The Country Music Hall of Fame’s New Free Exhibit Celebrates George Jones’ 1994 Album ‘The Bradley Barn Sessions’

The Country Music Hall of Fame’s latest exhibit, The Bradley Barn Sessions, celebrates an underappreciated George Jones duet album. Located in the Museum’s ground floor lobby, the new exhibit is free and will be available to view until December.

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Hailed as the greatest country singer to ever live, Jones saw his popularity wane in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. As a result, his label, MCA, wanted to do something to put the country legend back on the radio. And, in doing so, they hoped to put him back at the top of the charts. To do that, they put together The Bradley Barn Sessions.

[RELATED: The Mega-Hit Song George Jones Almost Refused to Record]

They enlisted Brian Ahern to produce the album at Hall of Famer Owen Bradley’s iconic Bradley’s Barn studios. The label paired Jones with country, pop, and rock singers to re-record some of his biggest hits. For instance, the album features Keith Richards, Vince Gill, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Mark Knopfler, and Tammy Wynette among others.

Jones and Wynette sang “Golden Ring” together, marking their first collaboration in more than a decade. Additionally, he and Alan Jackson teamed up for “A Good Year for the Roses,” the album’s sole single.

On paper, The Bradley Barn Sessions seemed like a home run. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. The only single failed to break the Top 40 despite featuring Jackson, who was nearing the peak of his fame at the time.

The Bradley Barn Sessions Exhibit

Despite the album’s performance, the recording sessions were monumental. Between George Jones and his collaborators, the star power in the studio was off the charts. As a result, MCA enlisted Fritz Hoffman to photograph the sessions. According to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hoffman was there for all 11 days of recording. His photos “capture the camaraderie Jones felt with the guest artists and the relaxed, inspired atmosphere created by producer Brian Ahern.”

Hoffman’s photos make up the Bradley’s Barn Sessions exhibit. The candid snapshots give fans a glimpse into the making of an album that, by all rights, should have been a monumental release.

Featured Image by David Redfern/Redferns

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