Are you ready for a cosmic-cowboy journey back in time? We’re in Nashville this weekend to cover the opening of “Outlaws and Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s,” a major new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum that details the push-and-pull between Austin and Nashville during the years that marked Willie Nelson’s return to Texas and the rise of the landmark venue Armadillo World Headquarters.
Check back Friday morning for a report from Thursday evening’s preview reception, which will feature an early look at the exhibit and intimate musical performances by Joe Ely, Jessi Colter and Shooter Jennings. The exhibit opens to the public on Friday, with a sold-out concert in the museum’s CMA Theater Friday night featuring more than a dozen performers including Austin’s Joe Ely, Kimmie Rhodes and Jack Ingram as well as Texas greats Delbert McClinton and Billy Joe Shaver plus Nashville artists including Bobby Bare and Jason Isbell. We’ll have a full review of the show on Saturday morning.
We’ll also have a follow-up report on additional opening-weekend events, which include a panel discussion with key Armadillo World Headquarters figures Eddie Wilson, Mike Tolleson and Jim Franklin; songwriting sessions with Ely, Rhodes and Bobby Earl Smith; and a focus-group screening of a two-hour segment from Austin filmmaker Eric Geadelmann’s in-progress 12-hour documentary series, “They Called Us Outlaws.”
The exhibit will remain on display at the museum until early 2021. It will feature instruments, recordings and clothing from major artists of the era, short excerpts from Geadelmann’s documentary, and artifacts such as the Randall knife owned by Guy Clark’s father and written about in his song “The Randall Knife.”