BLUEGRASS NIGHTS AT THE RYMAN RETURNS TO THE BIRTHPLACE OF BLUEGRASS
Springer Mountain Farms Sponsors Annual Ryman Bluegrass Series
NASHVILLE, TN (May 6, 2013) The prestigious Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman concert series will mark its 20th annual run this year. As it has since 1994, the series will feature the very best in bluegrass with shows taking place each Thursday from June 20 through July 25.
The lineup will kick off with twenty-time Grammy® award winning singer-songwriter and Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill on June 20. Seven-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Vocal Group of the Year and 2012 IBMA Hall of Fame inductee Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will take the stage June 27. Reigning IBMA Entertainers of the Year The Gibson Brothers will perform at the annual Red, White and Bluegrass Night on Independence Day July 4. On July 11, bluegrass legend and Grammy® Award winner Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys will return to the series with hit songwriter and fellow Grammy® award winning artist, Jim Lauderdale. July 18 will feature Dailey & Vincent, Grammy® nominees for the Best Bluegrass Album. Perennial favorite and ten-time Grammy® award winning artist Ricky Skaggs and his eight-time IBMA Instrumental Band of the Year Award winning Kentucky Thunder will round out the series on July 25.
The inaugural Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series took place in 1994 at the then newly renovated Ryman Auditorium. The first show featured the father of bluegrass himself, Bill Monroe, and the angelic Alison Krauss. Over the last twenty years, the series has become a Nashville summertime tradition as it regularly presents the biggest names in bluegrass on the very stage where the genre was born back in 1945.
"There is no better place in the world to listen to bluegrass than the Ryman Auditorium," said Sally Williams, Ryman General Manager. "We're proud to continue the tradition that began back in 1945 when Bill Monroe, Lester Flatts and Earl Scruggs appeared on our stage together for the first time."
2013 Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman line-up:
June 20 Vince Gill
June 27 Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
July 4 The Gibson Brothers
July 11 Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys & Jim Lauderdale
July 18 Dailey & Vincent
July 25 Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and are preceded by 650 AM WSM's Pickin' on the Plaza featuring regional bluegrass bands from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The free showcases take place just outside the main entrance on the plaza near the statue of Captain Thomas G. Ryman.
Bands featured on Pickin' on the Plaza:
June 20 Crosswind
June 27 Flatt Lonesome
July 4 TBA
July 11 Freshwater Creek
July 18 Copper in Steel
July 25 TBA
Tickets are on sale now through the Ryman box office, online at ryman.com or by calling 615-458-BLUE. Tickets are $27.50 for individual shows. Series passes for all six shows are only $147.00.
RYMAN AUDITORIUM NAMED POLLSTAR THEATRE OF THE YEAR
The Historic Venue is Honored by Industry Leaders For Third Year in a Row.
NASHVILLE, TN (February 11, 2013) The historic Ryman Auditorium was named Theatre of the Year Thursday night in Los Angeles at the 24th Annual Pollstar Awards. The award was voted on by industry peers and is widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. The Ryman was nominated along with five other theatres: Austin City Limits at The Moody Theater Austin (cap. 2,765), Beacon Theatre New York City (cap. 2,829), Fox Theatre Atlanta (cap 4,670) , Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Los Angeles (cap 7,100), Radio City Music Hall New York City (cap. 6,013). The Ryman has a seating capacity of 2,362.
This win marks the third year in a row that Nashville's iconic venue has been named Theatre of the Year by Pollstar Magazine. During the last fifteen years, the venue has won the award a total of five times. The Ryman was ranked 15th domestically by Pollstar for ticket sales in the Theatre category for the year-ending 2012.
"Coming to a concert at the Ryman is an unparalleled experience the rich history, the amazing sound and the intimacy of the room all make for a concert event that just can't happen elsewhere," said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. "We're incredibly honored and grateful to our peers for naming the us Theatre of the Year for a third year in a row. We like to say that we make history one night at time and that's just what we will continue to do in the year ahead."
