Jim Lauderdale, Sam Bush, The McCrary sisters, and others perform at The Roots Barn "barn raising." Photo by Shelly Swanger

Future of Music City Roots Uncertain

Shocking news today concerning the future of the long-running Music City Roots live music program and its new home, The Roots Barn, currently under construction in Madison.

John Walker, President and Executive Producer of Roots Productions, LLC, the company that produces Music City Roots, announced in a Tweet that he had resigned his position due to “fundamental creative differences.”

This announcement was followed by a post from Metro Councilmember and Roots Productions, LLC Vice President Nancy VanReece stating she has also resigned from her position with the production company. The resignation was the result of a change in direction on programming by the Texas-based owners and the dismantling of the entire local staff of Music City Roots.

In her post, VanReece said, “All Aboard Madison, LLC, the landowner, hired me in May to build a brand and tell the story of Roots Productions, LLC., which included the production company that gave us Music City Roots and the new venue, The Roots Barn. … I am heartbroken that the show Music City Roots, at least how we have known it for its last 44 shows aired on American Public Television, will not continue. There is a beautiful music and events venue currently under construction on Madison Station Blvd. For the benefit of all of us, I can only hope that any new vision will be communicated promptly by the owners.”

Launched in 2009 as a live radio show by co-creators and producers, John Walker and Todd Mayo, Music City Roots began its run at the Loveless Barn, eventually relocating to The Factory in Franklin in Franklin, Tennessee. In 2013, Music City Roots expanded to television with an annual series of episodes distributed by American Public Television.

In 2017, the show went on hiatus in anticipation of moving into The Roots Barn in Madison, a planned 60-foot-tall, state-of-the-art music venue, inspired in part by The Ryman auditorium. In addition to serving as the “the forever home of Music City Roots,”  a full schedule of roots music-based concerts and other events were planned for the venue.

This is a developing story.