The Country Music Hall of Fame will hand out free harmonicas, a lesson to celebrate DeFord Bailey


Nearly 100 years ago, country music legend DeFord Bailey introduced radio audiences to the sounds of Music City through his brilliant, searing harmonica playing.

Next month, Nashville residents and visitors will be able to try out the instrument for free thanks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

On April 16, they’re offering a free harmonica lesson in Bailey’s honor — complete with your own harmonica to take home — as part of a family program at the museum’s Ford Theater.

Attendees will also discover and listen to recordings by the late Country Music Hall of Famer. The Tennessee native is considered the first black star of the genre and was a mainstay at the Grand Ole Opry in its early days.

Legendary harmonica player DeFord Bailey performs

Leading the crowd on April 16 will be a trio of highly trained teachers: Bailey’s grandson Carlos DeFord Bailey, in-demand harmonica player Jake Groves and Old Crow Medicine Show frontman Ketch Secor.

All attendees will receive a Hohner harmonica, Bailey’s favorite brand.

No purchase is necessary to participate in the program. Walk-in tickets will be available the day of the show, but advance reservations can be made through museum members or with the purchase of museum admission.

Bailey, known as the “Harmonica Wizard”, was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.


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