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Outlaw Country Exhibit: 12 Most Badass Items at Country Hall of Fame’s New Showcase

From Willie Nelson’s well-worn sneakers to Bobby Bare’s mink-skull hat, the must-see artifacts at the ‘Outlaws & Armadillos’ exhibit in Nashville

Outlaw Country Exhibit: 12 Most Badass Items at Country Hall of Fame's New Showcase

Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and other key figures of the Outlaw movement are spotlighted in the new 'Outlaws & Armadillos' exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville follows the wild success of its Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats exhibit with a deep dive into the Outlaw country era. Opening May 25th and running for nearly three years, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s traces the origins of the movement, beginning with Bobby Bare’s game-changing 1973 album Lullabyes, Legends and Lies through the rise of Waylon, Willie and the boys.

A full multimedia experience, the exhibit features essays on little-known but integral figures like college football coach Darrell Roy, new video packages – including a can’t-miss history of the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin – and a cache of memorabilia from Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt and more. Ahead of Outlaws & Armadillos‘ opening to the public, Rolling Stone Country toured the showcase to assemble this list of must-see artifacts. (Photos by Jordan O’Donnell.)

Jordan O'Donnell

Mickey Raphael’s Handmade Harmonica Case

Aside from his trusty Martin guitar, there is no more essential element to Willie Nelson’s signature sound than Mickey Raphael. The harmonica player has been standing next to Nelson since 1973, adding subtle accents in the studio and onstage with the Family Band. Raphael’s dad built this simple wooden case to hold his harps, which is on display next to a much more expensive (but arguably no more valuable) piece of Raphael’s history: a gold “Willie Nelson” ring with diamonds he wears onstage.

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