Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tennessee: Nashville Cats

How did we end up here – heading back westward? Somehow our itinerary was missing five days so we had extra time up our sleeves before we had to arrive in DC.

And Nashville Tennessee seemed like the perfect place to visit.

Staying a short drive from downtown, the first thing I did was book tickets to the Grand Ole Opry - "the home of American music" - the radio/live show that's been running since 1925.

The twice weekly show is back in its original venue after flooding earlier in the year closed the new complex in Opryland.

If we’d been there in two weeks we could have seen country superstars Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood (omg).

Driving into the city it’s hard to miss the giant Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with piano key-shaped windows.

The museum is wonderfully put together and would interest any music lover – country fan or not.

Interactive exhibits, movies and displays chart the development of Country and its influences.

Numerous guitars, fiddles, banjos and mandolins that belonged to the likes of Johnny Cash, Karl Perkins and Hank Williams are displayed throughout the museum.

On a more extravagant scale, the museum also has Elvis Presley’s golden car and golden grand piano.

The last part of the museum holds items from recent country superstars and exhibits based around song writing.

Final stop on the tour is the Hall of Fame honouring the important figures in Country Music history.

The main entertainment area is one block away from the Museum and is centred on Broadway. Not a terribly large area, from 2nd Ave to 5th Broadway is covered with bars, venues and souvenir shops – kind of like a mini New Orleans, but less seedy and more hillbilly.

A handy free bus service loops the city and we hopped aboard for the Tennessee State Capitol building and farmers’ market which seemed to be going through a series of renovations so was less than impressive.

Later on that evening, we came back in town at the Ryman for the Opry.

The building is very old with two circular levels. The design features many beams and posts means there are a number of seats where your view is more wood than performer.

With popcorn and drinks in hand, and an unblocked view, we settled in for the show.

Out group of performers ranged from old-time hall of famers who still have it to up and coming country heart throbs.

As the show is broadcast live on the radio the ads are recorded live by an announcer as well - in a very cheesy 1950s way. The song in the video above is a cover of the Johnny Cash number 'Luther Played The Boogie Woogie' by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.

The setlist for our outing was...
Friday August 13:
7:00: Mike Snider(host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C. Newman; Chuck Wicks
7:30: Ricky Skaggs(host); Jim Ed Brown; The Whites
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); The Grascals; Vince Gill
8:45: Marty Stuart(host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

So next time you find yourself in Nashville make sure you check out the Opry!

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
    The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.