For our latest independent venue interview, we stopped off in Johnson City, Tennessee to talk with Ed Snodderly about his venue, The Down Home.
The Down Home opened its doors in a hurry in 1976. Joe Leach and Ed Snodderly wanted to create a venue more suited to folk and bluegrass artists, a listening room where people could really take in/enjoy the music. What they created was much more than that. They created a venue that became a key part of the Johnson City community.
As Joe and Ed scrambled to get ready for opening night, multiple locals chipped in to provide their expertise with tools or other skills to get the venue in a fit state to host its first musical guests, The Red Clay Ramblers. Since then, the venue has gone on to host the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Billy Joe Shaver, and Willie Dixon amongst many many others. It holds open-mic nights where people can get their first taste of playing in front of an audience (in a truly storied venue) as well as end-of-semester shows for students of the Bluegrass program at East Tennessee State University (a program for which Ed, a musician and songwriter himself, teaches the songwriting element). The Down Home has been, and remains, a true musical hub for the residents of Johnson City and a must-play venue for many touring musicians.
The Down Home, along with the other venues we have visited/are visiting during this trip, is a great example of why independent venues are so critical to the live music scene and the communities that they serve. Whether you are a musician/band looking for your first break, an established musician coming through town, or a music fan looking for a spot to gather with friends and step away from real life for an evening, these venues are the connective tissue. We should do everything we can to make sure they never go away….
To read more about our cross-country fundraising trip for the National Independent Venues Foundation and Musicians On Call, click here. All donations go directly to your chosen organization. To donate to NIVF, click here. To donate to Musicians On Call, click here.
You can see our interview with Ed here, and when you’re finished watching, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch future content: