It seemed just about perfect. In hindsight, perhaps it was a little too perfect. The owner of Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway—JesseLee Jones—would purchase one of the oldest operating businesses in Nashville, housed in one of the oldest buildings in Nashville, that also happened to be one of country music’s most storied institutions: the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, where the 2nd oldest radio program in country history traditionally was broadcast from, The Midnite Jamboree.
“Robert’s is the undisputed home for traditional country music,” JesseLee Jones said on August 20th, 2020, when the purchase was first announced. “Having been on the side of traditional country music, which made Music City, it just makes sense to continue that tradition by my buying the Earnest [sic] Tubb Record Shop business and building. My purpose is to protect, promote and preserve this great history. So this just made sense that Robert’s and Ernest Tubb be strong, be one and be family to perpetuate the tradition. Ernest Tubb Record Shops will be here for another 52 years, if it’s up to me.”
JesseLee Jones and Robert’s Western World
These were assuring words from JesseLee Jones, and not just because of what they said, but because of who said them. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jones was exposed to country, rockabilly, and Gospel music growing up, and fostered dreams of moving to America to become a performer. In 1985 he officially immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 22, but fell on tough times. Being unable to speak fluent English, JesseLee was robbed on a Greyhound bus of his possessions, and he ended up in Peoria, Illinois relying on the charity of others, doing odd jobs in exchange for food and shelter. He learned English watching Sesame Street, and started working his way up in nightclubs to become a performer.
Eventually JesseLee Jones earned American citizenship, and moved to Nashville in the early 90s to pursue his dream of being a country music singer. With the voice of a songbird, and a yodel as smooth as Slim Whitman, JesseLee Jones is arguably one of the most underrated classic country singers of our time, beyond his importance as the owner of Robert’s Western World. And in both his capacity as a performer and business owner, Jones has always been driven to keep the older sounds of American music alive.
This is what led JesseLee to Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway in Nashville, where he played his first gig in the Spring of 1995. At the time, Lower Broadway in Nashville was not anywhere near the bustling tourist destination it is today. After the Ryman Auditorium was shuttered when the Grand Ole Opry House was opened across town in 1974, the Lower Broadway neighborhood began to fall into decline. Previously housing many music-oriented businesses, dirty bookstores and pawn shops moved into the area.
But in the early 1990s, an effort at a resurgence for the neighborhood commenced, championed by young musicians and entrepreneurs who wanted to see this sacred ground of country music where so many legends once walked and played revitalized. The building housing Robert’s Western World was right across the alley from the Ryman Auditorium, and just down the row from Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The building had been used as a warehouse and offices until the late 1950s when steel guitar legends Shot Jackson and Buddy Emmons bought the building, and used it to house their Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company’s manufacturing hub and showroom. It remained as such until the early 80s, when the area fell into such destitution, few businesses could survive, or wanted to be in the area.
Eventually, 416 Broadway B became a liquor store, until Robert Moore bought it, and turned it into Robert’s Rhinestone Western Wear—a clothier shop. He later added a bar, food, and live entertainment, and Robert’s Western World was born. Next door was Layla’s Bluegrass Inn (now Layla’s Honky Tonk), owned by Layla, and then partner Joe Buck (now known as performer Joe Buck Yourself). These two business—along with the Ernest Tubb Record Shop across the street that had endured all of the changes in the neighborhood—comprised the nucleus of the Lower Broadway revitalization.
Throwback neotraditionalist band BR549 was the big draw on Lower Broadway at the time, and was the house band at Robert’s, attracting fans young and old back down to that vital region of Nashville, and instilling it with night life. When JesseLee Jones showed up, the BR549 members began calling him the “Brazilian Hillbilly.” Soon the name Brazilbilly stuck, and Jones was performing every Friday and Saturday night, with “Brazilbilly” emblazoned right on the Robert’s Western World sign in neon.
But Robert’s owner Robert Moore was getting up there in age, and it was hard for Moore to keep up with all of the doings of a bustling honky tonk. So in 1999, he sold the business to JesseLee Jones and a friend named Libbi Lee for $175,000. Similar to his later purchase of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, JesseLee swore to preserve what was now considered “the home of traditional country music” on Lower Broadway.
