Fifty-three years ago today, on March 1st, 1966, construction began on the barn-shaped structure that would for several decades house the original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Music Row. Now located in downtown Nashville, the museum anchors a booming tourist industry and, with more than 350,000 square feet, tells the ongoing story of country music through exhibits featuring the genre’s stars past and present. That tradition continues in 2019 with the museum’s just-announced schedule, which will shine a spotlight on recent Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves, hit duo Brooks & Dunn, country and bluegrass legend Keith Whitley and iconic songwriting couple Boudleaux and Felice Bryant.
In addition to the previously announced exhibit American Currents: The Music of 2018, which opens Friday, March 8th, the museum has revealed July 3rd as the opening date for an exhibit tracing the musical journey of the globally recognized country star Musgraves, detailing the journey from her East Texas hometown of Golden to her multiple Grammy-winning career as a young, trailblazing artist.
On May 3rd, six days before the 30th anniversary of his death at just 33 years old, influential singer Keith Whitley will be the subject of an exhibit beginning with his early bluegrass roots as a member (with Hall of Fame legend Ricky Skaggs) of Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. It charts Whitley’s brief career through the mainstream success he experienced as one of the most traditional singers in country music during the late Eighties and beyond.
On August 9th, multi-award-winning duo Brooks & Dunn will be celebrated with an exhibit showcasing their unique partnership and their innovative approach to stage production and touring. The exhibit will also touch on the solo careers and early songwriting efforts of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, who will release the new album Reboot on April 5th.
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Another duo, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, whose efforts as a songwriting team have continued to bear fruit since the 1940s, will be featured in an exhibit set to open on October 4th. With more than 800 songs of theirs performed by over 500 artists, from the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison to rock group Nazareth, the couple’s familiar compositions like “Rocky Top” and “Wake Up Little Susie” will form the basis of the exhibit in recognition of careers that have earned them membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the multiple-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Opened in May 2018, the museum’s stellar exhibit, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s, explores the link between Austin, Texas, and Nashville during that decade and beyond. It’s slated to continue through February 14th, 2021.
Special programs in support of these exhibits and more are expected to be announced in the coming months, in addition to the names of the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.