Alan Jackson Plans Two Drive-in Concerts in Alabama
Tickets for Jackson’s drive-in concerts will go on sale on Wednesday (May 27)
Alan Jackson is ready to bring a little music to his fans in Alabama during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country icon has announced he’d perform two drive-in concerts in Alabama, both set for early June
Jackson’s Small Town Drive-in concerts will take place on June 5 and 6 in Cullman and Fairhope, Ala., with the Cory Farley Band — who often perform at Jackson’s AJ’s Good Time Bar on Lower Broadway in Nashville — opening both shows.
The Cullman concert will be at the site of the Rock the South festival, while the Fairhope show will take place at Oak Hollow Farm. Both venues can accommodate about 2,000 vehicles.
A press release explains that Jackson’s Small Town Drive-in shows will adhere to all CDC and Alabama state health guidelines about social distancing and other best practices surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Concertgoers will be required to stay in their vehicles, and while concessions will be available, fans will need to order from their phones, and staff will deliver the items directly to their vehicles.
Tickets for Jackson’s drive-in concerts will go on sale on Wednesday (May 27) at 10AM CT. A $99.99 general admission ticket is good for two passengers per vehicle, and additional passengers can purchase tickets for $39.99. There will also be a limited number of VIP tickets, which will allow access to parking closest to the stage, for $199.99. Some of the proceeds from Jackson’s Small Town Drive-in concerts will be given to food relief organizations in the Cullman and Fairhope areas. Fans can get more information at AlanJackson.com.
Life is getting weirder.
Last week I went to renew my driver’s license.
For some reason they now require the following:
Your birth certificate;
Your old driver’s license;
Two proofs of residence;
Your Social Security card;
A marriage license, whether or not you’ve ever been married;
Medical records with your name and birth date;
A pint of blood;
And other proofs that you exist.
Misty went with me to renew hers. Our birthdays are close together.
She had to prove that her last name was now Blanchard.
This is true:
An 84-year-old friend of mine was recently required to provide an affidavit
swearing that he and his elderly wife were actually married, and not living in sin.
It was to prove that her last name was legally the same as his.
We’re all under suspicion.
They noticed that my driver’s license and Social Security card said “Jack Blanchard”,
but my birth certificate said “John Blanchard”.
This made me a suspect and they wouldn’t renew my license.
They told me to go to the Social Security office 25 miles across the city,
and get them to change my S.S. card to “John”.
Misty was sent on a similar mission.
The next day was 85 degrees in the shade here in Florida,
and about double that in our car because the A/C Freon was low.
We drove an hour and waited on a steel bench for two hours.
We couldn’t share our anger with any of the crowd,
because they were as mad as we were..
Misty got a friendly clerk and zipped right through.
The woman asked her “Are you really Misty Morgan?”.
She was a fan.
I got a sleepy-eyed clerk who had her young son with her,
and they were ready to go home.
We were not happy to see each other.
She looked at her computer, which was out of my line of sight,
and said this: “We have you as ‘Jack’ for your whole life.”
I said, “Me too.”
She asked if I could name any companies I’d worked for.
I named about six Buffalo factories where I’d labored away my youth.
She studied the computer screen and said nothing.
By now she knew who I was, but wouldn’t admit it.
I had two large manila envelopes packed with what I thought were important papers.
She shoved them back at me and said, “You need two pieces of ID that say “John”.
I said “I know. That’s why they sent me here…
to have you change my S.S. card to “John”,
and then I’ll have to live as John for life.”
She said “You will have to change all your legal things to John…
titles to your home and vehicles, your credit, your will, your bills,
and your underwear.”
She was getting tired of me.
She told me it would be easier to legally change my first name to “Jack”.
I’ve been Jack all my life and didn’t know it was a crime.
I stomped out the door as everybody else was doing.
So I called our lawyer and said this:
“Hi. This is Jack. I need to change my name to Jack.”
We went to court a couple of weeks later.
After being strip searched on the way in, the case went well.
