The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has announced its next major exhibit, “Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock,” with two separate events at the Troubadour in Los Angeles and the museum’s Ford Theater in Nashville.
Housed in the museum’s newly transformed 5,000-square-foot gallery, the exhibit will open Sept. 30 for a nearly three-year run. “Western Edge” will examine the close-knit communities of Los Angeles-based singers, songwriters and musicians who, from the 1960s-1980s, embraced country music and created and shaped the musical fusion known as “country-rock.”
Also highlighted in the exhibit is the historical significance of the Troubadour in West Hollywood, which provided a space for creators to collaborate with a healthy dose of competition.
The exhibit will survey the rise of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt and many others who found commercial success by merging rock & roll rhythms with country and bluegrass instrumentation and harmonies.
The new exhibit announcement was accompanied by special performances from several artists central to the exhibit’s narrative, including Dwight Yoakam and country-rock luminary Chris Hillman performing “Sin City” and “Time Between” together at the Troubadour in Los Angeles; and Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris singing “The Road,” in tribute to fellow country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons at the museum’s Ford Theater in Nashville. Harris also joined Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and songwriter Matraca Berg for a performance of “Mr. Bojangles” in the museum’s theater.
“A new hybrid sound grew from humble beginnings in a few small LA nightclubs and quickly emerged as one of the most popular musical styles across the world,” explains Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, these artists and musicians also found community in their appreciation of traditional country, folk and bluegrass music. They built on this foundation, crafting songs of uncommon lyrical depth and layered musical richness –adding new textures to rock sounds that resulted in a completely original form of American music.”
The exhibit’s opening weekend will include a pair of one-of-a-kind concerts in the museum’s CMA Theater, made possible in part by exhibit travel partner American Airlines:
- Western Edge: Los Angeles Country-Rock in Concert – Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m.
- An all-star lineup of musical luminaries associated with country-rock will perform, along with torchbearers who have been influenced by the sounds and artists from the Los Angeles music scene. Performers include Dave Alvin (the Blasters, the Knitters), Alison Brown (in tribute to California bluegrass), Rodney Dillard (the Dillards), Rosie Flores, Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco), Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Chris Hillman (the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Desert Rose Band), Bernie Leadon (Hearts & Flowers, Flying Burrito Brothers, the Eagles), John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Wendy Moten (in tribute to Linda Ronstadt) and Herb Pedersen (Desert Rose Band and instrumentalist for Linda Ronstadt, Gram Parsons and many more). The house band will be led by Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson and includes JayDee Maness (steel guitar), Steve Duncan (drums) and Mark Fain (bass). More performers to be added.
- Desert Rose Band – Sunday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m.
- For the first time in more than a decade, the Desert Rose Band will reunite for a special concert. In 1986, former member of the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers Chris Hillman founded the band with Herb Pedersen and John Jorgensen. The original lineup included Bill Bryson (bass guitar), JayDee Maness (pedal steel guitar) and Steve Duncan (drums). Original members of the band will take the stage for the highly anticipated event, with acclaimed Nashville bassist Mark Fain replacing the late Bill Bryson.
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