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Who Hillbilly-Music.com
What Hillbilly-Music.com Attends the Grand Ole Opry
When June 1, 2002
Where Nashville, TN
Released June 1, 2002

Hillbilly-News.com attended WSM's Grand Ole Opry during its visit to Nashville while attending the International Country Music Conference. The visit to the Opry was a perfect way to cap a weekend devoted to the study of Country Music history. And a chance to see how the Opry had changed since our last visit, when stars such as Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff were performing.

As we visited Nashville that weekend, we couldn't help but try to recall what we had seen in previous visits, some going back a couple of decades to compare to what one sees now. Gone are such shops as the Little Roy Wiggins Steel Guitar City that was on Broadway, just a short walk away from the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. But still there are such icons aa Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.

We recalled past visits to the Opry - the hot summer weather reminded one of those hot summer evenings standing outside the Ryman Auditorium waiting to get in. Little boys and girls selling the little hand fans. Music coming over the speakers at the record and souvenir shops that were near by.

But in 2002 it's a new setting even from our last visit to the Opry at the Opryland complex. Gone is Opryland the theme park. In its place is suburban sprawl - the Opry Mills shopping complex that has many music-themed areas. It seemed easier to park now for the show at the Opryland theatre as one can park in the mall parking lot. What seems missing are the little lounges that are near the old Ryman Auditorium where fans could wait for showtime by hanging out and hearing some music by up and coming talents.

We attended the first show Saturday night and our tickets were what any fan with a camera would have enjoyed. On a center aisle, about 15-20 rows from the stage.

We came to see many of the stars that you will find on this site during your visit - Little Jimmy Dickens, Porter Wagoner, Jumping Bill Carlisle, Billy Walker Jeannie Seely and Jimmy C. Newman. Yes, they're a little bit older now, but they're a part of the music's history, and certainly a part of the Opry's history and can still get the audiences clapping and foot-tapping to the music. Little Jimmy can keep the audience in the palm of his hand. Porter had the crowd's attention during his rendition of the classic, "Green, Green Grass of Home."

Stars of the new generation were also there such as Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw, Mark Snider, the Whites, Riders in the Sky, the Wilkinsons, Elizabeth Cook, Pinmonkey, the Del McCroury Band, along with the Opry Square Dance band and the Ralph Sloan Dancers. Handling the emcee chores that night was Hairl Hensley.

The fans still bring their cameras, some finding their way to the front of the stage to kneel and get up close pictures of their favorites as they perform. One can still hear the live renditions of many of the radio commercials during the show.

We attended as a fan and hope you enjoy some of the photos from our visit to the Grand Ole Opry.

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