Country Music Hall of Fame Announces Major Exhibit for Texas Outlaw Country

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In efforts to escape the commercial music scene of Nashville, Tennessee in the 1970s, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings came to Texas. Their move signaled the beginnings of what many recognized as “Outlaw Country,” which allowed them the creative freedom to live the way they chose and making the music they wished to make.

Those that made and played the music scene in and around Austin at that time were a decidedly different music industry component, standing out like a sore thumb in Nashville but remodeling the genre’s sound and image to such an extent that the very process created a noticeable rift between Texas and Tennessee. Largely demonstrated by Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame (CMHF), the culture of country music as defined by the industry is more of a focal point than the very music which redefined it during that era.

Country Music Hall of Fame Announces Major Exhibit for Texas Outlaw Country

Photo: Facebook/All Things The Highwaymen

To try and remedy this circumstance, the CMHF announced last week that plans are in the works for a three-year exhibit entitled “Outlaws and Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s,” which is expected to open on May 25. Promising to give the proper recognition for the many contributions made by these artists, the museum identified that “…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.” This new exhibit promises to “…explore this era of cultural and artistic exchange between Nashville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas, revealing untold stories and never-seen artifacts…”

Country Music Hall of Fame Announces Major Exhibit for Texas Outlaw Country

Photo: Facebook/Heartland Music & Movies

The exhibit’s details currently remain hushed, but sources believe it will include similar components of the ongoing “Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats” exhibit. This would entail special instruments, vintage posters, handwritten lyrics, and symbolic pieces of wardrobe catapulted to fame by those that wore them. The CMHF has announced, however, that exhibit visitors will be able to witness live performances, hear panel discussions, and see films directly related to the outlaw country legacy. A companion book that captures the essence of the exhibit as well as a CD and LP containing some of the era’s essential music, both to be available for purchase, will also be components of the project. A lifetime after Nelson and Jennings found their niche in Austin, this exhibit intends to not only chronicle the movement but will pay homage to that which inevitably shaped the stylings of future stars of the genre such as Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson, and Miranda Lambert.