Posts Tagged ‘country music’

Taylor Swift: Speak Now – Treasures from the World Tour Exhibition at Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

May 29, 2012

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in Nashville is dedicated to the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture © 2012 Karen Rubin/

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will explore superstar Taylor Swift’s record-breaking world tour with the exhibition Taylor Swift: Speak Now—Treasures from the World Tour, which opens on June 6, 2012, and runs through November 4, 2012. The exhibition will include dozens of costumes, instruments, set pieces and props from the six-time Grammy winner’s acclaimed 2011-12 Speak Now World Tour, which entertained more than 1.5 million fans over 111 shows in 19 countries spanning four continents.

“Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour was one of the most successful tours in all of music, and she has been an ambassador for country music, raising awareness of our genre literally around the globe,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “We are delighted to be able to bring our visitors up close and personal with many of their favorite elements from the show, from the colorful and elaborate stage costumes and beautiful instruments, to the magnificent ‘Juliet balcony’ that Taylor entered near the conclusion of each show and ‘flew’ around the circumference of each venue.

“Taylor is a dynamic live performer whose open heart and engaging personality allow her to make even the largest stadium shows an intimate experience,” Young continued. “Touring has always been a key element connecting music artists with their fans; those interactions help forge and strengthen the artist-fan relationship, and this exhibit speaks to that. And the opportunity came to us out of discussions we were having with Taylor related to our expansion—serendipity is a wonderful thing!”

Earlier this month, Swift pledged $4 million to fund a new education center at the museum. Swift’s gift, the largest capital contribution by an individual artist in the museum’s 45-year history, prompted the museum to name the new space the Taylor Swift Education Center. The center will open in early 2014. The gift was made in conjunction with the museum’s expansion capital campaign, Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here.

Swift has for years been a generous supporter of the museum’s exhibitions, loaning the institution dresses, stage costumes and instruments for display; a free-standing, Taylor Swift multimedia exhibit has been one of the museum’s most popular attractions since its debut in May, 2010.

The Speak Now exhibition will recreate 10 vignettes from the tour, including the following artifacts:

· Taylor’s Roberto Cavalli ombre gold bugle-beaded dress and shimmering red Gibson Les Paul model electric guitar, featured during Swift’s performance of “The Story of Us”

· Taylor’s vintage ecru lace dress and Deering six-string banjo with rolled steel drum; fiddle player’s Marc by Marc Jacobs moss green crepe dress; male dancer’s soft-shoe costume including Brixton tartan plaid newsboy cap, shirt, pants, vest and oxfords; and numerous props including the 6’ x 8’ switchboard

· Taylor’s pale blue silk Marchesa gown with rhinestone bodice; and a white piano bench with tufted leather upholstery, both featured in “Back to December”

· Taylor’s red, sequined Jenny Packham slip dress and knee-high leather boots, worn during “Better Than Revenge”

· Taylor’s vintage purple silk halter dress; dancers’ costumes including a chiffon bridal gown with pearl- and bead-encrusted bodice, tulle veil and silk rose bouquet; two cotton-candy pink bridesmaids’ dresses with lace bodices and ruffled tulle skirts, and bouquets; groom’s ivory tuxedo and black pants; cleric’s vestments; and props including retro microphone, all featured during “Speak Now”

· Taylor brand koa wood ukulele with mother-of-pearl inlay, whose “happy sounds” Swift elicited during her acoustic performance of “Fearless”

· Taylor’s sleeveless, flesh-colored Reem Acra gown with sequin overlay; female dancer’s ballerina costume, comprised of a gold and ivory brocade bodice and pastel tulle tutu, embellished with pastel tulle flowers, seed pearls and beading; male dancer’s tunic and leggings; and prop trees; all featured in “Enchanted”

· Taylor’s re-worked vintage dress, featuring leather corsetry; and the mallet she used to ring the bells during her performance of “Haunted”

· Taylor’s black Jenny Packham flapper-style slip dress with rhinestone embellishments; black knee-high leather boots; and Taylor brand “sparkle” guitar encrusted with Swarovski crystals and featuring a headstock outlined in crystals and embellished with a crystal “13,” featured during “Long Live”

· Taylor’s golden Valentino ball gown, featuring layers of tulle and a sequin overlay; dancers’ and aerialists’ costumes; and the “Juliet balcony” in which Swift soared above the crowd during each performance of “Love Story.”

