A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Date Night at the Grand Ole Opry: A Guy’s Perspective

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I never see my wife now that we’re working together all day in the same place but on different floors and miles away in thought, so it was a nice change to embrace one of our new clients, the Grand Ole Opry, with a full-body bear hug and take a couple’s trip out to country music’s iconic radio show performance and get the VIP treatment, naturally, for research.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Any seat in the whole house is great, and you’ll feel immersed in the crowd whether you’re up front or in the higher balcony seats.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Now, I’d been to the Opry House before when I took my family as they were visiting a few years back—they’re also country fans, but more of the bluegrass and folk song lilt—and then again to see Carrie Underwood perform at the Opry at the Ryman, its wintertime residence.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

This visit, however, on Valentine’s Day no less, we got to see where the majority of performances are held and explore the backstage areas where hundreds of upcoming country music artists have wiped sweat off their palms and earned their chops.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

My first time ever stepping foot in the Opry House was a solid two years before I’d even lived in Tennessee; we were back in Nashville doing research for one of Kristin’s book projects and stopped in right after the Opry was hit by the great flood of 2010.

 

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

I’ve always been a big country fan after my formative years of working as a painter in California with a boss that only allowed twang on the radio. As such, I’m rather partial to 90s country like Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt, et al so it was quite a treat to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry House along the banks of the Cumberland River knowing how wrecked she had been after the flood (though they fixed her right up and had her open just six months later!).

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Being part of a live radio performance is fascinating, and the fast pace of each event keeps the night interesting. Incredibly, and this still kinda blows my mind, the Opry has been broadcasting weekly radio shows since 1925! Wat? Who does that?

Country does that, folks. It seeps into your bones and vitalizes our American reality, one in which we care deeply for each other with our flaws and endearing character and allow ourselves to express an unbridled joy at living here in the United States, in the heartland, striving for personal glory, God, patriotism, reveling in the outdoors, strung instruments and a twangy tune mixed with a little bit of exhaust, gunpowder and ethanol, and maybe a side of lace fringing.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Prior to living here, I guess I always had a biased opinion on the overall feel for country but that’s changing rapidly because it’s not one to be put in a box. I mean, there is a box, but it’s become looser and more inclusive than ever.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

There’s incredible sound coming out of Nashville these days that explores spoken word, a little bit of rap, rock and blues, all standing on the shoulders of historical greats. It can be overwhelming to process all of this variety, but the Opry is a good place to get a handle on a wide sample. On this night, we saw eight different sets, with Lucie Silvas, John Osborne, Ricky Skaggs, Easton Corbin and my favorite set of the night, a legendary bluegrass family, the Del McCoury Band.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

I love all music that’s sung with heart. In fact, there’s very little art that I don’t appreciate if it comes from that place inside that sings true, rings true and strikes an inner chord that harmonizes with the human condition. Live performances almost always veer in the direction of authenticity because the crowd is right there, in your face, to let you know whether they are feeling you, man.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

To cap the evening, we hung out on the side stage VIP area where I simply observed the oiled machinery of music at the Opry. A musician dragging up a standup bass appears out of nowhere, waiting in the wings for Easton Corbin to finish his three-song set is also Ricky Skaggs surrounded by sound guys with radio earpieces, set managers and artist families, all chattering like we were in the cafeteria line on a cruise ship about to disembark to a well-known location.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Lights, shadows, murmurs, smoke, laptops, hardwood, brass, drum leather, cowboy boots and tight bubble butt jeans, rolled up sleeves and checkered patterns ironed and tucked into a belt buckle, rhinestones and silver stars all humming along to that same classic tune, country music.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Thank you for another great night with this girl, Opry!

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

A Wee Bit of History

The Opry has seen many homes in its 92 years, from the National Life Building where it held its inaugural broadcast in 1925 to the neoclassical War Memorial Auditorium to the Ryman to its current home, where it’s been since 1974. It can hold 4,400 attendees, and on any given night you’re promised a smattering of musical talent with eight acts minimum taking the stage throughout the two-hour-long broadcast.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

When to Go

From February through the end of October, Opry shows take place every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at the Opry House in East Nashville (with Wednesdays added to the mix in summer months). During winter—from November through late January or early February—the Opry moves to its other home, the historic Ryman Auditorium, which seats half the audience size as the Opry House.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

The More You Know

Want to visit backstage, see the glitzy dressing rooms, glimpse where Garth collects his fan mail and maybe even catch your favorite artist in passing? Sign up for a VIP tour, which goes both before and after the show. You have a selection of three tour options on most days: a Daytime Tour, a Post-Show Tour and the ultimate VIP Tour. With the latter, which we did, you get to be on stage as the red curtain goes up before being taken to your seats. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Where to Sit

Chip Esten (aka Deacon Claybourne on the show Nashville) once told Kristin that there’s no bad seat at the Opry, and I’m inclined to agree. We sat in section 4, row G, right smack in the middle, and it was the perfect spot for capturing some money shots with our camera (yes, photography is allowed at Opry shows, a rare treat). Prefer the balcony? Excellent. We’ve sat up there in the past, too, and it was just as fun as being on the floor.

A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

For more ways to do Nashville trips that incorporate the Opry, check out:


 

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A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
A Night Out at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
COMMENTS
  • February 20, 2017

    What beautiful pictures! The Grand Ole Opry is one of my most favorite places, my parents took me many times as a kid and I try to get there whenever I visit Nashville. I did the daytime tour many years ago and loved it. Seeing the dressing rooms and backstage areas was very special.