2012 was a stellar year for the historic venue. Highlights included sold-out, three-night stands with Mumford & Sons in March and Christmas at the Ryman with Amy Grant & Vince Gill in December as well as two night stands with A Prairie Home Companion, Andrew Peterson, Bonnie Raitt, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jack White Band, NEEDTOBREATHE and Snow Patrol. Ben Folds Five, The Civil Wars, Diana Ross, Jackson Browne, Martina McBride, Old Crow Medicine Show and Ringo Starr are among the other artists who played the Ryman in 2012. The venue also was seen on TV screens across the country last year in ABC's hit show "Nashville," "Austin City Limits Presents Americana Music Honors Live," and a Sony camera commercial staring Grammy®-award winning artist Taylor Swift.
Upcoming shows at the Ryman include: fun. February 16, Indigo Girls March 9, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds March 16, Keith and Kristyn Getty & Friends March 17, Alan Jackson March 20, Dwight Yoakam April 12, The Temptations and The Four Tops April 14, Gary Allan April 17 & 19, The Black Crowes April 20 & 21, Il Divo May 8, A Prairie Home Companion May 11, Dispatch May 29, She & Him June 13, Fall Out Boy June 30, Victoria Justice August 9 and Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman Thursdays June 20 July 25.
PROUD TO BE HERE! THE LEGACY OF MINNIE PEARL NOW ON DISPLAY AT NASHVILLES HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM
NASHVILLE, TN (November 1, 2012) Nashville's iconic Ryman Auditorium is thrilled to unveil its most recent exhibit: "Proud to be Here! The Legacy of Minnie Pearl." The exhibit, included in the price of the self-guided tour, celebrates the life of one of the America's favorite characters, Cousin Minnie Pearl.
"How-dee! I'm just so proud to be here!"
With that audacious greeting, Minnie Pearl introduced herself to generations of fans on radio, television and stages around the world. A fun-loving, man-crazy, gossipy country girl with an endless supply of hilarious stories about her hometown of Grinder's Switch, Cousin Minnie Pearl charmed audiences for over fifty years and became a beloved icon of comedy and country music.
The woman behind Cousin Minnie Pearl, Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, would have turned 100 years-old this month. The Ryman exhibit chronicles her life from her years at Nashville's Ward-Belmont School where she was named "Most Humorous" by her class to her long and storied association with the Grand Ole Opry, which took place on the Ryman stage from 1943 - 1974. Cannon based Cousin Minnie on a woman she met while touring with the Sewell Production Company after college.
"I dressed her as I thought a young country girl would dress to go to meetin' on Sunday or come to town on Saturday afternoon to do a little trading and a little flirting
I felt myself moving out of Sarah Ophelia Colley and into Minnie Pearl.
- Sarah Cannon
The display prominently features one of her famous powder-blue gingham dresses and flower-adorned straw hat with its $1.98 price tag still intact. Other items include Cousin Minnie's Country Music Hall of Fame plaque, an oversized Hatch Show Print, scripts and Cannon's National Medal of the Arts medallion, which she received in 1992. Cannon donated her entire memorabilia and all of her costumes to the Grand Old Opry archives. The exhibit is pulled from that collection and showcasing it at the Ryman makes it truly a one-of-a-kind offering for Cousin Minnie and country music lovers alike.
Along with entertaining millions of fans all over the world on radio and television, Cannon was known for her charitable and humanitarian works. She raised money and volunteered for March of Dimes, the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, Goodwill Industries and Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
Six years after her own diagnosis with breast cancer, in 1991, she gave her name to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center and the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation to help raise funds and awareness, and to provide support for those suffering from the disease. She was a tireless advocate for early detection and research for a cure until her passing on March 4, 1996.
"Minnie Pearl has no age
no pressures, no problems. When I get in her skin, when I put on the costume and hat and come out and start working as her, I am a different person. Somebody asked me the other day 'What makes Minnie Pearl cry?' I said, 'she has never cried. I have cried, but she hasn't. A lot of times, she has kept me from crying.'"
