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Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s

A new, three-year exhibit brings out the rebellious parallels between two music-loving cities.

Written By:  Claudia Willen

Photographers:  Supplied

Photos courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s newest major exhibit, “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s,” debuts its three-year run on May 25. The collection uncovers the counterculture movement that drew country artists, like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, to Austin, Texas, in search of creative liberty.

This exhibit examines the artistic and cultural exchange between the two music-rich cities.

“Often, Austin and Nashville’s music stories are told as distinct and competing tales. This is the first exhibit that connects what was happening in each city and reveals its effects on Nashville,” co-curator Peter Cooper says.

Nearly as influential as country music’s rebellion is the art that coincided with the movement.

“The visual art community and the music community existed hand-in-hand during the time, so the armadillo became a signifier of all things Austin and is present throughout the exhibit,” Cooper says. The collection features unseen artifacts and artwork by Kerry Awn, Danny Garrett, Guy Juke, and Sam Yeates

“Outlaws and Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s” fills the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s largest space.

“It’s something that will take multiple visits for people to really take full advantage of. They’re going to walk away with knowledge of the music made during this period, but also of the people behind the music and the creative impulse that had to exist in order to make this music,” Cooper adds. 

The exhibit kicks off with an opening concert on May 25 at 8 p.m. featuring musical direction by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings and performances by Bobby Bare, Jessi Colter, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shire, and many others.

For more information, visit countrymusichalloffame.org.

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