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Country Music Hall of Fame to Open Bakersfield Sound Exhibit

Dwight Yoakam & Buck Owens

HOLLYWOOD - JUNE 5: Musician/actor Dwight Yoakam (L) and country western music legend Buck Owens attend a ceremony honoring Yoakam with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame June 5, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will open their new exhibition, The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country, on March 24, 2012 for a nearly two-year run. Narrated by Dwight Yoakam, the exhibit explores the roots, heyday and impact of the Bakersfield sound, the loud, stripped-down and radio-ready music Buck Owens and Merle Haggard are known for.

“From its earliest chapters on through to today, California has played a significant role in country music history,” Museum Director Kyle Young said. ”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.”

Buck and his band, the Buckaroos, first popularized the Bakersfield sound with 1960s hits like “Act Naturally,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “Together Again,” “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” and “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line.” Merle wasn’t far behind with songs like “Sing Me Back Home,” “Mama Tried,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Workin’ Man Blues” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.”  Between the two, they had almost 60 No. 1 hits.

The Hall of Fame’s exhibit will focus on the Bakersfield music businesses that evolved in the 1960s such as Buck Owens Enterprises which was owned and operated by Buck. It will also look at the impact the sound has on subsequent generations of artists from the Flying Burrito Brothers to Dwight Yoakam and many others.

The exhibit will also focus on the importance of Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson who recorded numerous Bakersfield Classics a well as the role of backing bands such as the Buckaroos and the Strangers in developing the Bakersfield sound with emphasis on on key sidemen such as steel guitarist Ralph Mooney, Telecaster player Roy Nichols and lead guitarist/harmony vocalist Don Rich.

The Bakersfield Sound exhibit will run through December 31, 2013 and will be accompanied by a series of ongoing school and family programs. The exhibit will follow the four-year run of Family Traditions: The Williams Family Legacy exhibit, which closes on December 31.

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