Even the judge laughed.
I said “Haha.”
After endless driving in traffic and arguing with morons,
it cost us over $1,100.
Can you believe it’s been 20 years since “I Hope You Dance” was released?
Lee Ann Womack boldly announced herself in 1997 with a self-titled debut album that incited plenty of industry buzz and pointed to a promising career. Released when Womack was in the neighborhood of 30, the album showcased Womack’s rich, traditional country voice, which could wrap tightly around aching ballads like “Never Again, Again” and “The Fool,” one of the finest singles to emerge from the late 1990s. The promise continued with her 1998 follow-up record Some Things I Know, featuring the hit singles “A Little Past Little Rock” and “I’ll Think of a Reason Later,” a highly amusing number that Womack delivered with a delightful air of humor. Both songs peaked at No. 2, indicating that Womack was clearly on her way. On the heels of those first two albums, Womack scored 1998 CMA award nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and the Horizon Award (now called New Artist of the Year).
With the dissolution of Decca Records, for which Womack had previously recorded, she was moved over to the MCA Nashville label roster in 1998. Her first album for MCA, and third career overall, I Hope You Dance, proved the transitional record that would launch her into the country stratosphere. I Hope You Dance, featuring the crossover mega-hit title tune, was released May 23, 2000, to critical praise literally across the board. Now, 20 years later, the album holds its own as a sterling example of modern country done right, with a sparkling collection of story-songs that proffered powerful and deep-rooted messages.
Songs didn’t come much more potent than the title track, an inspirational piece of life-affirming advice written by Tia Sillers and Mark D. Sanders. Womack has often asserted that she thought of her daughters when she recorded it, noting certain lines that indicated what she wanted for their futures, for example, I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean/Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. With solid vocal support from Sons of the Desert, Womack drove it all home in uplifting fashion. Raved Billboard, “Her sweet, vulnerable voice perfectly captures the tender sentiment of the lyrics.”
The “I Hope You Dance” single achieved every conceivable honor and accolade available. It hit No. 1 in July of 2000 and had crossover success on the pop charts, ringing in at No. 14. Later in the year, the tune danced away with CMA awards for both Single and Song of the Year. “I Hope You Dance” also copped a Grammy for Best Country Song. Womack later commented that the single propelled her career to a new level, taking her places that she never dreamed possible.
Produced by Mark Wright and Frank Liddell, the I Hope You Dance album enlisted some of the most gifted writers in and outside of the genre’s mainstream. Americana favorites Buddy and Julie Miller teamed for the fourth single from the album, “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger,” which deserved a better fate than its No. 23 peak. “Why They Call It Falling,” which ends with a memorable (if not exactly happy) payoff, came from the pens of Don Schlitz and Roxie Dean.
For the second single from the album, the team selected a cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Ashes by Now,” given an appropriately fiery rendering by Womack. Her version clocked in just inside the Top 5.
Like most standout albums, all the tracks on I Hope You Dance were solid, quality tunes. You won’t find any fillers here. Best among the deep cuts, “I Know Why the River Runs,” written by Julie Miller, featured a Womack performance that would have done Dolly Parton proud. The tune contained wonderful, poetic lines, like, There’s a silence that I don’t want to hear/There’s a hole now where my heart used to be.
Bobbie Cryner, a fine writer and one-time solo artist, contributed “Stronger Than I Am,” surely one of the more unique takes on separation and divorce. For a somewhat ironic touch, Womack and her ex-husband Jason Sellers shared a co-write with Wynn Varble on the track, “I Feel Like I’m Forgetting Something.” The album ended nicely with a rendition of Don Williams’ chart-topping hit, “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good.”
I Hope You Dance was Womack’s best overall album to date, sending a career that was already soaring to even greater heights. It helped Womack secure her second CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award nomination, while the record itself was nominated for Album of the Year, eventually losing to Fly by the Dixie Chicks. By 2001, Womack was riding the crest of a career momentum and took home the 2001 CMA award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
The Coronavirus Brings With It a Wave of new Radio Stations
Are Internet radio stations helping to combat the Lockdown Blues?