According to Libbi Lee about the purchase of Robert’s Western World, “One day I walked into a pawn shop on Broadway where [Robert Moore] was playing checkers. I had a one-page contract in my hand and asked him if he was serious or not. I also had an earnest check for $10,000. He barely looked at the contract, signed it and shoved the check in his front shirt pocket. He immediately went back to playing checkers.”
When Libbi Lee decided to sell her half of Robert’s Western World to JesseLee Jones in 2009, half of the business was now worth $1.6 million. Not a bad return on the initial $175,000 investment for the whole business. Libbi Lee and her husband later played a part in opening the Full Moon Saloon, and The Wheel on Lower Broadway as well.
Meanwhile, as the real estate market on Lower Broadway exploded, and massive mainstream names such as Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Kid Rock all moved into the area, the sound and aspect of Lower Broadway began to change significantly. Classic rock and pop country became the soundtrack of the sidewalks as bachelorette parties and tourists ruled the region. But true to his word, JesseLee Jones continues to keep Robert’s Western World as one of the last bastions of traditional country music alive in the region, only hosting music from the classic era on the stage in line with Robert Moore’s original vision.
David McCormick and The Ernest Tubb Record Shop
Meanwhile across the street at 417 Broadway sits the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, which moved to the location in 1951 after first opening in 1947 on Commerce Street. Frustrated at the lack of country records stocked at many retail establishments across the country, instead of complaining about it, Ernest Tubb decided to do something about it, opening up the store that also did a brisk catalog and mail order business. The building itself was built in the 1850, housing an ornamental plaster business at one time. It also operated as hospital during the Civil War.
The Ernest Tubb Record Shop also became the venue for the Midnite Jamboree—the official/unofficial afterparty of the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night, which soon became its own cultural staple broadcast on WSM. This is where Loretta Lynn got her big break, and dedicated a song to Patsy Cline as she laid in a hospital bed after a tragic auto accident—just one of many legendary moments in country history facilitated by the Record Shop.
David McCormick started working at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop in 1968 as a counter clerk. Over time he worked his way all the way up to part owner, and eventually, full owner. Maintaining the record shop the way Ernest Tubb envisioned it was McCormick’s passion and life’s purpose, similar to JesseLee Jones and the vision of Robert Moore for Robert’s Western World. David McCormick eventually bought the building and property where the Record Shop sits for $128,000 in 1992. Similar to Robert’s Western World, due to the run-down nature of Lower Broadway at the time, the price now looks like a steal.
Along with other locations of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop that came and went over the years across the United States including in Fort Worth, Branson, and Pigeon Forge, the business also operated a satellite record shop in the Music Valley Village near the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown. A C-shaped strip mall, a portion of Music Valley Village was literally built around Ernest Tubb’s “Green Hornet” tour bus that people could walk through, with the Texas Troubadour Theater next door hosting the Midnite Jamboree performances and broadcasts in later years to facilitate larger crowds than the Record Shop downtown.
But in 2015, both the Ernest Tubb Record Shop business, as well as the Midnite Jamboree began suffering financial problems, in part due to the transition to music streaming taking its toll on the record business. With David McCormick battling health issues and relying on managers of various degrees of competency more and more, loyal patrons to both locations of the Record Shop began to notice bare shelves and low inventory.
Then the Midnite Jamboree was suspended from the airwaves by WSM for not paying broadcast fees for carrying the show. “We’re in a dilemma right now,” Glenn Douglas Tubb told Saving Country Music in 2015. Glenn was a legendary songwriter and the nephew of Ernest Tubb, and a regular performer on the Midnite Jamboree. He passed away in 2021.
“David [McCormick] called me a couple of days ago and said he had to suspend the Midnite Jamboree and he’s had to close the record shop out by the Opryland because there’s just not enough business anymore. They’re downloading their music off the internet now. They quit buying records and that was what was supposed to support the Midnite Jamboree when Ernest started it back in 1947. For the last several years, David’s had to pay the expenses out of his pocket. He was pretty well off at one time, but now he’s broke. We just need to get him some help.”
