Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 1972-1981, a special exhibit of photographs by Henry Horenstein

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Nov 172020

Three of the most ideal things I am interested in are museums, Honky Tonk Music and the 1970’s, and once again a museum like The Birthplace Of Country Music Museum in Bristol is offering a good taste of history to us that salivate over it.

The reason why exhibits like this one are so greatly integral to Country Music is because many of the folks they feature have now passed on, and are gone. In my studies and my prospicience to preserve it for future Country Music fans, I ardently support exhibits like this one. As a historian at a younger age, I regretfully missed out on being able to see many of the people I idolize like Mr. Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins live in their prime.

Photographers like Mr. Henry and Mr. Jerry Overcast and their ilk spent their entire lives following these big stars around and captured them out of their element, which makes it more amazing. You know, on stage you saw what THEY WANTED us to see..but behind that curtain this man captured what WE WERE NOT ALWAYS MEANT to see. If you go to his website HERE, you can kind of see my point of how random it all was and how he never meant to make it so significant..but it was.

Country Music in the 1970’s wasn’t found on innocent levels of places on Earth, and it wasn’t pure and clean cut as Hee Haw presented it to us on t.v. It was found in the dirty and dark beer joints across America, in the back alleys dives and it didn’t exemplify pure, or righteous living..but it was  honest living. These people had more baggage than the Dallas airport, and more drama than soap operas, but they spoke to us through songs of real life struggles.

I am heavily into the 1970’s and 1980’s Opry years, as well as the culmination of the Outlaw Movement and also the Nashville Sound eras. So much transpired during those times that shaped the genre into what it is today both locally and mainstream wise. It is with all of this in mind that I tell you all my dear readers I cannot stress how important it is to go up and see this exhibit for yourselves, as I plan to take a trip up there to see it myself SOON…here is the press release.

Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 1972-1981, a special exhibit of photographs by Henry Horenstein.

Dates: September 29, 2020 – March 28, 2021

Location: Special Exhibits Gallery, Birthplace of Country Music Museum

In the 1970s, photographer Henry Horenstein shot album covers for upstart bluegrass label Rounder Records. But in his off-hours, he soon became unofficial photographer to the culture of country musicians great and small, and their dedicated fans. It’s a world that looks quite a bit like country songs sound: full of hard-working operators and lonely dreamers, half-full glasses and scorpion belt buckles, and a few tall hats, boots, and bottles as well. It’s the world of the honky tonk.

A candid, affectionate glimpse into the real country music scene as it was performed and lived, Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 1972—1981 is a parade through the early years of future great performers like Dolly Parton and Del McCoury, and already established legends like Mother Maybelle Carter and Don Stover. It is a time capsule of an important era in country music set within family music parks and music festivals, the Grand Ole Opry, and Nashville’s Tootsies and other well-loved honky tonks. Horenstein’s lively portraits of the community preserve the scene where musicians and fans, cowboys and townies, converged to step out, strum, and strut their stuff.

The museum will be offering a variety of educational and engaging public programming to accompany the Honky Tonk exhibit. Keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our eNewsletter to learn more!

Special thanks to the Massengill-DeFriece Foundation for their support of the exhibit at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

About Henry Horenstein

Henry Horenstein has been a professional photographer, filmmaker, teacher, and author since the 1970s. He studied history at the University of Chicago and earned his BFA and MFA at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind.

Henry’s work is collected and exhibited internationally, and he has published over 30 books, including several monographs of his own work such as Histories, Show, Honky Tonk, Animalia, Humans, Racing Days, Close Relations, and many others. He has also authored Black & White Photography, Digital Photography, and Beyond Basic Photography, used by hundreds of thousands of college, university, high-school, and art school students as their introduction to photography. His Shoot What You Love serves both as a memoir and a personal history of photography over the past 50 years.




Ward Davis To Release New Full-Length Album Black Cats and Crows With Thirty Tigers On November 20th

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Nov 172020
 Outlaw Country-Rocker Ward Davis To Release New Full-Length Album Black Cats and Crows With Thirty Tigers On November 20th
Album available for pre-order; First single out now via Rolling Stone
October 16, 2020 – Nashville, TN – Kicking off with a blaze of harmonized electric guitars sounding like when the Allman’s Elizabeth Reed checked into the Eagles’ Hotel California, Ward Davis’s new album Black Cats and Crows doesn’t waste a second on formalities. Out November 20th on Thirty Tigers, Black Cats and Crows is triumph on all fronts. A muscly country-rock record filled with murderous story songs, heartbreaking vulnerability, and that unmistakable voice—Davis’s weathered croon, barrel-aged then left out in the sun—are all brought to life through Davis’s and producer Jim “Moose” Brown’s care for their craft and disdain for sterility. Yesterday, Rolling Stone premiered “Black Cats and Crows,” the album’s title track and first single calling it, “an ominous piano ballad in which Davis questions why the deck is stacked against him.” Fans can listen to “Black Cats and Crows” now at this link and pre-order Black Cats and Crows here.
Without listening to a note of Black Cats and Crows, the company kept in the liner notes alone—co-writers Cody Jinks, Kendell Marvel, and Shawn Camp—will tip off any discerning music fan on how respected Davis is as a songwriter. Of course, his own songwriting history precedes him too, having written tunes for the likes of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Trace Adkins. “This is my coping mechanism. I know music is a coping mechanism for a lot of people,” Davis says. “It’s important that it’s crafted well, but it’s also important that it’s honest so that people can relate to it and get something out of it.” But it’s not just songwriters that have taken notice. Among the world class musicians who took part in the recording of Black Cats and Crows, a name not too often thrown around in the world of country music appears; Anthrax’s Scott Ian, who guested on the ominous murder ballad, “Sounds of Chains.”
In addition to the guitar-driven tunes, several songs on Black Cats and Crows also remedy the often-overlooked role of piano in outlaw music. A fine pianist who shrugs off any praise of his own playing, Davis looks up to the slip-note stylings of master Floyd Cramer. “He would do these little flickers with the keys that aren’t complicated but really create a sound,” Davis says. “I mimic him a lot.” Kicking off with piano and fiddle, “Threads” lays a weary heart bare, while the beautifully written “Good to Say Goodbye” traces the push and pull that ensues when it’s time to go. “Good and Drunk” is a lesson in songwriting, heartbreaking and real. “That was a hard one to write,” Davis says. “It was a bad day. I came home from a tour with Sunny Sweeney, and my ex-wife had packed up everything and put the boxes in the garage. I was sitting there alone, hungover, wanting a whiskey drink, and I realized I didn’t know where the whiskey was. But I had my legal pad out. So, I started writing this song.”
Davis mines his own worries and pain for a song without ever forgetting the other person who will eventually listen to it. “I want people to know these songs mean something to me,” he says. “I hope they mean something to them. Maybe they’ll hear something that’ll make them feel better.”
Black Cats and Crows Tracklisting:
Ain’t Gonna Be Today
Black Cats and Crows
Sounds of Chains
Get To Work Whiskey
Book Of Matches
Heaven Had A Hand
Where I Learned To Live
Papa And Mama
Lay Down On Love
Good To Say Goodbye
Good And Drunk