Country Music Hall of Fame Highlights Iconic Moments of 2017 in New Exhibit [PICTURES]
Country stars such as Jason Isbell, Brothers Osborne and more turned out at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday (March 6) to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit dedicated to showcasing country's most iconic moments from 2017.
For the second year running, the Hall of Fame will spotlight the year in country music with the American Currents: The Music of 2017 exhibit, which opens on Friday (March 9). The exhibit includes iconic items of clothing worn by country stars in 2017, original lyrics, musical instruments and more. Readers can flip through the gallery above to check out snapshots from Tuesday's event previewing the exhibit.
"At this museum, we understand country music not as a narrow format, but as an expansive big tent genre," Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young remarked during the event's reception. "One inclusive enough to welcome contemporary radio stars, acoustic music virtuosos, bluegrass pickers, Americana heavyweights, songwriters, producers and on and on."
This diversity was reflected in the sampling of featured artists in attendance. The guest list ran the gamut from breakout artists such as Luke Combs and Kane Brown to legends like Randy Travis, bluegrass musicians such as Molly Tuttle and radio hitmakers like Florida Georgia Line, not to mention plenty of musicians, songwriters and producers who inhabit the spaces elsewhere on the country music spectrum.
The new American Currents exhibit highlights the partnership between up-and-comer Brown and his idol and now-mentor Travis, who appeared together at the exhibit's preview to talk about their partnership.
"It's just amazing to be part of this exhibit with the one and only Randy Travis," Brown commented. "I wouldn't be in it without him, and it's his second year in a row [to be featured in an American Currents exhibit], so it's really cool to be celebrating that with him."
Brown received mainstream attention after posting YouTube videos of himself covering songs such as "Three Wooden Crosses," leading to a record deal and earning a stamp of approval from the legendary country star himself. Since Travis surprised Brown during a radio performance, the two singers have become friends.
"When we first listened to Kane, his voice had so much depth," Travis' wife Mary explained on his behalf at the event (since a stroke in 2013, Travis has been largely unable to speak or sing). "It really strummed Randy's heartstrings. This was before we even knew him.
"His heart is so beautiful and pure, and that just makes him a complete artist," she adds. "I think it's going to be really fun to watch what Kane does from here on out."
Brown wasn't the only artist in attendance to be featured in the exhibit alongside a hero, however: Chris Young, whose 2017 single "Losing Sleep" is the 10th No. 1 song of his career, has contributed his cowboy hat, a well-loved guitar and the jacket he wore the night he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, among other items, to the exhibit -- and they're being displayed right next to items from a personal idol of his, Marty Robbins.
"Growing up, one of the reasons why I wanted to come to the Hall of Fame and walk around was because a lot of that history was taught to me by my family," Young recalls. "My grandfather would play me 45s and 78s of Marty Robbins' music all the time. He was my grandfather's favorite country artist. To be in this exhibit alone is a huge honor, but to be right next to Marty Robbins makes it really special for me because there is that personal connection."
TJ and John Osborne, who comprise the duo Brothers Osborne, also reflected on their personal history with the Hall of Fame.
"We actually used to work here," TJ Osborne says. "We would roam the halls and dream of the day that we would have the chance of having something included here in the Hall of Fame. Walking in here and thinking about all our hard work, and the many years of being broke and thinking it was impossible come to fruition, it's hard to put into words. I might tear up walking in and seeing our exhibit."
"I worked in the restaurant here for four and a half or five years," John Osborne adds. "The intention was to work here for a few months until my career took off. Well, that took a lot longer than expected. I waited tables to make ends meet, and then at night I'd go out and play gigs on Broadway, and then come back here hungover the next day to wait tables."
The American Currents exhibit will run at the Country Music Hall of Fame from March 9 through the end of 2018.
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