BR549 @ The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville TN has announced a new exhibit dedicated to the local alternative country band, BR549, on Wednesday September 17 2014 at 4:00 p.m. The original band members will be present:
Gary Bennett (guitar and vocals)
Don Herron (steel guitar, Dobro, fiddle, mandolin)
Smilin’ Jay McDowell (bass and vocals)
Chuck Mead (guitar and vocals)
“Hawk” Shaw Wilson (drums and vocals)
and will perform on the actual instruments that were used on the records and the band’s marathon live shows in the mid to late 1990s:
Chuck Mead’s 1957 Gretsch Country Club guitar, Gary Bennett’s 1946 Gibson ES125, Smilin’ Jay McDowell’s Engelhardt C1 standup bass, Don Herron’s fiddle and steel guitar, as well as “Hawk” Shaw Wilson’s original 1974 Ludwig snare drum will go on exhibit in the Nashville section of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
Where: Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum 417 4th Ave North (museum entrance on Gay St.)
When: Wednesday Sept. 17, 2014, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
About The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors all musicians, including the session musicians, from many different genres of music. These musicians played on 80 to 90 percent of the most iconic albums in recorded music history. Highlights include pieces from the groups of musicians who created the unique sound that came out of Nashville, Los Angeles, Muscle Shoals, Memphis, Atlanta, and Detroit. Visitors see original musical instruments, memorabilia, photos and personal effects from artists such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Glen Campbell, as well as from the studio musicians.
Founded in 1993, BR549 was one of the most critically acclaimed alternative country bands of the 1990s their sound, style, and even look were unabashedly retro. Dressing in old, budget friendly clothes, the band played a mixture of classic 1950s honky-tonk, Western swing, boogie, Bakersfield country, rockabilly, and country rock.
The group took up residency at Robert’s Western Wear, playing for tips four nights a week, and built a strong local following among both country and alternative rock fans. They adopted the name BR549 from a phone number in a Junior Samples sketch on ‘Hee Haw’ and signed with Arista Records in 1995.
BR549’s first release was an EP Live From Robert’s which appeared in early 1996 and featured both originals and vintage country covers. The group toured with The Mavericks, Junior Brown, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, and rockers The Black Crowes, and also issued their self titled debut album later in the year. BR549 won rave reviews from both country and rock critics, and climbed into the country Top 40 with virtually no support from country radio.
Upon hearing their debut album, the band was asked to open a tour for Bob Dylan and subsequently, John Fogerty.
The 1998 followup Big Backyard Beat Show was equally successful. BR549 toured with The Brian Setzer Orchestra in 1999, during which time they recorded their first full length live album Coast To Coast. The record was released the following year, again to excellent reviews.
In 2012, The Old Crow Medicine Show reached out to the original five members of BR549 and asked them to reunite for a onetime show at Nashville’s Woods at Fontanel. The show was a huge success and the original members got together to record new music for a charity East Nashville Christmas record and performed at the 2013 Havelock Country Jamboree.