This past week I went to Nashville for Spring Break with my family, where we spent four days touring Music City and experiencing the history and pride of Nashville.
On Sunday we went downtown to Broadway Street, the heart of the Nashville music scene. We returned to Broadway several times throughout the week to explore the shops, music, and eateries.
On Monday we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and RCA Studio B. The Hall of Fame was interesting. My favorite feature was the walls covered in gold and platinum records. RCA Studio B is where Elvis Presley recorded nearly 200 songs. Many other artists such as Dolly Parton, Eddie Arnold, Porter Wagoner, and the Everly Brothers recorded there as well.
Tuesday was the day for all things Opry. We started the day off by exploring the atrium and gardens at the Opryland Hotel, and then we went to the Grand Ole Opry Museum. The museum was very similar to the Hall of Fame, except it only featured Opry members. After that we killed some time across the street at Opry Mills, doing a bit of shopping until our backstage tour of the Opry House.
The Opry House is amazing. So many talented musicians have performed there; it's truly a piece of history. We got to go backstage and see all of the dressing rooms. We even got to go out on the stage. There is a circle in the center of the stage that is actually cut out from the stage at the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Every person who has ever performed at the Grand Ole Opry has stood on that circle.
Tuesday night we went to the Grand Ole Opry show. It was different from what I expected because it is a live radio show. There were eight bands/performers, and each had a 15 minute set. In between sets, the announcer read sponsors and commercials for the radio show. We saw Riders in the Sky, the Steep Canyon Rangers (who tour with Steve Martin), Jeannie Seely, Love and Theft (one of my favorite bands), John Conlee, Terri Clark, Little Jimmy Dickens (who is 89 years old and still performing), and Exile.
Ryman Auditorium, known as the Mother Church of Country Music. It's a beautiful venue. There's also a small recording studio housed at the Ryman which used to double as a studio and radio broadcasting booth. They have a list of songs that you can record. I sang "My Baby Loves Me" by Martina McBride. It's basically a well-produced karaoke track, but I had so much fun making it.
I also got to drive around Music Row, where all the record labels and publishing groups are centralized. There are literally streets lined with old houses that have been converted into music offices. Who knows? Someday I could be working in one of them.