The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated the opening this week of its newest exhibition American Currents: State of the Music with many of the young stars featured including Lainey Wilson, Jimmie Allen and Breland.
The annual exhibit recognizes notable music, artist achievements and events from the past year and will run through Feb. 4, 2023.
“I’m going to tell you right now, I walked in there and I was overwhelmed,” Wilson said before the exhibit opened. “My outfit that I wore at the Grand Ole Opry for my debut Valentine’s Day 2020 was right next to Ms. Lee Ann Womack and the dress she wore for her music video ‘I Hope You Dance.’ ‘I Hope You Dance’ was one of the songs that made me stop dead in my tracks and want to do this thing. I can’t wait for my family to see it. I’m getting emotional even talking about it.”
Wilson brought her family to the exhibit’s opening this week. Following the American Currents opening, she wrote: “Got to share yesterday evening with the folks who listened to me when I told them I had a dream and did everything in their power to help see me through it.”
Other artists featured in the exhibit include Brothers Osborne, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Jerry Douglas and John Hiatt, Jenee Fleenor, the Grand Ole Opry, Mickey Guyton, Walker Hayes, Wanda Jackson, Alison Krauss, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce, Allison Russell, Chris Stapleton, Billy Strings and Taylor Swift.
“If feels surreal,” Allen said of his inclusion in the exhibit. “So many people who inspired me on my musical journey are in here. To have a suit in the same building that Charley Pride had is crazy. Every artist in here whether they’re just starting their career or are legends and aren’t recording anymore, everyone in this building that has an exhibit here brings something special to country music and it makes me feel special as a person and a musician and like I’m bringing something special to country music as well.”
Part of the exhibit entitled Unbroken Circle highlights artists and their heroes. Those pairings include Wilson with Womack, Breland with Keith Urban, Thomm Jutz with Tom T. Hall and Brittney Spencer with Reba McEntire.
“My mind is honestly blown,” Breland said. “Keith is such a big part of the reasons I moved to Nashville in the first place. I think he’s such a great ambassador for country music, and he’s definitely instilled a lot of wisdom and confidence in my career so to be in here in this capacity is really special.”
Spencer described the experience as “overwhelming.”
“To share an exhibit with Reba, one of my most favorite artists of all times, one of the most influential artists of all time and one of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever met, it means the world to me,” she said. “This is a really emotional thing for me to experience.”
American Currents also includes a video compilation of important country music moments from 2021 and recaps the year’s chart-topping country albums, singles and highest-grossing tours as reported by Billboard and Pollstar.
For more information, visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org.