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Robert’s Western World is located on Lower Broadway in the famous historic district of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. It stands in the shadow of the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry.
The buildings on Broadway are steeped in history, with some of them serving as hospitals during the days of the American Civil War. The building that is now home to Robert’s was used as a warehouse, office space for river merchants, and for a variety of other purposes. From the late 1950s to the early 1980s — the heyday of country music — our building served as the home of Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company. Shot Jackson and Buddy Emmons, two of the greatest steel guitar players in history, manufactured and sold some of the best steel guitars and other musical instruments ever made. They manufactured Dobro-style guitars and made other unique instruments including custom steel guitars for popular bands such as The Monkees, Yes and Poco.
Some of the well-known musicians who used to hang out in our building, playing custom-made Sho-Bud instruments include Billy Robinson, Lloyd Green, Smiley Roberts, Jack Boles, Ron Elliot, Curly Chalker, Don Helms, Don Warden (manager of Dolly Parton), Jerry Bird, Jimmy Day, Big Ben Keith (who played with Crosby, Stills and Nash and now plays with Neil Young), Doug Jernigan, Bill West and Russ Hicks. Sho-Bud’s instruments are still played and honored by top players today. In 1980, the rights and manufacturing of Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company was purchased by Gretch Guitars. Shot Jackson remained at 416B Broadway, renaming the business to Shot Jackson’s Guitar & Service Center.
By the early 1980s, the Lower Broadway district was falling on hard times. The Grand Ole Opry had moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the Gaylord Complex at Opryland U.S.A., dealing a devastating blow to the downtown merchants who relied heavily on the traffic of fans, tourists, and music business folks who attended the Opry. As a result, Broadway saw it’s darkest days since the Great Depression. What was once a haven for country music stars and fans was now a flourishing district of adult bookstores, peep shows, and rundown honky tonks. During those years, this building was the home of Lynn’s Liquor Store. Then, in the early 90s, Robert Wayne Moore opened Rhinestone Western Wear, a western boot and apparel store. Having been in the honky tonk business for many years, Robert soon decided that selling western apparel alone just wasn’t enough; soon, a jukebox, beer and cigarettes were incorporated into the store. Shortly thereafter, live solo entertainers and a grill replaced the jukebox. It was an instant hillbilly success! You could enjoy a porkchop sandwich, drink a PBR, try on some boots, and listen to an old hillbilly singer.
By 1992, this concept grew in popularity, influencing Robert Moore to change the name from Rhinestone Western Wear to Rated Top Kiomi Top Black Rated Tie Robert’s 3 Doors Down (Robert had once owned Tootsie’s, which is located three doors from here). Subsequently, it became Robert’s Western Wear Bar & Night Club. Due to international recognition, it eventually became named what it is today, Robert’s Western World. On August 5, 1999, Robert Moore sold the business to musician Jesse Lee Jones, leader of Brazilbilly, Robert’s house band. (Check out more of that story right HERE!)
Although Broadway has re-established itself with many new and exciting attractions, we are proud to still have shelves full of boots, burgers, fried bologna sandwiches, live music, cold beer and drinks, a gift shop, and much more.
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