Category Archives: Grand Ole Opry

Happy Birthday to The Grand Ole Opry

Its that time of year again. The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating another birthday. And, as usual, you are invited to the party.

The 89th birthday celebration at the Grand Ole Opry will fill the Opry Plaza with festivities for all. Join in the fun for all the free activities at the Opry Plaza Birthday Party, October 11th. You’ll be treated to free live music, games and prizes, balloon artist, caricaturist, face painting and even free line dance lessons. The Pucketts Trolley will be available for tours, and you can find treats and beverages for purchase, like cotton candy and kettle corn.

The special birthday concert Saturday afternoon features Craig Morgan, who produced hits like International Harvester and Little Bit of Life. And the Saturday evening concert brings Trace Adkins and Clare Bowen to the stage, along with others.

Join in the celebration in Nashville, October 10, 11 and witness the 89th birthday of the show that made country music famous.


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Country singer and songwriter Marty Stuart will be performing at the Grand Ole Opry, on September 30. Stuart, an Opry Member since 1992, admits he’s been obsessed with country music since an early age. He joined Johnny Cash’s backup band in the 1980s, and has had a string of hit singles including Arlene, Hillbilly Rock and a remake of Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry.

The Opry performance coincides with the release of Stuart’s double album, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Created with his band, The Fabulous Superlatives, The Saturday Night side features rollicking country music, and covers of some country classics by George Jones and Hank Williams. Stuart covered the hits with an intricate balance of the band’s own touch, and honoring the original artists. The Sunday Morning side is all Gospel, built with powerful vocals and ornate harmonies. Both sides promise to give you a “they just don’t make them like this, anymore” feeling.

After the Opry Show on September 30, Stuart will be on hand in the Opry Shop, for photographs and autographing copies of the new release. Be sure to book tickets for this Opry show, and stop in for an autographed copy of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. While you’re there, you may want to wish Marty a happy birthday as well, the show and album release happen to be on his 56th birthday.

Country Cares

For 25 years country music radio stations and country music artists have given their time and efforts to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Through the program radio listeners can call in to make donations to the hospital.  Since the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program began in 1989, it has raised $200 million in pledges to support the hospital.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, the Grand Ole Opry is hosting a special show on September 23, 2014. The special show will feature a St. Jude patient as guest announcer, and will share photos and videos of special moments from the 25 years of the successful fund-raising program.

Grand Ole Opry bradpaisleyArtists performing in the anniversary celebration show include the Charlie Daniels Band, Eric Paslay, the Opry debut of Maddie and Tae, and closing the show with a full 30-minute set, country superstar Brad Paisley is scheduled to perform including music from his newest CD, Moonshine in the Trunk.

Make plans to be in Nashville to be a part of this commemorative show and radio broadcast.

Visit Willie Nelson and Friends Museum

The oldest continuously operated country artist museum in Nashville, dedicated to honoring country music pioneers, is the Willie Nelson & Friends Museum and General Store.

You can easily spend a few hours browsing the displays of hundreds of personal items chronicling the musical history of Willie Nelson and more than 30 other famous country music artists including Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, Webb Pierce. They’re always adding more memorabilia to the incredible collection which includes Willie Nelson’s Martin guitar, from his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1963 and his 1979 CMA Entertainer of the Year award.

You’ll find handwritten lyrics, personal diaries, and concert outfits from entertainers like Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell. There’s even Ronnie Milsap’s one of a kind autographed Playboy magazine, printed in Braille!

Willie Nelson and Friends MuseumThe General Store is the largest souvenir shop in Nashville with Jack Daniels, Elvis and Johnny Cash merchandise, along with hundreds of other novelty items and t-shirts, mugs, keychains and the like. You’ll easily find just the perfect gifts for anyone on your list, young and old, and probably a few items that you just can’t do without.

No trip to Nashville would be complete if you don’t have the right hat, and Willie Nelson’s General Store has hundreds of western hats from which to choose. Be sure to include this fun museum and store on your next Nashville trip.

Country Music Fan Vacation

While you are in Nashville to visit the Grand Ole Opry, include a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, for a full-on country music experience.

Vacations Made Easy has a convenient vacation package that includes your admission to the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, a Homes of the Stars Tour and four nights lodging in your choice of more than 90 hotels.

Tour the Nashville area past homes of some of your favorite recording artists, like Alan Jackson and others, plus former homes of musical pioneers, including Hank Williams.  There is plenty on this tour to satisfy any country music fan appetitie.

