Exhibition examines the emergence of Nashville’s Station Inn
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will chronicle the history and legacy of revered music club the Station Inn in the museum’s first exhibition of the new year. The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon opens Friday, January 15th, and will run through January 2, 2022.
“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. The Station Inn has built and nurtured a community,” states Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “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 was founded in 1974 by a group of bluegrass musicians and singers — Bob and Ingrid Fowler, Marty and Charmaine Lanham, Jim Bornstein and Red and Bird Lee Smith — who wanted to provide their fellow musicians and fans with a venue where they could play and hear bluegrass music. The owners served as the house band, providing entertainment, with other pickers popping in for regular jam sessions.
The Station Inn moved from its original location near Nashville’s Centennial Park to its current home at 402 12th Ave. S. in 1978. Three years later, future Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame member J.T. Gray purchased the Station Inn. Gray’s vision was to make the club a venue that would draw national recording acts and inspire local artistry. Over the past 40 years, Country Music Hall of Fame members Vince Gill, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Mac Wiseman, as well as Richard Bailey, Dierks Bentley, Mike Bub, the Fairfield Four, Alison Krauss, the McCrary Sisters, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Molly Tuttle and more have taken the stage at the Station Inn.
Items featured in The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon include instruments, photographs, posters and other unique items from the club’s rich history. These 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; and a sound-mixing console described by Gray as “the first piece of modern sound equipment we ever bought.”