The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum celebrated the opening of its major exhibition Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock, presented by City National Bank. The evening included special performances by:
- Watkins Family Hour performing “Different Drum,” a song made popular by the Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt and written by Michael Nesmith.
- Chris Hillman with Watkins Family Hour performing “Wheels” a song made popular by the Flying Burrito Brothers and written by Hillman and Gram Parsons.
Western Edge, which is now open for a nearly three-year run, traces the Los Angeles-based communities of visionary singers, songwriters and musicians who, between the 1960s and 1980s, frequented local nightclubs, embraced country music, created and shaped the musical fusion “country-rock” and, ultimately, made a lasting impact on popular music.
The exhibit surveys the rise of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and others who found commercial success with a hybrid of rock sensibilities and country instrumentation and harmonies. These trailblazers’ musical contributions were expanded upon by the next generation of L.A. roots music performers — the Blasters, Los Lobos, Lone Justice, Dwight Yoakam and more — who once again looked to traditional American music for inspiration, blending hard-edged honky-tonk, Mexican folk music, rockabilly and punk rock. These artists — along with their country-rock predecessors — provided inspiration to future generations of country and Americana artists.
The museum’s curatorial and creative teams conducted more than 40 hours of filmed interviews and collected an array of significant artifacts for display in Western Edge, which will be housed in a newly designed 5,000 square foot gallery space. Items featured in the exhibit include instruments, stage costumes, manuscripts and personal artifacts.
The museum is also hosting a slate opening weekend concerts and programs, which are supported by the Academy of Country Music and travel partner American Airlines. Read more about the exhibit and opening weekend events here. In addition, an illustrated exhibit companion book is now available for sale, and the official Western Edge Playlist is now available on Amazon Music.
(All photos by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum).