For over 40 years, The Station Inn has brought local and touring bluegrass, Americana, roots music and country acts to the Gulch, an area between downtown Nashville and Music Row. In that span, the stage of one of the world's most revered bluegrass venues has hosted stars the caliber of Bill Monroe, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, John Prine and Ricky Skaggs.
The venue will get some well-earned praise on Jan. 15 when the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum debuts its new exhibit, The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon.
"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," says Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young in a press release. "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."
A group of bluegrass musicians founded the Station Inn in 1974. The live music destination, originally located near Centennial Park in west Nashville, moved to its current location (402 12th Ave S) in 1978. Current owner J.T. Gray bought the venue in 1981.
The new exhibit will run through Jan. 2, 2021. Featured artifacts 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"
Both the Station Inn and Country Music Hall of Fame have adjusted their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The music venue has placed an added focus on its Station Inn TV livestreams, while the museum operates with timed entrances, mask requirements, temperature checks and other precautions.