Millions of People in lockdown, worldwide are finding for the first time that Internet radio is available at the click of a mouse. According to AirplayExpress.com more and more radio stations are popping up all over the world as people are stuck at home finding themselves searching for ways to entertain themselves during the forced lockdown imposed on them. This has been tremendous for artists who are taking advantage of the radio promotions offered by AirplayExpress and similar companies. It seems to be a fact that Artist’s music are now being downloaded and programmed for airplay by more and more radio stations worldwide. The demand for new music is amazing as more Radio stations and DJ’s are logging in to take advantage of the music available at AirplayExpress for radio airplay.
Some record companies like the Nashville based Century II Records have created their own radio station on their website, playing the music of all their own artists with a DJ announcing each and every single tune 24 hours a day. Allan Karl CEO and Donna Cunningham Executive Director of Artist Development, originally came up with this brilliant idea as an extended service to their artists, not realizing that their artists would love this new service. The artists can now tune in anywhere and hear their songs being aired.
The South African radio station Down South Country Stereo 24.7 has recently reopened after the station closed for more than six months. Now, its new owner who originally thought it would take months even years or perhaps never, to recover from the closure is happy to now announce that listeners have come back in full force since the lockdown started.
It has been reported by Radio Center in the United Kingdom that, radio station terrestrial and Internet have increased their daily listeners form 15% to almost 75% by April 1, 2020. It seems listeners are open to change during this lockdown as they have undergone some of the most radical changes in their lifetime. Now maybe the perfect time to ask them to switch to Internet Radio and more importantly to our Internet radio stream, Down South Country Stereo 24.7
Is Keith Urban’s Drive-In Concert The Future Of Live Music?
Would You Go If You Could?
Keith Urban shared the results of an intriguing live-concert experiment on NBC’s TODAY this week, explaining his view on a performance for front line healthcare workers at a drive-in movie theater. Calling the show “a bit of a proof of concept” from a performance standpoint, the country superstar spoke with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about the gig, which was held at a drive-in just outside Nashville. Urban was just the first artist scheduled to take part in a series of shows for Vanderbilt University healthcare workers and said the night went off without a hitch — even as he was figuring out “what works and what doesn’t” in real-time.
“It was a load of fun,” Urban told his host, speaking from home and explaining how the show was something akin to an in-person Livestream. “We also really wanted to take the opportunity to not only do the first one but do it for the health care workers because that’s what this is all about right now. They did an amazing job as an audience and I had a great time.”
With news of tour postponements and cancelations continuing to affect the country industry, the question has to be asked: Could these drive-in shows be the future of live concerts, at least in the near term?
Garth Brooks Drops Two New Tracks From ‘Fun’ Album
Check out “Party Gras (the Mardi Gras Song)” and “That’s What Cowboys Do.”
Garth Brooks is doing his part to make the lockdown experience a little more Fun, dropping two more tracks from his upcoming studio album of the same name.
Releasing the new tunes on a whim during his weekly Inside Studio G Facebook chat, Brooks was responding to a viewer named Jack who asked when fans would hear more of Brooks long-awaited project. The Country Hall of Famer has been teasing the album for over a year now, and with a new duo of tracks titled “Party Gras (the Mardi Gras Song)” and “That’s What Cowboys Do,” seven tracks from the full record are now available for Amazon Music users.
All about the “let-the-good-times-roll” spirit of New Orleans’ most famous tradition, “Party Gras (the Mardi Gras Song)” stands as an uptempo Cajun-country anthem, filled with fiddles, ragtime piano, and celebratory lyrics. Meanwhile, “That’s What Cowboys Do” takes a different approach, loping in like a classic Western ballad. With dramatic sweeps of steel guitar and the swell of two hearts on diverging paths, Brooks sings of a love that has trouble staying in the saddle, so to speak.
