Country Music Hall of Fame relaunches 'Night Train to Nashville' as … - Tennessean
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Country Music Hall of Fame relaunches 'Night Train to Nashville' as … - Tennessean

Eighteen years ago, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Night Train to Nashville” exhibition revived interest in soul music in Middle Tennessee between 1945-1970. It also earned a Grammy win for the two-disc compilation of music released alongside the museum’s showcase.
Now, thanks to a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Night Train to Nashville” has returned online for free beginning Thursday ― revisiting the museum’s showcase exhibit from March 2004 to December 2005.
The event will be commemorated Jan. 25 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Ford Theater. Performers will include names familiar to the era and exhibit, including Levert Allison of the Fairfield Four, Jimmy Church, Peggy Gaines Walker, Frank Howard and Charles “Wigg” Walker. The museum’s Michael Gray and Bryan Pierce of the National Museum of African American Music will join the discussion. Tickets are now available to reserve via the exhibit’s home page at
The online exhibit chronicles how acts like Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard played Black North Nashville venues like the Club Baron, Club Del Morocco and New Era Club. It also highlights the genre’s roots emerging from pre-World War II jazz, blues and gospel.
In segregated Nashville, jazz and blues flourished in Black nightclubs and theaters, gospel influence took hold in churches, and musicians learned their craft in the educational programs at the city’s Black high schools and colleges.
“The ‘Night Train to Nashville’ story provides important context about how R&B played a vital role in Nashville becoming ‘Music City,’” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Similar to the original exhibit in 2004, the online version offers a multidimensional vantage point from which to consider the era’s race relations and the city’s Black musical culture, and how they affected the making of this incredible music and Nashville’s evolution.”
More music:Charles ‘Wigg’ Walker extends Nashville’s soul music legacy on Lower Broadway
As the city developed into a major recording center, Young said, it did so against a background of urban change and at a time when racial barriers were tested and sometimes broken on bandstands, inside recording studios and on the airwaves.
Notably, the exhibit delves into the” urban renewal” of routing Interstate 40 through Jefferson Street, which eventually devastated the city’s vibrant R&B nightlife.
Other highlighted notions include:
For more information on the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, visit