The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is planning an exhibition titled The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country, opens March 24.
Narrated by Dwight Yoakam, the exhibit will explore the roots, heyday and impact of the Bakersfield Sound – the loud, stripped-down and radio-ready music most closely identified with the careers of Country Music Hall of Fame members Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
“From its earliest chapters on through to today, California has played a significant role in country music history,” said museum director Kyle Young. “Long before the Outlaws or alternative country, the Bakersfield Sound evolved specifically to suit a time and a place, made an indelible mark on popular music, and spawned two of the most charismatic stars in the firmament.”
Including publishing houses, recording studios, booking and management agencies and performance venues, the exhibit will focus on the Bakersfield music businesses that evolved in the 1960s, particularly Buck Owens Enterprises, the music empire owned and operated by the savvy Owens. It will also explore the enduring impact of the Bakersfield Sound on subsequent generations of musicians, singers and songwriters, from country-rock pioneers the Flying Burrito Brothers toYoakam, and many others.
Among other narrative elements, visitors will learn about the importance of Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson, who recorded numerous Bakersfield classics including many of Owens’ and Haggard’s major hits, and who has now been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame; and the role of the Buckaroos and the Strangers in developing the Bakersfield Sound, with emphasis on key sidemen such as steel guitar innovator Ralph Mooney, Telecaster ace Roy Nichols and lead guitarist/harmony vocalist Don Rich.
The Bakersfield Sound will run through December 31, 2013, accompanied by an ongoing series of school and family programs, including live performances, panel discussions, films, instrument demonstrations and more. The exhibition will follow the four-year run of Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy,which closes on December 31. See more at countrymusichalloffame.org.