Later, the manager of the Music Valley Village and the President of the Music Valley Merchants Association, T. Clark Miller, told Saving Country Music that they had allowed David McCormick and the Midnite Jamboree to rent to the Texas Troubadour theater for free for the past year, and had taken over the management to help with the business. Glenn Douglas Tubb, along with a man named Ken Moser, also set up an organization called the Midnite Jamboree/Ernest Tubb Record Shop Association to help raised funds to support the ailing businesses.
But David McCormick apparently did not want the help, and the association quickly fizzled. Numerous attempts by Saving Country Music to talk to David McCormick during that time in 2015 failed, with numerous sources saying McCormick was “ungetaholdable” by the press. Subsequently, David McCormick did reach out to Saving Country Music via email with a simple “NO COMMENT” on the issues the business was facing at that time.
Later in 2015, David McCormick was reported to be “gravely ill” in the hospital with congestive heart failure and pneumonia by Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs. The way Stubbs characterized it, the situation seemed dire. “For over forty years, David McCormick has been a tremendous friend to the artists and fans of the country and bluegrass music communities. That ‘tremendous friend’ could sure use our thoughts and prayers now,” Stubbs said, leaving many worried about the future of the Record Shop and Midnite Jamboree.
But David McCormick recovered, as did eventually the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. The Music Valley Village location was closed in March of 2016, which may have been sad for some loyal patrons, but was likely a good move for the business. Inventory was consolidated to the Lower Broadway location, and eventually a new manager named Terry Tyson was brought on board, who according to numerous long-time employees of the Record Shop, deserves credit for helping to save the business.
Under the management of Terry Tyson, inventory returned. Events were also held at the Record Shop, like takeovers around album releases from George Strait and Vince Gill. As both Lower Broadway and the resurgence in vinyl sales became more and more bustling, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop found itself of sure footing once again … until David McCormick’s health came into question once more.
The Deal Between JesseLee Jones and David McCormick for the Ernest Tubb Record Shop
As caretakers of iconic businesses, and staunch traditional country music supporters, JesseLee Jones and David McCormick had known each other and been friends for around 25 years—since shortly after JesseLee Jones had arrived in Nashville. When both the physical and mental health of David McCormick began to become an issue once again in 2019, JesseLee Jones and his wife Emily Ann Cousins offered to become caretakers of David McCormick, and moved him into a guesthouse on the couple’s property in April of 2020 in Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood.
It was over the period in 2020 when David McCormick was living with JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins that the couple began to manage the financial affairs of McCormick, first giving Jones and Cousins power of attorney shortly after he moved to the property, and naming them the primary beneficiaries of his estate, including the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. Then in August of 2020, David McCormick made the decision to sell the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and property to the couple for $4.75 million.
At this time, the relationship between JesseLee Jones and David McCormick remained amicable according to numerous sources. JesseLee and his wife encouraged friends of David McCormick to visit him at their property. Since McCormick was suffering from numerous health ailments, they hired home help to stay with David McCormick 24 hours a day in two 12-hour shifts for a period. Those who came to visit McCormick showed no concern about how he was being treated.
“I think David was happy to sell to Jesse because David felt, and Jesse had convinced him, that he would maintain the Record Shop tradition,” says former Ernest Tubb Record Shop employee Sonya Ray Haskins. “David spent his life trying to maintain the Ernest Tubb Record Shop in the manner that Mr. Tubb would have wanted it to be maintained. He had much bigger offers than what Jesse and Emily paid. But he believed them that they would continue it in the manner that it had been. That it would still be there for a 100 year anniversary, still selling records on Lower Broad.”
Though it is tough to determine if or what kind of discount David McCormick offered to JesseLee Jones for the Ernest Tubb Record Shop compared to the fair market value, the parking lot between the Merchants restaurant and Nudies at 405 Broadway sold for $9.4 million three months after the Record Shop sale, and without a building on it, or a legacy business with inventory, memorabilia, and fixtures included.
Along with the original location, plans to potentially open another Ernest Tubb Record Shop in Bertram, TX where Emily Ann Cousins was originally from also were hatched. Cousins had purchased the historic Globe Theater in the town of 2,000 about 50 minutes north and west of Austin. Incidentally, JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins were officially married in 2021.
