Muscle Shoals had the Swampers. Los Angeles had the Wrecking Crew. Detroit had the Funk Brothers. And Nashville had the Nashville Cats, a group of top-shelf session musicians whose skill and reputation helped lure artists like Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and countless others to Tennessee during the Sixties and Seventies. From Dylan's Blonde on Blonde to Young's Harvest, the Cats worked on some of the era's most groundbreaking music, building a musical bridge between the Bible Belt and the rest of the country during one of America's most politically charged periods. Hometown hero Johnny Cash helped strengthen that bridge, thanks to a close friendship with Dylan and a short-lived yet influential TV program, The Johnny Cash Show, whose roster of guest performers included everyone from Derek & the Dominos to Linda Ronstadt.
Opening today and running until New Years Eve 2016, the Country Music Hall of Fame's newest exhibit — Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City — will shine a light on those influential years, focusing not only on the stars who recorded their landmark albums in Nashville, but also the behind-the-scenes musicians who chipped in. From western suits to wah-wah pedals, here are the 11 coolest artifacts on display.