Sunday, November 08, 2009

hear classic country live at the ryman

Maybe about 4 years ago I made it to Nashville for the first time. I loved it even though, as a Texas Country music fan, you're probably not supposed to. On a subsequent trip, I forced one of my friends/co-workers to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman. If you make it to Nashville, I'd recommend both. I guess I realized that you don't have to be a fan of some of the cheesy current Nashville "artists" (you know, the ones who just sing songs other people wrote and stand there--without an instrument in their hands--looking pretty) to appreciate the history of the place.

I love the Hall of Fame. I love buildings that have meaning. My favorite part is that on the outside of the rotunda, there's a slightly stylized rendition of the musical notes of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". But there's more. From wikipedia:

The new building's exterior is laced with symbolic images of music. The most obvious of these are the windows that mirror the configuration of piano keys. More conspicuous images include the diamond-shaped radio mast, which is a miniaturized replica of the WSM tower located a few miles south of Nashville. The round discs surrounding the tower symbolize the different size records and CDs country music has been recorded upon. When viewed from the air, the building is in the shape of a bass clef. The north-west corner of the building juts out like the tail fin of a 50s Cadillac.
I love Hatch Show Print (and what they print). You've seen their posters. If only we had a different wedding theme, perhaps I would have had them print our invitations. (I do keep telling The Hubby that we need to get remarried each year so I can have every kind of wedding I'd want...)

But I LOVE the Ryman. When I was there I couldn't help but feel my parents. I know, it's weird. It's just that we grew up with classic country and I felt like it was a place they would have loved to have visited. But I guess visiting wasn't enough for me. So I added to the Life List. The Ryman opened its doors in 1892 (as the Union Gospel Tabernacle) and was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74. Today you can hear all sorts of acts at the Ryman but I wanted to hear it like the old days, in all its classic country glory.

For a few years now I'd been checking their calendar. Since so many other types of acts play there, it's hard to find a classic country artist not sold out and playing on a date you could, you know, just swing on over to Nashville. About a month ago I realized Willie Nelson was playing there this past Thursday. The Hubby and I made a little trip of it...

We stayed in my favorite hotel of all time. I hadn't been there since it had been renovated. Ahh, even more lovely. We ate barbecue. For several meals. We saw Willie with about 2,300 other folks. It was a sold out show and there really are fantastic acoustics. He sang some of his stuff and some other classic songs. The last song was "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and everyone sang along and clapped. They turned the audience lights up and you could imagine folks singing gospel here a hundred years ago, needing their paper fans in lieu of air conditioning. I got a little emotional. It was a great show.

On Friday, we drove down to Lynchburg, enjoying the fall color the entire way. We ate at Miss Mary Bobo's (now owned by the Jack Daniel's folks). Good southern food (sweet tea, fried okra, carrot cake, etc.) and good company (you eat family-style with strangers). Then walked through town and down to the distillery. It was our 4th distillery tour (the first in the US). The tour guide was a very entertaining older gentleman. Jack himself? He was only 5' 2"... I don't know why that was surprising. We headed on back up to Nashville by way of Tri-Star Vineyards & Winery (run by a couple on the verge of retiring), Arrington Vineyards (a beautiful property--we enjoyed the evening's bonfire--owned by Kix Brooks), and Martin's Barbeque Joint. Then we headed back to the hotel, exhausted from a great couple of days. If only we could celebrate each quarter of marriage with a trip as good as this one...

3 comments:

ZikPot said...

A site where music fans can play a game like in the stock exchange and win some cool item is here

Katie Lady said...

That is very cool, and Joel and I are totally jealous.

Patois said...

Wow! Another item off the list. And what a heck of a time.