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Unread 1 Nov 17, 06:53 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Touring Tennessee Day 20: Johnny Cash Museum & the Grand Ole Opry

We all slept in a little after the late night and were later to breakfast than we would usually have been. There was quite a good spread but the room was a little crowded, so we thought we would try and be a bit earlier tomorrow.

We were heading into downtown Nashville today, so got in the car and drove to the Nissan stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans - my sister had given us the heads up that you can park there for free if it isn't a game day. We weren't the only people taking advantage and it was a great tip!

It is a fairly short walk across the bridge over the Cumberland river, with some great views of the Nashville Skyline.



We also got another photo of the four of us from a helpful passerby.



First activity today was the Johnny Cash Museum, which was very close by. We all like Johnny Cash, and Evan is a particularly big Cash fan, so we were quite excited about this. He had worn his Sun Studios t-shirt especially. Believe it or not, he was really happy to be there!



The museum is really interesting, telling the story of Cash's life, with plenty of music. There was a really good exhibit where you could listen to "Get Rhythm" in a variety of formats, from old 78" disc to a digital version, hearing the differences in all the recordings. Another section had Johnny Cash covers from a variety of singers, including a quite horrific version of "I walk the line" by Snoop Dogg.



There was a section on the Million Dollar Quartet, which was particularly interesting as we had already visited Sun Studios where the session took place. We also enjoyed the video about Johnny Cash's acting career, which we didn't realise had been so extensive. Fortunately, he got better at acting as he got older.

The museum finishes at the end of Cash's life, with the video for "Hurt" playing. It is an emotional song anyway, and I found it very moving to see him at the end of his life. Obviously the museum assumes that you are a Cash fan, but it paints a picture of a very talented and also very intelligent and spiritual man. We all really enjoyed it.

The shop, alas, wasn't inspiring and we thought the merchandise was quite expensive. Heading out, we turned a corner and found ourselves on Broadway. It was lunch time and the streets seemed to be full of lairy drunk people, with pedal taverns of whopping bachelorette parties going by and lots of neon and flashing lights. In the daylight, it all looked pretty tacky and we made a swift exit. Not our cup of tea at all.

Looking for food, we found Jimmy Johns and got some sandwiches, which we ate in the shade while we planned the rest of our afternoon. We weren't too far from the Ryman, so walked there, even though it meant having to brave Broadway again.

We didn't do the Ryman tour but had a little mooch outside, looking in the shop and getting a picture with the statue of Little Jimmy Dickens outside.



Both the Grahams and Rod Picott had recommended Robert's Western World to us and as it was nearby, we decided to visit. Me and Paul had to produce ID and the kids had to have their hands marked with a black cross to show that they were underage, which they were quite amused by. I guess it was in case they sneaked off to buy their own drinks - which was highly unlikely as they are both complete freeloaders and happily let us pay for everything!

Robert's is the only real Honky Tonk left on Broadway. They don't play modern chart country music - the bands are all old school country and western swing and it is just the kind of music we like. We had a drink and sat and watched the Silver Threads who were great fun. There is no cover charge and the band play for tips, so you drop a few dollars in the jar when it comes around. We wished we had ordered food in here as it looked good value. For the first time on Broadway, we felt like we were really in the home of Country music.



We could have stayed a long time but we had tickets for the Grand Ole Opry later that evening, so reluctantly we headed to the car and drove back to the hotel to have a quick swim and then get ready.

The show starts fairly early and we didn't think there would be a lot of time to eat beforehand, so we decided to eat at Opry Mills which is next door. We settled on Panda Express and had a decent meal in the food court. Then we made our way round to the Opry.

We had been looking forward to this for a long time and bought our tickets months ago. I will admit than when the line up was announced a few days before, we weren't exactly overwhelmed. We knew Sunny Sweeney and Turnpike Troubadours were going to be good but we didn't really know the other acts and had been hoping for someone like George Strait or Willie Nelson. But we knew you always get a good show, so we were happy to be there anyway.



We had seats up in the circle area with a good view of the stage. The acoustics are great and the show sounded really good. As it is a live radio show, it all moves like clockwork and each artist only does a couple of songs. We hadn't realised that the announcer, Eddie Stubbs, actually reads out the commercials and that was quite entertaining itself. He was completely unflappable and quite a star in himself.

First up we had Glen Campbell's daughter, Ashley Campbell, who was great. She did one of her own songs and then one of her Dad's songs, "Try a little kindness" and got his sisters on stage with her to sing it, which was lovely and quite emotional.



She was followed by Mike Snider, who came out and made us laugh by saying "It's alright, I ain't never heard of you neither!" He is a bluegrass banjo player and very funny, introducing his band with a variety of insults before playing some excellent bluegrass music.



The second section of this act wasn't as good - Mark Lowry was okay and Shenandoah were just a bit dull. The Whites were hosting this section and they were quite good fun, getting their nephew on stage to sing "Stay on the Sunny Side" with them.

Then it was the interval so we got our "At the Opry" photo.



It all moves at a good pace, and we had Jeannie Sealy as the next host. The first band was Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press who did awesome bluegrass, including "Rocky Top" which is the theme song for the Tennessee Volunteers. Bobby himself is 85 and quite tiny but a very commanding figure and we really enjoyed them.



Then we had the Turnpike Troubadours who Paul had seen before and who are another really good bunch of musicians.



The final section was hosted by Riders in the Sky who were very funny but also excellent musicians in their own right. They did "Woody's Round Up" in Toy Story 2 and sang that right at the end of the show.



This section also included Sunny Sweeney who we really enjoyed, alongside Thompson Square who were again good.



The whole show was fantastic and we really enjoyed just being there. The variety of music is so good and while we didn't really know at lot of the artists beforehand, we discovered some new music and the experience was quite unlike anything we've been to before. I would definitely recommend it if you visit Nashville.

As we left, we called to the Store where we got t-shirts, fridge magnets and a Christmas ornament. Evan again managed to bag a bargain, getting a reduced kids t-shirt that fitted him perfectly, once again cementing his title of Bargain Hunter of the holiday.
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Unread 1 Nov 17, 07:29 PM  
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Melbatb
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What an interesting day - you certainly packed a lot in!

The Ole Opry seems like it was a great experience!
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Unread 1 Nov 17, 07:50 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
What an interesting day - you certainly packed a lot in!

The Ole Opry seems like it was a great experience!
It definitely was - we had such a good night.
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Unread 4 Nov 17, 05:33 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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Join Date: Feb 11
Great day in Nashville , fab pics, we didn't really " get " the Johnny Cash museum , I think we made a boo boo going there rather than the Hall of Fame . The night at the Opry sounds fun - we saw Mike Snider, he was so funny ( if not a bit un pc ..._) and we liked the bluegrass music. The mc/advert announcer is brilliant isn't he - just keeps a straight face and reads it all out so seriously !
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Unread 4 Nov 17, 07:33 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Great day in Nashville , fab pics, we didn't really " get " the Johnny Cash museum , I think we made a boo boo going there rather than the Hall of Fame . The night at the Opry sounds fun - we saw Mike Snider, he was so funny ( if not a bit un pc ..._) and we liked the bluegrass music. The mc/advert announcer is brilliant isn't he - just keeps a straight face and reads it all out so seriously !
The Hall of Fame was really good . . . Sorry! We are big Cash fans and I guess you have to be to really enjoy the museum.

Looking forward to hearing all about your Opry trip!
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Unread 5 Nov 17, 05:54 PM  
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RachelM
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What a fantastic day.
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