Texas Outlaw Country Exhibit Opening at the Country Music Hall of Fame

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Tony Maples Photography


Opening May 25, the Country Music Hall of Fame is putting its best foot forward in showcasing the “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” exhibit. The display highlights the efforts of a great many of today’s country music superstars who escaped Nashville’s commercial music scene in favor of a simpler way of life. They wanted to make the music they loved, the way they wanted to, and their move to do so began a style that many would come to know and love as “Outlaw Country.” Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson led the charge, and many others would soon follow – Jerry Jeff Walker, Tom T. Hall, Billy Joe Shaver, and David Allan Coe among them. Their creative freedom to produce the music they wanted to and live the way they chose made music industry history.

Texas Outlaw Country Exhibit Opening at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Photo: Wikimedia

Considering the contingent and caliber of music-makers in the vicinity of Austin and the Texas Hill Country at the time, there was no denying that Texas was cutting-edge in outlaw country – a genre which, ironically, had made the decision not to be cutting-edge. They were a different type of country; one that fans the world-over were latching onto as these musicians portrayed an extremely relatable way of life. They refurbished the country music genre to such a degree that they created a virtual split, visible between Tennessee and the Lone Star State. Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame’s (CMHF) “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” exhibit will aim to extol the virtues of the very culture of country music at that time, as opposed to simply the music and musicians that shaped it.

Subsequent to its opening, the exhibit will be on display for a period of roughly three years, promising to pay homage to the variety of contributions outlaw country artists made, as well as providing fans the opportunity to experience their favorites.

Texas Outlaw Country Exhibit Opening at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Photo: Facebook/Waylon Jennings

The exhibit’s details are available on the CMHF website at the link provided here. For the opening months of display, interactive activities will pepper the exhibits social calendar. These include “Make an Outlaw Bandana,” panel discussions, “Film Preview: Outlaws on Film with Jessi Colter and filmmaker Eric Geadelmann,” and even an appearance by Willie Nelson himself for a beginner guitar workshop.  It’s also reported that outlaw country fans can anticipate the chance to view components of the genre and lifestyle such as vintage posters, instruments with great meaning, items of artists’ wardrobes, and handwritten lyrics, to name a few. A companion book capturing the essence of the “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” exhibit, together with an LP and CD featuring some of the essential music of that time, will also be available for purchase. Four decades after artists such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings found their niche in Texas, the CMHF exhibit will honor them for their contributions to the genre.