December 5, 2008 – Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry

We woke this morning to temperature of 24 degrees – brrrr!

We decided to tour the Ryman Auditorium. This is known as the “Mother Church of Country Music”. It was built as a church in 1892 and was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974 when the Opry was moved to Opryland. In 1994, the auditorium was renovated and now the Opry moves back in for the winter months. During the year, they also hold concerts of all music genres.
They have two tours, the self-guided and the guided backstage tour, and we took both. My, oh, my, just sitting in the auditorium and closing my eyes, I could actually hear the sounds of Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl, Johnnie Cash and all the others. Such history! We were able to walk thru all parts of the auditorium and see the displays about the artists and history of the Opry and building.

The Lobby:

Minnie Pearl’s Hat:

The Auditorium:

We were the only two people for the guided tour and our guide was the sweetest lady. She told us many stories since she was coming here for over 50 years. She took us thru the dressing rooms of Johnny Cash and Minnie Pearl and the others that are still in use today.

View from back stage:

This is the back door/alley that many of the artists used to go to Tootsie’s between acts (we went there for lunch yesterday) (Tootsie’s tidbit – Willie Nelson got his first songwriting job after performing at Tootsie’s.)

And we even got to perform on stage:

What a wonderful tour! From there we went to the Customs House and the First Baptist Church:

Then we had lunch at Jack’s Bar-B-Que – great pulled pork sandwich. We have the book “1000 places to see Before You Die in the US and Canada” and this restaurant was one of the places to eat. It was a small place, food was served on paper plates but it was great. A picture of the street where you can hear the artists play for free – Tootsie’s and Jack’s is located about midway:

We headed back home then took the bus in to see the show tonight.

This show is held every Friday and Saturday night and broadcast live over 650 WSM-FM, Sirius Radio and Opry.com so yes; we were at a live broadcast. The stars, the songs, the entertainment, another oh, my.

We saw:

Marty Stuart

Mike Snider
Connie Smith
Little Jimmy Dickens

Jeannie Sealy
John Coulee
Del McCourt Band
Bill Anderson
Jim Ed Brown
Randy Rogers Band (first time at the Opry)
Emmylou Harris

Jean Sheppard

Jack Greene

What a great show and what a way to end our stay in Nashville.

Tomorrow we are on our way to Memphis.

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