- Sarah Cannon
It's Minnie Pearl herself, along with her good friend Roy Acuff, who first greet the Ryman's daytime patrons via a fine art bronze sculpture by Tennessee artist Russ Faxon. The sculpture features the Grand Ole Opry stars seated on a bench and makes the perfect spot for a photo op! Click here to see Pearl and Acuff share a few jokes on the Opry stage.
The Ryman Auditorium is open for tours 9:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Self-guided tours are $13.00 for adults and $6.50 for children 4-11 years old. Backstage tours are $17.00 for adults and $10.50 for children 4-11 years old. (subject to availability.) Other exhibits currently included in the daytime tour are Johnny and June at the Ryman, Grand Ole Opry 1940s & 1950s and Grand Ole Opry 1960s & 1970s, as well as the famous Hatch Show Print Gallery.
NASHVILLE'S ICONIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM HONORED AS SRO VENUE OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY CMA
General Manager Sally Williams Named IEBA's Venue Executive of The Year
NASHVILLE, TN (October 11, 2012) - In a special ceremony held Tuesday evening as part of the annual IEBA (International Entertainment Buyers Association) Conference, the Ryman was awarded the SRO Venue of the Year presented by CMA (Country Music Association.) 2012 has been a record-setting year for the world renowned venue. The Ryman already has welcomed over 125,000 concert fans and will have hosted 250 events by year-end. Highlights on the Ryman stage thus far in 2012 include: Ben Folds Five, The Band Perry, Bonnie Raitt, The Civil Wars, Diana Ross, Dierks Bentley, Jack White, Jackson Browne, Martina McBride, Merle Haggard, Mumford & Sons, Ringo Starr and Trace Adkins. Industry trade publication Pollstar recently ranked the Ryman nineteenth among theatres in the U.S. and twenty-fifth world-wide based on ticket sales through the end of the third quarter 2012.
"We are humbled by the accolades bestowed upon us by our peers," said Sally Williams, General Manager of the Ryman. "Our team strives day in and day out to provide the best entertainment and to create memorable experiences for both artists and audiences. We thank the industry for this recognition."
Also during the IEBA Conference, Williams was named Venue Executive of the Year. A well-respected live music industry veteran, she has been with the venue since 2008 and is only the eighth general manager in the building's 120-year history. She plays an active role in the community including serving on the Music City Music Council and the Executive Committee for Leadership Music as President Elect. Williams also was honored as Promoter of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2010.
"Sally has provided exceptional leadership for the Ryman. Her passion for the Ryman as a business and as an American cultural icon is shared by her extraordinary staff," said Steve Buchanan, President, Grand Ole Opry Group of Ryman Hospitality Properties. "Sally continues to build the relevance and importance of this revered venue for both fans and artists alike as the best place to hear music or to perform on the planet."
Upcoming shows at the Ryman include: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals October 12 & 13, Jamey Johnson October 16, Rufus Wainwright October 19, Shaquille O'Neal presents All Star Comedy Jam October 20, STS9 October 24, Opry Country Classics October 25, Alanis Morissette October 26, moe. October 27, Bonnie Raitt October 28, Ian Anderson October 30, David Sedaris November 1, Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds November 5, STYX November 8, Regina Spektor November 11, Chris Young November 15, Christmas For Kids featuring Charlie Daniels & Friends November 19, Ray LaMontagne November 29, Skaggs Family Christmas December 6, Brian Setzer's Christmas Extravaganza December 9, Straight No Chaser December 13, Andrew Peterson & Friends December 16 & 17, Amy Grant & Vince Gill Christmas December 18, 19, & 20, and Old Crow Medicine Show December 31. The venue also hosts the annual winter run of Opry at the Ryman Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays November 2 through January 26, 2013.
RYMAN AUDITORIUM RELAUNCHES ONLINE STORE AND INTRODUCES NEW IPHONE CASE
iPhone case exclusive to online store
NASHVILLE, TN (August 31, 2012) - Ryman Auditorium launched a new online store today that will improve the shopping experience for their virtual retail customers around the globe 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fans of the famed Nashville venue will now be able to purchase Ryman collectables, t-shirts, Hatch Show Prints, iconic images from the Gillingham Collection, seat cushions and more via store.ryman.com. The new online store offers consumers an easier shopping experience than the previous online store and offers a wider variety of products. For the first time ever, customers will also be able to set up virtual "wish lists" to share with their family and friends.
