Wednesday, July 1, 2015
A Night at the Opry
We took in the show on Friday Night (June 26th) for the taping of the longest running radio program in the country (which can be found on WSM 650AM as well as streamed online from the Opry website and mobile apps and on SiriusXM satellite radio). For having decided late in the afternoon to go, we managed to score some amazing seats (section 4 row D) - basically center stage. For two hours, we were treated to a wide variety of musical acts.
The first was the Farm, the country music trio of Nick Hoffman, Damien Horne and Krista Marie. From the opening notes of their 2011 hit "Home Sweet Home", I was an instant fan. I loved their energy and how they engaged the crowd. They followed it with their 2012 hit "Be Grateful", whose message of being thankful for what you have was inspirational.
Next up was Mike Snider, a bluegrass banjo player and humorist who got his start in the early 80's. In 1990, he was inducted into the Opry by comedian Minnie Pearl, and he even appeared on Hee Haw from 1990 to 1996. He brought with him a trio of musicians who entertained us with a pair of instrumental numbers.
Smith then came back to close out the first act with another wonderful number. Her vocals were amazing.
The second half hour was hosted by the Riders in the Sky. This quartet of colorful western musicians seamlessly mix music and comedy into their performances. They have won two Grammy Awards and even did "Woody's Roundup" for Toy Story 2, and they have appeared at the Opry over 700 times.
Their first guest was Rhett Akins who began his country recording career in the early 1990's. Akins delivered two tunes for the audience. Next out was Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, a bluegrass band who hail from Georgia.
The Riders closed out the segment with another rousing number, this one lead by Too Slim (Fred LaBour)- who had a bit of fun with the sign-language interpreter who was signing for some hearing impaired audience members.
The third act was hosted by country music legend Bill Anderson, another Country Music Hall of Fame and Opry member. His career has spanned decades, starting out with making records in 1959. He has also had a number of spins on television, including a three year stint acting on the ABC soap opera One Life To Live.
After his first number, he introduced the Whites, a family group who got their start in country music in the early 1970's. They appeared also on the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Per the format, they entertained the audience with two tunes from their catalog.
Anderson then closed out the segment with his 1963 hit "Still", featuring the Opry Land backing vocalists in a prominent duet role.
Next, we were treated to some more bluegrass courtesy of Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press, a group that is also a family affair as it features his sons. Osborne had been recording since the 50's and is also a member of the Opry. One of their numbers included a rousing rendition of the favorite "Rocky Top" which had everyone clapping and singing along.
Next, Doyle Dykes came out to deliver, on his acoustic guitar, a patriotic medley in appreciation of our men and women in the service; it really moved the audience. For his second number, he was joined by the Booth Brothers, an American gospel group, who continued to touch the spirits of the audience.
Diamond Rio then closed out the show with another of their hits.
All in all, it was an amazing night of music. I found a number of groups I'm ready to seek out albums for, and I even plan on tuning in on occasions on Friday and Saturday nights for the weekly broadcast.