Where We Be
Here we be, standing on the stage at Ryman Auditorium,
the "Mother Church of Country Music." Any requests?
Nashville, Tennessee
Ryman Auditorium first opened its doors in 1892! For 80 years it thrived until falling into disrepair in the '70s. It has since been restored to its former glory.
The Ryman is once again a favorite performing venue for today's country music artists
These distinctive buildings are part of the Nashville skyline
This is the grand entry area of the Country Music Hall of Fame with its well-laid-out multimedia exhibits celebrating country music then and now
The Country Music Hall of Fame is the largest popular music museum in the world -- it houses more than one million artifacts
Gold and platinum albums cover whole walls
The highlight of the day was getting to visit one of the most famous recording studios in the world -- RCA's Studio B
This is where Elvis recorded most of his great hits. Note the colored lighting on the ceiling which Elvis would adjust to set the mood for a particular song.
Sitting at the Steinway used to accompany dozens of hit songs. Elvis himself would often tickle the ivories here.
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In the evening we paid a visit to the Grand Ole Opry House, which is part of the Opryland Resort about 9 miles east of downtown Nashville
The auditorium first opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. It was built by Thomas Ryman, a reborn riverboat captain and saloon owner.
View from the top of the balcony looking down on the stage
When WSM-AM started broadcasting the Grand Ole Opry at 50,000 Watts in the 1930s,
suddenly they were reaching nearly 30 states with their popular Saturday night music program
Minnie Pearl was a favorite performer at the Grand Ole Opry; she wore a signature hat with a $1.98 price tag hanging from it
Dolly gets her star on the Music City Walk of Fame
This funky car is one-of-a-kind -- note the gun-handle doors and the saddle between the seats! Elvis' solid gold Cadillac is also on display next to this car.
Standing next to the giant guitar outside the Grand Ole Opry House
If you visit Nashville, be sure to visit the Opryland Hotel and spend an hour or so wandering around the amazing interior gardens. Fantastic!
Getting to see the Opryland Hotel decked out with Christmas trees and Christmas lights was a true highlight of our time in Nashville
We've never seen anything quite like this -- thousands of dangling white Christmas lights overhanging beautiful gardens below
Just for fun -- the same image as above but in black and white
Here is a "ponsettia tree" in the midst of the gardens
This amazing Christmas tree stands inside the enormous Opryland Hotel
Even Shrek likes the gardens at the Opryland Hotel
Nashville's Ryman Auditorium is known as the
Mother Church of Country Music because so
many great stars have performed here. The
theater was the original home of the Grand Ole
Opry. It fell into disrepair in the 1970s but was
eventually restored to its former glory and is
today a national landmark and one of the most
beloved performance stages in America. At the
end of our self-tour we went up on stage and
got our picture taken with guitars in hand. Fun!

We walked to the Country Music Hall of Fame
and paid for the Platinum Package ($32 each)
which included an audio tour of the museum
and, more importantly, a tour of RCA Studio B. A
bus took us to the “Music Mile” where Studio B
is located. Our guide regaled us with stories of
the artists who recorded there, then we filed
into the studio itself, a surprisingly plain room
for being so famous. But this is where Elvis
recorded nearly all of his hits and where the
"Nashville Sound" was born. Dolly Parton was
rushing to her first recording session at Studio
B when she crashed her car into the side wall
and left her mark on country music! Even stars
of the present day come here to record, since
Studio B is still active. The stories made the
tour. For instance, we heard about how Elvis
would dim the colored lights to set the mood
for a particular song -- he even recorded "Are
You Lonesome Tonight?" in total darkness!
The Ryman was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly radio show that was hugely popular from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The show continues to this day, but in 1974 it moved to the newer and larger Grand Ole Opry House nine miles east of downtown Nashville.
No air conditioning on hot summer nights
meant lots of hand fans like this one