Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Night at the Opry

As a child I listened to The Grand Ole Opry beamed to rural Nova Scotia on the radio waves from Nashville, TN. It was on later than our bedtime and my parents were not crazy about the fact that I enjoyed country music so listening required that I turn the radio on very low and hide it under the covers.

So nothing would do but that we attend The Grand Ole Opry while in Nashville. I purchased tickets in advance on line. A mistake, given that we were there "off season" and could have selected the night that featured entertainers that interested us at the last minute.

The show is presented at The Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville.

Named for this gentleman:
Is that a bird's nest on his head?

The theme for the night we attended was Legends of the Opry and legends they were. If being old makes you a legend.

The program was two hours long, divided into half hour segments, each segment hosted by a different "legend" and interspersed with advertisements as the evening was broadcast live on WSM Radio. The emcee stood to one side of the stage and introduced the hosts, read advertisements and generally controlled the pace of the show:
Eddie Subbs, the evening's announced
It seemed to be a full house:
We were in the balcony. At the very back chairs were set up for over flow
Each legend host sang a couple of songs then introduced the two other singers on their segment of the show.

First host was John Conlee:
Other hosts included Connie Smith, Jim Ed Brown and Riders in the Sky. The oldest entertainer was Jean Shepherd who is 80. She appeared frail but could sure belt out a song. The youngest was American Idol winner Scotty McCreedy.

Before the show we spent some time on Broadway Street:
Nashville's version of  New Orleans' Bourbon St. 
Arch loved these Pedal Taverns that plied the streets for customers:
It appeared that the customers moved the carts along by pedaling
Or maybe it was the patrons who attracted him :)
We visited the Country Music Hall of Fame. Reba McIntire was a featured country singer and a short film highlighting her career and display of many of her dresses were featured.
In the film Reba said this red dress garnered more press that she did. It was quite daring for the time. Not today.
One thing I love about country music is that country stars seem to realize they are entertainers as well as musicians and wear costumes to reflect the fact. From Hank Snow's famous railroad suit:
To the beautiful dresses Taylor Swift wears:
They are all designed to entertain.

I was particularly struck by the outfit Kelly Picklar wore when she won Dancing with the Stars:
 Very tiny and meticulously made. Quite impressive when you consider the last minute aspect to costume design that must exist on that show.

And there there were the cars. The most impressive being Elvis' gold Cadillac:
The paint used for this car contained real gold and fish scales. Arch thinks the sign said there were 38 layers of paint on the car. The inside was pretty impressive as well:
The last exhibit you see when exiting the Country Music Hall of Fame is a round room lined with gold records:
All in all we had a great time in Nashville and would love to go back and visit what we missed.

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  1. We love Nashville! Looks like you had a nice visit. You didn't mention Tootsie's. If you missed the little gem of a spot, you must visit the next time you are there. It is a purple bar with live music all day. Many, many stars have played there. You can stop in and find you are listening to some famous person who just decided to play a few sets. Very cool place.

    1. Wow. Really sorry we missed Tootsie's. Another friend suggested we go there as well and I totally forgot. Drat.


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