BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit-opening parties are not generally noted for their rowdy behavior.
But Thursday evening’s (May 24) event was punctuated by plenty of yee-haws and war-whoops. This was because of the presence of huge contingent of party-hearty Texans. In fact, they outnumbered the rather more sedate and conventional Nashville attendees.
The ruckus started when museum CEO Kyle Young greeted them: “Welcome to all of you and a special, special greeting for all the folks who have come here from the great state of Texas!” That’s all they needed to hear for them to erupt in the first round of whoo-hoos.
“Tonight, we have a museum exhibit unlike any other. It’s called ‘Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s.’ This is an exhibit about one time and two places.”
Attendees Marshall Chapman and Michael Martin Murphey were apt representatives of the Music City and Austin music scenes of the era. The event’s music was provided by a similar mix – Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter and Joe Ely.
“Nashville needed Texas artists,” Young commented. “Texas needed Nashville. And we need each other more than ever. Both are rooted in the love of art and music. This exhibit leads to understanding, and understanding leads to appreciation.
“Together, we have arrived at an exhibit that will delight and surprise at every turn.”
Although nearly overwhelmed by the vast Texas contingent, Music City attendees included Tony Brown, Ward Davis, Steve Popovich Jr., Shawn Camp, Americana Song of the Year nominee Waylon Payne, Garth Fundis, Melanie Howard, Heidi Ray, newly hired museum VP Brenda Colladay, Kay West, Denise Stiff, Kyle Lehning, Riders in the Sky’s Fred LaBour, Lance Cowan, Mary Matthews, Mike Milom, “outlaws” documentary filmmaker Eric Geadelmann (the co-curator), Tomi Lunsford, Patsy Bradley, Rob Santos, Tom Roland, the still ubiquitous Charlie Monk, Michael Bevington, David Preston, Abby White and Tim Wipperman.
The exhibit owes some of its color to a fine selection of Austin and Armadillo World Headquarters posters. The Exit/In scene in Nashville is also highlighted.
Among the “surprises” in the exhibit that Young referred to are Tom T. Hall’s whiskey still, Guy Clark’s Randall Knife, Ely’s circus uniform, Colter’s leather dress, film footage of Steve Young, Willie Nelson’s sneakers, Susanna Clark’s evocative paintings that became album-jacket illustrations, Kris Kristofferson’s army uniform, a Jack Clement guitar and a number of ultra-cool Waylon Jennings artifacts.
Attendees Shooter and Dave Cobb are co-producing the star-studded, sold-out CMA Theater concert that kicks off the “Outlaws & Armadillos” show on Friday (May 25). Its lineup includes Colter, Ely, Murphey, Bobby Bare, Billy Joe Shaver, Kimmie Rhodes, Delbert McClinton, Gary P. Nunn, Tanya Tucker, Jason Isbell, Jack Ingram, Ashley Monroe, Jamey Johnson and Colter Wall, many of whom attended Thursday’s festivities, as well.