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Reliving My Favorite Music at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

country music hall of fame museum nashville tennessee
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So I’ll be the first to admit - they just don’t make country music like they used to. “Southern Pop;” “Tractor Rap;” “Progressive Country; “Bro Country” - call it what you will, I just can’t seem to find the tolerance I need to listen the majority of artists I hear popping up on Country radio nowadays. I’ve found that the best way to indulge in the classic Country that I love most is with a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

It’s not that I think all modern Country is all bad - it’s just not what I like. In my mind, there’s no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to making music, or any sort of art in general. There’s simply what you like, and what you don’t like. When it comes to the modern stuff, I’ll be polite, and just leave it at, “I don’t much care for it.”

Fortunately, Country is one of those genres of music that not only wears its inspirations on its sleeves, but openly pays tribute to the great songwriters and musicians that have come before. Even modern country artists, to their credit, continue this tradition in their album notes, and by featuring at least one cover song on every album. Artists both young and old always point out and thank the music makers that came before them at every awards show. Most importantly, the great tradition that is Country music continues to not only survive, but thrive.

So, while I can’t say that I’m much for the stuff playing on satellite radio today, I rest easy in the knowledge that Country, as both an art form and arch point to an entire history and culture of people, will continue to be preserved, passed on, and enjoyed for generations to come.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They recently opened a new exhibit called Outlaws and Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s, and though I’ve gone back several times over the years, it had been awhile, and this was the perfect excuse to make a return trip to this very special place.

What is It?
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as the name implies, is a place devoted to preserving the history and artifacts of Country music, in all their forms. The Hall of Fame portion serves as a shrine to some of the most important and popular artists to ever cross the wide pantheon of Country artists, including Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and many, many others. The museum aspect is one of the largest collections of not only Country artifacts, but musical collections, in the world. It is a galleria featuring outfits, guitars, notepads with hand scrawled lyrics, framed gold records, and other pieces of real Country history, used by the artists who made them famous.

What’s So Special About It?
Unlike many museums in the world, that usually feature only a small appetizer of a particular era or subject, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum reaches all the way back to the earliest days of the genre, before it was even called Country music, and covers everything to the modern day in extensive detail. Even if there were nothing else to it, this earns the Museum a place amongst the best historical sites in the world, but there’s much, much more.

Not only are genre icons represented extensively, but so are the early pioneers, whose records can’t be found in stores anymore, as well as the supporting songwriters and producers who helped them make their legendary music. It’s truly one of the most well rounded and extensive preservation of music history you can find.

Not content to just celebrate the past, the Museum is also a living center of modern music and education, allowing visitors to peak behind the scenes, and not just experience Country music, but truly know Country music. The Museum is home to Historic RCA Studio B, where songwriters, producers, and even established artists will regularly pop in, and talk about the songwriting and recording process, while playing old favorites and new compositions alike.

The Museum also recently opened the Taylor Swift Education Center within its hallowed walls, featuring a wealth of educational programs, and providing a space where children and teens can explore their creativity, imagination, and discover who they are through the conduit of art and music.

How Does it Work?
Getting in the Museum is easy - walk up to the ticket counter, then hop in an elevator to the top floor, and start walking at your leisure. The Museum is laid out so that you’ll start at the top floor, and work your way down, beginning at Country’s earliest points in history, and ending with the modern day. Children, veterans, and senior citizens even get a nice discount!

While there’s an amazing array of antiques, artifacts, and curiosities that you can enjoy year round, one of the best aspects, and what keeps people coming back over the years, is a series of rotating exhibits that focus on different time periods and artists. These exhibits display even more unique items and memorabilia, often on loan from private collections and other museums, and are only on display for a limited time.

For example: in my introduction, I mentioned Outlaws and Armadillos. This recently opened exhibit focuses on the Outlaw Country movement that began in the 1970s, and was championed by now legendary artists like Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, and many others. This is my personal favorite period in Country music history, and this exhibit was an absolutely amazing experience.

Sing Me Back Home
If you haven’t guessed by now, I absolutely love the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s not just a great tourist attraction - it’s a reflection on the music that has chronicles the lives of cowboys, outlaws, swindlers, gamblers, cheaters, people of faith, and working men and women like you and me. If that’s not worth preserving, I don’t know what it.

If I haven’t made it plain enough by now, I strongly encourage you to check out this amazing place, and share your adventures with others. Take pictures, write a post on a travel blog just like this one, or even start your own to chronicle this and the others amazing places you see.

By sharing your experiences, you’ll not only encourage others to get out and explore the wide, wonderful world we live in, but you’ll join with those Country singers, both new and old, in playing a vital role in keeping this great music tradition alive and well.

17 comments:

  1. Great Post! I didn't even know there's such a museum till i read this post. Definitely a great way to introduce a place of interest...

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  2. Oh I see that you are a country music fan! I agree that country music sounds very different now. In fact I can't even recognize that it is country music!

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  3. I'm only about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Nashville! This would be a great destination for a weekend, as I've only been for a college campus tour a few years back.

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  4. Wow, this Country Music Hall sounds amazing!
    Happy Sunday!
    Kisses, Paola.

    Expressyourself

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  5. How many times have you been there? Taylor Swift is modern country music, right?

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  6. This sounds like a great place for country music fans. I'm personally not a fan of the genre.

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  7. Interested at your information about this sort of music
    Kisses

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  8. what a great experience it must be, I'd love to visit this music hall of fame and museum.

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  9. County music is my jam.

    http://www.amysfashionblog.com/blog-home/

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  10. I only know country song. Didn't know it has so many categories. My man would enjoy visiting this museum, he is into country music.

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  11. Museums are really great way to educate people about a place, heritage and related stuff, glad you shared it here!

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  12. Shirley, this was a "fan"tastic post about country music and the Hall of Fame Museum! I enjoy listening to classic country, too -- the good ol' songs -- but some of the newer artists keep me tapping my toes, too. (In cowgirl boots, ha!) Sounds like the museum has expanded a lot since I last visited. Your review and enthusiasm made me want to go again! xo

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  13. I never knew there is a museum dedicated to country music. Great place to visit.

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  14. So interesting...unfortunatly I did not have chance to visit this museum when in Tennessee...thanks for the tip...
    Have a wonderful week Shirley!

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