The most recent modern-artist exhibit at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum focuses on Eric Church. Titled "Inside the Outsider," the showcase looks at the against-the-grain career of the artist, who carved out his place in country music through years of sweating it out in smoky bars and releasing fan-favorites singles like the pot anthem "Smoke a Little Smoke." But even back then, the rebellious Church was in awe of the institution.
"I revere country music," Church said during a preview of his exhibit last week. "I remember a distinct memory when I was 23, walking by the Country Music Hall of Fame. . . and having a moment as a songwriter that had been told 'no' a bunch. If I had a time machine, to go back and tell that guy what would happen over the next 10, 15 years, neither one of us would believe it."
The wall of Church items includes stage wear, awards and a guitar he played as a kid, but some of the more interesting artifacts are handwritten set lists from the Outsiders World Tour and well wishes from George Strait, with whom Church toured. The "Like a Wrecking Ball" singer brushed aside any notion that his inclusion in the Hall of Fame is his own accomplishment.
"I walked through an exhibit that had my name all over it. . . [but] it has nothing to do with me," he said. "Because it's not possible for one person to make that happen."
Here are a dozen of the coolest items we saw in our tour of "Inside the Outsider."