    • February 21, 2017

      I love how much you love country music, Carrie! It’s one of my all-time favorite places, too. You need to bring those kiddos up for a true Nashville experience—I just know they’d love it (Miss Molly, in particular!).

  • February 21, 2017
    Cindy Dupree

    I love your coverage of the Grand Ole Opry, one of my favorite places on the planet! Great music, amazing hall, incredible people. Scott and Kristin = inspiring.

    • February 21, 2017
      SVV

      Thanks Cindy! The Opry is a great muse 🙂

    • February 21, 2017

      Tennessee is so lucky to have such historic venues like the Opry and Ryman as part of its cultural fabric!

  • February 21, 2017

    Yet another reason I need to visit Nashville! Thanks for sharing

    • February 21, 2017

      Girl, I’ll take you on a food tour, you just say when =)

  • February 21, 2017

    I didn’t know there were so many shows at the Opry! I know this place from the show Nashville & I thought it was a once-a-year-performance kind of thing. I can’t believe I could actually potentially visit this place when I make my way to Nashville! That’s good to know! 🙂

    • February 21, 2017

      Oh no, two to four times a week all year long! And the Nashville stars actually play it a lot. Both Deacon and Gunner were on the lineup for this past Saturday 😉

      • February 22, 2017

        That’s awesome! Can you please tell me why I haven’t been to Nashville yet? 😉

  • February 21, 2017

    Even though I’m a big ‘Nashville’ fan, I never really thought much about visiting the Opry. This post and all the fabulous photos having me seriously considering it!

  • February 21, 2017

    What a special date night! You guys are so adorable. You’re photos made me feel like I was right there with you as the third wheel. Great work!

    • February 22, 2017

      If you ever come to Nashville, we’ll go to the Opry as a trio! =)

  • February 21, 2017

    I’ve only driven through Tennessee and have yet to visit Nashville, but this really makes me want to move it up on my travel list! Fabulous photos of a memorable evening! Who wouldn’t want to experience the same?

    • February 21, 2017
      SVV

      Definitely bump it up to the top! It’s such an easy and laid back place to visit

  • February 21, 2017

    What a special date night! You guys are so adorable. You’re photos made me feel like I was right there with you as the third wheel. Great work!

    • February 21, 2017
      SVV

      Thanks Justin!

  • February 21, 2017

    So what you are really saying is that I should come down with my crew, you will watch my kids and hubby and I will go to the Opry for a night on the town? Ha!

    • February 21, 2017
      SVV

      Yep! Also, if your husband needs a baby sitter be forewarned that my nurturing technique of choice involves a bottle with a cork in it 😉

  • February 21, 2017

    So fun! I’m honestly not a big country music fan but would love to watch these performers and experience it live. I love that Nashville has maintained this as part of its cultural heritage.

    • February 21, 2017
      SVV

      It is so fun and shouldn’t be missed!

  • February 21, 2017

    I’ve been to Nashville twice and still haven’t made it here yet. I think a third trip is in order!

    • February 21, 2017
      SVV

      Yep!

  • February 21, 2017

    Just took 3 12-yr-old girls who are NOT country fans and– they loved it! They sang the songs in the car afterward all the way home! They loved the backstage tour, too- they felt like celebrities going backstage and got very excited when one of the performers walked by and everyone clapped. You described it perfectly – it really is a quintessential Nashville night out. I have never, ever had a bad night at the Opry!

    • February 22, 2017
      SVV

      Sweet! It really ought to be qualified as a law of the universe: “Thou can’t never, ever have a bad night at the Opry!”

      Yup

    • February 22, 2017

      That’s such a perfect age to really appreciate the glamor of being backstage while the parents can appreciate the history of what they’re experience 😉

  • February 23, 2017

    WOW! Your photography is always amazing but these are next level. You two are so talented! I can’t wait to visit the Opry now this June!

    • February 26, 2017

      I can’t wait to take you to the Opry! I’m glad we saved one iconic Nashville activity for your next visit 😉

  • February 24, 2017

    While I’m more of a rock and indie girl I appreciate all music and I’d love to catch a performance at the Opry. The soul of the Opry really comes through in your pictures!

    • February 26, 2017

      Thanks, gal! And there’s all kind of music at the Opry so I’m sure there would be at least one act that’s your cup of tea 😉

  • February 27, 2017
    Erica Murdoch

    Great summary of the Opry- I learnt a lot! And it’s on my bucket list- big Nashville fan! But- it’s a long way from Australia! I will get there!

    P.S Love your blog!

    • February 28, 2017

      Thank you, Erica! Seems like the show Nashville does well in Australia, eh? We have some Aussie friends (who write the blog yTravel) coming over this summer, hopefully, and we plan to give them the full Opry experience and tour of all the sites from the show!

  • March 12, 2017

    I went the Grand Ole Opry when I was a kid – I even got to see Minnie Pearl which was very memorable! I love the backstage tour, a lot of it reminds me of some of the Grammy backstage. The GOO is a national institution and should be honored and cherished.

  • September 27, 2017

    I absolutely love how this captures and highlights the culture!! I grew up north of Nashville and the nostalgia this post creates is amazing!! Beautiful post!!!

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