JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Since 1976, The Down Home has been Johnson City’s eclectic home for live music.
Located off West Main Street a few blocks away from downtown Johnson City, The Down Home has been going strong for almost fifty years.
The venue has grown a loyal following over the years as people keep coming back to the cozy, all-wood concert hall.
Co-founder Ed Snodderly has kept things simple since opening up in 1976.
“This is how it’s always looked,” Snodderly said. “People kind of chuckle at that, and I’m going, “It’s not easy to do, keep something the same.””
If the wooden walls of The Down Home could talk, they would have plenty of stories to tell.
The setting has given rise to almost 50 years of good music and good times.
Snodderly is a performer himself. He came up with the idea of The Down Home along with Joe “Tank” Leach.
He caught inspiration from venues he performed at across the South.
“I knew how a lot of good clubs worked,” Snodderly said. “People started coming in going, “what are you guys doing?” “Oh, we’re building a room for people to come and listen to music.””
Pictures of some of the legendary blues, country and rock performers that have played at The Down Home line its walls.
Snodderly said the list of big-time performers is long and brings back plenty of good memories.
“We’ve had the greatest of bluegrass and singer-songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, or Guy Clark, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker,” Snodderly said. “We had New Grass Revival, Lyle Lovett. We had like 17 people here for Lyle’s first tour.”
On most nights, The Down Home hosts performers the audience largely has not heard of, but Snodderly said that is what makes the place special.
It’s a place to grab a drink and relax, but Snodderly says this stage demands an engaged audience.
“This town is loaded with places where you don’t have to pay attention, but here you gotta pay attention and respect whatever’s on stage,” Snodderly said.
The stage at The Down Home carries so much meaning to Snodderly, that he even wrote a song about it on his 2017 “Record Shop” album.
“There’s a lot of different kind of people walking in, and that’s the best part about it. People mingling,” Snodderly said, reciting the lyrics.
Now approaching the half-century mark of doing business, Snodderly said it’s the people who have kept the place alive.
“I think slowly we understood to believe in the community that there is the want for what we were doing,” Snodderly said. “And they showed up, and they have been for a good number of years.”
The Down Home hosts all kinds of concerts and events. To check out what’s coming up at The Down Home, click here.