25th anniversary expanded reissue for “From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music”

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in collaboration with Warner Music Nashville is releasing an expanded version of the box set ‘From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music’. Originally released in 1998 by the museum and Warner, the updated CD collection spans a century of music and traces the many ways Black Americans have created, contributed to, and been influenced by country music. The set will be released on 31st May 2024, accompanied by a free-to-access online experience via the museum’s website.

Released more than 25 years ago, the original set’s creation was inspired and urged by Black country recording artist Cleve Francis and American Baptist College executive Nelson Wilson, who saw a disturbing gap in music history. “It’s a part of our history that’s been hidden from us,” Francis told the Washington Post upon the set’s release.

The museum and Warner Music Nashville have expanded, redesigned and updated the box set. The new collection comprises 82 tracks, and includes a fourth disc titled ‘Reclaiming the Heritage’ that presents a fresh wave of Black artists in country and Americana who emerged through 2020 including Valerie June whose ‘Working Woman Blues’ you can listen to below. New essays by Rhiannon Giddens and Rissi Palmer join the original essays by music scholars and journalists.

Giddens states in her essay, “The most beautiful thing to me about the Black country renaissance is that its stars, who are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve, are truly using country music the way that, to me, it was born to be used. Their music reflects and highlights a cultural viewpoint that has been traditionally suppressed, shows the best of the American narrative, and, in the end, tells the important stories of now, for the generations of tomorrow.”

The CD set is packaged in a hard-bound booklet and illustrated with traditional quilt designs created years ago by the women of the Gee’s Bend community of Alabama, with cover type by visual artist and designer David Jon Walker. Each era of music is represented with a quilt from roughly the same time period as the music. The set is  available for pre-order on the museum’s website where you can also see the full track list.

From 31st May 2024, all the music in the box set can be heard on the museum’s website via ‘From Where I Stand: The Online Experience’. The online experience is a free, educational resource containing all the incisive essays, archival photographs and video, and historical track notes for each selection. In addition, supplemental resources from the museum’s archive and resources for educators will be available.

The online experience will also include music that was unable to be licensed for the physical box set release, including Beyoncé and the Chicks’ collaboration on ‘Daddy Lessons’, Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’, and Al Green’s version of ‘For the Good Times’.  In the Autumn of 2024, it will be joined by the film of a celebration concert at the Musuem’s CMA Theatre which will feature  Blanco Brown, Cowboy Troy, Tony Jackson, Hubby Jenkins, Miko Marks, Wendy Moten, Rissi Palmer, Darius Rucker, The War And Treaty and Barrence Whitfield.

About Richard Parkinson 129 Articles
London based self-diagnosed music junkie with tastes extending to all points of big tent americana and beyond. Fan of acts and songs rather than genres.
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