LifeNotes: Nashville Nightclub Owner Rick Martin Passes

Rick Martin.

Rick Martin

Rick Martin, one of the great personalities of the Nashville nightclub scene, passed away on Thursday, Jan. 8.

Martin, who was 65, died at home. He was the co-owner of Douglas Corner Café, a longtime showcase venue for the singers, songwriters and instrumentalists of Music City. In addition to establishing the nightclub, Martin was notable as the road manager for acclaimed singer-songwriter David Olney for many years.

Known for his wit and sense of humor, Rick Martin was also a fixture of the Waverly-Belmont neighborhood. He renovated a historic home there and could be found many mornings holding forth at the area’s Bongo Java coffee house. The colorful, charming entrepreneur was a native Nashvillian who was born into the large Martin family of Hillsboro Village. Several of his siblings also became known to Nashville’s music community of the 1970s and 1980s.

Douglas Corner Café was notable as a place where Rick Martin displayed his generosity and loyalty toward creative musicians who sometimes worked outside the commercial mainstream. This is why the club became a locus for what later became known as the Americana music genre. In short, Martin was a champion of Americana long before it had a name.

He is survived by his sisters Julie and Terry Martin. Donations to Alive Hospice in his memory are welcome.

A celebration of Rick Martin’s life will be held at Douglas Corner Café on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m.


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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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