The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum didn't have to look far for inspiration this time around. The venerable bluegrass club the Station Inn sits less than a mile away from the Hall of Fame and will soon be the subject of its very own exhibit.

Opening on Jan. 15, The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon will spotlight the four decade-old venue, a destination for bluegrass music fans from around the world and a key part of Nashville's bluegrass scene. A group of bluegrass musicians, who served as the club's house band, founded the Station Inn in 1974; its current owner, J.T. Gray -- a 2020 Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame inductee -- bought the club in 1981.

“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.”

Originally located near Centennial Park on the west side of Nashville, the Station Inn moved to its current location, at 402 12th Ave. S. in what's now known as the Gulch, in 1978. As the area has grown to include high-end shops and restaurants and high-rise hotels and office buildings, the small brick building has remained a gathering place and a source of inspiration for everyone from Vince Gill and Alison Krauss to Molly Tuttle and Dierks Bentley.

"I went down there on a whim and found what I was looking for," Bentley recalls of his first trip to the Station Inn. "Guys and girls that weren’t wearing starched jeans and big belt buckles. They were just wearing regular clothes, but they had all the chops; they were able to sing and sing together, and play and play together. Just great energy and spirit. Very sharing and open and non-competitive. A real love of not just bluegrass music, but country music."

The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon will include, among other items, seats from Lester Flatt's tour bus, which are now seating in the Station Inn; a signed poster; and a sound-mixing console, one of the earliest pieces of modern equipment ever purchased for the venue.

The Station Inn: Bluegrass Beacon will run at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum until Jan. 2, 2022. The museum is currently open to the public with timed entrances, mask requirements and other COVID-19 precautions in place. Find full details at CountryMusicHallOfFame.org.

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