NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 19, 2010 - The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will honor one of American music's most indelible stars, Tammy Wynette, in Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music, Presented by Great American Country Television Network, a biographical exhibit opening Friday, August 20, 2010, for a 10-month run in the Museum's East Gallery. The exhibit will run through June 12, 2011.
Opening weekend festivities will include an exhibit introduction and talk by a Museum curator; a panel discussion featuring friends and associates of Wynette and illustrated with photos, film footage and recordings from the Museum's Frist Library and Archive; and a screening of the 1987 documentary Stand by Your Dream. (A detailed schedule of grand opening activities is below.)
"Tammy Wynette was a true steel magnolia, a daughter of the South whose ladylike appearance and slight physical stature belied the magnitude of her grit, determination and talent," said Museum Director Kyle Young. "Throughout her career, her personal and professional lives were indistinguishably interwoven, resulting in achingly honest recordings and performances to which fans could relate. She helped redefine what it means to be a female country singer. Her death at age 55 came far too soon, but Tammy left behind a musical canon that is among the strongest and most influential in American music history.
"Accordingly, we are thrilled to have Faith Hill play a prominent role in our exhibit," Young continued. " Faith, who herself is a superstar and role model for many of her contemporaries, sat down with our curators for an exclusive on-camera interview and talked at length about Tammy's influence. The resulting video, which is woven throughout the exhibit's narrative, provides an artist's unique context and insight.
"We are grateful to Tammy's family and friends for sharing their mementos and memories and allowing us to tell this extraordinary story."
Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music,
Presented by Great American Country Television Network
Born Virginia Wynette Pugh on May 5, 1942, the Mississippi native wrote and sang unflinchingly honest and autobiographical songs about suffering and heartbreak, strength and survival. Her powerful yet plaintive voice provided the soundtrack for a generation of American women struggling to reconcile new freedoms and traditional expectations, and her enduring body of work - including 20 #1 hits - continues to resonate with music fans worldwide. Her achievements were acknowledged formally with her 1998 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Employing a wealth of splendid stage costumes, vintage photos, awards, personal possessions and correspondence, career-spanning audio and video and more, Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music will explore the life and impact of a legendary performer who became a prototype for generations of female country artists.
Notable artifacts featured in the exhibit include the following:
* Several of Wynette's childhood possessions, including a petite hand-painted wooden chair with rush seat; and an ecru embroidered cotton and lace baby bonnet
* Recipe box and numerous recipes in Wynette's own hand, including directions for fried green tomatoes and ice box lemon pie, which Tammy noted as "my children's favorite"
* A lead-crystal vase filled with cotton hand-picked by Wynette, which was long a fixture on the singer's coffee table
* A black, leather-bound appointment book for 1977, given to Wynette by Billy Sherrill, which details her activities during the year. The journal-like entries note both career events and personal, sometimes humorous anecdotes, e.g. "August 10, 1977 - Maxine & Cliff went to Gov. mansion with us. Gov. Blanton took me to kitchen and made me drink 8 oz. glass of cabbage juice."
* A peek into Wynette's glam closet will feature an array of elaborate beaded gowns, many created by Wynette's long-time designer, Jeff Billings, as well as casual and dressy designer separates, including a teal and russet brocade jacket designed by Oscar de la Renta, embellished with faux leopard fur, embroidery and bold enamel buttons.
* Numerous awards, including Wynette's 1968-70 Country Music Association awards for Female Vocalist of the Year; her 1967 and 1969 Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy awards (for "I Don't Wanna Play House" and "Stand by Your Man," respectively); and her 2000 Academy of Country Music Pioneer Award
Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music will also feature an exclusive interview with country music superstar Faith Hill, who reflects on Wynette's legacy, including Tammy's impact on her own career and her influence on contemporary artists.
Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music, Presented by Great American Country Television Network Grand Opening Month Program Schedule
All programs are included with Museum admission and free to Museum members, except as noted below.
Friday, August 20 Noon
Curator's Exhibit Talk
A museum curator offers an introduction to Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music.
Saturday, August 21 11:30 a.m.
Songwriter Session: Rafe Van Hoy
Rafe Van Hoy co-wrote the Tammy Wynette-George Jones duet "Golden Ring." Wynette also recorded Van Hoy's songs "Cheatin' Is," "Right Here in Your Arms" and "You Never Cross My Mind." Additionally, Van Hoy penned "Can I See You Tonight" (Tanya Tucker); "Hurt Me Bad (In a Real Good Way)" (Patty Loveless); "Lady Lay Down" (Tom Jones); "Old Flames Have New Names" (Mark Chesnutt); "Sail Away" (Oak Ridge Boys); and songs recorded by Bobby Bare, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Conway Twitty, LeAnn Rimes and Dwight Yoakam. This program will be streamed live.
Saturday, August 21 1:30 p.m.
Panel discussion: Singing My Song: The Music of Tammy Wynette
To mark the opening of the exhibit, close friends and associates of Country Music Hall of Fame member Tammy Wynette will reminisce about her work as a singer, songwriter, and entertainer. Panelists include engineer Lou Bradley, who worked closely with producer Billy Sherrill on many Wynette hits; Steve Buckingham, who produced Wynette's later work; and songwriter and producer Norro Wilson, whose songwriting credits include the Wynette hits "He Loves Me All the Way" and "Another Lonely Song." The panel will be illustrated with vintage photos, recordings and video footage. This program will be streamed live.
Sunday, August 22 2:00 p.m.
Film Screening: Stand by Your Dream (1987)
Tammy Wynette tells her own story in this documentary made by the BBC in 1987. Cameras follow Wynette, then forty-four years old, on the road and at home as she shares intimate details of her life. In addition to Wynette's candid, personal interviews, highlights include vintage and late 1980s performance footage and an emotional trip to Wynette's childhood home, where she shares memories of her humble upbringing on the Alabama-Mississippi border. Wynette also tells the stories behind her songs and discusses her songwriting process. Sixty minutes. FREE.
Sunday, August 29 2:00 p.m.
Film Screening: Legendary Performances: Tammy Wynette (2008)
"Very few girl singers in country music have gone to the top faster than our next guest...her style is unique, and when you hear that little catch in the voice, that beautiful little catch, you know for sure that it's only one person ... Tammy Wynette," says Johnny Cash, introducing Wynette on the 1976 CBS special Johnny Cash and Friends. Wynette then belts out an emotional performance of her hit "'Til I Can Make It on My Own," a song she co-wrote on the heels of her divorce from George Jones. This gem is one of the many stunning moments in this highlight reel of Wynette performances from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Sixty minutes. FREE.
Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music will be accompanied by an ongoing series of programs throughout the exhibit's run.
These programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts. Songwriter Sessions are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund.
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The Museum's mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the Foundation also operates CMF Records, the Museum's Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.
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