The new tracks join five previously released songs from Brooks Fun album, “Courage of Love,” “The Road I’m On,” “All Day Long,” “Stronger Than Me” and his hit collaboration “Dive Bar” with Blake Shelton. No word on when the full project will arrive.
Below is the news behind Garth’s new album not part of press release above
Jesse Keith Whitley Salutes Late Father With New Single
The defiant “Try to Change My Ways” will be released May 9
Jesse Keith Whitley has found the perfect way to honor his father, the late country legend Keith Whitley. He’s dedicating his new single “Try to Change My Ways” to his dad and releasing it on May 9th, the 31st anniversary of Keith Whitley’s shocking and untimely death. Whitley was pronounced dead of alcohol poisoning May 9th, 1989, at age 33, just as his career was ablaze with No. 1 hits like “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “When You Say Nothing at All,” along with widespread industry acclaim. At the time, he was married to fellow singer Lorrie Morgan, and the two epitomized the ideal of a Nashville glam couple.
“Try to Change My Ways” isn’t about a guy who’s bent on reform. On the contrary, it’s a defiant statement with a clear challenge in the opening line: Just let ‘em try to change my ways. You can practically see Whitley’s fists shake as he sings to a fiery mix of bluegrass banjo and searing guitars that might conjure up shades of Steve Earle or other outlaw acts. Whitley was not quite two years old when his father died, but he’s informed and assured enough to tell Sounds Like Nashville, “I think it embodies the spirit of my dad and what he stood for.” One particular lyric truly hits home for Whitley as he reflects on his father, who was born in Sandy Hook, Kentucky. “There is a line that says, My blood runs through these Kentucky hills, and that reminds me of my father,” says young Whitley. “Every time I drive through Kentucky, I think about him and just the Whitley family in general.”
A few years back, Whitley co-wrote the song “Shadows” about his father’s country music legacy. When listening to “Try to Change My Ways,” it would obviously be surmised that Whitley wrote that as well. But it was actually penned by Kirk Roth and Robert Kemp, who came up with such a relatable scenario that Whitley could practically claim it as his own. “I did not write that song,” he notes for clarity, “but I loved it at the first listen. What I liked is that it doesn’t just talk about one class of people. Like the part about standing up for the USA, well, that’s everybody. I think we’re all together on that. This song is a little different for me,” he adds with a slight laugh. “I’m wanting to find out who I am as an artist.” The aggressive-sounding anthem, replete with such proclamations as I’m gonna hunt and I’m gonna pray, would hardly fit Keith Whitley’s style, but Jesse Keith believes that dad would have been on board. “I had no idea that this would be a single,” Whitley says. “I had a couple of other ideas but this won out. I decided later that I would dedicate the song to my father.”
“Try to Change My Ways” marks the first single from an upcoming album project, due this year. But, as is the case with his musical contemporaries, the tour portion of Whitley’s career lies in limbo due to uncertainties about the coronavirus spread. “We have had to cancel a lot of dates,” Whitley says with a certain air of resignation. “Really, I should be out on the road right now, but we all know that’s not happening. We have been able to move some dates to the fall and winter, so that’s good.”
More than 30 years after his death, Keith Whitley still exacts a tangible influence on today’s country. Whitley left behind a rich musical catalog that includes posthumous No. 1 hits “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” and “It Ain’t Nothin’.” He established himself with a versatile, smooth baritone voice that was raised on bluegrass – he became the lead singer for Ralph Stanley’s band in 1974 while still in his teens – but proved equally at home in mainstream country.
“Guys like Chris Young and Dylan Scott were influenced by my dad, and I hear it in their music,” Whitley points out. “There is a cool video you can find on YouTube with Tracy Lawrence, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan doing [Whitley’s 1990 hit] ‘I’m Over You.’ Tracy was a big fan of my dad’s and he was on the tribute album that came out many years ago.” That 1994 record, Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album, also featured Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, and Alison Krauss and Union Station, among many others. “One day, we’ll look at doing another tribute album,” Whitley says. “There is also a big push to get my dad into the Country Music Hall of Fame and I think he deserves that. Right now, I’m just proud to honor him with this single.”
