Country Music Hall of Fame


Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City

March 27, 2015 - December 31, 2017

Bob Dylan bucked executives at his record label and surprised fans when he came to Nashville in 1966 to record his classic album Blonde on Blonde. Calling on some of the city’s extraordinary studio musicians, Dylan’s embrace of Nashville inspired many other artists to follow him to Music City. By 1969, Johnny Cash was recruiting folk and rock musicians—including Dylan—to appear on his groundbreaking network television show, The Johnny Cash Show, shot at the Ryman Auditorium.

Explore below to learn more about Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and session musicians known as the Nashville Cats.

Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, which has been extended through 2017, looks at the Nashville music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time of great cultural vitality for Music City that continues to energize fans and musicians alike.

As an ongoing part of the Museum’s Nashville Cats Program, Old Crow Medicine Show recently performed Dylan’s double album Blonde on Blonde at the Museum’s CMA Theater, where a sold-out crowd enjoyed the Nashville-based stringband’s renditions on Dylan’s iconic songs. During the set, Ketch Secor, singer and bandleader of Old Crow, lauded Dylan, telling the audience, “[Bob Dylan] has informed every songwriter in our city. He is at the heart of what Nashville is all about.”

Dylan’s influence continues today and extends well beyond Nashville, as he inspires a new generation with his music as well as his lyrics. This past year he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, making Dylan the first musician to win the prestigious literary prize.

Co-curated by the museum’s curatorial team and Pete Finney, Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, includes dozens of artifacts and a generous overlay of audiovisual treasures, including hundreds of archival photos, audio and video clips, as well as a series of listening booths throughout the exhibit, each devoted to a Nashville Cat. From Dylan’s storied Nashville sessions to the particulars of his friendship with Johnny Cash, who worked to bridge the cultural gap between the city’s old guard and the musical outsiders who came to town in Dylan’s wake, the exhibit presents a time of supercharged creativity. It was an incredible period for Nashville songwriters such as Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, John Hartford, and numerous others who innovated their approach to their craft and ushered in a new era in Music City.


Visit the museum and experience the complete story.

Album Featuring an Unreleased Bob Dylan Track Now Available

This exhibition companion double CD, produced by Legacy Recordings in association with CMF Records, includes an unreleased Dylan track and celebrates the compelling music made by the Nashville Cats in support of the artists drawn to Nashville by Dylan’s example and by the reputation of the city’s talented pickers.

Exclusive Spotify Playlist with Commentary from Charlie Daniels Available Now.
Get a sneak peek of new album Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats with commentary from Charlie Daniels at

Dylan, Cash, And The Nashville Cats Album Release Concert

July 7, 2015
To celebrate the release of Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, a two-disc audio companion to the exhibition of the same name, the Country Music Hall of Fame ® and Museum hosted a free concert on 5th Avenue South, between Demonbreun Street and Korean Veterans Boulevard.

Watch program videos from the Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats exhibit.

Concert: Listen to the Band: The Nashville Cats with Special Guests...

Harmonica Demonstration with Charlie McCoy

Conversation: Songs From A Room: The Nashville Works of Dylan and Cohen with Ron Cornelius and Charlie Daniels