One of my favorite things to take part of in Nashville is a night out at the Opry. Whether it’s classic artists or a bluegrass band or one of Country Music’s biggest names; there’s something undeniably special about it. It only gets more exciting when the Opry goes to the Ryman, which happens once a year in the month of December. Fans and travelers from all around the world line-up around the block to get into the Ryman, sit in those pews, and be part of the show that made countrymusic a staple for many American families.
I’d seen the Opry a number of times at it’s usual home, but this was my first time ever seeing a show at the Ryman, and it couldn’t have been a better experience. I showed up at the last minute in hopes that a few straggler tickets had been released, and I was lucky enough to get seated in the first row of the balcony. Though, I’ll be honest, there’s not a bad seat in the Ryman. It’s a small venue with stunning acoustics, where you sit side by side with your neighbor in traditional wooden pews, almost as if you’re in church. And really, it is the church of Country Music. It very music feels like you’re taking part in a spiritual moment, sharing the music with the people around you, and getting sucked into the quiet reverie of the show. At the Opry, people don’t have casual conversations over the music, they sit and they listen and they love what they’re hearing.
On December 13th the Opry line-up was one of those that I just couldn’t pass up. Despite being a procrastinator, I was lucky enough to catch the 9:30 show, which probably had a lot to do with me being willing to go by myself. The show featured an incredible line-up including; Carrie Underwood, John Conlee, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, Craig Morgan, Bill Anderson, Kacey Musgraves, and even the Opry Square Dancers. That’s not even all of them. We heard some cuts from Carrie Underwood’s newest release, Decade 1, including Blown Away and Jesus Take The Wheel. The tiny girl with the big voice was rocking a sexy skin tight black dress, showing off the adorable little baby bump that’s all but popped over the past few weeks. Craig Morgan brought us a little big of that Sunday afternoon feel with That’s What I Love About Sunday and showed off a ton of his hilarious personality when he hosted the introduction for the Henningsens. Another beautiful pregnant woman, in the form of Henningsens frontwoman Clara, serenaded the crowd with Christmas tunes straight off their new Christmas album Our Family Christmas. Even more Christmas music was played when Kree Harrison took the stage alongside Emmylou Harris for an acapella version of the classic Christmas tune The First Noel. Kree had no problems blowing the audience away even on her own, especially when she got personal with a ballad about the loss of her mother and the things family can discover about their loved one when they’re gone. It brought me to tears, one of a few times that night I found myself on the verge of sobbing. When it comes to music, it happens to me all the time, I’m over even being embarrassed about it.
Another stand out moment was seeing Kacey Musgraves perform Follow Your Arrow to a dedicated crowd that chanted and sung right along with her. From the moment I first heard Kacey over two years ago, all I could hope for was the chance to hear more and more of her music. And while her album has done exceptionally well, better than I could have imagined, the most awe inspiring aspect to her fame is the acceptance of her honesty. Especially in a place like the Opry. It was a really special moment that I’m so happy I could be a part of.
Check out more of my Opry pictures below. Have you ever been? Let me know what your favorite thing about the Opry is in the comments below! Or tweet me, @JukeboxMixtape!