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.

See also:

Nashville: Where the Heart & Soul of Country Music Beats Strong
Nashville Richly Deserves its Moniker, ‘Music City, U.S.A.’

For more travel features, visit:

Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville to Open The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country Exhibit

February 22, 2012

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will tell the story of the stars, sidemen and songwriters who created and popularized a new kind of country music in mid-20th century America in The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country, a more than 5,000-square-foot exhibition on view March 23, 2012 through December 31, 2013 © 2012 Karen Rubin/

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will tell the story of the stars, sidemen and songwriters who created and popularized a new kind of country music in mid-20th century America in The Bakersfield Sound:  Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country, a more than 5,000-square-foot exhibition opening on Friday, March 23, 2012, and closing on December 31, 2013.

Narrated by Dwight Yoakam, the exhibit will explore the roots, heyday and impact of the Bakersfield Sound, the loud, stripped-down and radio-ready music most closely identified with the careers of Country Music Hall of Fame members Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.  Co-curated by the institution’s Curatorial Director Mick Buck, Photo Collection Manager Tim Davis and Museum Editor Michael Gray, the Bakersfield Sound exhibit includes more than 100 artifacts and a generous overlay of audiovisual treasure.

“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.

“We are grateful to all of the artists, musicians and families who shared their knowledge, memories and artifacts with us,” Young continued.  “An exhibit of this scope and magnitude would not have been possible without their cooperation.  We would also like to thank Dwight Yoakam for his participation: Dwight is an iconoclast whose rich musical catalog embodies the Bakersfield Sound tradition; he’s also a historian and fan who reveres the bedrock of this genre. I can’t think of anyone better than Dwight to guide our visitors on the Bakersfield journey.”

Grand opening weekend will be highlighted by a Saturday, March 24 panel discussion featuring Dallas Frazier, Don Maddox, Rose Lee Maphis, Buddy Mize, Country Music Hall of Fame member Jean Shepard and Red Simpson. Later that afternoon, all of the panelists will participate in a concert, headlined by Simpson, backed by West Coast bandleader and guitarist Deke Dickerson and other noted musicians from Tennessee and California. Other opening weekend programs include a Bakersfield Sound book talk, a film screening and an instrument demonstration (see complete details below).

The exhibit will also be accompanied by a richly detailed, lavishly illustrated, 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 exclusively distributed by the Hal Leonard Corporation, the volume will include essays by California-based music journalists/historians Scott B. Bomar, Randy Poe and Robert Price.  Also included are dozens of archival photographs and beautiful color images of many of the artifacts included in the exhibit.  The book will be available in the Museum Store and at

Bakersfield Sound is supported by the Academy of Country Music, Ford Motor Company Fund and SunTrust.  Additional support was provided by Buck Owens Production Company.  Promotional support is being provided by media partners Great American Country Television Network and Cumulus Media.


The Bakersfield Sound story begins during the Great Depression, when Bakersfield’s cotton farms and oil fields attracted a mass migration of Dust Bowl refugees from Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas.  Born in Texas in 1929, Buck Owens moved with his sharecropping parents to Arizona before heading to Bakersfield in 1951.  Merle Haggard’s family, driven to the area from their east-Oklahoma farm, lived in an old converted railroad boxcar when Haggard was born, in a Bakersfield hospital, on April 6, 1937.

The exhibit will explore Bakersfield’s club scene where, in the 1940s and 1950s, the city’s plethora of dance halls and honky-tonks provided respite for wall-to-wall, rambunctious workers eager for the boogiefied honky-tonk of the Maddox Brothers & Rose or the eclectic swing sound of Bob Wills.   Also on the bandstands were enormously influential musicians Wynn Stewart and Tommy Collins, whose classic honky-tonk songs Owens and Haggard would later record, and for whom they worked as sidemen before launching solo careers.

