I’m the furthest thing from a country music traditionalist — for most of my life I didn’t even care for it — and while I find it fairly ridiculous that the current site of the Grand Ole Opry is basically in a mall parking lot, my primary reason for wanting to go to the Ryman Auditorium was to respect the history it represented as the Opry’s home for decades.
However, the film shown before we entered the auditorium showed a different side of the Ryman, not that it used to be a church (although it was), but from the days it was associated with country music through its recent revival, it has been a place for musicians of all genres to perform: Wilco, Springsteen, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, Tori Amos (who was there last night), Coldplay and the Jonas Brothers. (Regarding the last two, I just said they were there. I didn’t say anything about them being good.)
Ray Charles sang “Ring of Fire” on “The Johnny Cash Show” at The Ryman.
Why have all these artists made their way to The Ryman — which by the way, is a beautiful building?
Probably for the same reason as we did — because it’s a place you have to go to when you’re in Nashville.