Musicians trade instruments for tools to help rebuild businesses impacted by bombing

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Crews are working to get doors open and the music playing again on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville, nearly three weeks after the Christmas bombing. 

To one crew, the work is more meaningful than just another job. Inside The Stillery, the crew working performed or worked inside many of the downtown bars before landing gigs with some of the biggest names in music. 

“I moved to town to play piano and B3 organ,” Joe Denim with Backstage Backyards explained. 

2nd Avenue was one of the first places Joe Denim took the stage in Music City. “I’ve played at BB Kings, I’ve played at Doc Holidays, I’ve played Silver Dollar Saloon, I’ve played every one of these,” he gestured down 2nd Avenue. 

It wasn’t long though that he went from playing small stages to stand-out stadiums. “I was out with Uncle Kracker, I was out with Steve Holy, we did the Toby Keith tours, we did the Chesney tours, so we’ve toured a lot over the last 15 years,” he explained.  A career that was silenced in the midst of the pandemic. “Everything came to a screeching stop.” 

That’s when Denim pivoted his skills starting a landscape company, “Backstage Backyards” and he hired other roadies as the crew. 

“The crews made up of lighting guys, rigging guys, sound guys, set carpenters and they do this stuff on the road every day  you just have 6 hours to do it versus six days,” said Denim. 

The city has embraced the company, he said calling Backstage Backyards to help with the downtown destruction. Wednesday they were rebuilding the walls that they’ve played within before, exchanging their instruments for tools inside The Stillery. 

“The blast just shook the whole building. I mean it moved some of the floors those had to be repaired, the duct work in the ceilings was hanging down (that) had to be reattached, a lot of the boards and siding on the inside was just loose. You would just find a random piece that was just jarred loose,” said Denim. 

Wednesday, it’s a labor of love to get the music, what brought this crew together back thriving in the heart of Music City. 

“If any town could take all the blows that this town has taken, it’s Nashville. I think it’s the community coming together. They’ve come together for the flood, for the pandemic, for the tornadoes, for the bombing, I never thought we would say that, but I think it comes down to just a tight knit community.” 

The stillery plans to reopen next Thursday. Backstage Backyards has already lined up a few more jobs for the downtown area.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

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