SURGOINSVILLE — Bellamy Hardware’s gray, worn, century-old facade wouldn’t ordinarily merit a second glance, but one night per month those gray walls vibrate to the beat of the region’s top bluegrass and country performers.
On Saturday evening, Bluegrass at Bellamy’s kicks off its 17th season featuring the Cloud’s Creek Band as the main attraction.
But sometimes the sideshows are just as interesting.
The old feed, seed and fertilizer room is now a concert hall, seating about 185 people.
The room adjacent to it is an antique store, which on show night is usually transformed into a venue for an impromptu jam session.
Typically the main show will be going on in the concert hall, while in the antique store jammers will be entertaining folks standing in line to get refreshments.
Oftentimes the jammers will come on the main stage and play a little while the main show is in intermission.
Johnny Greer, Bellamy’s owner, is an accomplished bluegrass musician, and he’s been known to join the jam as well.
“We’ve always loved traditional bluegrass music, and I’ve played it myself for years and years,” Greer told the Times-News. “I just wanted to create a venue where people could come and share their talent. Kids like (the jam session players) can learn and get on the stage and perform. We’re not making any money at it, but we have a real good time, and we feel like we’re providing a little entertainment to the area.”
Bellamy’s opened in 1909, and it has been a hardware and grocery store, a seller of funeral supplies and a John Deere dealership. Greer noted that at one time dead bodies were stored there until a train picked them up and transported them to their final resting place.
With his brother-in-law Mickey Houston, Greer purchased the building in 2001 from the Bellamy family, and today the structure is a combination concert hall and antique store.
“It’s been a mainstay of Surgoinsville for over 100 years,” Greer said Tuesday. “I was good friends with Eddie (Bellamy), the owner, and of course his daddy, Ralph. I had been wanting to find a place to have live music. I went out to see Eddie before he passed away, and I was looking around, and he let me go into the feed room where they used to keep feed and seed and fertilizer mostly. There was scrap piled everywhere, but I noticed the old exposed beams and the wood walls, and I just thought it would be a really good place to have some live music.”
Greer added, “I’d told him I would like to have it to do that some day, and before he passed away he told his wife to sell it to me — give me a good deal on it. So she came to me, and we bought it, and now we’re beginning our 17th season.”
Bellamy’s, located at 1714 Main St., hosts one show per month from September through June on the third Saturday of each month.
The main show begins at 7:30 p.m. and generally ends around 10 p.m.
Admission is $5, and refreshments are sold in the antique shop.