Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is, of course, the place to visit to immerse yourself in the rich history of the genre. But if you need to settle an argument about the first stars inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, or which tune won 1973's CMA Song of the Year, or what Porter Wagoner's album cover for 'The Cold Hart Facts of Life' looks like, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more definitive, authoritative source than the just-released second edition of the Hall of Fame staff's 'Encyclopedia of Country Music.'

Compiled by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and published by Oxford University Press, the second edition is comprised of more than 1,200 entries, with 600-plus pages covering everyone from Roy Acuff to the Zac Brown Band, with dozens of special essays and lists of country music award winners, best-selling albums and more.

First published to rave reviews in 1998, the Encyclopedia has been updated with entries on dozens of acts who've risen to prominence in the past decade, including Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift, but it also reaches all the way back to the string-band era and the earliest stars of the genre, offering insight on acts such as Dr. Humphrey Bate and the Possum Hunters and Uncle Dave Macon. The book also features dozens of vintage photographs and a special section of full-color album covers from Jimmie Rodgers to Sugarland.

Incidentally, the first members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, inducted in 1961 were Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and music publisher Fred Rose and the 1973 CMA Song of the Year was 'Behind Closed Doors,' written by Kenny O'Dell and popularized by Charlie Rich. And this is what Porter Wagoner's 'The Cold Hard Facts of Life' album looks like.

'The Encyclopedia of Country Music,' with a foreword by Vince Gill, is available now.

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