Jimmy Martin’s Tennessee home demolished (updated)

Jimmy Martin’s home in Hermitage, TN, where he lived for 40 years until the end of his life, was recently demolished. Many of his friends in Nashville will recall visiting him here, as will those who traveled to Hermitage to interview or meet Martin there.

In the ’80s and ’90s, he parked his prized 1985 Lincoln Town Car out front, with its WIDOW MAKER license plate, and a stop sign in the driveway with text reading, “Beware of dog. Bad dog – will bite tail.”

Following Jimmy’s death in 2005, the property passed out of the Martin family, so details have been a bit difficult to obtain, but it seems that a large tree fell onto the house during a storm and caused substantial damage. Fortunately, the family living there at the time were away from home, so there were no injuries, but the damage was severe enough that the best option was to tear the building down completely.

We thought that the many people who spent time with Martin there would appreciate seeing these photos of the property in its current state, taken by our friend Tim White, host of The Tim White Bluegrass Show, broadcast on nearly 30 radio affiliates and networks, and Song of the Mountains, the live bluegrass and Americana television program seen on dozens of PBS affiliates.

UPDATE June 11: We heard yesterday from Brian Fesler, banjo player with Band of Ruhks, who not only spent time with Jimmy at his house, but also knew the family who owned the house before it was torn down.

Brian shared this information from the owner…

“The derecho that hit Nashville back in March dropped an 87-year-old oak tree on top of it. Two other trees of similar size also fell around the property. The one thing left ‘standing’ is part of the courtyard where it is said he played with some country greats.”

Fesler also tells us that the new owners were not aware of Jimmy’s legacy when they first purchased the property in 2014. It sat empty for a while, but once they did learn of who Jimmy Martin was, they operated a children’s learning center there for a while called Sunny Mountain Academy in his honor.

Certainly a piece of bluegrass history destroyed.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.