Nashville’s Historic Ernest Tubb Record Shop to Close After 70+ Years
"Our goal has always been to protect, promote and preserve the great history of the record shop and building," a joint statement from owners Honky Tonk Circus, ETRS, and David McCormick Company, reads. "That desire remains as strong today as ever. However, due to changes in circumstances out of our control, it's now clear the best way forward is to sell the business and the real estate."
The store owners say that they are "heartbroken" that the record shop will close, but they "remain committed to preservation work and look forward to new projects that will allow us to continue to protect and nurture the invaluable history and tradition of country music."
Country music pioneer and Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubb originally opened his record shop in 1947 on Commerce Street in downtown Nashville. The store was relocated in 1951 to its current location on Lower Broadway and became a must-see stop for out-of-town visitors. In its early years, Tubb and his staff would package and mail thousands of vinyl records ordered by music fans across the country.
The store was also home to the Midnite Jamboree, Tubb's own radio show that aired live immediately after the Grand Ole Opry. Many artists who performed at the Opry would head across the street to play live for in-store vistiors and radio listeners. In 1974, the Jamboree was eventually moved to a new location near the newly-built Grand Ole Opry House. The Jamboree was put on hiatus in 2015 due to financial issues, but was restarted in 2021 at its original location.
Most of country music's biggest names have performed at the Record Shop, including Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Marty Robbins and Garth Brooks. In recent years, some of the genre's younger generation of talents have made efforts to reignite interest in the store. In 2016, Charlie Worsham held mulitple pop-up events during CMA Fest 2016, featuring performances with Eric Church, Brandy Clark, Margo Price and Brothers Osborne. Later that year, Kacey Musgraves held a special in-store performance in support of her holiday album A Very Kacey Christmas. George Strait and Loretta Lynn are among the country artists who have previously held pop-up events with exclusive merchandise at the shop.
To this day, visitors to the store can see a display of vintage hand-signed photos and memorbilia from some of country music's most beloved artists. Over the past decade, Lower Broadway has transformed into a hectic tourism hub, anchored by a growing list of bars and resturants themed around and co-owned by many mainstream country artists, including Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert.
The record store's shuttering will likely reignite discussion of the need for preservation efforts around Nashville's music landmarks, including local performance venues, which have struggled to survive with rising property costs and business losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.
An official closing date for the Ernest Tubb Record Shop has not yet been announced.