So first before I elaborate my opinions and prognostications on this exhibit this is from the CMHOF page:
Willie Nelson. Waylon Jennings. Kris Kristofferson. Jessi Colter. Bobby Bare. Jerry Jeff Walker. David Allan Coe. Cowboy Jack Clement. Tom T. Hall. Billy Joe Shaver. Guy Clark. Townes Van Zandt. Tompall Glaser. Today, all names synonymous with the word “outlaw,” but 40 years ago they started a musical revolution by creating music and a culture that shook the status quo on Music Row and cemented their place in country music history and beyond.
Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s upcoming major exhibition, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s, will explore this era of cultural and artistic exchange between Nashville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, revealing untold stories and never-seen artifacts. The exhibition, which opens May 25 for a nearly three-year run, will explore the complicated, surprising relationship between the two cities.
“Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s offers an unprecedented look at some of the most compelling music and artists in music history,” said museum CEO Kyle Young. “This was an era in which renegades Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson fought for and won creative control of their own songs and sounds. It was a time when melodic poets Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Billy Joe Shaver elevated public perception of what a country song could be. It was a time when the Austin, Texas, music and arts scenes blossomed, and when characters like singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, Hondo Crouch (who bought his own town, Luckenbach, Texas), armadillo art specialist Jim Franklin and University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal changed Lone Star culture. At the time, some of these things seemed unusual, even insane. Now, they all seem essential to any understanding of this great American art form, country music.”
Outlaws & Armadillos runs through Feb. 14, 2021. and will be accompanied by educational programs, including live performances, panel discussions and films. The museum will produce a companion book that will be available May 25. In addition, the museum in partnership with Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music, will release CD and LP sets featuring music by artists included in the exhibition. From the CMHOF page.
SO NOW DOES ALL THAT GRAB YOUR ATTENTION?
Well it does mine, but probably not for the same reasons it does yours. After you completely retain this article from start to finish, you may or may not agree with me..and not to be rude but I don’t care. These are JUST MY understandings and definitions of what transpired within Country Music in the 1970’s.
First off let me illustrate this point, OUTLAW IS NOT A GENRE, it was an era of creative control of their own music. And I firmly believe it was the answer to an establishment that was manufacturing pop country for that era (also coined as the era of the Nashville Sound). It’s followed by one of it’s predecessors the Bakersfield Sound Era which also emancipated it’s artists form Nashville. I really do believe that Outlaw Country SORT OF evolved from the Bakersfield Era, and a prime example of that is if you really look at it…Mr. Merle Haggard was prominently featured in BOTH eras having been paroled from San Quentin in 1960 right in the middle of the Bakersfield Era.
One of the major reasons for the abrupt end of the Bakersfield Era I believe was the 1972 death of Iconic sideman Mr. Don Rich. I mean let’s be honest even Mr. Buck himself admitted his career was done upon his untimely death, I mean I LOVED Mr. Bucks entire career but Monster’s Holiday was a horrible album! Even though Mr. Jerry Brightman on steel was indeed wonderful.
On the other side of the coin we had (what I call) Pianotonk Era Country music of the 60’s and 70’s which preceded the Nashville Sound, which was the pop country of it’s time, the likes of Ray Price (NOT the Cherokee Cowboys period) but the period with all the subtle strings and less twangy sound. Pianotonk was what? I’m so glad you asked my friends..
Man it was that wonderful period of Country Music that people like Jerry Lee Lewis and Mcikey Gilley played in (who in reality were cousins) but also people like Ray Price was once prominent in. See the pattern here? Once again I have NO IDEA if I’m correct or not but this is how I see things. Listen to albums like Flying High by Mickey Gilley and you’ll get a good taste of that, or 20/20 Vision by Ronnie Milsap was another good example of my theory.
Now then I’ll admit that Bakerfield came from the West Coast and Outlaw Era came from the great state of Texas, and it heralded it heroes like Ernest Tubb. If you don’t think Ernest Tubb got wild…delve into the story of how he shot at a man (he thought was previous Opry employee Jim Denny) in the hallway. You know many of the more popular Outlaw Era artists began in Nashville trying it their way, if you remember the first Waylon Jennings albums he was clean cut and conformed to what THEY wanted.
However this exhibit itself states that it will touch on a very important aspect of the outlaw movement (aside from history) and that is the PRODUCERS. I think 90 percent of the credit for Mr. Johnny Paycheck’s persona should go to Mr. Billy Sherrill. Mr. Billy created the whole sound for Tammy Wynette, and not only produced MANY iconic albums but WROTE those classic songs WE KNOW as Outlaw classics.
Once again flipping back to Mr. Buck Owens and the Bakersfield Sound the whole mastermind behind Buck Owens was Capitol producer Ken Nelson. EVERY ERA had it’s creative geniuses who knew WHAT to ,arket WHEN and to WHOM. Whether you like Mr. Don Williams you had Mr. Garth Fundis or if you liked Hank Williams Jr. you had Mr. Jimmy Bowen..and who created the Bocephus we all know in the early 70’s after he fell of the mountain….Jimmy Bowen.
This exhibit will include so many side concerts and instructional shows and workshops I will be visiting this exhibit MANY times in my time off I can!