An Evening at the Opry

After a week that has been non-stop activity, the Grascals topped off this most memorable week with a trip to the Grand Ole Opry and an appearance at Fan Fest.

The whole tv portion was devoted to bluegrass tonight and it was so electric backstage, you could hear the buzzin’ in the hallways. Had a bomb gone off in the Makeup Room before the show, three of the hottest acts in bluegrass would’ve been wiped out. 

Sitting in one makeup chair was Rhonda Vincent, resplendent in her red gown and red boots that she got in New York City; in another chair the Cherryholmes Sisters were getting curled and flat ironed;  in another chair, The Grascals were getting coiffed and make-upped while Daddy Jere Cherryholmes told a tale of getting pulled over by the cops while traveling this last week. Seems some Boys in Blue were a mite suspicious of a bus hauling musicians with a bearded leader, following Willie Nelson’s unfortunate run-in with the law a week or so ago. 

There may be some competition between all the various groups, but, at the same time, there is much camaraderie and brother/sisterhood between the groups. All are after a common purpose and that’s making great bluegrass music and taking it to the farthest ends of the earth.

Ricky Skaggs was the Host With The Most on the Opry. In case you missed the live Opry performance on GAC, it will run a number of times through the week.  You can see the schedule here.

Another memorable performance on the first show of the Opry tonight featured The Whites, with sister Rosie White Franklin singing lead on “A Violet and a Rose” with sisters Sharon and Cheryl singing harmony.  Breathtaking. Course, those girls are probably my favorite singers ever…and three of my favorite people ever. 

In between Opry shows, the Grascals hopped in their vehicles and went back downtown for their appearance at Fan Fest. 

One would think all those IBMA attendees would be wearing out after a week of pickin’, listening, visitin’…not hardly. I was totally mesmerized by a group of young pickers that appeared to be about the age of a couple kids at my house (13 and 14). In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of teenagers running around the Convention Center with instruments. Whoever these kids were having the impromptu jam session on the bottom floor, they were something else.  Even Ken Irwin was sitting down listening to them. Nobody needs to worry about the future of Bluegrass.

Speaking of Bluegrass Kids, Ryan Holladay has certainly had a growth spurt this last year. Neither Terry Eldredge or I recognized him at first. 

I’ve never seen so many dobros in one place as just about every dobro player you could name was tuning up to do a tribute to Uncle Josh Graves, who passed away earlier today. Charlie Cushman brought up an interesting point that how ironic that Josh had died on Marty Stuart’s birthday? Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder also paid tribute to Josh on the Opry with their rendition of “Foggy Mountain Rock.”

After the Grascals did their set at Fan Fest, they spent a little time at their table greeting people, then it was back over to Briley Parkway for their second show on the Opry. They appeared immediately behind Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express. 

The Cherryholmes and Grascals were discussing how busy this week has been back in the dressing room. Both groups will only get a couple days rest before it’s back out again Wednesday for the Cherryholmes and Friday for the Grascals. I’m sure Rhonda’s week will be busy as usual.

We finally got in the car to head home to Hendersonville. We turned the radio on to the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree and there was Rhonda and the Rage, hosting. That bunch sounded as sparkly and sharp. They are some kinda pros. I bet they’ll be glad to get in their beds tonight though.