(198) Historic Connections in Nashville

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Yesterday we took in a tour of the Hatch Show Print production center as well as a show at the Ryman Auditorium. These two Nashville institutions are linked in history. Hatch Show Print began in 1879 and grew into a real force with the advent of the Grand Ole Opry in 1925. The letterbox print company created advertising posters for the Opry for nearly fifty years before “the show that made country music famous” le

ft downtown Nashville for larger quarters out in Opryland. Both the Ryman Auditorium–known as The Mother Church of Country Music and now considered the Soul of Nashville– and Hatch Print fell on hard times together through some tough years that followed the Opry’s exodus.

In 1992, the Ryman was scheduled for demolition. Emmylou Harris asked to do one more show there before it was gone forever. Hatch created a poster advertising the show, which became the jacket cover for the album released called “Live at the Ryman.” It created new interest in preserving the Ryman, and money poured in. With the show venue back in business, so was the mainstay of Hatch–show posters for the Ryman are their main business today, and the Ryman has concerts nearly every night in Nashville.

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Hatch Print is not computerized in any way. Everything they do is based on the old letterbox style of print, utilizing wood cuts and metal to make impressions. Each poster is made by hand, and each color applied separately. It is a labor of love for them. What is cool about the tour is that we got to make our own print to take with us. They already had the blue color on the poster–we just added the orange.

First roll the ink on real good--a little extra on wood.
First roll the ink on real good–a little extra on wood.
Slide the print roller over the poster.
Slide the print roller over the poster.
Carefully peel the poster off the lettering.
Carefully peel the poster off the lettering.
Wallah! hand-printed poster.
Wallah! hand-printed poster.

It was a lot of fun and super informative. The Ryman has a large collection of these posters on display in their upstairs hallway.

This was our second year attending Bluegrass Night at the Ryman, and it didn’t disappoint. Dailey and Vinvent and their band performed and are true entertainers. They are called “The Rock Stars of Bluegrass,” and after last night I could see why. The crowd adored them and their brand of intricate blues numbers and gorgeous four part harmonies–like I never heard before. It was a terrific night spent in the Soul of Nashville.

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