Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Stood On The Stage At The Grand Ole Opry

We spent our last day in Nashville sightseeing and acting like tourists.

Our first stop was the Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum.

The Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum has been in existence in Nashville since 1967, and has been in its current $37 million dollar home since 2001. Its purpose, according to its literature, is to "identify and preserve the evolving history and traditions of country music and to educate its audiences."

The day we went was appreciation day and admission was free!

It's housed on two huge floors, and the tour starts on the second floor, moving through the evolution of Country music starting in from its roots in the 1800s to the present day.

Here are some early instruments.

Here is a guitar Hank Williams used to play, along with a suit he used to wear on stage.

Here's a couple of guitars Chet Atkins used to play.

Here's the Gibson Maybelle Carter used to play.

They used to record music on consoles like these!

It was fun following my dad around as we made our way through the museum. He would stop at a display and say "I toured with them in 1955!", or, "My dad was friends with him!" Pretty amazing.

Here's Johnny Cash's 'Man In Black' suit. Wow!

After dinner we went to the Grand Ole Opry. The Whites (Sharon, Cheryl, and their father Buck) put us on the guest list and we met them backstage before the show.

The Grand Ole Opry is a country music concert broadcast as a radio show on WSM in Nashville every Friday and Saturday night, and in addition every Tuesday night between March and December. It is the oldest continuous radio show in America, having started broadcasting in 1925. During the winter months the Opry home is the Ryman Auditorium and that's where we saw it Saturday night.

It was my first time at the Opry and I was very excited! Here's a picture of myself and my sister Rachel standing on the Opry stage before showtime. What a privilege!

There are two sets a night, the second set lasts two hours, from 9:30pm-11:30pm. We attended the second set. Every half-hour the curtains close only to open about a minute later with a new MC and new musical acts. Every musical act performs two songs, and in between acts an announcer reads a "message from our sponsor", just like they did in the old days.

The Whites sounded great, here's a picture of them in performance.

Among the many other artists who performed were Bucky Covington from American Idol fame, and alt-country group Old Crow Medicine Show who got by far the best response out of the younger groups, which was heartening since they are one of the few young bands around right now that are keeping the classic Country and Bluegrass tradition alive. It was a treat to see the Old Crow Medicine Show.

After the show we returned backstage and I got to meet radio announcer Eddie Stubbs, a walking Country music encyclopedia and country music legend in his own right. You can hear him on the internet every Monday - Thursday 7 pm to Midnight CST, and every Friday 9:30 pm to 12:30 am on WSM online, link below.

The next morning before we went to the airport we met Mark Fain and his wife Jessica for breakfast. We couldn't have recorded the Haden Family album without Mark and we are all very thankful to him.

Here's a picture of me and Mark standing outside the restaurant just before leaving for the airport.

Thus concludes my first trip to Nashville, and how eventful it was!

On Friday I'll be attending the NAMM show in Anaheim, California, as a guest of Gallien-Krueger amplifiers. I'll have a full report posted soon!


Anonymous said...

took a road trip to Nashville and Memphis back in about 2000 or 2001. It was an unplanned trip--just jumped in the car and went. We stopped at that big mega mall next to grand ole opry and went to the museum next to that--is it the same one you went to?

i liked the reproduction of patsy cline's living room.

we didn't stay long so we didn't go to a show there. i didn't even get to check out the Ryman Auditorium--did you get to check out the original home of the G.O.O.? (ever since i saw Coal Miner's Daughter when I was young I have wanted to go to the Ryman.)

We have to go pick up my daughter from college (she is in Tulane in New Orleans) in May and I am planning on us all hitting Nashville or Memphis on the way back home. This summer we went to Memphis on the way driving her down and we went to Stax Records. I chose that over Sun Records but next time we shall hit Sun for sure.

Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all and cannot wait to hear the album.

Maybelle Carter rocks! After I watched the American Masters on PBS about the Carter family I was just so overwhelmed by her!


Steve Lawson said...

Yeah, the grand ole opry is cool 'n' all, but did you check out the Opryland Hotel? That's where the real magic is... ;o)

See you at NAMM!

Josh Haden said...

That sounds like it was an amazing trip Teresa!

I don't think the museum we went to was next to the Grand Ole Opry, although I could be mistaken. We saw the Opry at the Ryman Auditorium, which is where the Opry is held during the winter months when attendance is lower than it is during the summer and spring.

Josh Haden said...

We didn't make it to the Opryland Hotel Steve, maybe next time!

See you at NAMM!

Anonymous said...

A great blog you have created Josh...Always so informative. I wonder if the Opry is broadcast over the internet ?

Josh Haden said...

Yes, the Opry is broadcast live every Friday and Saturday night Central Standard Time at