Waylon and Willie and the boys will be honored at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The epochal cultural exchange between Nashville and Austin that forever changed country music will be commemorated in Outlaws & Armadillos: County’s Roaring ‘70s, an ambitious exhibition set to open May 25 for a nearly three-year run at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Guy Clark, Bobby Bare, Jerry Jeff Walker and Joe Ely are among the notables represented in a celebration of what the museum describes as “the rollicking revolution” that thrived throughout the 1970s as these and other “outlaw” artists “wrested creative control from record companies and made music that was poetic, hard-charging, and uncompromised.”
Co-curated by museum staffers Peter Cooper and Michael Gray and Austin filmmaker Eric Geadelmann, the exhibit includes items such as the still where storyteller Tom T. Hall and the “bootleg preacher” Will D. Campbell made whiskey, the Randall knife that once belonged to Guy Clark’s father, the paintings of Susanna Clark, the outfit worn by Joe Ely when he worked at a circus, the acclaimed photography of Leonard Kamsler and Marshall Fallwell Jr., the Gibson guitar played by Cowboy Jack Clement, and the Armadillo art of Jim Franklin.
Outlaws & Armadillos will kick off with an all-star concert under the musical direction of Shooter Jennings (son of outlaw legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter) and veteran music producer Dave Cobb May 25 in the museum’s CMA Theater. And although tickets have already sold out, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum website, the concert will be recorded for future broadcast on satellite radio SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel. The once-in-a-lifetime lineup of artists slated to perform includes Bobby Bare, Jessi Colter, Joe Ely, Michael Martin Murphey, Gary P. Nunn, Willis Alan Ramsey, Kimmie Rhodes (appearing with Delbert McClinton) and Billy Joe Shaver, all of whom are represented in the exhibit. The new generation of outlaws will be represented by Jason Boland, Jack Ingram, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson, Ashley Monroe, Amanda Shires, and Colter Wall.
An exhibit companion two-CD set, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s, will be released May 18 in digital and CD formats, in partnership with Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment. The set, which contains 36 tracks and a 32-page booklet detailing the rich history of the era, is available for pre-order here. And if you’re an old school outlaw, take note: The set also will be available this summer on 12-inch vinyl.