Things Go Wrong
The relationship turned sour was when JesseLee Jones did not make required monthly payments to David McCormick for the business. The financier for the Ernest Tubb Record Shop purchase was David McCormick himself, with JesseLee Jones agreeing to make interest payments each month. From August 18, 2020 to May of 2021, these payments were not made, according to McCormick and court filings, with potentially the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time being cited as a reason for non-payment. At that point, McCormick and his legal counsel sent a notice of default to JesseLee Jones, along with explaining their intention to dissolve the deal, and pursue regaining ownership of the Record Shop for McCormick.
By this time, David McCormick had been moved off the property of JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins to a senior living facility, reconfigured his legal situation to make his brother, Phillip A. McCormick, his conservator, and filed suit against JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins on August 6th, 2021.
One of the reasons few knew of the legal battle ensuing between David McCormick and JesseLee Jones at the time is instead of the filing happening in Davidson County’s (Nashville) Circuit Court or Chancery Court, all of the legal proceedings occurred in the probate court where wills and estates are resolved. In the August 6th filing, attorneys for David McCormick contended,
…the execution of the above-referenced Power of Attorney to the Respondents JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins and while Mr. McCormick was still living in their guest house, the closing took place regarding the Respondents’ purchase of Mr. McCormick’s long-held business – the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway. This purchase of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop by the Respondents took place while David McCormick was still in the midst of his psychological impairment and under the Respondents’ undue influence and control regarding his financial affairs. Moreover, the purchase price of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop was drastically below the fair market value of the property and business.
The Petitioners allege, therefore, that the Respondents JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins once again breached their fiduciary duty of honesty and loyalty under the Power of Attorney and to always act in David McCormick’s best interests. These Respondents fraudulently induced Mr. McCormick to sell his business to both themselves and/or to the companies they wholly owned and controlled, i.e., the Respondents Honky Tonk Circus, LLC and ETRS, LLC, and at a sales price that was drastically less than fair market value.
The lawsuit also alleges that JesseLee Jones arranged for the unauthorized transfer of $100,000 from McCormick’s personal checking account to the business entity Jones and Cousins had set up as an umbrella for the Lower Broadway businesses and the Globe Theater in Bertram, TX called Honky Tonk Circus LLC.
The part that doesn’t make it into the lawsuit filing is that living so close together after David McCormick was moved to the property of JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins likely caused personal friction between the two parties that ultimately spilled over into the business side of their relationship.
It is mentioned in legal filings that McCormick suffers from bipolar disorder, and he may have become argumentative and difficult to work with in the partnership as time passed. Meanwhile, according to friends and former employees of David McCormick and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, the couple used their personal relationship with McCormick and their proximity and power over him to their advantage in the Record Shop sale.
The Firing of the Long-Time Ernest Tubb Record Shop Employees
Shortly after taking control of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, JesseLee Jones installed a new manager named Julie Richmond to help operate the Record Shop. Shortly thereafter, one request Julie Richmond made of all of the employees was to sign non-disclosure agreements. Seeing the request as strange, all but one of the long-time employees of the Record Shop refused. Though the refusal to sign the non-disclosure agreements caused friction between the employees and the management, Julie Richmond and JesseLee Jones would regularly tell the long-time employees that their tenure and expertise was valued in store meetings.
Long-time employees of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop were not just considered hired help. They were like institutions all to themselves. Gloria Ellingson had been working at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop for 52 years. She moved to Nashville from Wisconsin shortly after high school, and initially worked there full-time before taking a job with an insurance company, while staying on with the Record Shop part-time. Earlene Huff who grew up in Jamestown, Tennessee worked at the Record Shop for 50 years and had a similar story, working there full time before taking a job at AT&T, but remaining part-time throughout the years due to a passion for the business, a connection to the customers, and a love of country music.
“None of us were there for the great money. After 14 years, I was making $12.50 and hour,” says Sonya Ray Haskins, who a sales clerk at the Record Shop. Haskins grew up with David McCormick in Livingston, Tennessee, and has known him his whole life. “We loved the Record Shop, and we wanted to see it continue.”
For many long-time customers of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, it was so much more than just a retail store.