One of the most exciting new products launching with the store is the iPhone case made by Nashville-based Griffin Technology, Inc for iPhone 4 and 4s. The sturdy plastic cover shows the Ryman as artists see it looking out from the stage over the historic pews with the shimmering, iconic stained glass windows in the back. The case retails for $29.99. The initial limited edition run of iPhone cases will be exclusive to the online store. "Both companies the Ryman and Griffin are full of music lovers, and we were excited to work together to bring this product to fans," said Sally Williams, Ryman General Manager. "Having the Ryman on your iPhone case allows you to put the Mother Church in your pocket and keep it with you at all times."
The perfect companion to the Ryman iPhone case is the Ryman mobile app, available for download in the iTunes store for free.
The upcoming lineup of shows coming to the Ryman this fall include: Dead Can Dance September 4, Americana Awards & Honors September 12, Metric September 14, Ben Folds Five September 17, Grizzly Bear September 18, Umphrey's McGee September 21, ACM Honors September 24, International Bluegrass Music Association Awards September 27, Martina McBride September 28, David Byrne and St. Vincent October 2, Gotye October 3, Mary Carpenter Carpenter October 5, The Shins October 7, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals October 12 and 13, Jamey Johnson October 16, Rufus Wainwright October 19, Shaq All-Star Comedy Jam October 20, STS9 October 24, Alanis Morissette October 26, Moe October 27, Bonnie Raitt October 28, Ian Anderson October 30, David Sedaris November 1, Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher November 5, Styx November 8, Regina Spektor November 11, and Christmas For Kids November 19. Opry Country Classics will also return each Thursday October 4, 11 and 25. The annual winter run of Opry at the Ryman shows will be begin on November 2 and run through the new year.
BLUEGRASS LEGEND TO EXHIBIT HIS PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM PRIOR TO PLAYING SPRINGER MOUNTAIN FARMS BLUEGRASS NIGHTS SERIES ON JULY 26, 2012.
(NASHVILLE, TN) July 18, 2012 Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs returns to the Ryman stage on Thursday, July 26, 2012 as part of the annual Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights series. Prior to the concert, the Ryman will host a special exhibit of Skaggss photography. An avid photographer, Skaggs recently hosted his third exhibit in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Skaggs captures sweeping landscapes and the reality of small town America on his Nikon D3 using Nikkor lenses. Prints from the exhibit will be available for sale. Its fitting that Skaggss first photography exhibit in Nashville be at the Ryman given his long and storied history with the Nashville icon. Skaggs will be available to sign artwork and additional merchandise items for fans approximately fifteen minutes after the end of the concert. Artwork and merchandise will be displayed in the upper lobby area of the Ryman.
"Photography has long been a passion of mine. This week at my Ryman show, Im excited to share that passion with my fans during this special exhibit," said Skaggs.
Entry into the exhibit is included with the concert ticket price and will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $26.50 and are on sale now through the Ryman box office, online at ryman.com, or by calling (615) 889-3060.
The annual Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series is currently in its nineteenth year and features a virtual whos who in the genre. The 2012 series included performances by Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent and more. Skaggss July 26 performance closes out the series for the year. In 2006, the State of Tennessee presented the Ryman Auditorium with a historical marker designating it as the official Birthplace of Bluegrass.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is preceded by 650 AM WSMs "Pickin' on the Plaza" featuring A Step Ahead from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The free plaza show takes place just outside the main entrance near the statue of Captain Tom G. Ryman. Pucketts Grocerys food truck, Trolley Parton, will also be on the plaza starting at 5:00 p.m.
NASHVILLE'S HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM NOMINATED FOR VENUE OF THE YEAR BY THE COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION'S SRO AWARDS.
NASHVILLE, TN (MAY 29, 2012) Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium has been named a finalist for the Country Music Association's (CMA) touring industry honors known as the Standing Room Only (SRO) Awards. Final ballots have been sent out. Voting for the SRO Awards runs through June 11.
