College of Media and Entertainment Board of Trust
Senior Museum Editor Michael Gray joined the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2002. He co-curated some of the largest and most successful exhibitions in the museum’s long history, including:
- Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970
- Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City
- I Can’t Stop Loving You: Ray Charles and Country Music
- Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s
- The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country
- Ralph Stanley: A Voice From on High
- Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips
In 2005 Gray won a Grammy award (Best Historical Album) for co-producing a two-CD/LP set that accompanied the Night Train to Nashville exhibit. In its praise of the Night Train to Nashville exhibition, The Journal of American History said “It is a project that has definitely raised the bar regarding what people will expect of their public history . . . it does what a museum exhibit is supposed to do: it provides information while imparting knowledge. And it does so in a manner that is erudite and enjoyable.”
For twelve years Gray has moderated Poets and Prophets, one of the museum’s signature Q&A series. Legendary songwriters Bobby Braddock, Hank Cochran, Sonny Curtis, Dean Dillon, John D. Loudermilk, Bob McDill, Lori McKenna, Dan Penn, Don Schlitz, Billy Joe Shaver, Jimmy Webb, and over thirty other writers have been interviewed by Gray for this series.
For other public programs he has interviewed a wide range of musicians, including guitar heroes Les Paul and James Burton, jazz legends David “Fathead” Newman and Gerald Wilson, and several generations of country artists such as Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard, Jessi Colter, Randy Travis, and Keith Urban.
As a music historian, Gray has been interviewed by CBS This Morning, NPR, BBC Radio, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and more. His writing has appeared in The African American National Biography, The Encyclopedia of Country Music, Nashville Scene, American Songwriter, and other publications.
He has annotated liner notes for labels such as Legacy Recordings (Sony), Rounder Records, Bear Family Records, Lost Highway, and Shout Factory. In addition to his work on the Grammy-winning Night Train to Nashville album, Gray has produced other critically acclaimed, major-label compilations.
He taught music history courses at Belmont University and Middle Tennessee State University, where he received a master’s in Mass Communication. He currently serves on MTSU’s Board of Trust for the College of Media and Entertainment. Gray has delivered guest lectures at Vanderbilt University (Nashville), Loyola University (Chicago), Columbia College (Chicago), and other schools. He is a 2006 alumnus of Leadership Music.
Gray was a fulltime music journalist at CMT (1998–2001) and the Nashville Banner (1995–1998). He is a native of Detroit. He is married to Emily Gray and has two children, Alex and Lyric.