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New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music

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 Celebrating American Roots MusicBristol, TN/VA -- The Birthplace of Country Music Museum (BCMM) explores the rich traditions in American music through New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music. Acquired from the Smithsonian Institution by BCMM, the installation once served as one of the Smithsonian's traveling exhibits. New Harmonies will be on view beginning March 18, 2015 and continuing through September 30, 2015.

Music is all around us—at a local festival, a dance hall on Saturday night, or on your radio or .mp3 player. Whether you're hearing blues, country, folk, or gospel, American roots music reveals the American story. As Americans from a variety of backgrounds and shared cultural influences, musicians found new ways to play unique sounds learned from new neighbors or traditional instruments. The inevitable intermingling of musical influences created exciting new sounds.

"New Harmonies is a celebration of the large variety of American roots music, and illustrates the diversity of music traditions and practices in the United States," said Dr. Jessica Turner, BCMM director and head curator. "We are happy to be the permanent home of this outstanding exhibit. The exhibit is fitting because our museum strives to explore how much of American music really is interconnected. The exhibit will be supplemented with an array of concerts and educational programs that dig into the idea of American roots music."

Through a series of photographs and text, recordings, instruments, lyrics, and artist profiles, New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music will explore the distinct cultural identities of American roots forms. The exhibition will examine the progression of American roots music, as rich and eclectic as our country itself. Other musical genres profiled include zydeco, tejano, bluegrass, and klezmer.

New Harmonies was once part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. Carol Harsh, director of Museums on Main Street, was instrumental in facilitating the transfer of the exhibit to the BCMM.

"The exhibit has found a permanent home at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum," said Harsh. "We feel it was a perfect fit." To learn more about Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit Updates on special events and programming surrounding New Harmonies will be posted soon.

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