For the second consecutive year, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum has announced its complete slate of exhibitions for the upcoming year. The 2018 schedule includes exhibits featuring Little Big Town, Ralph Stanley, the Judds and Emmylou Harris.
“For over 50 years, the museum has shared with its visitors the rich and diverse history of country music, while documenting the music’s ongoing evolution. Our 2018 exhibits continue that tradition,” said museum CEO Kyle Young. “Next year we will look at a variety of subjects, including the career of a legendary Country Music Hall of Fame member who has been embraced by the Americana movement, and the life of an iconic mountain musician who influenced her. As we examine the legacies of these country music greats, we will also look at some of the most awarded talent of today.”
In addition to examining the stories of individual artists, the museum will unveil the exhibition American Currents: The Music of 2017, on March 9, 2018. The exhibit will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the major country music happenings in the prior year. Highlights of 2017 will be represented by artifacts from Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Randy Travis and Chris Young with more to be announced.
“Being able to have a little piece of me and what we have accomplished in the last 2 years showcased in the American Currents exhibit is a dream come true,” said Luke Combs. “As often as I have toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with family and friends that come to Nashville, I have often day dreamed about having my stuff here, and now with such a great program, that dream is now a reality.”
On June 29, the museum will open a special exhibit on Grammy and American Music Award-winning group Little Big Town, the vocal quartet made up of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook. Twenty years after forming, Little Big Town are consistent award winners, earning platinum certifications for their albums Pain Killer, Tornado and The Road to Here. In 2017, they notched a sixth consecutive CMA Award win for Vocal Group of the Year and won their fourth ACM Award for Vocal Group of the Year. They also brought their dynamic performance values and crystalline vocal harmonies to multiple concerts at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in a year-long, sold-out residency there.
“Having an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is something we wouldn’t have ever known to dream of for ourselves, it is beyond a dream come true,” said Little Big Town’s Fairchild. “We are honored to be a part of Country music, and are so thankful to all our fans, the music community here in Nashville and the museum for this opportunity.”
July 13 brings an exhibit devoted to legendary mountain musician Ralph Stanley, whose rendition of “O Death,” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? film soundtrack captured the 2001 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal. After twenty years as half of legendary bluegrass duo the Stanley Brothers, Ralph began a solo career in 1966 following the death of brother Carter Stanley. Ralph’s unique style and distinctive tenor broke new ground in bluegrass, and he became a standard-bearer for country music’s Appalachian folk roots.
“This is a special moment for me personally and the entire family,” said Ralph Stanley II. “Dad has been such an influence on me as an artist, but also on countless other country music stars today. Growing up by his side and getting to witness the impact he has had is something that I cherish more than words. It really comes to life now that he is going to be highlighted in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which he highly respected. I am beyond grateful to see this exhibit coming to life in 2018.”
Another new exhibit will explore the lives and careers of Grammy-winning mother-daughter duo the Judds opening Aug. 3, 2018. Wynonna and Naomi Judd brought a fresh acoustic sound to country music, with unmistakable harmonies surrounding Wynonna’s powerful lead vocals. The Judds dominated the country charts during the 1980s and ’90s, and have sold more than 20 million albums and registered 20 Top Ten hits. Although the Judds dissolved in 1991 following Naomi’s hepatitis diagnosis the duo have reunited for special tours and performances. Wynonna has achieved great success as a solo artist.
“I am truly humbled and grateful to partner with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to honor the Judds legacy and relive some of the special moments we shared with our fans. What an honor,” said Wynonna.
“The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is sacred ground regarded with reverence and respect. I am so overjoyed to have the Judds career encapsulated in this new exhibit, “said Naomi. “I’m so proud of all the success Wynonna has accomplished and we owe everything to the fans who welcomed the Judds music into their homes.”
Finally, 12-time Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris will be the subject of a major exhibition opening Oct. 5, 2018. From her start with Gram Parsons in California during the early 1970s to her acceptance in Nashville and mainstream country music in the 1980s, Harris has brought millions of new listeners to country music. Over 40 years into a remarkable career, she has amassed twenty-seven Top Ten hits, including seven that reached #1. She also has placed fourteen albums in the Top Ten of the Billboard country album chart.
“From my first album release in 1975, country music has embraced me with open arms. This exhibit at the Hall of Fame makes me realize once more how grateful and honored I am to be part of such a remarkable musical family,” said Harris.
A champion of songwriters and musicians alike, Harris gave early career boosts to Rodney Crowell, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush and Buddy Miller. Countless country singers cite Harris as an influence, including Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood. Harris’s influence extends beyond country music, too, with acclaimed artists Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and many others citing her as an artistic guidepost. Examining Harris through her music and her collection of personal artifacts will provide new insight into one of country music’s most important and visionary artists.
The museum’s successful major exhibition Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City closes in February 2018. An announcement is forthcoming about the next major exhibition to be mounted at the museum.
One of the most visited museums in the United States, with an unduplicated collection of more than 2.5 million artifacts, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2017. For more information, visit countrymusichalloffame.org.