Nov 18, 2022 - Things to Do

Highlights from the storied Exit/In

Exterior view of EXIT/IN.

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The changing of the guard at Exit/In has stirred up decades of memories for local music fans.

Driving the news: When we reported this week about longtime operator Chris Cobb and his wife Telisha Cobb ending their tenure there, we asked readers for their favorite Exit/In memories.

  • Your recollections paint a picture of why Exit/In is so beloved in Nashville. Fans got the chance to see bands perform in a 500-person venue before they went on to sell out arenas.

What they're saying: Alan B. shared two memories of Exit/In. He recalled pop-rock hitmakers Train playing there and handing out CDs recorded of that night's performance, after the show. "Still have the CD," Alan says.

  • He also recalled metal guitarist Rick Hanson closing his set in style at a show that took place in "1980ish." " During his set, I think the encore, he goes out onto Elliston Place and is still playing his cordless guitar in the middle of the street stopping traffic."

Joan S. confessed to committing a possible misdemeanor crime (that's a joke) when she and her husband saw a show for their second date in 2003. "Raul Malo was playing and my husband stole the poster from Exit/In for me and I still have it 20 years later!"

Kelvin K. remembers seeing Nightly featuring Charlotte Sands in one of the first shows at Exit/In following pandemic shutdowns. "It was such a cool environment for a group on the rise. Plus, Charlotte Sands was beginning her climb on the Nashville scene. Overall it was just a cool, memorable first experience."

On a cold, snowy night, Jim T. was hanging with his college friends, doing what college kids do, at his apartment when they went out for a drive and then wandered into Exit/In.

  • "There probably weren't 30 people in the whole building due to the weather. We sat so close to the stage we could almost reach out and touch Muddy Waters! That was a life altering experience for me making me a lifelong blues fan."

💭 Nate's thought bubble: I pondered long and hard about my favorite Exit/In show and settled on seeing local band The Non-Commissioned Officers play a free concert in 2009.

  • The Non-Coms were getting buzz for their spellbinding soundtrack/score for the locally produced indie film "Make-out with Violence."
  • My future wife and I watched the movie at the Nashville Film Festival on our second date, and we absolutely loved that soundtrack. In addition to The Non-Coms' great set, a future Grammy-nominated pop artist Mikky Ekko played an absolutely bonkers show.

💭 Adam's thought bubble: Miranda Lambert was on the verge of an arena tour when she announced a surprise show at Exit/In in 2015. I joined a throng of fans who raced down to the venue to see the "Fastest Girl In Town" up close and personal.

  • The intimate setting and spur-of-the-moment setlist showed Miranda at her best, eschewing polished precision in favor of pure rockstar id.

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