Little Jimmy Dickens & Brad Paisley on the original Opry Stage circle.
Grand Ole Opry officials today announced that the show, displaced from its permanent home due to May's historic Nashville flood, will return to the Grand Ole Opry House with a star-packed show Tues., Sept. 28. Among the artists scheduled for the show are Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels Band, Diamond Rio, Jimmy Dickens, Del McCoury Band, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Mel Tillis, and Josh Turner. The show will air live on GAC: Great American Country. Special events and artist appearances will follow throughout October in celebration of both the show's return and its 85th Birthday.
The announcement came just before the Opry House's signature element, a six-foot circle of oak wood taken from the historic Ryman Auditorium when the show moved to the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974, was returned this morning to its home center stage at the Opry House. The circle, along with the full Opry stage, had been covered by 46 inches of water during May's flood. Rescued immediately after waters receded from the Opry House, the circle has been painstakingly refurbished. The country music treasure was placed in its rightful spot with assistance from Dickens and Paisley. The two Opry members then took to the circle behind an Opry microphone stand for an acoustic performance of the country classic "Will the Circle be Unbroken."
"It is the best feeling in the world to see our beloved circle back home," said Grand Ole Opry Group President Steve Buchanan. "We can not wait for the curtain to go up as we launch a new chapter in the Opry's history on September 28, just in time to celebrate our 85th birthday. There is no doubt the next two months are going to be some of the most memorable and emotional ever for our performers and fans."
"It is as it should be," said Paisley. "That circle means the world to all of us who love country music. I've always said that the circle still contains the dust from Hank Williams' cowboy boots. Well now it contains that dust, but also the heart and soul of this town and all the people who have worked to rise above this spring's floods. I know I speak for all my fellow Opry members when I say, 'we are so excited to come home!'"
The Opry has not missed a single show since the flood, broadcasting from several Nashville venues including former Opry homes the Ryman Auditorium and the War Memorial Auditorium.
There were days following the May flood when Little Jimmy Dickens ached at the thought of the future of the Grand Ole Opry House. Once, he arrived at the Opry House with locker key in hand, only to be told the building was uninhabitable.
“I hung my head and cried and went back to the house,” said Dickens, a Country Music Hall of Famer who at 89 is the Opry’s oldest living member.
No one was crying Wednesday morning, when Dickens, fellow Opry member Brad Paisley, Mayor Karl Dean and numerous Opry officials celebrated a flood — pardon — of good news:
* The famed six-foot circle moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the Opry House in 1974 is back in place at the center of the Opry House’s stage.
* The Opry House will reopen ahead of schedule for a Tuesday, Sept. 28, show featuring Dickens, Paisley, Mel Tillis, Trace Adkins, Josh Turner, Charlie Daniels, Jason Aldean, Diamond Rio, the Del McCoury Band, Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton and others.
* The Opry will celebrate a “Spirit of Nashville” day on Oct. 2 by opening up the Opry House for free tours of the renovated main room and backstage area and by presenting music on the Opry Plaza.
“Everyone will be awed and pleased with the result,” said Grand Ole Opry Group president Steve Buchanan, who said the renovations to all areas of the buildings will allow the Opry to properly celebrate its 85th birthday.
The Opry has not missed a show since the flood, but the long-running radio show has been doing the concert equivalent of couch-surfing, moving from venue to venue while the Opry House is renovated.
Much of Wednesday morning’s talk centered around the circle, which looked no worse for wear though it had been covered by 46 inches of water. Dickens made his Opry debut standing on that wood more than 60 years ago, when it was part of the Ryman stage.
“There’s something about having a piece of the floor that Hank Williams stood on,” Paisley said. “Keeping physically and metaphorically this bond with the past is something that separates the Opry from almost all other musical institutions.”
Country music's most famous show is coming home.
Source: elvisunlimited.com / EpGold.com