The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Music City Roots celebrated the 10th anniversary of the pivotal exhibition ‘Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970’ and the accompanying Grammy-winning CD set with a special concert collaboration on July 30 at The Factory at Franklin.
The show was broadcast live on Hippie Radio (94.5 FM).
Performers included The Valentines, The McCrary Sisters, The Fairfield Four, Charles ‘Wigg’ Walker and a host of others.
Earlier in the month, Buzz Cason, writer of the Nashville R&B hits ‘Everlasting Love’ (Robert Knight) and ‘Soldier of Love’ (Arthur Alexander), was the subject of the museum’s quarterly program series ‘Poets and Prophets’ in the museum’s Ford Theatre.
There will be weekly film screenings featuring the television programs The!!!!Beat and Night Train, on Sundays at 2 pm in the Ford Theatre. On July 26, the museum presented an R&B Dance Workshop for families in the Taylor Swift Education Center. All programs are included with museum admission and free to museum members.
Revisit, or discover for the first time, the appeal of this one-of-a-kind exhibit by going to the museum’s website. Photos, exhibit text, classic film clips of The!!!!Beat and Night Train, and suggested reading and listening lists round out the Night Train to Nashville online experience.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2004-05 groundbreaking project, ‘Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970,’ included a large, critically-acclaimed exhibition; Grammy-winning CD set; accompanying publications; live performances; and other public events. While Nashville’s contributions to country music have been documented extensively, the city’s far-reaching R&B legacy is not as well known. Nor is the degree to which the two styles of music influenced each other here.
During the years when Nashville grew into its title of Music City, African American artists such as Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix spent hours of bandstand apprenticeship in Nashville’s black nightclubs. At the same time, Nashville radio station WLAC blasted rhythm & blues across half the United States when most national radio considered the music taboo, and Black and White musicians made hit records together in Nashville’s studios, in tacit disregard of segregation.
The exhibit and museum programs featured pioneering television shows Night Train and The!!!!Beat, and stories about the live music activity on Jefferson Street, the spirited entrepreneurs who created the city’s first record companies, and a number of popular recording acts such as Bobby Hebb, Etta James and the Prisonaires.