Dolly’s Secret Buffy The Vampire Slayer Connection Revealed
Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series debuted in 1997 and ran through 2003
Just when you thought you had country legend Dolly Parton figured out, news of a remarkable secret she’s kept hidden for years has been revealed. It turns out the iconic artist was a secret producer on the trailblazing fantasy drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. According to a recent report in Independent, Parton had a behind-the-scenes role in developing the popular series which many never knew about. It might have been a hands-off sort of arrangement, but looking back, her influence can still be seen.
Here’s the connection: In 1986 Parton and her friend Sandy Gallin founded the company Sandollar Entertainment, and the firm has gone on to make scores of TV shows and films ever since. Some titles you might recognize include 1991’s Father of the Bride (co-starring Brad Paisley’s wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley), 1996’s Fly Away Home, and Parton’s recent Netflix series, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings. But in 1992, it also produced the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, and although that film wasn’t a box office smash, it showed enough promise to move over to TV, eventually evolving into the show beloved by so many today.
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series debuted in 1997 and ran through 2003, leaving a sizable cult following and a spinoff series in its wake (Angel). Parton was not listed as an official executive producer in the show’s credits, Independent reports, but her influence can be seen elsewhere. As a case in point, Buffy Summers’ birthday on the show is January 19 — and that just so happens to be Parton’s as well. What a coincidence!
While the revelation is certainly tantalizing, it’s also not so surprising when you think about it. Parton has become an icon, and Buffy featured a teenage girl holding her own against a hostile world filled with monsters and villains. Sound familiar? Parton famously broke into the country industry in the 1960s, and had to repeatedly dispel the myth that she was just a “dumb blonde” — even leaving The Porter Wagoner Show when she was denied a bigger role on the popular program, which famously inspired her enduring hit, “I Will Always Love You.”
Of course, we all know her today as a cultural icon with millions of fans around the world — and a living legend even more beloved than the TV show she secretly helped create.
The rise in popularity of the Grand Ole Opry helped Nashville
Often described as “country’s most famous stage,” the Grand Ole Opry is the world’s longest-running radio show, in country music or otherwise. The Opry’s radio broadcasts began on Nov. 28, 1925, and a weekly show has been broadcast for more than 4,600 consecutive Saturday nights. The Grand Ole Opry’s Saturday shows are broadcast on WSM-AM, a Nashville-area radio station, and also on SiriusXM satellite radio. Shows now also take place on Friday nights and some seasonal Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The rise in popularity of the Grand Ole Opry helped Nashville grow into country music’s home base. Keep reading to learn more about “the show that made country music famous,” and how it became the live music powerhouse that it is today.
In its nearly 95 years, the Grand Ole Opry has had six homes.
The Grand Ole Opry radio show began in November of 1925 in the office of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company in downtown Nashville (one of the founders of the company was fascinated by radio and built a studio). The live show quickly outgrew the insurance office, however, so it moved to the Hillsboro Theater (now the Belcourt) in 1934, then to the Dixie Tabernacle in 1936.
After that, Opry shows moved to the War Memorial Auditorium, in 1939, before finding a home at the Ryman Auditorium in 1943. The Grand Ole Opry moved to its current complex, the Grand Ole Opry House, in March of 1974.
The Grand Ole Opry’s original name was ‘WSM Barn Dance’.
The radio show wasn’t named the Grand Ole Opry until 1927, when radio announcer George D. Hay called the show by that name on air. He took inspiration from the show that ran on WSM directly before the WSM Barn Dance, which featured classical music and grand opera selections. Hay joked on air that while listeners had been enjoying grand opera, they would now be enjoying the “Grand Ole Opry” — and the name stuck.
It takes a giant transmission tower and 15.8 million feet of audio, visual and lighting cable to bring the Grand Ole Opry to life.
