I was surprised that out of all the things I saw in Nashville, the Hatch Print Show showroom, located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame was one of my favorite parts of my trip.
I was confused by this as I’m generally not the sort of person who “gets” art. This fact in itself sort of baffles me, because not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty artistically competent, I’m a big music person and I’m relatively creative, but art museums and shows often leave me confused, rather than intrigued, and I’m usually the one balking at prices, rather than admiring the work. And anything labeled “abstract” or an “installment?” Forget it.
I got the Hatch Print Show. I even would have paid more than the listed price for several of my souvenirs. The shop is dedicated to the kind of art that already dominate my bedroom walls.
I’ve always been fascinated with concert posters and advertisements. They have a purpose. They tell a story and commemorate a specific incident, place and time.
You may argue that they are simply marketing tools, and I would have conceded to you had I not stepped foot in the Hatch Print Show store; these pieces are indeed what I would call art.
The Hatch Print show is a Nashville institution, a 134 year old print & poster shop that’s most recently moved from it’s Broadway location into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The facility includes a workshop, where visitors can watch the manufacture of posters, a retail store, the Haley Gallery, a collection of master printer Jim Sherradan’s monoprints (meaning only one was printed) which are modern interprations of classic hatch print jobs and a classroom area for demonstrations and more indepth programs.
Unfortunately, I visited he Hall of Fame on Saturday so the gallery and workshop were closed. The Hatch Print Show facilities are located right in the Country Music Hall of Fame and you don’t need a ticket in order to explore. The store was open and included a number of prints from over the years advertising everything from Johnny Cash shows to country fairs to posters extolling Nashville and Tennessee pride. The Hatch Print Show also does all posters for shows at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium where guests can purchase them afterwards. Those posters that have not been purchased are then sold for discounted prices at their store, which is where I found and purchased an awesome ” Jake Bugg at the Ryman” poster.
I ended up purchasing three more posters, all of which embody the kind of artwork I enjoy, the kind that has a vacation or concert or event attached to it.
Hatch Show Prints not only embodies country music, but all southern culture and has also produced pieces for “other” artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. I’d highly recommend a visit to the Hatch Show Print if you’re ever in Nashville. I’d love to get a more indepth tour next time I go back (isn’t it sort of great when something you want to see is closed, it’s a guaranteed excuse to go back) and visit the workroom and gallery.
I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame on Saturday morning. It’s an impressive building on 5th avenue, now dwarfed by it’s neighbor, the brand new (and insanely expensive) Convention Center. I liked the Country Music Hall of Fame a little better than I would have thought. Here’s the thing: I’m a huge country fan, especially these days. It’s almost exclusively what I listen to on the radio, but I wasn’t always a fan. There was a dark time in my teenage years when I cared too much about what made me cool and openly shunned the genre. I’ve obviously come around, but I think it’s partially because of this that I don’t have much interest in most country produced prior to the 2000’s. I know that makes a lot of country music purists angry, but it’s the truth. The real whiny, hokey, cowboy stuff of yesteryear holds know appeal to me and I figured that a lot of the hall of fame would be devoted to that. A large portion of it was, but there was also a ton of information and relics dedicated towards contemporary country music and a lot of information and behind the scenes dirt on the production side, for those of you who are just straight up music fans.
There were several packages available for purchase and viewing. I opted for the cheapest because my budget it a bit tight these days, which simply admitted one to the museum (for an unlimited amount of visits in 24 hrs). Another option included an audio tour which I probably should have taken because audio tours are sort of my jam and also a tour of RCA Studio B, located in nearby Music Row. I figured the studio would be another locale devoted to “classic” country artists and only after I’d left the museum behind learned that it was where Elvis recorded most of his hits, Roy Orbison recorded “Only the Lonely” (which means it’s indirectly responsible for one of my favorite Bruce lines of all times, “Roy Orbison singing for the lonely, hey that’s me and I want you only”) and where Brenda Lee recorded “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” (how sad is it that I felt compelled to mention that one).
Add Studio B to the list of things I need to return to Nashville for.
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