Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated its newest exhibit, We Could: The Songwriting Artistry of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, on Sept. 26. The event, held ahead of the exhibit’s official opening on Sept. 27, was filled with speakers and tribute performances from Nashville stars.
The husband-and-wife Hall of Famers (inducted in 1991) were Music City’s first career songwriters, penning more than 1,500 songs for artists such as the Everly Brothers, Little Jimmy Dickens and Roy Orbison. “It’s fair to say that, in the Nashville music industry, the Bryants invented the occupation of full-time professional songwriter, making a living crafting songs for others,” Vice President of Museum Services Brenda Colladay said.
After a performance of “Country Boy” — the Bryants’ first hit thanks to Fred Rose of Acuff-Rose Publishing — from Old Crow Medicine Show‘s Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, Colladay highlighted the couple’s beginnings in music. Boudleaux Bryant was a violin prodigy who later became a fiddle player, while Felice Bryant held a love for poetry and grew up singing and acting on the radio. When the two combined their talents and moved to Nashville, they created a unique recipe for songwriting that carried on for decades.
Speaking of their early days working from their trailer on Dickerson Road in Music City, Colladay quoted something Boudleaux once told a newspaper reporter: “Inspiration is a misused word. Writing a song is something like writing a letter. You sit down, you compose your thoughts and you write.”