Now, if you’re a crazy Nashvillian like me, you knew there was talk of this day for quite some time.
But with the history rooted in Exit/In and the names that grew up playing that stage are the foundation of music in the city (not to mention the GoFundMe that blew up with people donating to save the venue)….no, one actually thought that this would happen.
Due to the lease change, no one knows what the new zoning of the building will mean for its future.
I was RAISED at the Exit/In.
My dad’s band is on the wall of legends behind the bar, and he has been playing on that stage for nearly 40 years. I can’t tell you the number of soundchecks I spent in the black box venue.
Fast forward to when I was old enough to see the drunks at the concert; my parents would sneak my brother and me in through the backdoor, and when the security got wise to that, through the loading dock after the opener.
I have so many great memories of Exit/In. I have spent nights slinging merch in the back of the club as my brother snuck me drinks (sorry, Mom and Dad) as we danced the night away. Hell, my brother even got the tattoo of the logo as an homage to my dad, but also to get into shows for free.
As my heart continues to break for the others who loved the venue as much as I do, I only find it fitting to take a walk down memory lane of some of the great country music that has graced the stage.
Here are some of my favorite recent videos that took place at the beloved Exit/In.
Elle King performing a cover of “Long Haired Country Boy” in 2022. A very recent performance from King that rocked the house down. How can you not love some Charlie Daniels Band coming from a badass like Elle King?
This performance makes me so excited to see what King is cooking up for her recently announced country album.
Ashley McBryde’s cover of “Guys Do It All The Time” & “Heads Carolina, Tails California.”
Another very recent performance from August of this year. I remember seeing this show announced and being so jealous of those that were going to be in the room.
As you can see from the video, the attendee was right at the base of McBryde on stage. One of the best parts of the venue was how intimate it was. And as you hear from McBryde’s story, you never know who will appear at the Exit/In.
Ian Noe performing “Between The Country.”
49 Winchester’s recap video to “Damn Darlin'” perfectly captures the essence of what a night at Exit/In was like (shoutout to my insanely talented cousin, Thomas Crabtree, for shooting this video).
Also, another show is that they burned the house down.
Last but not least, one of my all-time favorite Exit/In performances was Tyler Childers from 2018. This was when Childers started to hit his peak. He sold out the two nights he was booked for so fast that the venue added a third that also sold out in seconds. People were ravenous to get their hands on the tickets.
Tyler Childers and The Food Stamps put on three absolutely phenomenal performances. Going back and watching the videos are great because you see him performing songs we all know and love, but also tunes like “All Your’n” that don’t get released until a full year later.
You can watch one of the entire shows thanks to Music City Maven.
Exit/In was a part of the backbone of independent music scenes in Nashville. Some of the greats played that stage for years before they stepped out onto bigger.
I know that the venue means so much to so many music lovers out there, and although we mourn the loss of a phenomenal intimate venue with 51 years of history, we can look back and celebrate the great performances that it was blessed to see over the years.