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Experience Country Music Legends at the Grand Ole Opry


Thanks to the Grand Ole Opry for sponsoring our visit to the Country Classics night! All thoughts are my own.

Without music, life would be a mistake. This famous Nietzsche quote sums up the iconic Grand Ole Opry. Without the Grand Ole Opry, we wouldn't have the birthplace of Country Music, the comedic acts of Minnie Evans found on Hee Haw, or any of the musicians that grace our presence giving us a chance to view life differently and uniquely today. 

How-DEE! The iconic phrase uttered every time Minnie Pearl set foot on stage for Hee Haw & the Grand Ole Opry still rings across the venue today. 

Minnie Pearl, otherwise known as Sarah Opehlia Coffey Cannon, graced the Opry House for over 50 years with her comedian character on Hee Haw, one of the TV Shows filmed in the Opry House. Pearl, a Grand Ole Opry Member, still is referenced today and is visually seen in remembrances dedicated to her during the backstage tour of the Opry House.

The Grand Ole Opry is a show that you don't want to miss if you are headed to Nashville. Heck, people head to Nashville JUST to participate and see the show! 

The oldest running radio show ever, the Grand Ole Opry is soon to celebrate 100 years of history. 

Currently in their sixth location, the Opry has survived wars, cultural division, natural disasters, and more. Yet, her music lives on through the radio, through YouTube video, and through in- person visits. 

We had the amazing experience to visit the Opry House for the Country Classics night. This dedicated show pays homage to the late and greats that turned Country Music into the industry that it is. 

Hosted by Larry Gatlin, the Opry Country Classics is a night full of songs that you will definitely love, especially if you are familiar with older country music. The staged was graced by the presence of Gene Watson (whom my mom adores), songwriter Jim Lauderdale, The Gatlin Brothers, Craig Campbell, and Sister Sadie. 

This show is still live, with announcer Bill Cody bringing the jokes and laughter in between sets. The Opry is a perfect way to celebrate birthdays, special occasions, or just to see some great singers perform great music! 

We heard homage to the late great Loretta Lynn, heard old time Gospel hymns, and lots of Gene's own music. The Opry has their own house band, but each artist is invited to bring their own band to back them up. The Opry House band is truly a unique site to see, but man, Sister Sadie brought the bluegrass with their unique instruments!

I also loved learning about Craig Campbell. An upcoming artist, Craig's voice reminds me of 90's artists like Alan Jackson and Joe Diffie, as he has a unique sultry sound while playing the piano and strumming the guitar. Don't miss his latest album, which actually just came out a week ago! 

The regular Opry shows that occur on the weekends often have newer country stars as spotlight specials, with hosts, like Vince Gill, leading the evening. 

If you don't know about the Grand Ole Opry, here's a brief history:

In 1925, a radio station was launched using the slogan We Shield Millions, funded by National Life Insurance (thus using their slogan). After the launch of a successful radio show, the WSM National Barn dance developed, hitting radios across the country. Of course, from there, the Barn Dance transformed into the show it is because of Uncle Jimmy Johnson's great fiddle playing. From there, the journey continues and still continues today. Read all about the unique history here

As I've stated, the Opry has had it's home in six different venues, with the largest part of its history in the Ryman Auditorium. Known as the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman and the WSM Radio Show helped artists like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash & the likes rise quickly to fame. All performed in the Grand Ole Opry too. 

The last show at the Ryman was in 1974 ending with the song "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" sung by Johnny & June Carter Cash. The very next night, the adventure continued in the 4,400 seated Opry House that we know and love today. WSM & the Grand Ole Opry had outgrown the Ryman and all her glory, and this new house gave them more room, better technology access, and room to grow. 

The Opry and her new house haven't been without its challenges over the years, as it's seen floods and forced cancellations of live in audience shows. Yet, she persists and has never missed a show, even with all of her moves, since 1924. The legacy continues to live on today, showing us that the circle truly can be unbroken, even if performers have given shows to empty audience halls, even if challenges of war and civil unrest have caused chaos, and even through financial constraints. 

Be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance, especially if it's a holiday season or weekend show. The Opry doesn't announce its big names until closer to the show, and once announced, tickets WILL sell out. Don't buy your tickets from third party vendors-buy directly from the Opry website. While not all shows sell out, it's still recommended to purchase tickets as soon as you know that you are heading that way! 

The venue does have drink and snack booths, and is located in the Opry Mills section of town. The mall, cinema, and Opryland all surround the Opry House. You can pay for parking or park in one of the Opry Mills lots and visit restaurants, shops, and Opryland before your show. 

The Grand Ole Opry is a testament to Country Music, to the artists that strive to make this radio show live on, and provide a unique and exciting way for people across the world to experience music. Now, even though the radio station still exists, shows are streamed across the world, so that millions can be touched by the music created on this very stage. 

We had the opportunity to make a last minute decision to attend the post-show backstage tour, usually sold out before the show is ended. See the dressing areas, learn about the history of Opry Membership, and view the areas that the late greats once have stood.

 If you are lucky enough, you just might witness a star or two from backstage if you purchase the package that allows you to view the show off-stage! The backstage tour also offers a chance for you to stand foot on the classic stage, at the microphone, that entertains millions across the world. Get your photo taken and purchase for an additional fee after the tour is over! 

The Opry Country Classics Show and the Grand Ole Opry Shows are must- visit attractions while in Nashville. You might be lucky enough to catch an Opry Show at the Ryman, as they visit their once- used venue on occasion, especially around the holiday season or special occasions. 

You never know what you might witness at the Grand Ole Opry! Performers have to be invited to the stage, but they don't have to be members in order to perform.  Yet, many performers are invited for the purpose to be offered membership. For those that have, they know that they have made it. There is an Opry Board that determines membership for Country Music Artists, but its usually those that love the Opry, do great in the world of Country Music, and do great things for the community at large. 

Next time you are in Nashville, even if you don't know anything about country music, head to the Opry House for a Night of the Grand Ole Opry! You won't be disappointed!

Want to visit?

The Opry House is found 600 Opry Mills Drive. 

The Grand Ole Opry operates several nights a week. Check out the calendar to find a show during your next Nashville visit! 

The Grand Ole Opry announces special artists for upcoming shows on their socials. Follow to see who the latest Opry member is, to see special occasions, and to find when your favorite artists are hosting or playing at the venue! 

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube 

Have you ever been to the Grand Ole Opry? 

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