“We would get a lot of calls, including calls from people who just wanted to talk,” Sonya Ray Haskins explains. “One of my first days, I had a lady call and say, ‘I don’t have much information, but I’m looking for a song that says something about ‘ooga ooga mooska.’ I said, ‘Okay, I think I know who that is.’ I talked to my co-workers who’ve been here longer, and asked them, ‘Ooga ooga mooska,’ doesn’t that sound like Hank Thompson? And they both said, ‘Yes, I think you’re right.’ And when I called the lady back she said, ‘I can’t believe you figured that out.’ But that’s what we do here. We have knowledge of music that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, and a love for it.”
But all of that tenure, and all of that knowledge was let go on August 16th, 2021 when all of the long-time Ernest Tubb Record Shop employees were abruptly terminated—ten days after David McCormick filed suit against JesseLee Jones. The Record Shop was then closed abruptly for a week, with the reason given to the public being renovations to the property. As word trickled out that 50+ year employees such as Gloria Ellingson and Earlene Huff had been fired, customers and concerned music fans left comments on the Record Shop’s social media pronouncements of the temporary closing.
“Shame on you guys!” posted Darren Patrick Long on Facebook. “I worked at this shop from 1998-2013, and was proud to work with all of these fired employees. As a working musician/songwriter, ET’s was the best place to work, loved it. Happy to see it under new ownership, but not happy about the firing of such devoted folks.”
Another post said, “Care to explain why the entire staff of your store was fired? These are the people that built this establishment and created what you, the owners, purchased. An explanation about your motivations would probably be a good idea.”
But no explanation came. Though the refusal of the long-time employees to sign the non-disclosure agreement was likely partly to blame, one long-time employee, Victor Black, had signed the non-disclosure as requested, and was still let go in the mass firing.
The bigger reason for the terminations appears to be a dispute that arose over personal property that David McCormick had stored at the Record Shop. Shortly after the filing of the lawsuit against JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins, David McCormick went to the Record Shop to pick up some boxes of personal items that according to numerous Record Shop employees, where marked specifically as David McCormick’s belongings, along with other items that belonged to him that were located in the downstairs portion of the Record Shop.
On Sunday August 15th, 2021, McCormick parked in the alley behind the Record Shop so he could load the boxes of his personal belongings in his vehicle. After McCormick was done, he came upstairs to the Record Shop floor, and decided he also wanted to take a poster of James “Tom” Davis, who was the first ground casualty in the Vietnam War in 1961, and was from McCormick’s hometown of Livingston, Tennessee. McCormick had also commissioned a bronze bust of Tom Davis, and had a small memorial for him in the back of the Record Shop.
After hearing that David McCormick had been in the Record Shop removing items, Emily Ann Cousins came down to the shop, angry at what had happened. Later, manager Julie Richmond arrived as well. They closed the Record Shop at about 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, called the police, and employees were told to make a list of everything David McCormick “stole” from the property.
But the long-time employees insisted that nothing had been stolen. David McCormick had owned and worked at the Record Shop for 50 years, and personal items not part of the Record Shop business had accumulated there over time, including boxes listed as McCormick’s with the understanding they could be removed them when he was able to, though the Tom Davis poster and other items may have been in dispute to whether they belonged to McCormick, or to the Record Shop business.
The next day, Monday August 16th, the six long-time employees of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop received emails notifying them they were all “terminated effective immediately.” They were also told they could re-apply for jobs along with the other new applicants if they chose to do so. None of them did.
The firing of the long-time Record Shop employees also had downstream effects on the Midnite Jamboree, and the employees associated with it. Jennifer Herron had been the long-time host of the radio program that aside from the Grand Ole Opry, is the longest running radio show in country music history. After hearing about what happened at the Record Shop, Jennifer Herron tenured her resignation.
“What a blessing and surreal statement to say I have been on the air on WSM for over twenty years,” Herron said. “From a daily air shift and beyond, that included an 18 year run as the Hostess/Announcer of Country Music’s Second Longest Running Radio Show, The Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree. I am so proud of my work at the Midnite Jamboree. It has been my heart and passion and I have remained loyal to the principles, but now feel it is time to step aside as new ownership deals with ongoing legal battles and demands for non-disclosures, along with other concerns.”
