Maine singer Dick Curless is being highlighted in an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Who is Dick Curless?

In case you're not familiar with Curless, he was born in Fort Fairfield in 1932 and grew up listening to his father, Phil Curless, bring people to tears with his singing. Dick's enthusiasm for music caused him to quit school just weeks before his high school graduation to tour with Yodelin' Slim Clark. One of his earliest influences was Country legend, Jim Reeves.

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What Was His Most Famous Song?

My favorite part of his story deals with his time in Korea. After being drafted, he went to work for Armed Forces Radio and worked as a DJ named the Rice Paddy Ranger. I love this story because my Dad worked on the opposing Armed Forces Radio station in Korea and used to tell me the story when I was a kid of the two men from Maine working in radio overseas. Dick Curless recorded for decades, but is best known for his trucker ballad, 'A Tombstone Every Mile,' which tells the story of Aroostook County's Hainesville woods. I remember my Dad playing this song whenever we drove through those woods on our way north.

Known for his rakish black eye patch, Curless was instantly recognizable and his deep baritone was distinctive. The eye patch wasn't always part of his image, however, and was not a fashion choice, but a necessity when he began having issues with that eye. Curless died in 1995, but he never gave up on his passion for music. His final album, 'Traveling Through' was recorded just months before he passed away.

When Will the Exhibit Open in Nashville?

The exhibit opens on January 13th and will run for a year at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, telling the story of one of Maine's most famous performers. Folks walking through the Dick Curless exhibit will be treated to a number of his stage costumes, including his signature cowboy boots that featured his nickname 'The Baron,' adopted after he released a song by the same name. That iconic fringed leather jacket will be there, as well, along with several of his guitars. And, of course, they'll get to hear some of his music and learn what we've all known for years, that Dick Curless was a one-of-a-kind treasure from the Maine woods.

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