Today was a cool day. We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and capped off the night with a show at The Grand Ole Opry. I’m not sure how much I really talk about it on here but I LOVE country music. Like LOVE it. My grandma and grandpa are from North Dakota and when I was a little girl – like maybe 2nd grade? I went on a road trip with them from Washington to ND. My grandparents were already country music fans and country music was all that you could hear on the radio for the trip…needless to say I was hooked. For most of my life, this is the only music I have ever listened to. Not only did I grow up listening to it on the radio but I have the best memories of being at my grandparents house and seeing them watch the Opry and whatever else was on CMT (side note – does anyone remember the line dancing show? Literally just people line dancing. I loved it). And not only did my grandparents give me my love of country music but they also gave me my love of everything “country.” And somehow I met Chris, a boy who also got his love of everything country from his grandpa. Someone who loves country and country music just as much as I do. We plan our trips around country music concerts, we named all our wedding tables after country music artists we’ve seen together. We had a country band at our wedding, he proposed to me like the lyrics in a country music song. Some of my best memories of us are of our random moments when he pulls me into a slow dance to a country song in the middle of a room.
So today, when the two of us got to experience the roots – the very begging of country music – together. Well it was just amazing.
The hall of fame was cool albeit a bit under whelming. They’re doing a lot of work to it and I think it will be amazing when it’s fully set up. I also think it matters what exhibits they had. Today the big story was all about Bakersfield, CA – um did you know it rivaled Nashville for its country music fame?
It was so interesting to read about all this history! Key call-outs – Hank Williams died when he was 29 and Merle Haggard was in jail for 3 years, heard Johnny Cash while at Folsom and was so inspired by him he decided to clean up his life and turn to music.
After the HOF we made a quick stop at the Ryman – the original home of the Grand Ole Opry until the 70s.
And then later (after our second night in a row at Chuy’s) we headed out to the Grand Ole Opry. At first I was bummed. It’s actually outside of Nashville proper in a big shopping mall complex. And to be fair, the Opry has been there since the 70s so the mall obviously was built around it, but still it felt a little cheesy – sort of Disneyland like. But all that changed once the music started. It was seriously like magic. Like you were transported back in time. And somehow just by being in the auditorium you were surrounded by all the legends of country music. They even played an opening video about the Nashville flood of 2010 and how the whole country music community came together to restore the Opry…and I choked up. It was just so overwhelming to finally be a part of this amazing place that I’ve been watching and listening to since I was a little girl.
So the way it works – there are 3 segments and each segment has a host. Within each segment there are 3 acts (including the host) and each act plays 2 songs. We went into it knowing Vince Gill and Amy Grant were the headliners (for all you non country folks – they had a little drama in the 90s where they both left their significant others and married each other) but what we didn’t know is that we’d know quite a few of the other acts.
I did not know these guys – The Riders in the Sky. But I loved how they opened things up and kept it classic/old school country.
Um Mark Wills – he sang Jacob’s Ladder and 19 something. Such a treat. I love him. I have no idea what happened to him but he was great. He should release another album.
Kalisa Ewing – new artist. Opry debut. She’s working on an album but she just wrote a song that Kelli Pickler cut. I hope she makes it big so we can say “I knew her when.”
Remember that song – I wanna kiss you all over? Yeah, it was sung by these guys – Exile.
Amy Grant – how can you not love her? Turns out she has a new album coming out after 10 years at the urging of Vince who told her to always be creative.
And Vince. Who was absolutely amazing. We’d gone into this not too jazzed. I mean, Vince is a great singer but just didn’t really fire it up. We went into telling ourselves that he was country music royalty and that it would be great to see him at the Opry. Turns out we were dying to hear him sing more songs. His voice is amazing!! He closed the show with Smile and I swear you could have heard a pin drop. The place was silent. Transfixed on Vince.
All 4 of us walked out saying we wished we lived in Nashville so we could go to the Opry more. Probably one of the best concerts I’ve ever gone to and by far the coolest experience. Tonight I got to live a piece of country music history. I’m now connected to this place. And to everyone who’s ever been there.
Seriously, if you ever have the chance to experience the Opry you have to go. Even if you don’t like country you’ll want to check this out.
Tomorrow we’re hoping to get into the Bluebird Cafe. All the shows are sold out but we’re going to try for the 1st come tickets. We’re also checking out some restaurant that is suppose to be the best in Nashville. Martha Stewart even raves about it…must be right then :)