Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats

4 Mar

A few week ago, my wife and I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, which we like to do when they have an interesting exhibit. This time, they had a couple of exhibits that I wanted to see. The first was about Sam Phillips and Sun Records. The second was about the friendship between Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and the effect it had on the Nashville music scene.image-7

Nashville has always been known for Country music, but I have been more fascinated with the story of Nashville’s other music. For example, it has a deep Rhythm and Blues history and is where Jimi Hendrix got his start.

I have read about Dylan’s time in Nashville and was interested to see how the Country Music Hall of Fame would present it. They did better than I could have imagined and introduced me to facts that I did not know.

Obviously, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash were the focus, but that was only the beginning. It covered the artists who were inspired by Dylan’s work in the city and followed him here. It was awesome to see the display on Paul McCartney and his time living in my hometown of Lebanon.image-9

The story of Paul McCartney’s time in town has gone down in local lore, but there were a ton of artists that I never knew recorded here. On the way out, I bought an album of songs that were highlighted in the exhibit, and it provides an example of some of those artists.

Gordon Lightfoot

The Byrds

The Monkees

Leonard Cohen

Country Joe McDonald

Simon and Garfunkel

George Harrison

Ringo Starr

Joan Baez

Neil Young

Derek and the Dominos

Those people are well-known in the history of music. However, this exhibit also highlighted the session musicians who played the music to which those people sang. These are the unsung heroes of Nashville and have become known as the Nashville Cats.

Several people had their own displays, but Jerry Reed was my favorite. Those who only know him as Snowman in Smokey and the Bandit or the football coach in The Waterboy may not realize that he was one of the greatest guitarists to ever play in Nashville. He was the heir apparent to Chet Atkins and had a distinctive style that other players have tried to duplicate.image-8

As always, the Country Music Hall of Fame did a fantastic job with the exhibit. Each time I go to the museum, I learn something new. If you ever make it to Nashville, then you will need to visit the place. Just remember that Country music is not the only music that has come out of this city.

10 Responses to “Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong March 4, 2016 at 03:20 #

    Nashville is atop our list of places we want to visit. I don’t know that it will happen, but the area’s history is so full of music. Magical. I’m glad I’m not the only one who loved Nashville Skyline 🙂

    • Rick March 4, 2016 at 03:40 #

      It’s a great album. I have it on vinyl. Nashville is a great city with a lot of cool stuff to do.

  2. shutterbugshea March 4, 2016 at 15:02 #

    This post brought back good memories for me….I just love all the artists and that great music!!! Going to put the Country Music Hall of Fame on my bucket list for sure!

    • Rick March 5, 2016 at 02:52 #

      You should definitely go there. It is an awesome place.

  3. sittingpugs March 5, 2016 at 04:10 #

    I’ve yet to visit Nashville. I should…I’m within driving distance. What have you noticed about the museum itself that has changed for better or “just different”? For instance, are the restrooms still stocked with the same soap? Have they installed hands-free napkin dispensers?

    • Rick March 5, 2016 at 21:46 #

      The museum is a state-of-the-art facility that is easy to follow and easy to understand. It has a lot of permanent exhibits with two rotating exhibits. It used to be in an old building that looked like a barn. Now, it is the centerpiece of a redeveloped area.

  4. jcalberta March 14, 2016 at 18:18 #

    i didn’t know Reed was that good. One of those Nashville Cats.
    Love to go there someday. So much to do … so little time left …

    • Rick March 15, 2016 at 02:25 #

      He was that good.


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    […] but I told him that I have heard a bunch of stories about it. He was also glad to hear that the Country Music Hall of Fame has a panel about McCartney’s time on the farm in their latest […]

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