The history of Nashville’s legendary bluegrass gem The Station Inn is being chronicled in a brand new exhibit at the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum beginning this month. The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon opens Friday, Jan. 15, and will run through Jan. 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,” said 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.”
Items featured in the new exhibit include instruments, photographs, posters and other unique items from the club’s rich history. Highlights include seats from a tour bus used by Lester Flatt, now serving as seating in the venue, 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?, a poster covered with the autographs of musicians who played the club and well-known patrons, and more.
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, with other pickers popping in for regular jam sessions. It 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 with a vision 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 legendary venue.
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