Before he rocked, he twanged. Before he was the King, he was a commoner. But always, he was a country boy to his core. So it's only fitting that Elvis's favorite chariot, a "gold-plated" 1960 Cadillac, should grace Nashville's curvaceous new home for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Country has a big embrace, wide enough to encompass both Jimmie Rodgers's deep, blue yodel and Faith Hill's crossover glamour. In keeping with that spirit, the high-tech exhibits present such attractions as the original soundboard from the oldest working recording studio in Nashville, RCA's Studio B (cradle of hits by Dolly, Waylon, and Elvis, too); Mother Maybelle Carter's battered and beloved 1928 Gibson guitar; and Gram Parsons's jacket by Nudie the Rodeo Tailor's from his Flying Burrito Brothers days. Besides the two floors of displays and the huge, glass-walled archives, there are four performance spaces for concerts and lectures. Whoever said country wasn't cool?
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, 222 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville; 800/852-6437 or 615/416-2001.