Bobby Karl Works The Musician’s Hall of Fame Re-Opening, George Strait Celebration

BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM

Chapter 433

Pictured (L-R): David Spencer, Vice President of Convention Services and Special Events, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation; Joe and Linda Chambers, Founders of Musicians Hall of Fame And Museum; Nashville mayor Karl Dean; Deana Ivey, Chief Marketing Officer, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation; Butch Spyridon, President, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, and legendary guitarist/songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Steve Cropper. Photo: Royce DeGrie.

Pictured (L-R): David Spencer, Vice President of Convention Services and Special Events, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation; Joe and Linda Chambers, Founders of Musicians Hall of Fame And Museum; Nashville mayor Karl Dean; Deana Ivey, Chief Marketing Officer, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation; Butch Spyridon, President, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, and legendary guitarist/songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Steve Cropper. Photo: Royce DeGrie.

The new version of The Musicians Hall of Fame is so-o-o-o much better than the version that was nuked by the construction of the Music City Center. THIS version occupies the old exhibit hall on the lower level of Municipal Auditorium. THIS version has oodles of display and floor space. THIS version has more movies, more artifacts and more stories to tell. And THIS version is ever so much more beautiful.

All of this was revealed on Wednesday (Aug. 28) at the museum’s grand re-opening celebration. The new stuff includes a Fisk Jubilee Singers display, Country-star costumes, a survey of record formats through the years and several mini video monitors showing documentary footage.

Returning are such popular exhibits as the ones devoted to the Motown, Muscle Shoals, Stax, Music Row, Atlanta and L.A. recording centers. But the new space makes them all look brand new. I think if this place is marketed well, it could become a major, major tourist attraction. It’s that good.

Museum creator Joe Chambers said that he plans to continually add more stuff. And there’s plenty of room for expansion, since the current configuration doesn’t even cover half of the lower level’s space.

One of the coolest things about the party was that there was a fabulous music personality every time you turned a corner. Look, there’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Duane Eddy, and over there is E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent.

At one exhibit was Bill Lloyd. At another, Webb Wilder. Within our first half hour at the bash, we greeted Brian Ahern, Hank DeVito, Ray Edenton & Polly Roper, Gordon Kennedy, Jim Horn, Corky & Kenny O’Dell, Chuck Mead & Brenda Calladay, Wood Newton, Chris Leuzinger and Allen Reynolds.

Plus, there were many, many old pals in attendance: Rose Drake, Erika Wollam-Nichols, Barbara Turner, Paula Szeigis (who is winning a SOURCE Award next month), Dan Hill, Abby White, Woody Bomar, Tracy Gershon & Steve Fishell (who has created a Buddy Emmons tribute CD), legendary engineer Ernie Winfrey, Gillie Crowder, Alan Mayor and Renee White. Attendee Ed Salamon said he’d enjoyed hosting the book party for folk/pop star and recent Nashville transplant Melanie (remember “Brand New Key?”) the previous evening at Two Old Hippies. Eric Parker, John Briggs, Doak Turner and Judy Harris were working the room, too.

We snacked on barbecue sliders, cheese-breaded chicken tenders, stuffed mushroom caps, cucumber mousse on edible-cracker spoons, pita chips & quesadilla cheese and rich chocolate and/or strawberry truffles, among other goodies.

The party favors were postcards picturing the Auditorium at dusk with its new marquee. It reads, “Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum at Historic Municipal Auditorium.” The cards, as well as the party’s black napkins, bore the motto, “Come See What You’ve Heard.”

• • •

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George Strait performs at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center backed by a choir from Eakin Elementary School. Photo: Chris Hollo

As much fun as we were having, we had to depart for the evening’s second soiree. This was “A Special Evening Honoring George Strait” being staged at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center (8/28). Lon Helton presided. He began by telling us anew about King George’s unequaled tally of 60 No. 1 hits. “Thank you, George, for an incomparable legacy,” said Helton.

Then came a songwriters’ salute. Jim Lauderdale sang “The King of Broken Hearts.” Dean Dillon sang “Down and Out.” Phil O’Donnell & Tim James sang “Give It All We’ve Got Tonight,” which became the 60th of the 60 No. 1 hits. The next segment was about Strait’s accomplishments as a concert attraction. Show promoter Louis Messina said, “No one, no one, is ever gonna break those records….Every night, I get chills watching him….George, you’re one of a kind.”

Video segments featured Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Lee Ann Womack, Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan, Vince Gill, Trace Adkins, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Merle Haggard and other top stars lauding the Country Music Hall of Fame member. Mike Dungan took the stage for the finale. He announced that Strait has contracted with MCA to record five more albums. Then came the real finale, George Strait performing with his ace Ace in the Hole Band.

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George Strait performs at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Photo: Chris Hollo

“This is like Old Home Week here tonight,” said Lauderdale. “George, you brought a lot of people together.”

No foolin.’ You couldn’t turn around without bumping into a fabulon. Billy Burnette, Dickey Lee, Rory Bourke, Byron Hill, Dale Dodson, Keith Gattis, Buddy Cannon, Barry Coburn, Drew Alexander, Ben Vaughn, Liz Thiels, Steve Buchanan, Amy Smart, Suzanne Gordon, Charlie Monk, Scott & Sandi Spika Borchetta, Dick Frank, Brandi Simms, Mark Wright, George Flanigen, Michael McCall, Michael Gray, Cyndi Forman, Cindy Mabe, Carson Chamberlain, Katie Gillon, Dale Bobo, Bobby Young, Todd Cassetty, Donna Hughes, Leslie Roberts and Tony Brown schmoozed mightily.

Our own Sarah Skates was there, just three weeks after delivering her new baby boy, Charlie. Kay West’s date was her son, Harry West. He’s moving to L.A. to become a rock star with his bandmates in Wild Cub. No, really. This band has a loud buzz going on in the social media. Check it out.

Media mavens recording the bash for posterity included Deborah Evans Price, Brian Mansfield, Vernell Hackett, Tom Roland, Chuck Dauphin, Chuck Aly, Hunter Kelly, Peter Cooper and MR fearless leader Sherod Robertson. At this gig, the wait staff brought the snacks to you on trays, la di da. Wait a minute – barbecue sliders, again? Believe it. Also ham & biscuits with chipotle sauce, prosciutto crostini with peach slices and more taste delights.

The party favors were silver-sleeved double-CD packages. One CD was of the superstar’s first album, 1981’s Strait Country. The other was his current album, Love Is Everything.

Pictured (L-R): Phil O’Donnell, Jim Lauderdale, Strait, Dean Dillon, Tim James, Tony Brown

Pictured (L-R): Phil O’Donnell, Jim Lauderdale, Strait, Dean Dillon, Tim James, Tony Brown. Photo: Chris Hollo

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