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Wednesday, September 23

Country, When Country Wasn't Cool (Barbara Mandrell)

We rolled into Nashville in the afternoon, stopping to visit the Parthenon and Centennial Park before heading down to Music Row to soak up the culture.  What we hadn't counted on was not being able to take the kids into most of the places after a certain time...luckily, a few are "open bars," which allowed us to stand outside and listen to the music.

Traffic in this area of town is insane!  Find a parking lot, pay your fee, and walk as much as possible.  Most of the museums, like the Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame, are within walking distance.  The modern-day Grand Ol' Opry House is a few miles away, however, and you'll have to drive over there.
The small museums are just as much fun as the larger ones!  We visited the Johnny Cash Museum, the Sun Records Museum, and the Dukes of Hazzard Museum.  Many of these discourage photography inside.
The highlight of our stop, however, was the Ryman Auditorium.  The youngest is as much into music as his momma, and we had special arrangements to record our very own duet!!!  Life can be very cruel, however, and this is how that day began :
Oh well.  No worries...we'd just have fun!  After hanging around waiting for it to open, and appreciating the architectural grandeur of the building, we headed in for a behind-the-scenes tour of the former home to the Grand Ol' Opry!

After dancing around a bit, and getting the wiggles out, the kids met with Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff.  We got a little history of the Ryman and watched Minnie work her comic magic!
The auditorium itself hasn't changed much over the years.  Granted, it fell into ruin and was completely renovated, but standing there now is like being there sixty years ago.  It's easy to fall back in time and fall in love with classic country all over again.  The equipment, however, is state-of-the-art, and they produce several shows there each year.
Around the sides of the auditorium are several cases filled with country music memorabilia, such as Patsy Cline's gold record and classic outfit; the dress worn by Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter; one of Johnny Cash's black suits; and much much more!
Finally, it was time to step into the recording studio with my little bug-a-boo and record our duet.  There are only a handful of songs to choose from for the recording, and that was very difficult since he only knew one of them.  On the other hand, we didn't obsess over which song to record!!  Hank Williams Sr. is not an artist that my voice lends itself to on a regular day, and the combination of his speech impediments with my throaty hoarseness was...interesting.  We had a blast!!  And we recorded a song that will remain safely tucked away in our own home.  But you know, #YOLO.  You only live once!  Make it count! 

Grand Ol' Opry Unit :