Scott Hollifield: A future concert at the Country Music Hall of Fame | Columnists
When everything explodes, I have a new job in mind: tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.
I tested it this weekend and I really liked it.
My travel companion and I loaded up the vehicle most likely to make the six hour drive without breaking down, which wasn’t my truck, and headed to Music City. Our main goal was to attend the Hall of Fame exhibit “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” before it ends its four-year run on June 7th.
The exhibit celebrates “the era of cultural and artistic exchange between Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas, revealing untold stories and never-before-seen artifacts.”
For me, it was the icing on the honky-tonk cake, a tribute to Willie and Waylon and the boys in a grand palace that already features such marvels as Elvis’ Cadillac, Hank Williams’ guitar and overalls by Junior Samples.
When we arrived at the ticket office, a nice woman sitting in front of a giant portrait of Porter Wagoner informed us that the devices for the audio tours were all gone.
People also read…
I didn’t want it anyway.
“It wouldn’t mean anything to me that I don’t already know,” I said to my dear companion. “I’ll be your audio tour.”
She gave me a look like Tammy Wynette hearing that George Jones was taking the lawnmower to the liquor store again.
“Don’t bother people,” she said. “Just enjoy it.”
We took the elevator to the top floor as a recording of “Whispering” Bill Anderson greeted us in the lobby and encouraged us to visit his exhibit first. We were doing. I’m not going against the wishes of a man who wrote the classic killer ballad “The Cold Hard Facts of Life.”
We made our way to the top floor, enjoying the sights and sounds of country music history. And then it happened. I heard my first misrepresentation.
A guy behind me turned to his wife – or it could have been someone else’s wife, given that it was a country music venue – and said, “You know, such a wrote this song about so and so.”
He was wrong. I leaned over to my mate and muttered even more quietly than Bill, “Absolutely not. He is wrong.”
“Don’t start correcting people,” she said. “You are not the tour guide.”
On the second floor we encountered the Outlaw & Armadillos exhibit, which to me was heaven on earth. Around the corner from Guy Clark’s studio, a guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked me a direct question.
“Hey, I don’t see anything about George Jones. It was in the 70s, right?
Maybe he thought I was the one to ask since I was wearing a Johnny Paycheck shirt with the words “I’m the only hell my momma ever raised” printed on the back.
“Most certainly,” I said. “Although Jones was originally from Texas, he was generally associated with the Nashville mainstream at this time and was not really associated with the Outlaw movement that this particular exhibit highlights.”
Instant tour guide, just add beer.
At an exhibit honoring Shel Silverstein, who wrote a ‘Boy Named Sue’ and many other songs, a man wondered aloud, ‘Is this the same guy who wrote the book? for children “The Giving Tree”?
“Why, yes it is,” I said. “He’s the author of children’s books, has written songs recorded by Bobby Bare and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, among others, and has even drawn cartoons for Playboy magazine.”
“Wow, I didn’t know that,” he said.
“He was a real Renaissance man,” I say.
And so on. I helped where needed and my beloved companion resigned herself to the fact that I could not keep quiet.
So, Country Music Hall of Fame, you’ll soon be receiving my resume. Keep it on file.
Scott Hollifield is editor and general manager of The McDowell News at Marion and a humor columnist. Email him at [email protected]