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The Music Room Brings Nashville Style Performances to Central Ohio

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman The Music Room Brings Nashville Style Performances to Central OhioAll photos by Taijuan Moorman
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In January 2019, The Music Room officially opened above The Market at Flint Station in Worthington.

When The Market opened last October and owners LeighAnn Guagenti and Gracie Guagenti held a grand opening celebration for the space, Rich Sharick had a look at the space for the first time. He had been wanting to see a place in Columbus where he can simply sit and listen to acoustic music, uninterrupted, on the weekends.

While Sharick has experience running businesses and events, including starting and running the Dublin Art Festival in the 2000s, he has no background in the music business; he describes himself simply as a music “super fan.”

But it was during visits with his son at Vanderbilt that he fell in love with Nashville’s famous music scene and its popular listening room/acoustic bar format. He thought the format would be great for Columbus, where talent often goes unnoticed.

“It always broke my heart to hear a very talented singer-songwriter playing in the corner of a bar and not a single soul paying attention,” says Sharick. “Or being somewhere that a lot of people are paying attention but a few are yapping away and ruining it for others.”

The listening room format means the expectation is for the audience to quietly listen to the performance and not talk through the set. The Music Room also hosts regular Nashville-style singer-songwriter rounds, where three to five singers share the stage and take turns playing songs.

“[The Rounds] must have something to do with the plethora of talent in Nashville all vying to get stage time,” he says. “I think its an entertaining format and miss it very much when home in Columbus.”

The Market’s owners have been happy to get regular bookings in the event space, says Sharick. For him, The Music Room is a slow and small start to a consistent, self-sustaining venue.

He says many artists gush about getting the opportunity to play in a listening room. Here, artists get to explain how their songs came to be, what they mean or anything else they want to share. And people actually pay attention.

“A lot of them have cut albums and are putting them on Spotify and stuff, but it’s hard when you’re just background music in bars in Columbus,” he says, “it’s hard to develop a name or become famous.”

“People don’t know that we have worthy talent right here in Columbus.”

Find more information on The Music Room on its Facebook page.

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