Thursday, May 13, 2010

Grand Ole Opry

Tuesday, 27 April

After a nice, warming lunch at our horse farm get away, we let Ace take us for a walk around the grounds. Barb always brings some apple chunks to donate to the horse's obviously limited diet. They saunter over and seem quite content that yet another two legged creature has done their bidding. But soon enough we are back in the car, and headed to OpryLand!

For a bit of history on The Grand Ole Opry, you can visit the website here. It has very humble beginnings as a radio show, and grew to the Internationally acclaimed, premiere venue of Country music. Mind you, Barb and I are not much on Country music, nor do we know today's big names, but when in Nashville, you simply *must* go to the Grand Ole Opry!

We gambled on taking the Backstage Tour, and it was worth every penny, and each second! We never realized just what a treasure the GOO is! So many truly great entertainers have crossed that stage, and given such wonderful stories along the way. A little known fact is that the GOO has it's own Post Office backstage! Not only that, but each performer has his or her own PO Box, all arranged alphabetically. Except for "Little" Jimmy dickens, who can only reach so high, so they put his box within easy reach for him! It's that kind of attention to detail that makes the GOO such a beloved place.

For many years the GOO was hosted out of the Ryman Auditorium, in downtown. When they moved to the present location, a 6 foot circle was cut from the old stage, and placed in center front of the new stage. That way, they could carry all the greats along with them. We actually got to have out picture taken on the same spot that Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynne, and so many others, have sung on!

The dressing rooms all have a distinct identity, and most have a performer that claims it, and decorates it. One dressing room was decorated by the current performer as a shrine to the previous occupant! And, of course, the biggest, grandest dressing room of all, Number 1, belonged to Roy Acuff. Roy was the real champion of the GOO, thru it's long history. He even lived in Opryland for the last 10 years of his life, and would make a point to greet each performer on the way in, and also on the way out. He always wanted them to feel at home.

After the Tour, and imagine how it just happens to let out into the Gift Shop (!), we toddle over to the Museum. Do not miss the Museum! There are some delightful surprises to behold, including Patsy Clline's study, and Marty Robbin's office. Numerous gold, and platinum records adorn the walls by each artist, as well as some very interesting history. some of the outfits that they wore on stage were truly incredible, talk about a "Rhinestone Cowboy"!

But all this is nothing compared to the real show. It still is a two hour long, live radio show! Still broadcast on WSM, and has been continuously on-air longer than any other radio program in our country! Since 1917! Yikes! We ended up with great seats, and had a perfect view of the stage. The first hour started with Riders In The Sky and they set the tone for the show. That group featured Western (as opposed to country) riffs and harmonies, and just enough humor to keep you either laughing, or clapping along. Following them was Bucky Covington (Idol winner), Cherryholmes (a large family act with an awesome fiddle player) and rounded out with Danny Gokey (who is a rising star). Quick intermission, some announcements from the radio announcer, and back to the music. Bill Anderson (used to be a big star) started off, followed by Jewel (really!), then The Whites (a so-so sister act) and the grand finale by Blake Shelton (a current star).

Woosh! What a day your intrepid pair had! It wasn't just the history, nor even the Culture that was so endlessly fascinating to us, it was the people. People that might not pronounce words the same we do, and might even have a different set of sensibilities than we do, but still very warm and friendly. People with good souls, and a hearty laugh. Willing to help their neighbors, and feel it's their duty to do so.  It's that kind of love, and respect that is so refreshing to still find very much alve and well, thank you very much. And you know what? It really doesn't hurt to have some manners while you're going through Life.

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