Back to Calendar

Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock

Available Until
August 2025

All Day

Get Museum Tickets

Museum Admission Required

Free for Members

Become a Member
Share

Chris Ethridge's Nudie Suit Reunited with Flying Burrito Brothers' Suits

Thursday, July 20, the Museum celebrated the reunion of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ four Nudie suits—the iconic suits featured on the album cover of The Gilded Palace of Sin. Together again for the first time in more than half a century, Chris Ethridge’s long-lost suit was reunited with the other three in a special ceremony featuring a live musical performance and remarks by Michael Gray, senior vice president of Museum Services, and Necia Ethridge, daughter of Chris Ethridge. The four suits will be on display as the centerpiece of the exhibit, Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock, open now through May 2025.

Who could have predicted that banjos and steel guitars would kindle a revolution in rock & roll? Or that L.A. rockers would introduce legions of new fans to country music?

Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock traces communities of visionary singers, songwriters, and musicians who set about reinvigorating the sounds of pop and rock by infusing elements of country, bluegrass, and folk music. Fostered in local nightclubs and late-night jam sessions, the resulting musical fusion, “country-rock,” made a lasting impact on popular music.

The exhibit surveys the rise of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt and many others who, in the 1960s and ’70s, found commercial success with new sounds that merged rock & roll rhythms and attitude with country and bluegrass instrumentation and harmonies. As they flourished, so did the Los Angeles-based recording industry.

These trailblazers’ musical contributions were expanded upon by the next generation of Los Angeles roots music performers—the Blasters, Rosie Flores, Los Lobos, Lone Justice, Dwight Yoakam, and more—who once again looked to traditional American music for inspiration. Blending hard-edged honky-tonk, Mexican folk music, rockabilly, and punk rock, these artists—along with their country-rock predecessors—provided inspiration to future generations of country and Americana artists.

 

Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock is presented by City National Bank.

Featured Videos

First Look Inside the Western Edge Exhibit

Chris Hillman’s live performance of “Wheels,” featuring Sara and Sean Watkins of Watkins Family Hour, anchors the first look at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s newest major exhibition Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock, presented by City National Bank.

Making the Western Edge Exhibit Book

The Museum has begun a partnership with University of Illinois Press for the publication of books about country music as well as reissues of significant out-of-print historical works. The first release in this partnership is “Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock,” a companion to a major multi-year exhibition of the same name. This lavishly illustrated book traces the impact of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and many more.

Purchase Your Copy

Kyle Young, CEO

“A new hybrid sound grew from humble beginnings in a few small L.A. nightclubs and quickly emerged as one of the most popular musical styles in America.”

Youth-driven, creative communities—formed in renowned L.A. clubs such as the Ash Grove and the Troubadour and the enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Topanga Canyon—found connection through a love of the stirring harmonies, instrumental virtuosity, and the honest storytelling of country music. The scene encouraged collaboration, with a healthy dose of competition. The artists and musicians spurred one another to write better lyrics, craft tighter harmonies, and master their instruments. By the 1970s, the polished, melodic, narrative-driven songs topped the radio charts, and acts such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Linda Ronstadt, and the Eagles were destined for superstardom.

As country-rock reached its zenith in the late ’70s, the emerging L.A. punk-rock scene spurned slick production in favor of a raw, rebellious, do-it-yourself approach. Punk clubs provided common ground for a new generation of rock musicians whose revved-up music channeled the grit and vitality of older American roots styles in a potent blend that prefigured the creation of the Americana genre.

“A new hybrid sound grew from humble beginnings in a few small L.A. nightclubs and quickly emerged as one of the most popular musical styles in America,” said Kyle Young, chief executive officer for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Western Edge examines times of boundary crossing and great creativity, when musicians were inspired by, but not limited by, a love of tradition.”

To tell this sweeping, multi-layered story, museum’s curatorial and creative teams researched the history for three years, conducted more than forty hours of filmed interviews, and collected an array of significant, rarely seen artifacts for display, including stage wear, instruments, vintage posters, original song manuscripts, and more.

Western Edge will be housed in a newly designed 5,000-square-foot gallery space. An introductory film narrated by Grammy-winning artist Dwight Yoakam will be presented inside the gallery. Via audio recordings, performance clips, original interview footage, and historical photographs, interactive stations will allow visitors to explore the connections between the artists and musicians who formed these vibrant musical communities.

Western Edge Playlist

Playlist Partner
Amazon Music Logo

 

In anticipation of the opening, the official Western Edge Playlist is now available on Amazon Music. The Western Edge Playlist on Amazon Music features songs compiled in collaboration with the exhibit’s curators and follows the Western Edge exhibit’s narrative across three decades of music.

The playlist is organized into three eras, representing the breadth and depth of the music. Songs from a variety of artists are included, from country-rock pioneers the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Dillards, International Submarine Band, Taj Mahal and more, to artists who took the sound to new heights commercially, including Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Michael Nesmith & the First National Band, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young, among others.

The playlist is rounded out by the next wave of roots-inspired L.A. artists, including the Blasters, Desert Rose Band, the Knitters, Lone Justice, Los Lobos, Maria McKee, Rank and File, Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, and more.

LISTEN ON AMAZON MUSIC

See the Exhibition

The exhibition Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock, presented by City National Bank, opens September 30, 2022, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville. Purchase tickets to see this exhibition and others using the button below.

CNB Logo

We use cookies in the following ways: (1) for system administration, (2) to assess the performance of the website, (3) to personalize your experience, content and ads, (4) to provide social media features, and (5) to analyze our traffic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Please consult instructions for your web browser to disable or block cookies, or to receive a warning before a cookie is stored on your computer or mobile device. Read our Privacy Policy.