A showcase of popular music, Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey, made a stop at the Old State House Museum in 2008, on loan from the Tennessee Historical State Museum in Nashville. It featured hundreds of items from the personal collection of country music icon Marty Stuart, representing more than 40 years of musical milestones from country, rock, bluegrass, and southern gospel music.
Stuart’s complete collection, which includes more than 20,000 objects, is generally considered to be second only to that of the Country Music Hall of Fame. “I believe country music holds a prominent place within the arts. For many years, I have been passionate about collecting and archiving the treasures of country music and its people,” said Marty Stuart. “Most country artists from that golden era ... you'd ask them what happened to that suit, and they'd say, ‘Ah, I gave it away. I didn't think anything about it.’ They didn't see the eternal value of it. Now that history has gone on and the world has turned a little more, this stuff means more than it ever has.”
The exhibit presented a unique perspective on American history, illustrating the impact of fashion and music on popular culture as revealed through performance costumes, accessories, hand-written lyrics, personal letters, instruments owned by country music legends, and unpublished photographs. It included such outstanding artifacts as Patsy Cline’s makeup case; Johnny Cash’s first “Man in Black” suit; Hank Williams, Sr.’s handwritten lyrics to “Your Cheatin’ Heart;” and the flashy, colorful stage suits of many of Nashville’s most famous stars designed by Nudie and Manuel.
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