Austin artists Joe Ely, Gary P. Nunn, Kimmie Rhodes, Jack Ingram and Jason Boland will join an impressive cast of country legends and contemporary stars in helping the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum kick off its upcoming exhibit “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” on May 25 in Nashville.
The concert, to be held at the museum’s CMA Theater, also will include Bobby Bare, Jessi Colter, Michael Martin Murphey, Willis Alan Ramsey, Delbert McClinton, Billy Joe Shaver, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson, Ashley Monroe, Amanda Shires and Colter Wall.
The “Outlaws and Armadillos” exhibit, which was announced in January, “will explore an era of intense cultural exchange between Nashville and Austin, Texas, in the 1970s, when country music’s outlaw movement was on the rise,” according to a statement that accompanied Monday’s details about the opening concert.
Shooter Jennings, son of outlaw legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, worked with renowned Nashville producer Dave Cobb to assemble the lineup for the concert, which is receiving sponsorship support from Central Texas businesses Ben Milam Whiskey and Luckenbach Texas.
Tickets for the concert are $40.95 and include museum admission. They go on sale at 10 a.m. CDT on Friday, April 6, and can be purchased via the museum’s website.
The announcement comes on the heels of last week’s Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony that included the late Texas country and western swing fiddle great Johnny Gimble, a primary figure in the development of western swing music. Gimble, who lived in the Austin area for many years during a career that spanned generations, was inducted along with Ricky Skaggs and Dottie West.
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Both Nunn and Rhodes recently have published memoirs that connect directly to the theme of the “Outlaws and Armadillos” exhibit. Nunn’s “At Home With the Armadillo” details adventures in his long career that included writing “London Homesick Blues,” which became the informal anthem of the 1970s Armadillo World Headquarters heyday in Austin. And Rhodes recently completed “Radio Dreams,” a dual memoir started by her late husband Joe Gracey, a pioneering force on Austin radio in the ’70s with KOKE-FM. There’s also a new biography of McClinton, “One of the Fortunate Few,” by San Marcos writer Diana Finlay Hendricks.
Austin filmmaker Eric Geadelmann helped museum staffers Peter Cooper and Michael Gray in curating the exhibit, which will run until February 2021. Artifacts that will be on display will include the outfit a young Joe Ely wore when he worked for a circus, the Randall knife Guy Clark inherited from his father and wrote about in one of his most famous songs, and period-pieces (as well as newly commissioned work) by renowned Austin artist Jim Franklin.
The May 25 concert will be recorded and broadcast later on the SiriusXM “Outlaw Country” satellite radio channel. And on May 18, Legacy Recordings will release a two-disc “Outlaws & Armadillos” collection featuring 36 tracks and a 32-page historical booklet. Preorders for that set are now being offered online.