It’s well known that country music has produced some of the guitar world’s greatest pickers. Along with that, unsurprisingly, the genre is also home to some of music’s most legendary instruments.
And the place to learn the history behind many of these great artists, as well as to see and hear the actual guitars themselves, is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Located in the heart of Nashville, the museum houses some of music’s greatest collections of artifacts and works, not to mention produces public, family and educational programming year-round to bring that history to life. And it’s not just country music – the genre’s reach, as reflected at the museum, extends into jazz, rock, rap, blues and more.
Most recently, the museum brought all that music to life in a unique and accessible – and quite awesome – way, with BIG NIGHT (At the Museum), a COVID-conscious event that saw a range of legendary artists perform with some of country music’s most treasured historic instruments.
Among the highlights were: Brad Paisley playing Don Rich’s 1964 Fender Telecaster; Kane Brown performing Randy Travis’ Three Wooden Crosses, with accompaniment on Travis’s Gibson J-185KOA; Carlene Carter playing the 1928 Gibson L-5 that belonged to her grandmother, Maybelle Carter; and Hall of Famer Emmylou Harris picking Boudleaux Bryant’s 1961 Martin to partner with Rodney Crowell on a Bryant classic.
And that’s not all: Miranda Lambert also paired up with John Prine’s David Russell Young custom-made guitar; Ashley McBryde performed with Loretta Lynn’s 1956 Gibson J-50; Keb’ Mo’ played Jimmie Rodgers’ 1928 Weymann and Lucinda Williams picked on Johnny Cash’s customized Martin D-35S.
The result was a literal once-in-a-lifetime event. And while the pandemic has put a wrench in fans being able to actually go out to venues and witness live music in person, BIG NIGHT successfully ran online on the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s official YouTube channel, in the process raising more than $743,000 for their Coronavirus Relief Fund, which supports the museum and its work in exhibitions, collections, preservation and education.
While the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is now open with limited capacity, it was closed due to the pandemic from March 13 to September 10. All donations to the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which can be visited here, help sustain the museum, which has lost nearly $35 million in revenue and laid off or furloughed 174 hardworking employees as a result of COVID-19.
In the meantime, check out some of the highlights from BIG NIGHT above. And to take in the concert in full, head over to the official YouTube channel.