The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will honor one of American music’s most indelible stars, Tammy Wynette, in Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music, Presented by Great American Country Television Network, a biographical exhibit opening Friday, August 20 for a 10-month run in the Museum’s East Gallery. The exhibit will run through June 12, 2011.
Opening weekend festivities will include an exhibit introduction and talk by a Museum curator; a panel discussion featuring friends and associates of Wynette and illustrated with photos, film footage and recordings from the Museum’s Frist Library and Archive; and a screening of the 1987 documentary Stand by Your Dream.
“Tammy Wynette was a true steel magnolia, a daughter of the South whose ladylike appearance and slight physical stature belied the magnitude of her grit, determination and talent,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “Throughout her career, her personal and professional lives were indistinguishably interwoven, resulting in achingly honest recordings and performances to which fans could relate. She helped redefine what it means to be a female country singer. Her death at age 55 came far too soon, but Tammy left behind a musical canon that is among the strongest and most influential in American music history.
“Accordingly, we are thrilled to have Faith Hill play a prominent role in our exhibit,” Young continued. “Faith, who herself is a superstar and role model for many of her contemporaries, sat down with our curators for an exclusive on-camera interview and talked at length about Tammy’s influence. The resulting video, which is woven throughout the exhibit’s narrative, provides an artist’s unique context and insight. We are grateful to Tammy’s family and friends for sharing their mementos and memories and allowing us to tell this extraordinary story.”
Notable artifacts featured in the exhibit include the following:
* Several of Wynette’s childhood possessions, including a petite hand-painted wooden chair with rush seat; and an ecru embroidered cotton and lace baby bonnet
* Recipe box and numerous recipes in Wynette’s own hand, including directions for fried green tomatoes and ice box lemon pie, which Tammy noted as “my children’s favorite”
* A lead-crystal vase filled with cotton hand-picked by Wynette, which was long a fixture on the singer’s coffee table
* A black, leather-bound appointment book for 1977, given to Wynette by Billy Sherrill, which details her activities during the year. The journal-like entries note both career events and personal, sometimes humorous anecdotes, e.g. “August 10, 1977 – Maxine & Cliff went to Gov. mansion with us. Gov. Blanton took me to kitchen and made me drink 8 oz. glass of cabbage juice.”
* A peek into Wynette’s glam closet will feature an array of elaborate beaded gowns, many created by Wynette’s long-time designer, Jeff Billings, as well as casual and dressy designer separates, including a teal and russet brocade jacket designed by Oscar de la Renta, embellished with faux leopard fur, embroidery and bold enamel buttons.
* Numerous awards, including Wynette’s 1968-70 Country Music Association awards for Female Vocalist of the Year; her 1967 and 1969 Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy awards (for “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and “Stand by Your Man,” respectively); and her 2000 Academy of Country Music Pioneer Award