Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum Will Sparkle With New Exhibit

This appeared on - October 16, 2008

CLEVELAND, OH. - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is pleased to announce the opening of its newest exhibit, Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey. The exhibition, which features a collection of artifacts from classic musicians of the last four decades, will open on Thursday, October 30, 2008, and will run until March 1, 2009, on the 5th and 6th floors of the Rock Hall.

Sparkle & Twang represents 40 years of rock and roll, classic country, rockabilly, bluegrass and southern gospel greats.

The exhibition focuses on an astounding collection of performance costumes, accessories, handwritten lyrics, personal letters and instruments compiled by country music artist Marty Stuart.

"This is a very vibrant exhibit, full of historic costumes, instruments and lyrics," said Jim Henke, vice president of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "It offers a colorful look back at one of the roots of rock and roll and includes key artifacts from some Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees."

At the age of nine, Stuart formed his first band in his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi. He went on to join legendary guitarist Lester Flatt and his band as their mandolin player, and before he was 20 years old, he joined Johnny Cash's band on the road. While he was on tour with Cash in London in 1980, Stuart became motivated to become a collector. He had met Isaac Tigrett, a co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe, who invited Stuart to the Hard Rock in London. Fascinated by the scene created around memorabilia from the world's most influential musicians, such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin, Stuart was inspired to formally craft his own collection.

Eventually, Stuart became a solo artist, achieving fame on his own and earning hit songs, a platinum album, five gold records and four Grammy awards. Stuart also remained dedicated to collecting memorabilia from the stars he met, befriended and performed with. The results are brought together in Sparkle & Twang, where they convey the story behind these legendary music personas and honor the significance of preserving the culture that represents America's musical past.

"I greatly admire the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I am a frequent visitor. I always leave there impressed as to how the Rock Hall uniquely encompasses so many forms of American roots music as part of rock and roll's overall legacy," said Stuart. "My collection is primarily based around country music. However, as a collector, I've always kept in mind what I've witnessed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We all contribute to each other's story. I consider each item in my collection a treasure from the American musical tapestry, and I'm honored to have them on display at rock and roll's most prestigious treasure chest."

Sparkle & Twang features 300 artifacts, consisting of 22 instruments, 31 performance costumes, 26 pairs of boots, 28 handwritten lyrics and more than 100 photographs. Amazingly, Stuart obtained some of the best pieces in his collection from Nashville thrift stores.

One of many highlights from the exhibition includes a collection of items once belonging to country singer Patsy Cline. Included are a pair of the last boots she wore during her lifetime, an autographed photograph, her leather makeup kit and as what is assumed to be her final handwritten letter. The letter, which illustrated Cline's concept for a performance costume she wanted made, was postmarked to clothing designer Nudie Cohen just five days before her tragic death.

Other highlights from Sparkle & Twang exhibition include:

* Elvis Presley's sweater worn in a photograph with Junior Parker
* Hank Williams Sr.'s handwritten lyrics for "Cold, Cold Heart" and "Your Cheatin' Heart"
* Johnny Cash's first black suit from 1955
* Johnny Cash's handwritten lyrics for handwritten lyrics for "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Man in Black"

* Performance outfit worn by Bob Dylan
* Clarence White of the Byrds' blue leather suit
* Pop Staples' 1962 Fender Jazzmaster guitar
* Marty Stuart's first guitar and performance outfit, sewn by his mother

For more information on upcoming and current exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, visit

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (60+), $13 for children (9-12) and children under 8 and Museum members are free. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit

By Tiffany Shipp

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