Country legends and rising stars alike took to the Rymans venerable stage in the last 12 months. Country Music Hall of Famers Merle Haggard and George Jones both wowed sold-out crowds and Bluegrass pioneer Doc Watson enthralled a captivated audience during the annual Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman concert series. The iconic venue also welcomed the high-profile headlining debuts of multiple CMA award winners The Band Perry and The Civil Wars in early 2012. Other notable performances included: two-night stands by Glen Campbell as part of his Farewell Tour, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas and Amy Grant & Vince Gills annual Christmas show. Many of country's biggest stars chose the Ryman in the past year for meaningful events for their fans. CMA Vocal Group of the Year Lady Antebellum hosted a private Fan Club party, Dierks Bentley kicked off his tour with an album release party for his most recent album "Home," and after vocal surgery earlier this year, the Grand Ole Opry's newest member, Keith Urban, famously made his performance return during a special Opry at the Ryman. In 2011, forty-one Opry at the Ryman shows and ten Opry Country Classics performances took place at the Ryman and were broadcast live on 650 AM WSM radio and online at wsmonline.com.
"To be nominated for an SRO Award is especially meaningful because it is voted on by our peers. We're fortunate to work behind-the-scenes with a wide variety of talented artists and professionals in order to offer the best in entertainment here at the Mother Church," said Sally Williams, General Manager of the Ryman. "We're thrilled that the voting body of the CMA has honored us with this nomination."
The 2012 SRO Awards will be presented later this fall during Country Music Month in October.
RYMAN AUDITORIUM NAMED THEATRE OF THE YEAR BY POLLSTAR MAGAZINE
The historic venue receives the honor for the second year in a row
NASHVILLE, TN (February 8, 2012) Friday night, at the 23rd Annual Pollstar Awards held in Los Angeles, California, the Ryman Auditorium was named Theatre of the Year for the second year in a row. The award was voted on by peers and is widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. The Ryman was nominated along with only five other theatres in the nation: Beacon Theatre in New York City, Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Radio City Music Hall in New York City and Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie in Grand Prairie, Texas.
This marks the fourth Theatre of the Year win in the last ten years for the 120-year-old venue. The Ryman also is the reigning Academy of Country Music Venue of the Year.
"We are extremely grateful to our peers in the concert industry for awarding us this honor two years in a row," said Sally Williams, General Manager. "The Ryman is a very special building not only for Nashvillians, but also for music lovers all over the world. We continually strive to create memorable, unique experiences for all visitors from the artists on stage to the fans in the pews."
2011 was full of memorable performances at the Ryman. Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Amy Grant & Vince Gill and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals all played multiple nights at the Nashville icon. Other notable concerts included Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, Daniel Tosh, Daryl Hall and John Oates, The Flaming Lips, George Jones, Glen Campbell, Jeff Beck, Kid Rock, Paul Simon, The Raconteurs, and Tom Jones. The Mother Church of Country Music also hosted a combined forty-nine Opry at the Ryman and Opry Country Classics shows, eighteen performances of the beloved bio-musical "Always Patsy Cline" and its annual Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series featuring Dailey & Vincent, Doc Watson, Doyle Lawson, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush and Vince Gill. Television tapings included Austin City Limits Live's "Americana Music Awards," CMT's "Country's Next Superstar" and GAC-TV's "Academy of Country Music Showcase."
On January 30 the Ryman announced it would replace its stage for the first time in sixty-one years. In the days that followed, the historic stage saw two very special last performances. One February 2 Dierks Bentley took to the stage for his second-ever headlining Ryman performance to celebrate the release of his album, "Home." On February 3 the Grand Ole Opry closed out its seasonal run at the Ryman with a very special show featuring Opry members including The Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Pride and Steve Wariner as well as Keith Urban. The show marked the first live performance by Urban since his recent vocal surgery. "It's just magical every time I play the Ryman," Urban commented to the Tennessean as he stepped off stage.
