Music City Roots, the on-hiatus live weekly radio broadcast, acclaimed Americana music showcase and PBS series first launched 10 years ago, finally has landed a permanent home.
Madison’s historic Amqui Station and museum will be the site of what will be known as The Roots Barn. It’s the site of former train station building first saved from demolition by country music icon Johnny Cash in the late 1970s.
The venue is part of a larger, $1M Madison Station development that will include new housing, sidewalks, and planned Metro park named after Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, the late country music icons and longtime residents of this historic town north of East Nashville in Davidson County.
The Roots Barn’s grand opening is scheduled for February 2020. Capacity is projected as 750 seated, 1,000-plus for standing, with state-of-the-art audio and a timber and barn wood interior inspired in part by The Barns at Wolftrap in the Washington, DC area. Parking will be provided by partnering nonprofit and next-door-neighbor FiftyForward.
According to the press release, The Barn will present ticketed shows, private events and “Music City Roots — Live from Madison Station” on a weekly basis. Adjacent to the barn, a separate building will house a remote studio for partner WMOT Roots Radio-FM (89.5), the 100-watt Americana format public ration station based at Middle Tennessee State University.
Roots co-founder John Walker and Mayor David Briley were among the speakers at a news conference Thursday morning at Amqui Station, as freight trains occasionally interrupted the remarks.
“Welcome home, Music City Roots,” said Metro Council Member Nancy Van Reece, whose District 8 encompasses what she referenced as the “Madison Renaissance” for its increasing new development and trendy cache.
Van Reece name-checked Wells and Wright, Bill Monroe, John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, June Carter Cash, Hank Snow, and Loretta Lynn among the music stars who have called Madison home, with Americana darling Elizabeth Cook among its newer residents.
Music City Roots first launched in 2009 at the Loveless Barn behind Loveless Cafe before moving to The Factory in Franklin. After moving from place to place, plans for a permanent home in SoBro fell through a year ago.
The inside of the new Music City Roots venue, The Roots Barn.
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Photo credit: Press Release