1. The best bar bands in the world play in Nashville’s honky tonks.
Jack White’s Third Man Records
Carter Vintage Guitars
4. The Mother Church of Country Music
That was the name given to the Ryman Auditorium during the 30+ year stay of the Grand Ole Opry. The building itself dates back to 1892 when it was called the Union Gospel Tabernacle. It was renamed the Ryman upon the death of Thomas G Ryman who raised the funding for the building. In addition to sermons, the Ryman, in its early years hosted music like John Philip Sousa’s Band and speakers that included Susan B. Anthony and Booker T. Washington.
The Opry left the Ryman in the 70’s for seemingly greener pastures. The old auditorium underwent a renovation in the 90’s and still serves as a downtown venue for a wide range of music. This fall’s schedule includes UB40, Boz Skaggs, Ben Folds, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kesha. Jason Isbell is booked for a week of shows and the Academy of Country Music Awards presentation is this week.
5. The Ole Opry is still Grand
When the Opry left the Ryman it moved a few miles outside of downtown to an off-highway location. It built a bigger and more spacious facility, but no doubt lost some character. But once you get inside….
The Opry is a pretty unique show. It features multiple acts that do two or three songs at the most. On the night I attended there were 11 performers in a two hour time frame. But this isn’t amateur hour talent show, there were Grammy winners, County Music Association award winners, even one Country Music Hall of Fame member. And it’s a live radio show that you can hear on WSN Online There’s even a live radio announcer reading commercials after every couple of songs.
Before I went to Nashville, I would have told you I’m not that interested in country music. I’ll never say that again.
6. The Legend of Johnny Cash
(Photos are from the Johnny Cash Museum)