sisters, Molly Tuttle and many others.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
* Seats from a tour bus used by Lester Flatt—now serving as seating in the venue
* A wooden box used for many years to collect admission fees at the club entrance
* A fiddle played extensively by Tammy Rogers with the SteelDrivers
* The 1927 Gibson A-Jr. model mandolin used by Nashville Bluegrass Band member Mike Compton in performance and to create his Grammy-winning contribution to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?
* Mike Bub’s Kay M-1 double bass, played with many groups at The Station Inn, including Weary Hearts, the Del McCoury Band, and the Sidemen
* A poster covered with the autographs of musicians who played the club and well-known patrons
* A sound-mixing console described by owner J.T. Gray as “the first piece of modern sound equipment we ever bought”
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is operating temperature checks on entry, and requires all visitors over the age of two to wear masks. Visitors are asked to maintain a distance of six feet from other parties. Tickets and more information are available here.