An exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame has proven so popular that it's been held over until the end of 2017. Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats is an immersive experience depicting the time around 1970 that the wider world got hip to the mastery of Music Row and the quality and vibe of its studios.
What had been a somewhat insular world focused mostly on country music became a destination for some of the most popular and influential artists of their day - Bob Dylan recording Blonde on Blonde, followed by visits from Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Linda Ronstadt and others.
But here, the emphasis isn't on the stars so much as the sidemen. There's a stand dedicated to the life and career of Charlie McCoy, who was featured in last week's episode of The String on WMOT. There are guitarists Wayne Moss and Grady Martin. There's a station for drummer Kenny Buttrey and steel player Lloyd Green. Each of more than a dozen musicians has six extended song samples that visitors can listen to with the push of a button. It's a rare focus on the instrumentalists behind the singer but crucial to the sound of so many recordings that have stood up to time.
Pete Finney was one of the curators of Nashville Cats and the only one who's a working sideman. The steel guitarist has worked with the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and many others. This interview catches up with him to ask for an orientation.