The exhibit also spotlights Bill Woods, widely regarded as “The Father of the Bakersfield Sound,” and other musical architects, including “Cousin” Herb Henson, Ferlin Husky, Billy Mize, Fuzzy Owen, Bonnie Owens, Jelly Sanders, Jean Shepard, Red Simpson and Lewis Talley.

One of Bakersfield Sound’s recurring themes is the connections between all of the artists making music during this fertile period.  This is epitomized by the careers of Bakersfield’s greatest stars, Owens and Haggard.  As they came to prominence in the 1960s, their careers and personal lives were interwined not only with each other but with virtually all of the other major figures of the Bakersfield scene.   These two superstars remained faithful to the classic honky-tonk style and, at the same time, gave country music a harder edge in keeping with the drinking, loud talking, fist-fighting and romancing that characterized Bakersfield’s nightclub culture.   Owens and his top-notch band, the Buckaroos, first popularized Bakersfield’s amped-up hybrid of honky-tonk, rockabilly and western swing with  1960s chart-toppers like “Act Naturally,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “Together Again” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” and Haggard and his equally stellar band, the Strangers, soon followed with the unforgettable gems “Sing Me Back Home,” “Mama Tried,” “Okie from Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.”   These Bohemian originals scored nearly 60 #l hits between them and created a body of work that continues to influence artists today.

The exhibit will also focus on the Bakersfield music businesses that evolved in the 1960s, including publishing houses, recording studios, booking and management agencies, radio stations and performance venues, and particularly on Buck Owens Enterprises, the music empire owned and operated by the savvy Owens.  It will also explore the enduring impact of the Bakersfield Sound on subsequent generations of musicians, singers and songwriters, from country-rock pioneers the Flying Burrito Brothers to Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley, and many others.

Among other narrative elements, visitors will learn about the importance of Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson, who recorded numerous Bakersfield classics, including many of Owens’ and Haggard’s hits, and who has been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame; and the role of the Buckaroos and the Strangers in developing the Bakersfield Sound, with emphasis on key sidemen such as steel guitar innovator Ralph Mooney, Telecaster ace Roy Nichols and lead guitarist and harmony vocalist Don Rich. The Bakersfield-based Mosrite company, who manufactured instruments and issued recordings, also will be highlighted.

The Bakersfield Sound story will include hundreds of archival photos, audio and video clips, and a Fort Knox of rare, historic and visually stunning artifacts including:

·         Stage costumes worn by the Maddox Brothers & Rose, featuring floral motifs, elaborate embroidery and fringe, created by famed Hollywood designer Nathan Turk; Wynn Stewart’s understated Nudie suit with decorative straps and buckles; several Turk-designed suits worn by Buck Owens; a Nudie suit with motifs from the San Joaquin Valley, worn by Bobby Adamson of the Farmer Boys; and more.

·         A plethora of important instruments, including Telecasters belonging to Buck Owens and Don Rich; Speedy West’s Bigsby 1948 steel guitar (its whereabouts a mystery for decades); Ralph Mooney’s Fender double-neck pedal steel guitar; and Merle Travis’s electric guitar – one of the first solid-body electric guitars, designed by Travis and built by Paul Bigsby.

·         Legal documents including the marriage license of Buck and Bonnie Owens; and the “Full Pardon for Crimes of Merle Haggard,” signed March 1, 1972, by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Weaving the expansive story together via video screens throughout the gallery is Yoakam, who created a one-of-a-kind oral history – with special guests Merle Haggard and Chris Hillman – especially for this exhibit; the interview was taped at Hollywood’s Capitol Records Tower, where many Bakersfield Sound hits were made.

Throughout its 21-month run, The Bakersfield Sound:  Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country will be accompanied by related public programs including live performances, films, panel discussions and more.  The schedule will be regularly updated at

With the purchase of a museum membership ($40/individual membership and $100/friends and family membership), visitors can attend most public programs free of charge for one year, including programming related to Bakersfield Sound.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.

See also:

Nashville: Where the Heart & Soul of Country Music Beats Strong
Nashville Richly Deserves its Moniker, ‘Music City, U.S.A.’

85 Years Young and Still the Heart & Soul of Country Music

For more travel features, visit: