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Brad Paisley, Emmylou Harris and other distinguished guests were on hand for a private reception unveiling a new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and California Country, Wednesday night (March 21).
The exhibit details the origins of the pioneering country music sound with rare photographs, video footage and interactive displays, along with narration by Dwight Yoakam. The Bakersfield Sound was a reaction to the pop-oriented Nashville Sound of the 1950s and 1960s, with emphasis on electric guitars and drums, elements more common to rock 'n' roll. Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Red Simpson were among the leaders of the movement.
Before guests were given the opportunity to view the exhibit, they were treated to opening remarks by a variety of speakers, including Michael Owens, Buck's son, and Brad Paisley, who was heavily influenced by Buck. Brad recalled that one of his career highlights was sitting in with Buck at his night club in Bakersfield, the Crystal Palace. "The reinvention of country music came from those pioneers," Brad noted, referring to Buck, Merle Haggard and others who helped popularize the sound. "I don't know where we would be without them."
Following Brad was a performance by the legendary Red Simpson, backed by guitarist Kenny Vaughan and bassist Deke Dickerson.
Guests mingled at the reception and on the exhibit floor for a sneak peek at the new display.
Emmylou Harris, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Jeff Hanna and legendary country music radio and TV personality Ralph Emery were among those taking in the preview. The Bakersfield Sound exhibit opens to the public March 23 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.