The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will pay tribute to one of country music’s most iconic artists, the inimitable Patsy Cline, with Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You, a biographical exhibit opening Friday, August 24, 2012, 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 August 25 panel discussion featuring Patsy’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 August 25 concert featuring Bradley, singer-songwriter Jessi Alexander, Always…Patsy Cline star and singer Mandy Barnett, duo Striking Matches and singer Emily West; and an August 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 (visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org for complete details). A detailed schedule of grand opening activities is below.
The exhibit will also be accompanied by a beautiful 80-page companion book, titled 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 noted Cline authority Paul Kingsbury. The book will be available in the Museum Store and at www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
“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, Virginia, on September 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,” “Sweet Dreams (of You)” and many more before her untimely death in a plane crash on March 5, 1963. Cline’s achievements were acknowledged formally with her 1973 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
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 this incomparable artist. 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 powerful and moving 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 Patsy’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 November 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.
- Patsy’s pink marble cigarette jar and lighter, hand carved in Italy.
- Patsy’s lacquered jewelry box and costume jewelry collection.
- Gold I.D. bracelet given by Patsy 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.
- Patsy’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 Patsy’s gold lamé pants and matching ankle boots; and fur stole.
For more on the Patsy Cline exhibit, visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org.