Night Train to Nashville • Conversation and Performance, 2023
Frank Howard and Peggy Gaines Walker, artists instrumental in Nashville’s soul music scene of the 1960s, join the Museum’s Michael Gray and the National Museum of African American Music’s Dr. Bryan Pierce, to share their memories of the city’s vibrant R&B community. That community included pioneering television shows like “Night Train” and “The!!!!Beat”; influential radio stations including WLAC, WSOK, and WVOL; and venerated Black music venues such as New Era Club, Club Del Morocco, and Club Baron.
After the conversation, Howard and Walker each perform with the Jimmy Church band, as do their fellow veterans of Nashville’s R&B golden age, Charles “Wigg” Walker and Levert Allison of the Fairfield Four. Contemporary recording duo the War and Treaty also perform. This program was recorded on January 25, 2023, and is presented in support of the launch of the Museum’s online exhibition “Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970” and in partnership with the National Museum of African American Music.
Adapted from the Museum’s 2004-2005 physical exhibition of the same name, “Night Train to Nashville” examines the impact of the R&B music that emerged from a city typically identified with country music and looks at the interplay between the two musical genres. The original exhibition earned a NAACP Bridging the Gap Award for the promotion of interracial understanding, and a compilation album coinciding with the exhibit won a Grammy award for Best Historical Album.
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