The Grand Ole Opry House complex uses 15.8 million feet of cable to broadcast live shows, which have been transmitted from the same tower, located in Brentwood, Tenn., since 1932. The tower was once the tallest in the United States.
Uncle Jimmy Thompson was the first performer on the Grand Ole Opry.
Thompson, a fiddle player, played live in the National Life offices on Nov. 28, 1925. He was 77 years old at the time.
The Grand Ole Opry has inducted more than 200 members.
From Hank Williams to Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks to Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood to Luke Combs, the Grand Ole Opry’s membership list is a who’s-who of country music legends and stars. Membership is not a posthumous honor, but being asked to join the Opry is still considered one of the highest achievements in country music.
“I’ve said it for the record a thousand times. I’ll state it again a thousand times. This is the pinnacle of what I do,” Brooks has said of Grand Ole Opry membership. “Nothing has ever touched being a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Kelsea Ballerini is the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Ballerini was invited to join the Opry in March of 2019, when Little Big Town changed up the lyrics to their song “Girl Crush” mid-performance in order to extend the ask. Ballerini was 25 years old at the time, and told the Associated Press that she was completely shocked by the offer. “At the end, they started singing my name, and I thought they were going to say, ‘Kelsea, we have a girl crush,'” she recalled. “And they said, ‘Will you join the Opry?’ And I had to completely change paths in my brain.”
Former U.S. President Richard Nixon performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
When the Grand Ole Opry relocated into its current complex in 1974, then-President Richard Nixon stopped by to play the piano. He performed “Happy Birthday” and “My WIld Irish Rose” as a tribute to his wife on her 62nd birthday.
When the Opry moved from the Ryman Auditorium, it took a piece of history.
A six-foot circle of wood was cut out from the Ryman stage and installed in the new Grand Ole Opry House, so that all future Opry performers and members could share the same stage as all of the early Opry greats. Even though a flood devastated the Opry House in 2010, that circle was recovered, restored and reinstalled for the venue’s re-opening. The Grand Ole Opry still returns to the Ryman Auditorium for a run of shoes every winter.
About 6,000 songs are performed at the Grand Ole Opry each year.
The Grand Ole Opry estimates that 6,024 songs are performed live during Opry shows every year. The Opry House, which seats 4,400, regularly sells out for performances, and the Grand Ole Opry is one of the top tourist attractions in Nashville.
Elvis Presley once played the Grand Ole Opry — and totally bombed.
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll took the Opry stage in 1954. He played “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” but his rockabilly sound mixed with his now-iconic pelvic gyrations weren’t well-received by the audience at the Ryman Auditorium. The lack of interest from the Grand Ole Opry may have been a blessing in disguise, however. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll went to the Opry’s biggest competitor, the live radio show Louisiana Hayride, only two weeks later, and signed a contract to make 52 Saturday night appearances on the show, helping launch his legendary career.
The Grand Ole Opry Through the Years
Grand Ole Opry, 1950: In early 1950, Minnie Pearl and Pee Wee King took the legendary Opry circle. Pearl had been performing on the GOO for nearly a decade by this time.
Grand Ole Opry, Mid-1950s: Sometime in the mid 1950s, Jim Reeves performed on the Prince Albert Tobacco segment of the Opry.
Grand Ole Opry, 1956: Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two graced the Opry stage way back in 1956.
Grand Ole Opry, 1979: Ernest Tubbs, a talented country singer and guitarist, played on the GOO back in 1979.
Grand Ole Opry, 1957: Minnie Pearl and Hawkshaw Hawkins share some face time backstage at the Opry in 1956.
Grand Ole Opry, 1960: Loretta Lynn took the stage at the Opry many times, this one in the 1960s. The Opry was a large part of her career, helping her expand her audience.
Grand Ole Opry, 1970: This exterior shot of the GOO shows what it looked like circa 1970.
Grand Ole Opry, 1974: President Richard Nixon played the piano in 1974 during the dedication of the Grand Ole Opry.
Grand Ole Opry, 1994; Vince Gill performed on the iconic circle back in ’94. The singer is still an Opry staple today.
