Visitors to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2020 will see new exhibits that spotlight a songwriting icon, one of the genre’s most accomplished female vocalists, and one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the past decade. Announced today, the exhibits will explore the lives and careers of Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson, Martina McBride, and Chris Stapleton.
Opening June 26th, the Chris Stapleton exhibition explores his personal and musical influences on the way to a career that has included a triple-platinum LP, 2015’s Traveller, and hits including “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Parachute,” as well the more than 150 songs he’s had recorded by George Strait, Alison Krauss, Luke Bryan, Adele and, many others. The showcase will also detail Stapleton’s rise to stardom as a member of bluegrass band the SteelDrivers.
In her nearly 30 years as a major recording artist, Martina McBride has won dozens of awards and reached the top of the country charts with songs including “Wild Angels,” “A Broken Wing,” and the genre-hopping “I Love You.” Her 1994 single “Independence Day,” penned by Gretchen Peters, won a CMA award for Video of the Year as well as Song of the Year, and shed light on the topic of domestic abuse. An exhibit dedicated to the Kansas-born singer will open August 21st.
On November 20th, an exhibit about Bill Anderson, who has also earned induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the New York-based Songwriters Hall of Fame, will look back on his extraordinary career as a Grand Ole Opry star (since 1961), vocal stylist, recording artist, and one of Music City’s most successful tunesmiths of all-time. His songs have been recorded by Ray Price, James Brown, Kenny Chesney, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, Connie Smith, Roger Miller, and hundreds more. In recent years (2005 and 2007, respectively), the artist whose subdued vocal style and frequent recitations earned him the sobriquet “Whisperin’ Bill,” won CMA Song of the Year for “Whiskey Lullaby,” penned with Jon Randall and recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, and “Give It Away,” written with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson and recorded by George Strait.
“I grew up dreaming of the day they’d put my ball glove into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but realized many years ago that wasn’t going to happen,” says Anderson, who aspired to be a pro baseball player while in high school. “But now, knowing that my guitar and maybe a rhinestone suit or two will be put into an exhibit… more than makes up for it. When our Hall does an exhibit, they really do it up right.”
Ongoing exhibits remaining through 2020 include “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s,” which takes a closer look at the musical link between Austin and Nashville during that influential decade and beyond. Open since May 2018, it is slated to close in February 2021. The latest edition of “American Currents: State of the Music” an annual featured exhibit that examines important developments in country music over the past year, will open March 6th. March is also the month during which the newest inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame are usually revealed, although there’s no official word on that yet.