Country Music Hall of Fame


Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City

March 27, 2015 - February 18, 2018

Bob Dylan bucked executives at his record label and surprised fans when he came to Nashville in 1966 to record his classic album Blonde on Blonde. Calling on some of the city’s extraordinary studio musicians, Dylan’s embrace of Nashville inspired many other artists to follow him to Music City. By 1969, Johnny Cash was recruiting folk and rock musicians—including Dylan—to appear on his groundbreaking network television show, The Johnny Cash Show, shot at the Ryman Auditorium.


Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, which has been extended through 2017, looks at the Nashville music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time of great cultural vitality for Music City that continues to energize fans and musicians alike.

As an ongoing part of the Museum’s programming to support the exhibit, Old Crow Medicine Show performed Dylan’s double album Blonde on Blonde at the Museum’s CMA Theater, where a sold-out crowd enjoyed the Nashville-based stringband’s renditions on Dylan’s iconic songs. During the set, Ketch Secor, singer and bandleader of Old Crow, lauded Dylan, telling the audience, “[Bob Dylan] has informed every songwriter in our city. He is at the heart of what Nashville is all about.”

Dylan’s influence continues today and extends well beyond Nashville, as he inspires a new generation with his music as well as his lyrics. This past year he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, making Dylan the first musician to win the prestigious literary prize.

Co-curated by the museum’s curatorial team and Pete Finney, Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, includes dozens of artifacts and a generous overlay of audiovisual treasures, including hundreds of archival photos, audio and video clips, as well as a series of listening booths throughout the exhibit, each devoted to a Nashville Cat. From Dylan’s storied Nashville sessions to the particulars of his friendship with Johnny Cash, who worked to bridge the cultural gap between the city’s old guard and the musical outsiders who came to town in Dylan’s wake, the exhibit presents a time of supercharged creativity. It was an incredible period for Nashville songwriters such as Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, John Hartford, and numerous others who innovated their approach to their craft and ushered in a new era in Music City.


Visit the museum and experience the complete story.


SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4 | 10:30-11:45 AM
Film Screening: Old Crow Medicine Show Plays Blonde on Blonde (2017)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4 | 1:00-2:00 PM
Musician Spotlight: Pete Finney: Pedal Steel

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10 | 10:30-11:30 AM
Design an Album Cover: Nashville Cats Style

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 | 1:00-2:00 PM
Musician Spotlight: Mac Gayden: Guitar

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 18 | 10:00 AM-1:00 PM
Creative Zone: Embellished Instruments: Nashville Cats Style     

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 | 10:30 AM-11:30 AM
Film Screening: The Johnny Cash Show: New Nashville Sounds (1971)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 | 1:00-2:00 PM
Musician Spotlight: Norbert Putnam: Bass


Dylan, Cash, And The Nashville Cats Album Release Concert

To celebrate the release of Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, a two-disc audio companion to the exhibition of the same name, the Country Music Hall of Fame ® and Museum hosted a free concert on 5th Avenue South, between Demonbreun Street and Korean Veterans Boulevard.


Old Crow Medicine Show Plays Blonde on Blonde

The seven members of Old Crow Medicine Show paraded onstage like a dissolute yet determined marching band, complete with an upright bass drum pounded by mallets, as they woozily slid into Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” The musical introduction ...


Album Featuring an Unreleased Bob Dylan Track Now Available 

This exhibition companion double CD, produced by Legacy Recordings in association with CMF Records, includes an unreleased Dylan track and celebrates the compelling music made by the Nashville Cats in support of the artists drawn to Nashville by Dylan’s example and by the reputation of the city’s talented pickers. Listen to the album Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats with commentary from Charlie Daniels: