Wednesday 27 July 2011

Dixieland Part 8....

Day Nine dawned to find us leaving Memphis behind as we set off on our journey to the Mecca of Country & Western music - Nashville.

Our first stop was Jackson, Tennessee and the home of Casey Jones, the heroic railroad engineer who's attempts to stop his train, the Cannonball Express, from colliding with a stalled freight train saved many lives but resulted in his death.

Jones was also famous for his peculiar skill with the train whistle.  It's unique sound was described as a sort of whippoorwill call and people living along the route of the train recognised it saying "There goes Casey Jones", as the train roared by.  

Casey Jones' Engine

At the rest stop in Jackson there was a quaint general store

Which sold absolutely everything you could imagine

and we spent an entertaining hour mooching in the store then grabbing a cup of coffee before it was time to board the coach again to complete our journey to Nashville.

We arrived in Nashville before lunch and as it was too early to check into the hotel our first stop was The Ryman Auditorium, the original Grand Ole Opry.

The History of the Ryman dates back to the 1880s when Thomas G Ryman, a riverboat captain and Nashville businessman, attended a revival by famed travelling evangelist Sam Jones.  Legend has it Captain Ryman planned to heckle the preacher but instead was converted on the spot and decided to raise money for a permanent place for Jones to preach. Seven years and $100,000 later, in 1892, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was completed.   It would be renamed Ryman Auditorium upon Captain Ryman's death in 1904.

Thomas G Ryman

The Ryman served as a venue for a wide variety of events: religious revivals, jazz recitals etc and in 1943 a contract was signed to rent the Ryman out on Saturday nights for a popular live radio show The Grand Ole Opry - a decision that changed the course of history for the Ryman and for country music.   The Ryman was the home of The Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974.

After the Opry departed for the new Grand Ole Opry House, there was a public outcry at talk of razing the Ryman which caused the building to be left standing and it deteriorated into a sad state.  It was renovated in 1994 and named a National History Landmark in 2001.  Now it is a living monument that continues to present the best in entertainment to a new generation of audiences.

After a delicious lunch at Demos we headed down Broadway for a little retail therapy, our aim was to purchase some real 'cowboy boots' and we weren't disappointed.  We found this store

offering this

so in we went and bought these.

Mine, MWM's, Mine

MWM paid for his and I got two pairs free!     We bought a few souvenirs - t-shirts and a whole load of guitar picks for our youngest son before heading back to the hotel.   After a short rest we showered and changed ready to meet the rest of the group for the highlight of the whole trip as far as I was concerned - a night at the Grand Ole Opry - the one place I have wanted to see since I was a teenager!

Here's me posing with the lady who was portraying Minnie Pearl, the comedienne who appeared at the Opry for more than 50 years.

Of course I wore my jeans and a pair of my brand new cowboy boots, what else would one wear to visit the Grand Ole Opry?

The atmosphere as we made our way into the Opry was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!    We had great seats right down near the front and we couldn't wait for the show to start.

Here's the programme for the evening, we were thrilled to see who was on last, and we took a picture of every act, which I've put in a slide show below.  I've also put a link in to each act if you want to read more about them.

Saturday - May 14th 2011

7.00 - 7.30
Sponsored by
Cracker Barrel
Old Country Store

7.30 - 8.00
Sponsored by
U.S. Bank

8.15 - 8.45
Sponsored by
Dollar General

Mike Snider - Host
Opry Square Dancers
8.45 - 9.15
Sponsored by

The pics are a little dark but if you click on View All Images and then on Full View you should be able to get a better picture.

All of the acts were fabulous and we found the advertisements for the sponsors really funny and it seemed strange being part of a radio show that was being broadcast live. The highlight of the evening was Charlie Daniels playing The Devil Went Down To Georgia - that really got the place rockin'!  Then, long before I was ready, the show was over and we had to leave the place that had featured in my dreams for so long, it is a memory I will cherish forever.

We made our way back to the coach for the short trip to Downtown Nashville where we hit the honkytonk bars, specifically Robert's Western World, for a couple of drinks to round off the evening before making our way back to the hotel to dream of Country Music and the Grand Ole Opry - well I did, don't know about any one else!

I hope you'll join me for Dixieland 9 where we have a Nashville City Tour when we visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA Victor Studio B and had dinner at the Loveless Cafe.    YEEHAW!

Read Dixieland Part 1 here
Read Dixieland Part 2 here
Read Dixieland Part 3 here
Read Dixieland Part 4 here
Read Dixieland Part 5 here
Read Dixieland Part 6 here
Read Dixieland Part 7 here


Commander Zaius said...

My grandparents loved Minnie Pearl, I don't know if you ever heard of the show "Hee Haw" but every Saturday evening they would be sitting in front of the television watching country music performers and comedians as they did their stuff. Ms. Pearl was on the show a lot during the 1970's.

Hee Haw is sort of looked down upon now as being simplistic but I will always remember how much my grandparents enjoyed it.

Valerie said...

I can't wait for Nashville. Hubs would have been in his element visiting Casey Jones and I would have been in my element in the boot store. Love yours, especially the ones on the right. I'm being plagued by the green eyes monster right now. Yeehaw!

Jinksy said...

Love the boots - especially the fringes...

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

we had the great honor of hearing charlie daniels play in concert and it was wonderful. of course he did his signature song, the devil went down to ga., loved it, he gets that fiddle smokin' hawt!!!

now the boots, totally tits! i have an idea. i saw someone wear them with a "boot bracelet". think ankle bracelet but for the boot, hangs a bit loose, any color or style. really cute. let me know.

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

Sometimes the most simple things are the best Beach :)

Nashville was my dream come true Valerie. I love my boots too. ;)

Me too Jinksy :)

Charlie Daniels was TITS Bee! A boot bracelet - mmmmmm!

katie eggeman said...

What a great day. Those boots are wonderful and I look forward to the city tour. Mr BC has been to Nashville on business many years ago and saw Dennis Weaver of Gunsmoke fame, at breakfast at the hotel. He was born in the Joplin area and they had a nice talk.

Daryl said...

those boots were made for posin'!

Akelamalu said...

Oh fancy bumping into Dennis Weaver! We didn't bump into anyone famous but we still enjoyed Nashville Banker Chick :)

Or walkin' or dancin' Daryl! LOL

MorningAJ said...

Those boots are COOL!

And I love the Casey Jones info. I remember the TV series from years ago (which probably had little to do with the real story, but at least I knew the name.)

Ron said...

Oooooo.....being train lovers, I bet you and MWM were so excited to see the Casey Jones' Engine.

What a great photo! Toot! Toot!

And what a great photo of the old country store, too!

LOVE the boots! You look absolutely smashing in them, m'dear! YEEHAW!

I am soooooooooo glad that you got to go to the Grand Ole Opry! I could hear the excitement in your voice!

Another great post! Enjoyed it. I look forward to part 9!


Dianne said...

check out your lacy looking boots!!
you're hot :)

I want to see Nashville - I've been to some parts of the south but not there

btw - I loved Tuesday Weld too :)

Anonymous said...

WOW Charlie cool. Minnie Pearl should be so lucky to look as good as you do in those swanking boots. Love the Casey Jones Engine as well. This is a part of the country I've never been and would love to go there but if I never make it I always have this. Just wonderful.

Maude Lynn said...

I love those boots!

Cloudia said...

"Shit kicker" Boots!

What fun :)

Casey Jones was REAL???!!!!

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral


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Around My Kitchen Table said...

Love the boots too! Love your blog too - you have such splendid holidays and write about them so well.

Akelamalu said...

I remember the Casey Jones series on TV too AJ!

Of course the engine thrilled MWM Ron and I am still reliving our visit to the Grand Ole Opry!

Oh you must go to Nashville Dianne and get yourself some lacy boots. :)

Charlie Daniels was absolutely F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. Thom. I hope you get to see that part of the country for yourself some day. x

Me too Mama Zen!

So glad you enjoy my travelogues AMKT x

Akelamalu said...

I wasn't sure Casey Jones was real either Cloudia! LOL

Maggie May said...

Gosh you've certainly been to some brilliant places. What an experience.
Lovely boots and you bought 2 prs for yourself!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Akelamalu said...

We're very lucky to have visited so many great places Maggie. My boots were free when MWM bought his. ;)

cheshire wife said...

I am having difficulty keeping up with you and all these places that you have visited. It's exhausting!

tony said...

Your American Photos Keep reminding Me Of Music!EXAMPLE : I will be humming this song all day now!
+Yea,The Boots Look Cool!:)

Akelamalu said...

I need to write about the places we've visited Cheshire Wife or I'd forget such a lot of what we've seen. This trip was exhausting but so worth it.

Well I should tell you that this trip was called 'The Southern Music and Dixieland Tour' Tony so it should remind you of music! LOL

CrystalChick said...

You sure can rock a pair of boots!

Soooo glad you got to visit the Grand Ole Opry!!! Sounds like a real treat and a very entertaining show.

Akelamalu said...

Thanks CrystalChick - The Grad Ole Opry was my dream come true. :)

A Lady's Life said...

this was a great post! :)

Travis Cody said...

Great looking boots there!

Akelamalu said...

Thanks Lady's Life:)

I think so too Trav :)