Country Hall honors Cline with exhibit
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Country Hall honors Cline with exhibit

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 – The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will pay tribute to Patsy Cline, with "Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You," a biographical exhibit opening Friday, Aug. 24 for a 10-month run in the museum's East Gallery.

The exhibition will run through June 10, 2013.

Opening weekend festivities will include an Aug. 25 panel discussion featuring Cline's husband, Charlie Dick, and daughter, Julie Fudge, Country Music Hall of Fame member Harold Bradley and singers George Hamilton IV and Jan Howard; an Aug. 25 concert featuring Bradley, singer-songwriter Jessi Alexander, "Always...Patsy Cline" star Mandy Barnett; and an Aug. 26 screening of the documentary "Patsy Cline: Sweet Dreams Still." The panel discussion and concert are included with museum admission and free for museum members; seating is limited and a program pass is required.

The exhibit will also be accompanied by an 80-page companion book, "Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You." Published by the museum's Country Music Foundation Press, the volume will include a foreword by artist Rosanne Cash and an essay by Cline authority Paul Kingsbury.

"Patsy Cline is an American music icon and perhaps the most accessible artist in country music history," said Museum Director Kyle Young. "Though she recorded for only eight years and made her last record nearly 50 years ago, her body of work - those classic torch songs and ballads of heartache - have continued to resonate with music fans of all genres. While she considered herself a country singer, she was equally adept at pop stylings, and was a key influence in bringing the two genres closer stylistically in the 1960s. The quintessential torch singer, she could wring every nuance of emotion from a lyric; and her prodigious vocal stylings and unique delivery have influenced scores of artists, including Loretta Lynn, Linda Ronstadt and Reba McEntire."

"Though her life was tragically cut short," Young continued, "her classic recordings are timeless, alive and vibrant. Our exhibit will not only explore Patsy's musical contributions, but will also offer visitors a look at the woman behind the songs, the firecracker who overcame childhood hardships to emerge as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. We are grateful to Patsy's family and friends for sharing their mementos and memories and allowing us to tell this extraordinary tale."

Born Virginia Patterson Hensley in Winchester, Va., on Sept. 8, 1932, Patsy Cline became one of the most important artists in American music history, recording classics such as Crazy, She's Got You, I Fall to Pieces and Sweet Dreams (of You) before her death in a plane crash on March 5, 1963. Cline's was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973.

Employing costumes, personal possessions, vintage photographs, correspondence, career-spanning audio and video and more, "Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You" will explore the life and impact of Cline. The exhibition lets Cline tell her story largely in her own words, and its narrative draws extensively from the many letters Cline wrote to her family and her first fan club president, Treva Miller. The correspondence offers a wealth of information about Cline's background, touring and recording activities and the challenges of balancing life as a performer with her roles as wife and mother.

Upon entering the exhibit gallery, visitors will be able to read Patsy's biography in her own hand, via text-panel reproductions of the bio Cline herself crafted in 1962.

The centerpiece of the exhibit will be a film, created by museum staff, that includes new interviews with four Country Music Hall of Fame members - Harold Bradley, Brenda Lee, Willie Nelson and the Jordanaires' Ray Walker - each of whom knew and worked with Cline; archival performance footage; and audio clips from Owen Bradley's original three-track recordings of some of Cline's greatest performances. For the first time, the public will be able to hear Cline's spine-tingling vocals, isolated without instrumental accompaniment, on Crazy, Sweet Dreams and other classics.

The exhibit will also feature dozens of artifacts, including:

Hand-written letters from Cline to family and friends, including one to Miller dated Nov. 9, 1955. In it Patsy writes, "I'm married to a wonderful guy from Frederick, Md....we live with mom until we can get a trailer."

Cline's collection of salt and pepper shakers, including a Japanese-made set of "she-devils" holding pitchforks; a set of "ladies' lingerie" shakers; western-themed sets of tepee and leather "cowboy hat" shakers; a variety of animal-themed shakers featuring Siamese cats, dogs, turkeys and zebras; and more.

Daughter Julie's pink leatherette baby book, with entries handwritten by Patsy

Cline's pink marble cigarette jar and lighter, hand carved in Italy.

Cline's lacquered jewelry box and costume jewelry collection.

Gold I.D. bracelet given by Cline to her husband, Charlie. The bracelet is engraved with the name 'Charles Dick' on the front, and on the back reads "Love, Virginia." The bracelet opens to reveal two photos of Patsy.

Harold Bradley's 1961 datebook, spotlighting notable recording sessions with Cline

Cline's red cowgirl-style skirt and blouse, appliquéd with felt longhorn-steer and wagon-wheel motifs and embellished with rhinestones and leather fringe; the costume was designed by Patsy and sewn by her mother, Hilda Hensley

Elegant stage and evening wear, including Cline's gold lamé pants and matching ankle boots; and fur stole.

The opening weekend schedule is:

Saturday, Aug. 25 11 a.m.

Panel Discussion: I've Got Your Memory: Family and Friends Remember Patsy Cline. Those who knew Cline as a wife, mother, friend, and musical collaborator will share memories of her. Panelists include Cline's husband, Charlie Dick, and daughter, Julie Fudge; Country Music Hall of Fame member Harold Bradley, who played bass guitar on many of Cline's records; and singers George Hamilton IV and Jan Howard, personal friends of Cline who often shared the stage with her. This discussion will be illustrated with vintage photographs, film footage and recordings. Streamed live on www.countrymusichalloffame.org. Limited seating. Program pass required.

Saturday, Aug. 25 3 p.m.

Concert: Sweet Dreams of You: A Musical Tribute to Patsy Cline. Hear the classic songs of Patsy Cline performed by a cast of singers who revere her. Performers include singer-songwriter Jessi Alexander, Mandy Barnett, star of the musical "Always...Patsy Cline," duo Striking Matches and singer Emily West. The house band will be led by Country Music Hall of Fame member Harold Bradley on tic-tac bass, and will also include Brad Albin on bass, Jimmy Capps on guitar, Bob Mater on drums and Jeff Taylor on keyboard. Streamed live on www.countrymusichalloffame.org. Limited seating. Program pass required.

Sunday, Aug. 26 2 p.m.

Film Screening: "Patsy Cline: Sweet Dreams Still" (2005) This documentary explores the magic of Cline's brief career and features many classic hits and her first televised performance. Archival footage of songs such as I Fall to Pieces, Walkin' After Midnight and Crazy is put into context by journalist Robert K. Oermann. 55 minutes. Free.

Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You will be accompanied by an ongoing series of programs throughout the exhibit's run.


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