Nashville’s Iconic Station Inn Hangs On For Now In Transformed Gulch

December 20, 2014 - fall Denim

Recently built highrises form a resisting backdrop for a low slung and prosy Station Inn. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

Recently built highrises form a resisting backdrop for a low slung and prosy Station Inn. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

Bluegrass fans lined adult on a bitterly cold tumble night outward a speakeasy-style doorway of a Station Inn, a tiny, decades-old bar in Nashville’s hyper-developing Gulch neighborhood.

Nineteen-year-old Caleb Montgomery took his place nearby a front. A guitarist, Montgomery already had visited during slightest a half dozen times given relocating to Nashville for college a tiny over a year ago.

The energy, he said, is incomparable.

“This is a good venue for conference bluegrass. Best in town, by far,” Montgomery said. “There’s such a tiny volume of people in there and you’re so tighten to a performers.”

For 40 years, a Station Inn has served as a assembly place for nation music’s greats, up-and-comers and fans. With a inexpensive wood-paneling, faded unison posters and Stroh’s drink sign, a bar calls to mind a 1970s rec room.

Connoisseurs of normal nation song come from as distant divided as Costa Rica and Canada, Europe and East Asia to trifle any night into a 165-seat club. With no allege sheet sales, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Humble as it competence be, a bar stays a must-play venue for many musicians, including a biggest names in normal nation music.

“It’s kind of a Nashville landmark,” pronounced Grammy Award leader Ricky Skaggs.

Skaggs played a Station Inn as recently as late Nov with his mother and associate bluegrass musician, Sharon White, to foster a new duets album, “Hearts Like Ours.” The dual initial achieved during a bar some-more than 20 years ago, they said.

“The atmosphere is still a same,” pronounced Skaggs. “Same popcorn. Same pizza. Same hotdog.”

From Warehouses To Highrises

But while tiny has altered inside a Station Inn, a area outward a sandstone building has remade clearly overnight. A decade ago, a Gulch was a frequency visited industrial district. Now it’s a colourful residential and blurb neighborhood.

Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

A 22-story condo casts a shade over a club. An organic grocery has non-stop opposite a street. Nearby boutiques and coffeehouses sell pricey denim and four-dollar brews.

Station Inn renter J.T. Gray certified that he’s toyed from time to time with a thought of relocating a Station Inn, “but each time we consider about it and discuss it to anyone, they’ve said, ‘No, no, we don’t wish to move.’ ”

More change is coming. Construction is underneath approach on another slick condo building and dual bureau towers. Early subsequent year, work is set to start on a 200-room hotel that would twist around a Station Inn like an apostrophe.

Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White perform with members of Skaggs's band, Kentucky Thunder, to foster their new duets album, Hearts Like Ours. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White perform with members of Skaggs’s band, Kentucky Thunder, to foster their new duets album, “Hearts Like Ours.” Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

A most scruffier area surrounded a Station Inn when Gray bought it in 1981. The slow-talking drum actor from Mississippi removed his neighbors were a plumbing business, a tool-and-dye emporium and a meat-and-three.

And a Station Inn itself was on a rocks, Gray said:

“It was only that a final people that owned it before me, they knew a bar business though they didn’t unequivocally know a song business, a bluegrass people, a bluegrass bands and how to promulgate with all those people.”

But Gray did. He’d toured with Jimmy Martin, a colonize of bluegrass.

Connecting The Famous — And Not-So-Famous

Gray reached out to his friends in music, and it wasn’t prolonged before stars like Alison Krauss were stuffing a club. “The Father of Bluegrass,” Bill Monroe, showed adult for jams, as would a not-yet-famous Dierks Bentley.

“It took a year — roughly a integrate of years — to get it going again to where we would have good crowds,” Gray said.

The Station Inn continues to pull enthusiastic immature musicians. At a new Sunday night jam, undone 15-year-old Luke Forrest pulled his guitar from a box flashy with stickers decrying genetically mutated food and large government.

He initial listened of a Station Inn examination concerts on YouTube. Nervously, he suggested a tune, “New River Train.”

“It’s a tiny intimidating though it’s good,” Forrest said.

Fifteen-year-old guitarist Luke Forrest plays with maestro bluegrass players during a Sunday night jam session. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

Fifteen-year-old guitarist Luke Forrest plays with maestro bluegrass players during a Sunday night jam session. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

The bar this month celebrates 40 years in business, all though 4 of them in a stream location. Gray himself is 68 and pronounced he hopes to pass along a Station Inn once he can no longer run it.

Owner J.T. Gray bought a Station Inn in 1981 and has built it into one of Nashville's tip bluegrass clubs. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

Owner J.T. Gray bought a Station Inn in 1981 and has built it into one of Nashville’s tip bluegrass clubs. Credit: Chas Sisk / WPLN

But a predestine isn’t wholly adult to him. Gray rents a building, and a quarter-acre underneath it is now value scarcely half a million dollars.

Still, a property’s owners have told Gray they won’t do anything with a building as prolonged as he runs a club. And a Gulch’s master developer, Jay Turner, skeleton to build around a Station Inn, rather than force it aside.

“It’s a smashing amenity to have in a neighborhood, and something we only can’t re-create,” Turner said.

The Gulch’s mutation suggests change will come to a Station Inn eventually. Gray, underneath whose watch a bar has thrived, is philosophical.

“Of course, we have no control, we know,” he said. “We have no control over anything actually. … But we wish and urge that a Station Inn stays like it is for as prolonged as it presumably can.”

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