Grand Ole Opry, 1995: In 1995 the Grand Ole Opry was still going strong. They inducted powerhouse vocalist Martina McBride into the Opry family this year.
Grand Ole Opry, 2000: Roughly 16 years ago, Alan Jackson took the stage at the Opry, the iconic venue was celebrating their 75th anniversary.
Grand Ole Opry, 2001: The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” took the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville dressed in one of her signature gowns.
Grand Ole Opry, 2002: The Dixie Chicks prepared for their episode of CMT Crossroads with James Taylor. The TV event took place at the Grand Ole Opry.
The Grand Ole Opry went to the Big Apple in 2005 and Martina McBride was just one of the talented performers involved.
Grand Ole Opry, 2005: This was the view when the Opry went to Carnegie Hall. Here, Little Jimmy Dickens is performing.
Grand Ole Opry, 2009: Steve Martin made his Grand Ole Opry debut back in 2009. He showed the crowd he was more than just a comedic, talented actor.
Grand Ole Opry, 2010: This sweet photo from 2010 is the moment after Blake Shelton was surprised with an invite to join the Grand Ole Opry!
Grand Ole Opry, 2010: In 2010, the Country Comes Home: An Opry Celebration at the Grand Ole Opry House was an extra celebration. Dierks Bentley, Ricky Skaggs and more came together to celebrate the fact that the Opry was restored following severe flood damage.
Grand Ole Opry, 2011: In 2011, CMT’s Invitation Only brought Jason Aldean to the Opry House. The exclusive event was taped here in April of 2011.
Grand Ole Opry, 2011: CMT hosted a disaster relief concert at the Grand Ole Opry House and tons of country artists came out to help raise money. Here Tim McGraw is being interviewed before the event.
Grand Ole Opry, 2012: This was a big moment for Keith Urban back in April of 2012! Here he celebrates his induction into the GOO family with Josh Turner and Trace Adkins.
Grand Ole Opry, 2012: Loretta Lynn celebrated 50 great years with the Grand Ole Opry in 2012! The Opry House threw her a party and Trace Adkins was on hand to celebrate the milestone.
Grand Ole Opry, 2012: It takes a special person to have funeral services at the Opry, but George Jones was that special. In 2012, the venue hosted a celebration of life for the singer.
Grand Ole Opry, 2012; Kid Rock and Faith Hill shared a moment (and maybe a memory) at the Grand Ole Opry after George Jones’ funeral.
Grand Ole Opry, 2013: When Kellie Pickler won Dancing With the Stars, she celebrated with the Opry! Pickler brought partner Derek Hough along to celebrate their big win.
Grand Ole Opry, 2013: When Carrie Underwood celebrated her 5th anniversary with the Opry in 2013 she did it in style. She wrote a strapless formal dress and posed next to music note cupcakes!
Grand Ole Opry, 2014: The Grand Ole Opry House celebrated 40 years in 2014 and they threw one heck of a party! Bill Anderson, Clint Black, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and so many more were on hand to celebrate!
Grand Ole Opry, 2014: Little Big Town were welcomed to the Grand Ole Opry family back in 2014. As you can tell by the looks on their faces, they were very excited to join the family!
Grand Ole Opry, 2015: The Grand Ole Opry mourned a huge loss in 2015 when they lost longtime member Little Jimmy Dickens. The Opry celebrated his life on Jan. 8.
Grand Ole Opry, 2015: Here, Vince Gill is talking to the crowd before an intimate show with him and Keith Urban for Sirius XM.
Grand Ole Opry, 2016; Maddie and Tae took the Grand Ole Opry stage in 2016 to help kick off CRS with a little girl power!
Grand Ole Opry, 2016: Easton Corbin helped an Opry audience get ready for CRS 2016. He serenaded them in early February on the first night of CRS.
