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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Jimmy Brown was prepared to hang it up. Closing his store, Guitar Emporium, where he's worked for almost 40 years, was a difficult choice. But Brown and his wife want to retire. He wants to play more music.
Brown was prepared for the store's closure. He wasn't prepared for the fallout. The phones ringing, the constant flow of customers coming in and out. He'll close the doors on March 9th.
At least, that's what is supposed to happen. Brown says he's also had a constant stream of people willing to buy his business and take it over.
"We wanted to end on a high note. It's a family decision we have other things we would like to do," Brown said during an interview with WDRB News. "It warms your heart that you really do matter and that you've been an asset to the community."
The closure of Guitar Emporium, which has a clientele list that includes Buddy Guy, and guitar techs for U2 and Bruce Springsteen, will leave another vacant spot in Louisville's music culture. Coupled with the closing of ear-x-tacy, we wanted to know the state of Louisville's music scene.
Those interviewed by WDRB News say the scene is still strong. And they credit artists like Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) and My Morning Jacket with helping place Louisville as a national hotspot, a bubbling mecca for new and local talent.
"We're in great shape dude. There's so many bands in town so many genres," said Daniel Jackson, the lead singer of The Tunesmiths, a bluesy rock band which practices in the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Butchertown.
"I think we're at a really good place to be and I could see us (ascending) even more," said Matt Anthony, a local DJ and owner of The Record Shop.
The band Jukebox the Ghost agrees. Louisville has something special. For the singer, Ben Thornewill, for it's about coming home, says the Ballard High School graduate.
"Coming back home is amazing and playing headliners cause it's that big room where I would see shows," said Thornewill.
Jimmy Brown already knew all that. But this week, he was reminded just how strong.
"We knew there would be an emotional response. We've been here for almost 40 years. We're very connected to local music scene."
Anthony says it will be a blow. "Keith Richards talks about guitar emporium. Keith Richards !!! So that's major."
"It's been really hard," said Brown, fighting back tears.
Brown says he is just a cog in the wheel of something greater. But even with this loss, some say the music scene will remain strong
"We made a modest living but we will leave here wealthy people because of the community," said Brown.