Johnny Cash, Gene Watson receive hall of fame treatment
Monday, September 22, 2008
– Johnny Cash and Gene Watson will receive a special spotlight exhibit in the next few weeks at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. On Tuesday, Sept 30, "Johnny Cash: Man in Black" will open with "Gene Watson: Fourteen Carat Voice" begin Oct. 7. Both exhibits will run through spring 2009.
In Cash's 1971 hit Man in Black, Cash claimed he wore black to symbolize compassion for "the poor and the beaten down ... the prisoner ... the sick and lonely old." With stage costumes and personal items on display, Johnny Cash: Man in Black examines Cash's understated style in an otherwise rhinestone-studded era of country couture.
"There was a certain complexity behind Johnny Cash's simple, black-clad image," said Mick Buck, the museum's curator of collections. "The items on display echo Cash's rebellious spirit and political awareness, and more importantly, his transcendent ability to connect with people."
Exhibit items include
a black gabardine suit with chain-stitched blue stars and brass buttons, designed by Nudie's Rodeo Tailors. Cash performed in the suit in his 1977 televised Christmas special.
a black leather duster, designed by western couturier Manuel Cuevas.
a leather briefcase, bearing Cash's initials, "JRC." Cash traded the briefcase to musician Marty Stuart for Stuart's black briefcase in the early 1980s.
"Gene Watson: Fourteen Carat Voice" explores Watson's career as a soulful vocalist rooted in the classic country tradition, beginning with his steamy 1975 hit Love in the Hot Afternoon. In the exhibit, Watson's musical consistency is juxtaposed with his wardrobe's evolution. Stage costumes on display trace his 1970s clean-cut persona and attention-grabbing stage wear to a more relaxed look through the 1980s.
Watson scored a string of honky-tonk-styled hits throughout the late '70s and into the '80s that included Farewell Party, Fourteen Carat Mind and Memories to Burn.. Since winning his battle with cancer in 2001, Watson continues to showcase his smooth, clear tenor voice on albums such as "In a Perfect World" (2007).
Artifacts in the exhibit include:
a 1970s green suit with rhinestones and musical-note embroidery, designed by Nudie's Rodeo Tailors.
a suede cowboy hat with decorative pins.
a floral-print western shirt from the early 1980s.
Other current spotlight exhibits focus on Big & Rich, George Strait and Porter Wagoner.
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Recorded on-stage in Czechoslovakia in April 1978,
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Man In Black: Live in Denmark 1971
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