The Grand Ole Opry The Mother Church Of Country Music
Secret History: Why George Strait Quit Doing Interviews
Plus Living Like a King: George Strait Through the Years
Interviews and media sessions are an essential part of promoting your music … unless you’re George Strait. The Country Music Hall of Famer all but quit doing interviews more than 30 years ago, and it’s hard to argue he’s worse for it.
Nobody has more No. 1 hits than King George, and few have consistently sold as many concert tickets as the Texan. His laid-back approach to country music hasn’t been duplicated. These days, you’re taught to “make the rounds” early and often to forge relationships with key programmers and entertainment personnel. Those who buck the trend gain a bad reputation that haunts them later.
Yet here’s Strait, a 67-year-old country recording artist and live entertainer who’s as likely to sit down for an interview this year as you are to find $100 on the sidewalk. He admittedly quit talking decades ago for a very personal reason. A 2017 piece in the New Yorker outlined his reasons and provided key insights to what drives Strait today. Still, he’s very much an enigma, even among his own team.
Strait’s career caught fire in 1981 when “Unwound” became a Top 10 hit. That song was worthy of its own episode of the Secret History of Country Music. Even real George Strait fans probably don’t know all the details about the lucky break (and other artist’s misfortune) that cleared a path for his success.
Live Like a King: George Strait Through the Years
George Strait, 1981: King George Strait launched his career with the single “Unwound” in 1981. The track was featured on his debut album, Strait Country.
George Strait, 1986: Strait snagged two ACM Awards in 1986. He was named Top Male Vocalist for the second consecutive year, and his album Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind also brought home the ACM prize for Album of the Year (again)
George Strait, 1987: In 1987, George Strait released his seventh studio album Ocean Front Property and it was groundbreaking for not just country, but music in general. The album was the first ever to debut at No. 1 on the charts
George Strait, 1989: 1989 was a big year for George Strait, as it was the first year he was named the CMAs Entertainer of the Year — an award he would win two more times.
George Strait, 1992: In 1992, Strait added ‘actor’ to his resume. The singer played the lead in the film Pure Country in addition to contributing to the soundtrack with “Heartland” and “I Cross My Heart.”
George Strait, 1995: In 1995, King George released his highest certified album. Strait Out of the Box sold two million copies! He also took home an ACM Award for “Check Yes or No” that year.
George Strait, 1996:1996 was a huge one for Strait at the CMA Awards. He took home three pretty big awards that year: Single of the Year, Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
George Strait, 1997: Strait began to headline the George Strait Country Music Festival in 1997, and the event lasted for several years. Once again, he also racked up awards at several esteemed events.
George Strait, 2002: In 2002, George Strait performed at the 37th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. He also played himself in the movie Grand Champion.
George Strait, 2004: Strait reached 51 No. 1 hits in 2004 with his song “I Hate Everything.” That year, he also released his 50 No. 1 songs on one epic greatest hits album.
George Strait, 2006: This was an important year for King George, as he was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He performed “Give It Away” before accepting the huge honor.
George Strait, 2007: In 2007, Strait earned his 55th No. 1 hit with “Wrapped.” He also spent a good portion of the year touring alongside Ronnie Milsap and a young Taylor Swift.
George Strait, 2009: George Strait was given the ACM Artist of the Decade award in 2009. Another country icon, Garth Brooks, presented Strait with the trophy after an all-star tribute concert.
George Strait, 2010: In 2010, Strait was given a huge honor by Billboard magazine when they named him the Top Country Artist of the Past 25 Years.
George Strait, 2012: In 2012, Strait shocked fans by announcing his plans to retire from the road. The legend’s Cowboy Rides Away tour would be the last time fans could catch him on a lengthy headlining tour.
George Strait, 2013: At a press conference in the fall of 2013, Strait revealed the dates for his final tour. He let fans know that after his dates in 2014 ended, he’d be absent from stadiums, but that he would continue to record music and play live as he felt the need.
George Strait, 2014: In 2014, Strait performed on tour for the last time. His slew of tour dates included other huge artists there to support him, including Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert and several more. His final date was on June 7 and had over 104,000 fans in attendance.