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The Ryman Auditorium - Stories and Memories


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Beginning in the mid '40s, the Ryman Auditorium was the original location of "The Grand Ole Opry" (actually the name of the concert/showcase, not the building from where it's performed.)  In the mid '70s, Nashville built "The Grand Old Opry House", and the show moved from the Ryman (although a circle was cut out of the Ryman's stage as a honorarium, and installed at the center of the Opry House's stage. Ryman Auditorium was built in the 1890's as a Christian meeting house and tabernacle. It's a little hard to tell from most videos, but the architecture is very old-school church, with pews instead of individual seats, and stained-glass windows all-around.  It was the "birthplace" of country music, and has quite an interesting history: https://ryman.com/history

 

Do you have a story or memory about The Ryman to share?

 

Mine: In fall of 2018, my daughter and I performed as part of a gospel choir. The venue was TGOOH, not The Ryman, but we stood on the circle of its old stage, together. That's as close to the real pro music biz as I've ever been. 😎

Legend '70s Compact, Jupiter-Xm, Mojo Suitcase

 

 

 

 

 

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Played there several times: on the Opry, couple of Award Shows and on tour with a few artists. Played a Country Legend’s funeral there in the 90s. It’s a terribly wonderful venue and I feel mighty bad for anyone who has to listen under the balcony.

 

I met Dr. John on that stage and got to listen to Robert Plant tell stories backstage. I saw the Chick Corea and Bella Fleck duo concert and got to meet Chick after the show. 
 

What a life!

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Proud to have played the Opry at the Ryman with several different artists over the years. The Opry is the longest continuously running radio broadcast which makes each show an historical event. Joe Diffie used to host an annual benefit concert at the Ryman for First Steps, a special needs pre-school in Nashville. One year The Judds performed a rare reunion set that I got to enjoy from monitor world. One Opry night I found myself standing next to Ray Davies backstage. No telling who would turn up.

 

As George88 can tell you, the best seat in the Ryman is the piano bench. From 2001, me with Joe Diffie. 

 

 

 

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9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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I’ve played there a couple times with an artist, as well as on the Opry at the Opry House.

On one of the gigs at the Ryman, Earl Scruggs was there to sit in with us on a couple numbers. Before the show I saw him walking around the backstage area, looking at all the pictures on the walls. I thought, wow…what memories and ghosts he must be remembering and seeing.

 

The Ryman is a wonderful venue… so full of history and mojo. A magical place. First time I was there was in ’75. I was on a tour and it was on a day off. The bass player and I had been tooling around lower Broadway and we walked over to the Ryman. There wasn’t anything going on, and the doors were open, and nobody seemed to be there, so we went in and gave ourselves a private tour. Nothing had been renovated then…I don’t think the building had even been air-conditoned yet. The backstage area & dressing rooms were as they had been forever. They’ve since been completely rebuilt.

The vibe inside the empty & silent Ryman was something I’ll never forget.

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I think the Ryman is best experienced from the stage.  Those old pews are awfully uncomfortable!😆  Hard to believe, but in the 30 plus years I've lived here, though I've been in the pews a few times, I've only played on stage once, with Steve Earl.

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Don't rush me. I'm playing as slowly as I can!

 

www.stevenathanmusic.com

https://apple.co/2EGpYXK

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The Union Gospel Tabernacle (Ryman) .... 

 

If you take the Ryman tour you really get it's history..... it was built by a Cumberland Steamboat Magnet who didn't want the port on the Cumberland river to get rid of the Bordello's and Bars.... good Steamboat business....prior to the auditorium being built, a small war had been going on...A local holy roller Preacher hounded him for years to clean up the port side of Nashville by the Cumberland river and the preacher gained more and more support to clean it up in the local country around the city in Tent Revivals. Ryman owned fleets of Steamboats with gambling/booze++, a very successful guy, most successful on the Cumberland.  the red light Dist. was only a few blocks down from where the Ryman is, past the Honky-tonks. Ryman  had enough dough to do all this, he Was the river. and until he lost his Daughter and Wife unexpectedly and young, which sort of freaked the poor guy out ... He wanted nothing to do with cleaning up the red light river port district... then after they passed, he became a holy roller himself and stopped fighting the now famous local preacher and befriended him and his followers after 10+ of waring over the topic.   As he embraced religion he built the Ryman for the preacher to preach and have Religious services AND shows...Sunday Services +> Laurel and Hardy, Enrico Caruso and the Marx Bros. Country Music and European Orchestras and 1920's Jazz, wasn't just country in the old days before Opry and Services.... THEN it went Country Big Time (or bigger time Country)  with Grand Ol Opry and with that woman who managed the Ryman for years who kept the place in business and afloat .. forgot her name ... she's was I believe responsible for bringing in the Grand Ol Opry to sort of save the place is how the story goes if I remember it correctly... My wife and I went on vacation to Nashville and Memphis a few years back.... we loved it. 

 

Here, tells briefly about the Tent revivals that were getting more and more folks to try and clean up Nashville..... And a bit of Captain Thomas Ryman story and a time line: https://ryman.com/history/    

 

The 'New' Opry is in a Mall a few miles down the Interstate from Nashville now! (not far) 

 

Religion only transformed his life after his Wife and Daughter passed, so the event hear did not occur until they had passed and t: 

'the war' was over ... figure 10-15 year I believe they said, maybe less, not sure... 

 

"Captain Thomas Ryman Attends A Tent Revival In Nashville

 

May 10, 1885 – It was religious inspiration that took this building from a dream to reality.  Specifically, it was the inspiration of a powerful, charismatic evangelist named Sam Jones.  On May 10, 1885, a wealthy, rough-hewn Nashville riverboat captain named Thomas Ryman heard Jones speak at a tent revival three blocks from where Ryman Auditorium stands today.  Jones’s words transformed Ryman’s life.  Ryman became a man who looked to a higher God for his calling rather than looking to money. Ryman and Jones dreamed of creating a tabernacle as the religious gathering place for the city.  Eventually, Nashvillians joined Ryman and Jones.  This dream became their dreams, too.  The people of the city donated both time and money to complete the Union Gospel Tabernacle, the name of the new building when it opened to the community in 1892."

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SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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14 hours ago, Legatoboy said:

The 'New' Opry is in a Mall a few miles down the Interstate from Nashville now! (not far) 

 

 

Near a mall.  It used to be near Opryland, a really nice family amusement park and proving ground for up and coming talent. They bulldozed it for the mall and Nashville is worse for it.  The Opry House is a really nice facility and sounds great.  The room sound is softly reverberant--you're aware of the size of the room but never swamped by reflections. A pleasure to play in.   

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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5 hours ago, ksoper said:

Maybe in was Opryland.... it's been a while... the new Opry room is much more state of the art for sure... nice looking environment also, a pleasant place not the the Ryman isn't, just much older.... I live up north,  only been there once.  But the Ryman tour... that stayed with me... what a great American story that is... I loved it.   

 

"Near a mall.  It used to be near Opryland, a really nice family amusement park and proving ground for up and coming talent. They bulldozed it for the mall and Nashville is worse for it.  The Opry House is a really nice facility and sounds great.  The room sound is softly reverberant--you're aware of the size of the room but never swamped by reflections. A pleasure to play in.  "  

 

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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