Second Street in O’boro to be renamed?

Artist's rendering of the International Bluegrass Music CenterNashville has its Music Row and Memphis has its Beale Street. Both are instantly recognizable for specific genres of music associated with them —and country and blues, respectively.

Now Mayor Ron Payne wants Second Street in downtown Owensboro, Kentucky, to have that same kind of recognition and appeal for bluegrass music fans by changing the street’s name so that it reflects the city’s growing reputation as a centre for bluegrass music.

Gabrielle Gray, the Executive Director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, was excited by the developments ….

Gabrielle Gray“My office within the bluegrass museum is on Main Street, a/k/a 2nd Street, a/k/a Highway 60. For the 10 plus years I’ve lived in Owensboro and worked at the museum, no one has ever seemed to know what to call this street!

Meanwhile, every day of my life I see bluegrass musicians from all over the world walking along this street, coming to and from the museum with their instruments in hand. Sometimes, like on Saturdays when the museum’s Saturday Lessons Program is taking place, or during ROMP, those numbers swell to literally thousands of musicians walking along this street with their instruments in hand. So, when someone comes along and asks, ‘What do you think this street should be called if the City re-names it?’ and so many people – on their own – come up with the exact same answer as I did, then I have to say it probably makes perfect sense to call it Bluegrass Boulevard.

I would be ever so proud to see this happen and to see Bluegrass Boulevard lead directly to the proposed new International Bluegrass Music Center!

Mayor Payne is inviting suggestions, indicating that ideas can be sent by email to

We will endeavor to keep you posted regarding developments.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.