Lee Ann Womack at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Lee Ann Womack at the Country Music Hall of Fame

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Last week's Grand Opening ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame was celebrated in the fashion that one might expect in Nashville – with a lot of music from some of the city’s heaviest hitters. The Hall, which has been located in its’ downtown location since 2001, commemorated a 210,000-square-foot expansion, which more than doubles its’ size.

On Tuesday (Apri. 22), the Hall will announce the identity of its’ 2014 class in Nashville.

The opening was a day in which the Hall threw the doors open for free – thanks to support from the Ford Motor Company and the Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers. Fans were invited to attend the opening festivities, held in the spacious Event Hall, which has a stunning view of the city’s world-famous skyline.

Gospel qroup the Valentines brought the event to order with a riveting version of the National Anthem, as Nashville’s The McCrary  Sisters continued the reverential tone of the day with a stirring take on “Amazing Grace.” Museum Director Kyle Young then proceeded to introduce local and stage dignitaries that included Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, both of whom lauded the Hall’s economic impact on the tourism industry.

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The event then shifted focus to the diverse music that the building calls home. 2007 inductee Vince Gill tipped his hat to Fred Rose – one of three initial inductees to the Hall in 1961 with “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” while Ricky Skaggs offered a joyous delivery on “Workin’ On A Building,” which was used prominently in the fund-raising efforts by the Hall. Lee Ann Womack, a Texas native,  honored another great woman from the Lone Star State – Cindy Walker, with a dramatic performance of her “You Don’t Know Me,” which should whet appetites for her forthcoming album for Sugar Hill – her first since 2008. Musical Director Buddy Miller ended the performances with a collaboration with the McCrary Sisters on Buck Owens’ 1963 classic “Love’s Gonna Live Here.” 

Among the new exhibits in the Museum include the joint ACM Gallery and Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery, and the Design Gallery: A Window into the Collection. After the program ended, attendees were treated to cake and punch at a reception with Hall of Fame members Ralph Emery (2007) and Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers (2008) in attendance.