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Country Music Hall Of Fame® And Museum To Host A Free Harmonica Lesson In Celebration Of Deford Bailey

March 25, 2022

Led by three highly skilled musicians: Carlos DeFord Bailey, Jake Groves and Ketch Secor

Museum also launches educational webpage for children dedicated to the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s life and career

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 25, 2022) – On April 16, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will hold a free harmonica lesson in celebration of Country Music Hall of Fame member DeFord Bailey, one of early country music’s most popular performers and the genre’s first Black star. Bailey was a talented musician from Smith County, Tennessee, who played several instruments. He was best known as an expert harmonica player, earning the nickname the “Harmonica Wizard” and becoming one of the most famous harmonica players in the United States during the 1930s. Bailey made his acclaimed recording of “Pan American Blues” on April 15, 1927—nearly 95 years ago.

Participants will hear selections from Bailey’s music, learn about his life story, and try the harmonica themselves in this interactive family program, which will run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. The program will be hosted by museum educator Adam Ollendorff and led by three highly skilled musicians: Carlos DeFord Bailey, grandson of DeFord Bailey and a harmonica player in his own right; Jake Groves, a harmonica player who tours and records with Colter Wall and hosts WXOX Louisville’s “Faint of Harp Radio Hour“; and Ketch Secor, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and leader of the band Old Crow Medicine Show. This program is open to all ages.

Participants will receive a Hohner harmonica, DeFord Bailey’s preferred harmonica brand, to use during the lesson and take home.

Walk-up tickets are available the day of the program. No purchase necessary. Museum members can reserve tickets in advance. Advanced reservations are available with purchase of museum admission. Seats are limited.

Prior to the program, museum visitors can also make a harmonica out of household materials in the Taylor Swift Education Center between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Included with museum admission.)

Families can learn more about Bailey on the museum’s Discover DeFord Bailey webpage. The webpage includes videos and recordings of Bailey’s music and photos of his life and career. It also offers a beginning harmonica tutorial video, which participants can use to continue their learning at home. In addition, the website includes a scavenger hunt to be used in the museum galleries.

Discover DeFord Bailey projects are made possible by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

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