Honky-Tonk Angels

During the decade when Peter Frampton, Kiss, Springsteen, the Eagles, punk and disco all strangely intersected in popular music, photographer Henry Horenstein photographed a completely different musical milieu: honky-tonk culture, from the lowliest Southern backroads to its pinnacle on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. His evocative images of rising, falling and unknown country stars, now collected in a touring exhibit, Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981, arrive today at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, 400 Quail Road in Longmont. Hung in a honky-tonk setting with chairs, tables and a stage, the show opens tonight with a 7 p.m. reception featuring live music.

Walking through, you’ll see such sights as “a very young Dolly Parton, and Tex Ritter at end of his life, in an image that really shows how the life of travel has taken its toll on him,” notes museum curator Erik Mason. Also on display are a pompadoured George Jones, the hard-living Waylon Jennings, a delicate Loretta Lynn and the inseparable Merle and Doc Watson, to name a few. Displays with a local element accompany the photography show, including about a dozen guitars, banjos and mandolins with a Colorado past, as well as posters and albums harking back to the country and bluegrass singers of a past era. And for the kids, there will be an interactive element, where they can learn to play along on guitar or keyboard to a Johnny Cash rendition of “You Are My Sunshine.”

Honky Tonk continues through April 11; a series of concerts and a talk are scheduled in March. Admission is free; go to www.ci.longmont.co.us/museum or call 303-651-8374.
Feb. 19-April 11, 2010

 
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