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Photography, music, and history collide in ‘Honky Tonk’

'Honky Tonk' combines photography, history, and music into one exhibit at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Traverse City.

There’s a three dimensional art world in Traverse City that combines history, photography, and music into an experience about the changing world of country music and fans during the 1970s.

It’s called “Honky Tonk: Photographs by Henry Horenstein” and it’s running through November 12 at Crooked Tree Arts Center.

Joe Beyer writes for the Northern Express and urges art fans to take in the world-class exhibit before it closes.

“We’re talking about light captured in layers and then enhanced mostly by human hands so it all feels crafted, personal and enthusiastic – like someone is riding along as this Honky Tonk movement is traveling and getting bigger and bigger,” said Beyer.


Curated by Crooked Tree’s Visual Arts Director Liz Erlewine, the exhibit of 27 large black and white photos includes portraits of Dolly Parton, the late Loretta Lynn, Doc Watson, Lester Flatt and others. The photographs are accompanied by musicology liner notes and gallery cards that shape the history of the Honky Tonk bars, juke joints, and the musical influences of the genre. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, an American music critic and scholar, contributed these and other details to create the distinct gallery experience.

The exhibit also prompts viewers to a Spotify playlist and other sources to continue the sonic adventures by exploring the rich cultural heritage of the musicians featured in the gallery.

Ever since he was young, Dan has been fascinated with radio. From hearing the dulcet tones of John Gordon broadcast Minnesota Twins games, to staying up late listening to radio theater, he was captivated by the imaginative medium.