by Mat Dirjish
Noted for collecting and preserving country music artifacts and history, respectively, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unveils Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970, a multimedia exhibit that explores Nashville’s Rhythm & Blues (R&B) scene of the day and its role in helping the city become a world-renowned music center. The exhibition is free to visit and view on the museum’s website.
The exhibit explores Nashville’s R&B activity in the decades following World War II. As Nashville’s country music industry just began, the city was also a hotbed for R&B in the late 1940s,’50s, and ’60s. Performers included Country Music Hall of Fame member Ray Charles, Arthur Alexander, Ruth Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Little Richard, and others. During this time, R&B flourished alongside country music in the clubs and studios as well as on the radio and television.
Exhibit features include a comprehensive array of photos, performance videos and audio recordings, instruments, show posters, and stage wear. The museum will also create a physical version of Night Train to Nashville in its galleries in January 2024, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the original exhibit.
To mark the launch of the online exhibit, the museum will host a free conversation and performance with members of the Nashville R&B music scene in partnership with the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). The program on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Ford Theater, will feature performances by Levert Allison of the Fairfield Four, Jimmy Church, Peggy Gaines Walker, Frank Howard, Charles “Wigg” Walker, and other participants. Reserve tickets are available now on The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum website.
Ready to board a night train to Tennessee, but don’t know where to catch it? If so, here’s your passport to The Night Train to Nashville exhibit.
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