The exhibit is narrated by Dwight Yoakam and explores the origins and impact of the Bakersfield Sound, closely associated with Hall of Famers Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. The highly influential work of both Owens and Haggard is included, as well as the many artists whose careers intertwined with them both and the many businesses that appeared with the rise of the Bakersfield Sound. HoF Curatorial Director Mike Buck, Photo Collection Manager Tim Davis and Museum Editor Michael Gray co-curated the exhibit, which includes over 100 artifacts as well as audiovisual displays.
“We are incredibly excited to explore the Bakersfield Sound story,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “It’s an epic tale, born in the Great Depression, set two thousand miles from country music’s epicenter, and populated by a remarkably talented and tight-knit community of musicians who came together to invigorate and reinvent country music as they knew it. These colorful artists infused their work with an aural intensity and independent spirit, in the process creating a sound that reverberates through country music to this day.”
On opening weekend, museum patrons will be treated to a March 24 panel discussion featuring Dallas Frazier, Don Maddox, Rose Lee Maphis, Buddy Mize, Jean Shepard and Red Simpson. Later that day, the participants will give a concert with a band led by Deke Dickerson.
The exhibit is accompanied by a 96-page companion book titled The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country published by the Museum’s Country Music Foundation Press and distributed by the Hal Leonard Corporation. Essayists include California-based journalists/historians Scott B. Bomar, Randy Poe and Robert Price.