A special concert at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame last Friday (May 25) showcased the music on display in the museum's newest exhibit, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country's Roaring '70s, which spotlights the county traditions that developed in Tennessee and Texas during that decade. The kick-off concert featured performances from veterans of the era, as well as newer artists offering their own renditions of country classics.

In the spirit of country music's outlaw '70s, Americana giants Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires paid homage to to one of the decade's greatest icons, Townes Van Zandt, with a faithful rendition of what is arguably his signature song, "Pancho and Lefty." The song, which Van Zandt first released in 1972, subsequently shot to the top of the charts, with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's 1973 release of the track. Readers can press play above to watch Isbell and Shire perform the classic country hit.

"I usually get introduced as Jason Shires, which I always like," Isbell says to the crowd, as he prepares to perform (Shires and Isbell are married.) "The first time I ever saw Amanda, she was playing the fiddle with Billy Joe [Shaver], and she had made a bikini top out of a bandana."

"I wasn't a mother back then," Shires shoots back.

Against the backdrop of a pair of gigantic state flags (one Texas, one Tennessee,) Isbell then launches into the performance, accented by a mournful slide guitar and subtle harmonica, as well Shires' fiddle.

Curated by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, the concert also included performances from Bobby Bare, Billy Joe Shaver, Jessi Colter, Tanya Tucker, and many more of the '70s country renegades represented in the new exhibit. Along with Isbell and Shires, a selection of newer artists also performed: Ashley Monroe, Colter Wall and Jamey Johnson were just a few of the more contemporary names to grace the stage during the exhibit's opening showcase.

Outlaws & Armadillos is set to run through February 2021 at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and spotlights a decade of country iconoclasts and cross-pollination between the musical traditions of Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tenn. For more information, go here.

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