The new stage, constructed primarily of FSC certified Brazilian Teak, will feature an 18" section of Oak from the 1951 stage running across the front to honor the historical significance of past performances. The stage replacement project began on February 4 and will be complete in time for the headlining debut of The Band Perry on February 20.
The upcoming line-up of shows at the Ryman includes: NEEDTOBREATHE February 23 and 24, Lewis Black February 25, Diana Ross March 2, Mumford & Sons March 6, 7 & 8, Andrew Bird March 19, The Moody Blues March 21, Gabriel Iglesias March 23, Daughtry March 30, Kevin James April 2, Snow Patrol April 3, Merle Haggard April 11, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones March 14, The Fresh Beat Band April 15, Jammin' To Beat The Blues featuring Vince Gill & Friends April 17, A Prairie Home Companion April 21 & 28, Tedeschi Trucks Band April 29, Feist May 1, Trace Adkins May 18 and Todd Snider & Justin Townes Earl June 2. Opry Country Classics returns each Thursday March 29 May 24.
NASHVILLE'S HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM TO REPLACE STAGE
NASHVILLE, TN (JANUARY 30, 2012) Ryman Auditorium, the 120-year-old iconic venue that witnessed the evolution of country music during the Grand Ole Opry, the filming of "The Johnny Cash Show," world class performances by Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Wilco, Neil Young and so many more of modern historys greatest entertainers, will replace its stage for the first time since 1951. The new stage will feature an eighteen inch section cut from the existing stage running across the front to honor the historical significance of past performances. A now famous circle of the same Ryman stage wood resides center-stage at the Grand Ole Opry House.
"Artists cherish the chance to perform here because they know theyre following in the footsteps of their heroes," said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. "Fans relish the unparalleled acoustics, the intimate environment and the only at the Ryman moments that that are common here. By making this investment we are insuring that future generations of artists and fans will be able to enjoy these same experiences." The project will begin on Saturday, February 4 and the final events on the current stage promise to be suitably memorable. Dierks Bentley will return to the Mother Church of Country Music on Thursday, February 2 with a special concert celebrating the release of "Home," his brand new album. "Ive told the story a million times about how I used to walk down the alley and touch the bricks of the Ryman on my way home from playing the bars on lower Broadway it has always been one of the most precious places in Nashville and in country music to me, said Bentley. "My 'Home' album release show will have even more meaning to it now the significance of that stage and who played there before me will definitely be in the back of my head all night. As a member of the Grand Ole Opry, I couldnt be any prouder." Nashville roots-rock favorite Will Hoge will open the show.
The last performance on the stage will take place on Friday, February 3 when the Grand Ole Opry closes out its annual winter run at the Ryman. The show will feature Keith Urbans first performance since vocal surgery, Opry members including Charley Pride and The Oak Ridge Boys and rising stars Edens Edge. During his last Ryman appearance, on GAC-TVs "Music City Keep On Playin'" flood benefit in 2010, Urban said of the Ryman, "Theres no place I'd rather play."
The project will be completed within two weeks and the first public performance on the new stage will take place on February 20 as Grammy® nominees, The Band Perry make their sold-out Ryman headlining debut. "To play the Ryman is to step into country musics rich history and we are honored to perform there. Now, as the venue makes plans for its future, we promise to inaugurate the new stage with all the respect and reverence it deserves," said Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry. The Band Perry is one of the countrys premiere new acts, having achieved platinum status with their current self-titled album, number one status on both the country charts and adult contemporary charts with their song If I Die Young, and Best New Artist awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.
Installed in 1951, the current stage reflects the wear and tear of events ranging from simple acoustic performances to major theatrical, concert, television and film productions. Replacing the Rymans sixty year old stage is important to insure the integrity of the National Historic Landmark for future generations. In addition to offering an improved performance surface, the new stage will have a greater load-bearing capacity to insure safety and increased durability to withstand the strenuous production requirements of modern events.
