Last night I attended my first concert at the Ryman with my wife and daughter. A few months ago, my wife and I had toured the Ryman but actually attending a concert in this historic venue was something totally different. The concert itself wasn’t that spectacular in my opinion with Kacey Musgraves performing her Christmas tour but sitting in the same place where country legends have played was amazing. At times, when you heard that country “twang” you could sense what it was like when Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn or the other country greats have performed.
I’m not a country music fan and about the extent of my country music knowledge came from watching episodes of Hee Haw growing up but you could feel the spirit of country music past in the Ryman.
With the Ryman having originated as a church in 1892, you first get the feel of a church when you sit in the church pews. The building became the home of the Grand Ole Opry in 1925 and remained there until 1974 when the Grand Ole Opry House opened at what is now the location of the Opry Mills mall and Opryland Hotel.
Although we had seats in the very last row of the balcony (thanks to an unlucky draw in the lottery on the day I bought the tickets) we still had a good view of the stage. The acoustics were good and the vocals were easy to understand as the sounds bounced off the walls and ceiling of the historic building.
Some other interesting facts about the Ryman:
- The Country Music Awards shows were performed and broadcast live from the Ryman from 1968 – 1973.
- Ringo Starr recorded his 72nd birthday concert at the Ryman on July 7, 2012.
- Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline made their Opry debuts at the Ryman.
- The Johnny Cash Show was recorded and broadcast from the Ryman between 1969-1971.