Country_music_hall_of_fame2The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a work of art in itself.  The astounding building designed to resemble piano keys, and in the shape of a bass clef, houses exhibits along the timeline of country music.  Country music fans will delight to explore at their own pace the countless artifacts and memorabilia and the Hall of Fame.

Of course the Grand Ole Opry is the main attraction, with an amazing line-up of artists.  Make a plan to enjoy a Country Music Fan Package.

The First Star of the Opry

Over all the years of history of the Grand Ole Opry there have been many stars.  But, who was the first star of the Grand Ole Opry?  The answer may surprise you.

Deford Bailey is considered the first star of the Opry.  Bailey was known as a Harmonica Wizard.  He was born just East of Nashville, and raised by a family of musicians who played what he called ‘black hillbilly music.’  At the young age of three, he contracted polio and while bedridden for months, learned to play the harmonica.

In 1925 Bailey worked operating the elevator in the building which housed WSM Radio.  He became friends with a performer from WSM’s Barn Dance, who invited him to be on the show.  In 1928, Bailey was selected among the first artists to be recorded when the Victor Talking Machine Company came to Nashville.

The ‘Harmonica Wizard’ was a crowd favorite and played on the Opry until 1941. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

A Sweet Grand Ole Opry Sponsor

The world’s first ever combination candy bar was invented in 1912, in none other than Nashville, Tennessee.  There were chocolate bars on the market, but none that incorporated other ingredients.  The Standard Candy Company combined a mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate, and called the creation a Goo Goo Cluster.

The story of how they came up with the peculiar name has some variations, but boils down to the fact that the first sound uttered by most babies, is “goo.”  The candy’s inventor decided that could work into a good advertising slogan, a candy so good, people ask for it from birth.

The candy was sold at the Grand Ole Opry (GOO) which was established in 1925, 13 years following the candy’s debut.  And the Standard Candy Company was a long-time sponsor of the program.

Happily, you can still get Goo Goo Clusters today, and you can still visit The Grand Ole Opry.

The House that Country Built

We all have a place from our past that holds rich, warm memories.  Maybe it’s the home where you grew up, or a favorite family vacation destination.  The kind of place that when you return, you’re flooded with the sights, sounds and smells from an earlier time.  You walk in and its as if the walls are talking to you, and all your friends and family who shared the space are with you in spirit.

Country music has a place like that, too.  Its the house that country music built, The Grand Ole Opry.  The whole place is alive with the history of performers and performances from the past eighty-some Grand Ole Opry john conleeyears.  If these walls could talk, they’d have such stories to tell, from iconic greats like Roy Acuff to knee-shaking first performances by up-and-comers.  And stories of the thousands of audience members who have shared laughs and tears and heard some bow-burning fiddle playing.  So many memories and emotions have filled the Grand Ole Opry House, along with so many amazing performances.

Isn’t it time you visit Nashville and return to the House of country music to revel in the culture and make some new memories?

Grand Legends Tour

Experience the most famous Nashville sites with a Grand Legends Tour.  Of course the tour starts at the Grand Ole Opry House, where you’ll get a tour of the plaza.  Then you’re off to the Gaylord Opryland Resort, where you will see the most amazing indoor landscaping.  Within the glass dome covering four and a half acres of spectacular gardens and waterfalls, you will ride in style through this paradise on a Delta Boat.

For even more of the Nashville experience add a Discover Nashville Tour and you’ll get to visit the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and more.

Gaylord OprylandTake advantage of these great tours so you don’t miss any of the legendary spots in Nashville.

Experience The Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is not just a country music show.  It is legendary.  It is Epic.  Even the most famous of Superstars who have performed at the Grand Ole Opry, stars who have played to crowds in the tens of thousands, will tell you nothing can compare to the Grand Ole Opry.  Its something in the history, the tradition, in the 75 years of defining country music, that sets the Opry apart.

Here’s what a few of the performers have to say about the Grand Ole Opry:

Garth Brooks:  “I’ve said it for the record a thousand times.  I’ll say it again a thousand times.  This is the pinnacle of what I do.  Nothing has ever touched being a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Grand Ole OpryTravis Tritt:  “The Grand Ole Opry is one of the few performances in this world that will make my knees shake a little bit.”

Henry Paul of Blackhawk:  “There’s been a lot of people who’ve sold records, but if you aint played the Opry, you aint done jack.”

Bill Anderson:  “The Grand Ole Opry is to a country singer what Yankee Stadium is to a baseball player, Broadway is to an actor.  It’s the top of the ladder, the top of the mountain.  You don’t just play the Opry.  You live it.”

The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is an experience you have to live to understand, both to the performers, and the audience.