Country Music HOF to Honor Ray Charles

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s major new exhibition, I Can’t Stop Loving You: Ray Charles and Country Music, opening on March 10, 2006, for a near two-year run, will trace a lifelong love affair with country music that ultimately redefined American popular music.
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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s major new exhibition, I Can’t Stop Loving You: Ray Charles and Country Music, opening on March 10, 2006, for a near two-year run, will trace a lifelong love affair with country music that ultimately redefined American popular music.

Presented at the invitation of Ray Charles Enterprises (RCE), the biographical exhibition will provide an overview of Ray Charles’ remarkable career with special emphasis on his country music influences and his contributions to the growth and ennoblement of the genre. Facilitated primarily by RCE, the Museum’s exhibition will include artifacts, instruments, song manuscripts, costumes, photographs, computer interactives, rare music and moving images to tell a country music story about an impoverished blind child who grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and became known as the “genius of soul.”

I Can’t Stop Loving You will be enhanced by a full and ongoing schedule of public programs including live performances, panels, film and video screenings and opportunities to talk with musicians and other figures.

The 5,000-square-foot Ray Charles exhibit will follow the Museum’s exhibition Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970, presented by SunTrust, which closes on December 31, 2005, after a 21-month run.

Charles, who died at age 73 on June 10, 2004, was born in Albany, Georgia, and grew up in Greenville, Florida. Totally blind by age seven, he was educated at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine. After mastering Braille, he learned to read and write music and to play several instruments, including piano, trumpet, saxophone and clarinet. The Florida Playboys, a country band with whom he played piano as a teenager, provided some of his earliest professional gigs. Charles left Florida in 1948 in pursuit of a life as a “great musician.” He went on to record such classic songs as "Georgia on My Mind," "I Got a Woman" and "Hit the Road, Jack."

For more information on the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, visit www.countrymusichalloffame.com.