Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Nashville is Country Music

In between the science and history--and the doughnuts!--we did the sightseeing in Nashville that *I* really wanted to do:

The country music!

The Country Music Hall of Fame is thorough enough that you can go without having any real prior knowledge of country music and come away with a good understanding of its history and its momentous people, places, and things, but it's a real treat to go when you DO know country music, because you get to see stuff from all of your favorite musicians!

Two of Loretta Lynn's Grammies

Loretta Lynn actually made this dress herself when she was a kid. Sissy Spacek wore it in Coal Miner's Daughter.

I called the kids over to read this blurb from the museum's excellent History of Country Music display. "Barbara Allen" is the first song we learned for our Folk Music study!

I love Minnie Pearl so much that I can't even stand it. Even as a kid, I always thought that she was the funniest person, and as a kid who was baffled by fashion and the way that all the other girls managed to look cute in their clothes, I remember noting that Minnie Pearl did not dress cute, and it was awesome.

Here is one view of one of Elvis' cars. It had a TV in the back!

I entered a state of fangirl bliss when I saw this, the cornfield from the Hee-Haw set, with the costumes of some of the characters!

handwritten rough draft, with edits, of "American Pie"

one of Johnny Cash's guitars! He has his own museum in Nashville, so there weren't many of his artifacts here at the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Here is Minnie Pearl's plaque in the Hall of Fame.

To keep the kids entertained, there was a scavenger hunt that they could complete to earn a small prize from the museum, and I had them work on earning the Country Music Hall of Fame's fun patch for Girl Scouts. They had to pick and research a musician, then find their plaque. Here is Syd with her pick, Emmylou Harris.

We didn't go to the newer Grand Ole Opry location in Opry Mills (although we DID go to Opry Mills Mall to buy Syd some Crocs and visit the Bass Pro Shop), but instead to the Ryman Auditorium.

I also love Roy Acuff.

The Ryman Auditorium has a fascinating history, and it's interesting to tour.



Part of what makes it special is the fact that after serving as an iconic venue for decades, it was abandoned for further decades, and almost demolished before people came together to save and restore it. Here's part of the balcony that informed the restoration--can you see the hand-stenciled embellishments under the top layers of paint?

They made sure to include it in the restoration:


Here's the stage, so important that when the Grande Ole Opry later moved to their new location, they cut out a piece of it and put it front and center on their new stage so that musicians could still perform on it.

I'm not going to lie--I was VERY offended that you could only take a photo of yourself in front of the stage by paying extra. Seems a bit grabby-fisted to me, as you've already paid admission to get in, AND they don't advertise beforehand that they're going to grabby-fist you, but ah, well. This free photo, not nearly as nice, will have to do.

 But of course you haven't really done the Ryman if you haven't been to a concert there. And what better concert to go to than the Grand Ole Opry itself?


I was worried that the kids would be bored, but they seemed to have a fine time. And the Gatlin Brothers were there, with Larry Gatlin emceeing the show. The Gatlin Brothers only really had one big country music hit, but we must have had some eight-tracks of their gospel music or something, because somehow I'm very familiar with them. 



We didn't do everything that I wanted to do in Nashville--the kids took one look at the tourist crowds on Broadway and made sure that I understood that we would NOT being going into any of these honky-tonks, my desire to listen to live music be damned, and somehow we managed to not eat any hot chicken, either--but we managed to fill three days with activities that kids and adults enjoyed.

As part of our folk music study this year, here are some resources on The Grande Old Opry, Nashville, and the history of country music that we've enjoyed:

Scenes from the Grand Ole Opry Through the Decades (Use the Grand Ole Opry's YouTube page to find current videos)


Other Resources

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