Country-pop superstar — and recent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee — Ronnie Milsap will be the subject of a new exhibit at the Nashville museum. Opening February 6th, “Ronnie Milsap: A Legend in My Time” will take a closer look at the lengthy career of the artist who arrived in Nashville from Memphis in 1972 and, a decade later, became one of the biggest crossover acts in popular music.
Milsap, who turns 72 on Friday, January 16th, will also be the focus of a special program at the museum’s 750-seat CMA Theater. On Saturday afternoon, February 7th, museum writer-editor Peter Cooper will host “A Conversation with Ronnie Milsap,” with the North Carolina native discussing the music that inspired him and his often arduous childhood.
In a career that has spanned six decades (and earned him 40 Number One singles), Milsap has not only had to overcome the challenges that come with being blind, but also the initial resistance of record executives like RCA’s Jerry Bradley, who didn’t think he was a good fit for country music.
“Jerry Bradley told [my manager] Jack Johnson, ‘I know all about Ronnie Milsap. We take everybody down to Memphis to see him. He’s a great rock & roll singer, he’s a great R&B singer, but he’s not a country singer,'” Milsap recalled to Rolling Stone Country in an exclusive interview late last year. “Jack played him that tape and Bradley said, ‘You know what? That son of a bitch is a country singer!'”
The “Ronnie Milsap: A Legend in My Time” exhibit is scheduled to run through August 2015.