Since the Great Flood of May 2010 entered the Grand Ole Opry House and damaged the venue, the oldest radio show in the world has become sort of a "traveling minstrel show", you might say! It's returned to former homes at times, and at times it's been in new places. Last week's Grand Ole Opry (Sat.) for example was in a hall at David Lipscomb University for the very first time!
Tuesday the Eighth it was back in a former TEMPORARY home, Municipal Auditorium. It was there for awhile following the 1975 Flood that inundated Opryland Park and seeped into the Opry House basement area. THAT flood was not nearly so destructive as was the recent inundation! THIS particular show also reached back into the past in another way: early in the afternoon as the MTA bus I was on circled around Municipal Auditorium before entering Music City Central (the bus depot is next door), I saw a long line of people waiting to purchase tickets. During the Opry show's stay in the Ryman in the middle of the past century, it became famous, indeed notorious, for the long lines snaking around the block.
So this was sort of a "blast from the past" in a way!
Eddie Stubbs, WSM-AM 650 deejay & Opry emcee, referred to the history of the Opry in Municipal Auditorium during his opening the show yesterday. He also spoke of how, despite the terrible flood, Nashville as Music City USA is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
We got treated to a great musical opening to Tuesday's Opry! Like most Opry shows it began with the Opry stage band performing and nobody singing. Tuesday's opening piece was "Steel Guitar Rag" from Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. It's probably my favorite purely instrumental piece that features steel! And yours truly has an on-going love affair with the pedal steel guitar! Afterward the band performed a second instrumental number, which they seldom get to do. It was "Redwing", a nice country/folk style creation which featured the fiddle.
As for singing artists, well, there were some great ones! Legendary Bill Anderson sang first. Later, Mandy Barnett started off with a Patsy Cline song (she played Patsy in a show at the Ryman). Then she did a jazzy version of an Ernest Tubb song ("Walking the Floor" I seem to remember). Josh Turner continued to entice me with his fresh sound that still has roots in traditional country music. And it was great to hear Trish Yearwood back on the Opry stage. She's been cast for over a decade, yet in recent years seldom performs due to touring about her cookbook.
Final act slot was reserved for the star/artist who's making "the most noise" currently. But I was just as happy to lose my radio by time of her appearance and not have to listen to Carrie Underwood. She has a vinegar voice and a hard-rock style that grate on my ears. The only reason Carrie won the American Idol contest and then Opry membership is, I'm very certain, not due to any talent but rather to her being a very sexy blonde.