Get the latest Jimmy Buffett news delivered to your email

Jimmy Buffett Reminisces About Being the First Act at the Exit/In

November 19th, 2021

In the forward of the upcoming book ‘Exit/In: 50 Years’, Jimmy Buffett writes about how he came to be the first act to perform at the Exit/In in Nashville:

From Billboard:

Somehow, back in 1971, I wound up playing the opening of the Exit/In. That’s why, when the shocking fact that it was fifty years ago started showing up online from people who share my love of the place, it took me back to the twenty-four-year-old me living in Nashville and the thrill of getting that job. And so, I want to take you on a quick trip down the song line that brought me to the entrance of the Exit/In that day.

Quickly paying my tab, I walked over to take a look. The front door was open and workers were going in and out. One of them told me they were renovating the building to be some kind of a bar. I asked him what kind of bar. Squinting, he said, “A quiet joint with music, doesn’t sound like much fun to me.” “You mean a listening room?” I asked. “Yeah, that’s it,” he said. Then he told me the owners were inside, and I should talk to them about it. As he walked away and got in his truck, I took a peek inside the door. More workers were busy hammering away on a small stage in the back, and others were unloading tables and chairs.

I ran to get my guitar and hurriedly re-appeared in the doorway. The two guys sitting at a table, looking more like hippies than construction workers, had to be the owners. I walked right up to them and introduced myself to Brugh Reynolds and Owsley Manier and asked if they were the owners, to which they said yes. I asked if they were auditioning performers yet. “Not really,” they said. Determined and hopeful, I continued, “It won’t take long.” “Sure, go ahead,” Owsley replied. Brugh asked the workers to turn off the saws and drills, and I sat in a chair on the unfinished stage and played four or five songs that I knew had worked in clubs elsewhere. When I finished, the carpenters applauded, and Owsley and Brugh hired me on the spot.

When the venue opened, my world got a big bump from that first show, a bump which seems to have lasted for fifty years — or at least memories of it. The Exit/In was also the spark that ignited the spread of listening rooms in Nashville. All you have to do is look at the sign out front with the names of stars and wannabes who became stars to know what this place means to the musical history of Nashville. In these pandemic days, when so many performers and technicians are struggling to stay afloat until we can all work again, I am going to do whatever I can to help keep the door of the Exit/In open, and I hope this story will help the cause.

Continue reading at Billboard.com

Tagged in Books