JesseLee Jones Responds, and the Pending Sale of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop
In October of 2021, JesseLee Jones and Emily Ann Cousins issued a court filing responding to David McCormick’s lawsuit filed on August 6th, 2021, denying all accusations that they took advantage of McCormick’s ailing health to gain control of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and his personal affairs. “Allegations and insinuations of fraud, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence, or inappropriate conduct are denied,” the legal filing says in part.
Saving Country Music reached out to both JesseLee Jones, as well as Ernest Tubb Record Shop manager Julie Richmond for interviews or statements about the sale of the Record Shop, and about the termination of the long-time employees. Those requests went unanswered, though they may be legally restricted from speaking on the matter.
On Friday, March 11th, 2022, a joint statement from David McCormick, JeseeLee Jones, his business Honky Tonk Circus, and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, revealed that the business and the property are being sold.
It’s with great sadness that we share the news that the Ernest Tubb Record Shop — building and business — will be sold.
Our goal has always been to protect, promote and preserve the great history of the record shop and building. 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.
We are heartbroken that the store, which has existed in its current location in the heart of lower Broadway since 1951, will close this Spring. Preserving the history and tradition of country music remains at the forefront of everything we do. We 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.
Though many of the court documents dealing with the lawsuit between David McCormick and JesseLee Jones are sealed, it’s believed that the sale of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop business and property is being mandated by the probate court to resolve the pending legal conflict between the two parties.
What Can Be Done to Save the Ernest Tubb Record Shop?
Though the March 11th statement from the Ernest Tubb Record Shop takes a fatalistic tone about the future of both the business, and the building where it’s housed, many traditional country fans, Record Shop patrons, and preservationists are motivated to find a solution to how the Ernest Tubb Record Shop can be saved.
Regardless of who is at fault, neither David McCormick, nor JesseLee Jones appears to want to see the business and property liquidated. It is likely the court ordering this outcome to resolve the legal impasse. In other words, there is a good chance a judge is making this decision, and the respective parties have no other choice but to agree to it. The court may not be taking into consideration the historic importance or value in making this ruling. However, since the court records on how the matter was resolved are sealed, we cannot verify how the court and the respective parties came to the outcome of selling the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.
Nonetheless, just because the Ernest Tubb Record Shop business and property is being sold does not mean it’s eventual closing, liquidation, and demolition is conclusive. Though the property is likely worth much more to a developer than a preservationist, a benefactor or a group of benefactors could still come in and purchase the property, business, or both, and leave it as-is, or perhaps relocate the business. There are a few examples of where this has happened in the past.
Hatch Show Print—the historic Lower Broadway letterpress business first started in 1879 that made many of country music’s most iconic posters—was brought under the umbrella of the Country Music Hall of Fame to preserve the business. First becoming incorporated into the Hall of Fame in 1992 while still located at 316 Broadway, the operation was later relocated to the Hall of Fame grounds in 2012 as Lower Broadway’s entertainment footprint continued to expand.
The Country Music Hall of Fame also purchased RCA Studio B on Music Row in 1992, and continues to manage the studio property and conduct tours as part of the Hall of Fame experience.
In 2014 when RCA’s Studio A also became imperiled by development, a partnership of individuals including wealthy investor and preservationist Aubrey Preston stepped into purchase the property, and make sure it wasn’t redeveloped. Dave Cobb is now the caretaker of the historic studio, and it remains a thriving an productive space.
There is also the possibility of the property being designated a historical landmark, or the City of Nashville stepping in to help preserve the location. Nashville has a Metropolitan Historical Commission, and Davidson County has a County Historian, Dr. Carol Busey. Saving Country Music has reached out to both the commission and Dr. Carol Busey numerous times, but they have not yet responded. However, there is word from the Nashville Mayor’s office that the matter might have been brought up preliminarily at a recent Historical Commission meeting.
Saving Country Music has also reached out to the private Historic Nashville Inc., but has yet to hear back. Nonetheless, public action by either the City of Nashville, or Davidson County remains another option.
There is currently a petition to save the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.