Country and city collide as Mountain Music moves downtown

Country and city collide as Mountain Music moves downtown

March 30th, 2011 Lindsey Lowe in Local Regional News

Mountain Music is getting fine-tuned. The 7-year-old business which until January inhabited an old-house-turned store on Dayton Boulevard, has moved to a hip, new space smack in the middle of the budding Southside.

Now located at the corner of Market and Main, this niche-specific shop has found a new home without altogether losing its rough-around-the-edges charm.

Mountain Music owner Darren Patrick measures 3-year-old Cohen Wright for a fiddle at the store's new Southside space.

Photo by Lindsey Lowe

"I could see the business growing and outgrowing that house very quickly," said owner Darren Patrick, who purchased Mountain Music a little over a year ago.

A longtime muscian with a degree in music education, Patrick is more than equipped to share his passion with Chattanooga, a city ripe with music lovers of all varieties. Patrick also owns Musician Training Center, an instructional facility on Highway 58, open since 2007.

Businessman and music enthusiast as he is, Patrick saw a void and sought to fill it. He found it "absurd" that there was not a single music store in downtown Chattanooga.

"This is such a pro-music city, with a jam session happening somewhere practically every night of the week," he said. "It's crazy to have all these musicians downtown and nowhere for them to even buy a pack of strings."

After a year at the old location, the new store owner was more than ready to move things toward town. He found the perfect location for his specialty music shop in what is informally referred to as the Clark Center, directly across from the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Patrick knows that his store has something special to offer the city, and he notes that already the response from the Southside community has been tremendous.

"Everyone's been really welcoming," he said. "People have been coming into the store and saying they feel like it fits in perfectly with the direction in which the Southside is going, being a very culture-rich and artsy area."

Bluegrass buffs agree that Mountain Music is indeed a shop rich with character. Geared mainly toward the bluegrass/folk scene, the store carries an array of instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, basses, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, violas, cellos, dulcimers, fiddles and more. There is an assortment of kid-sized instruments, including fiddles going all the way down to 1/32nd-sized.

"The store has been and will continue to be known for carrying what the other music stores don't carry," said Patrick, adding that the shop offers something different and unique. "That's what we specialize in."

Mountain Music sells new and used instruments, accessories, music books and instructional materials. It also rents out and repairs instruments, as well as offering lessons on a myriad of instruments, bluegrass-specific and otherwise.

Patrick said he has several people working for him who specialize in all sorts of different areas, and they can repair basically any instrument. Mountain Music also has accessories for instruments the store doesn't carry, such as reeds, valve oil and drumsticks to keep things well-rounded.