During the stage replacement project, the existing hickory support beams will be strengthened with concrete at their bases and the joists will be reinforced with steel brackets. Additionally, new cross-beams will be put in place to further enhance the structural integrity of the stage. The current oak plank stage will be replaced with Brazilian teak certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, the same type of wood used to replace the Grand Ole Opry House stage after the 2010 flood. Currently, the Ryman's oak stage can bear 40,000 pounds of weight. By using teak products, one of the hardest woods available in the world, the new stage will be able to support up to 120,000 pounds. The size of the stage will remain unchanged at 60.5 by 36.5.
To honor its role in an unparalleled history of classic performances, an eighteen inch strip of the oak planks from the current stage will run along the front of the new stage. By combining the lighter oak of the past with the deeper colored teak of the future, performers will still have the opportunity to touch the stage where so many of their heroes once stood.
The project will begin the morning of Saturday, February 4. Craftsmen will work a minimum of 12 hour days, seven days a week to complete the project within two weeks. Around-the-clock security will be present as the current stage is dismantled and the oak planks are moved to an off-site location. An announcement on future plans for the historic planks will be made at a later date.
The Ryman will remain open for daytime tours throughout the project and will offer a special rate of $10.00 for self-guided tours daily from February 3 February 20.
The Band Perrys performance on the new stage will be followed by a diverse line-up of concerts and events including: NEEDTOBREATHE February 23 and 24, Lewis Black February 25, Diana Ross March 2, Andrew Bird March 19, The Moody Blues March 21, Gabriel Iglesias March 23, Daughtry March 30, Snow Patrol April 3, Merle Haggard April 11, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones March 14, The Fresh Beat Band April 15, Jammin To Beat The Blues featuring Vince Gill & Friends April 17, A Prairie Home Companion April 21 & 28, Tedeschi Trucks Band April 29 and Trace Adkins May 18.
RYMAN AUDITORIUM STAGE HISTORY
1892 - When the Union Gospel Tabernacle opened its doors in 1892, it was used primarily for religious revivals, most notably those by Reverend Sam Jones for whom the building was built. Although without a stage at the time, the building did host concert performances by artists ranging from Fisk Jubilee Singers to John Philip Sousa. It wasnt until Tom Rymans death in 1904 that the venue was renamed Ryman Auditorium in honor of the man who was the chief benefactor and driving force behind its construction.
1901 - At the special request of the Metropolitan Opera, funds were raised and the first stage was finally built so that the Ryman could accommodate performances of "Carmen" and "The Barber of Seville." The addition of a stage made it possible for the Ryman to host luminaries from every facet of the entertainment business including the likes of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, Helen Hayes, Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Harry Houdini, Orson Wells and Mae West. Speeches were made by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft as well as Williams Jennings Bryant and Booker T. Washington. The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman in 1943 and for 31 years its broadcast served as a beacon to bring the pioneers of classic country music to the Ryman. Bluegrass music traces its origin to the Ryman where on December 8, 1945 Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt on the Opry for the first time. It was during an Opry show in 1949 that Hank Williams made his debut and was called back for six encores.
1951 - The Rymans existing stage was removed and replaced by a larger, more durable stage that allowed the venerable building to meet the production needs of performances at the time. The Grand Ole Opry entered the realm of television in 1955 bringing the likes of Roy Acuff, The Carter Family, Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl, Marty Stuart and Porter Wagoner into homes coast to coast. Johnny Cash was among those who got his start on the Opry during this time. He would go on to film The Johnny Cash Show at the Ryman, bringing an eclectic mix of guests to the Ryman ranging from Neil Diamond to Stevie Wonder and from Eric Claptons Derek & The Dominos to Linda Ronstadt.
1994 - During the Ryman's major renovations in the early nineties, stage improvements included the addition of a proscenium as well as accommodations for modern audio and lighting systems. The Ryman's diverse programming has continued with the biggest names in show business including The Black Keys, Harry Connick, Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Lady Antebellum, The Raconteurs, Robert Plant, Van Morrison and more. The Ryman also has been featured in many television and film projects including "American Idol," Levon Helms "Ramble at the Ryman," Neil Youngs "Heart of Gold," "Coal Miner's Daughter," O Brother, Where Art Thou? concert film "Down from the Mountain" and Austin City Limits Live "Americana Music Awards."