10-7-2004 NASHVILLES STORIED HEBB FAMILY REUNITES ONSTAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES TO TELL PERSONAL NIGHT TRAIN TO NASHVILLE HISTORY AT THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM

NASHVILLES STORIED HEBB FAMILY REUNITES ONSTAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES TO TELL PERSONAL NIGHT TRAIN TO NASHVILLE HISTORY AT THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM

Sunny Singer-Songwriter Bobby Hebb Returns to the Stage of the Grand Ole Opry for the First Time Since Childhood

           
NASHVILLE, Tenn., October 7, 2004 - The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum continues its exploration of the golden era of classic Nashville rhythm & blues with Sunny Days: Nashvilles Bobby Hebb and the Hebb Family, a performance and panel discussion, on Saturday, October 23, 2004.  On the previous evening, for the first time since he performed there as a child, Hebb will make a return guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1966, three years after his older brother Harolds murder, native Nashvillian Bobby Hebb recorded Sunny.  The song, his own composition, was written in memory of happier childhood times with the familys popular Hebbs Kitchen Cabinet Orchestra, singing with Harold in the Jerry Jackson revue at the famed Bijou Theater and playing spoons and tap dancing as a 12-year-old member of Roy Acuffs troupe on the Grand Ole Opry in the early 1950s.

Sunny became a million-selling crossover smash, earned Hebb a spot on the Beatles final tour and became an enduring popular standard later covered by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Cher, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Nancy Wilson, Stevie Wonder and Dusty Springfield. It remains one of the-most played songs of all time. Bobby Hebb is one of many national R&B stars who, along with their counterparts in sports, led an explosion of African-American culture and politics in the last half of the 20th century.  In the Museums current exhibition Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970, Hebbs relationship with Roy Acuff is presented as one of many examples of the connections between country music and Nashville rhythm & blues.

Hebb began performing at age three with the familys large and renowned Hebbs Kitchen Cabinet Orchestra, led by his blind parents, William and Ovalla.  Acuff discovered Hebb on Owen Bradleys WSM-TV variety show and hired the teenager to play spoons and tap dance with Acuffs Opry troupe, the Smokey Mountain Boys.  It was Acuff band member Joe Zinkan who taught Hebb to play guitar.

Hebbs sisters - Ednaearle Burney, Ovalla Davidson, Helen Hebb-McCray and Shirley Trotter - will join him for Sunny Days: Nashvilles Bobby Hebb and the Hebb Family.  Hebb recently moved back to Music City from Massachusetts, and the event represents the first reunion performance of the Hebb family in decades.  The afternoon also will include a discussion of the Hebb familys legacy.  Since the days of Hebbs Kitchen Cabinet Orchestra, a number of Hebb family members have been active, privately and publicly, in the Nashville music scene.   The Night Train to Nashville accompanying CD set, an introduction to Nashvilles often overlooked rhythm & blues heritage, includes Hebbs original recording of Sunny.  The collection also includes Harold Hebb with the vocal group The Marigolds on the1955 Top Ten R&B hit Rollin Stone.  Following his success with Sunny, Bobby Hebb went on to pen A Natural Man, a 197l Top 20 R&B and pop hit for Lou Rawls.  Hebbs former brother-in-law Clifford McCrays session work on numerous albums provides another Hebb family thread through music history.

We are thrilled to have Bobby and his sisters here to share their music and their remarkable history, said Justine Gregory, director of education and public programming for the Museum.  Their stories are sure to provide more insight into the important R&B scene that dominated nightlife on Jefferson Street and other parts of the city in the years after World War II.  The Hebbs are part of a larger story that more clearly explains Nashvilles evolution as Music City U.S.A.

 The Sunny Days panel is scheduled for Saturday, October 23, 2004, at 1:00 p.m. in the Museums Ford Theater. Admission to the panel is free. Museum admission is $15.95 for adults, $7.95 for children and $12.95 for seniors, military personnel and students.  Admission is free for all Museum members.  Museum memberships, which include admission to the Museum and all public programs for one year, are available at $25 for adults and $10 for children.  For more information or to make reservations, please call the Museum at 615/416-2001.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Danner Foundation.


Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970 is presented by SunTrust, www.suntrust.com.

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964.  The Foundation also operates CMF Records, the Museums Frist Library and Archive, the CMF Press, historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print.

             The Ford Division of the Ford Motor Co. is a Founding Partner of the $37 million Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened on May 17, 2001.

             More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is available by calling (615) 416-2001.