Tuesday was another nice night at the Grand Ole Opry. There is a reading convention in town and the place was packed with teachers. I was sitting with some teachers from Texas. They were very nice. It was hot as hades up in the not-so-cheap nosebleeds, though. (The pictures might be easier to see if you click on them.)
See the third row just right of center? That’s where I sat when I saw Charlie Daniels. I went up and down a lot of steps Tuesday night. It felt good to be somewhat agile on them. It was encouraging to say the least. Now, for the rundown. Btw., be warned, the pictures are crappy, I couldn’t get the settings to cooperate, and I was wayyyyy up high.
First, was a veteran of the Opry, Jeannie Seely. I’ve heard of her, but never heard her perform. Her songs were good, but her wit was just as spunky.
After Seely was Luke Bryan. I really liked this guy. He did a really good job of balancing a good performance with his engagement of the crowd. It didn’t hurt that he had a killer smile. (There were video screens to aid in the audience’s viewing pleasure.) He was the first of nice big/tall guys with tight jeans on. I kept thinking about Snigs and how jealous she’d be. Heh.
I like watching the older Opry members/performers. Jesse McReynolds is a bluegrass biggie. He’s been in the business performing and playing the mandolin for over 61 years. He has some furiously mad skills on the mandolin. Some of his grandchildren performed with him, too.
I am getting all giddy thinking about the next big, tall guy to wear really tight jeans (and a really tight t-shirt): Keith Anderson. Really, though, his eyes….*whimper*. He has a new CD coming out on Tuesday and I believe I will buy it. He opened up with THE SONG that stabs me the heart every time I hear it. You know, one of those songs that no matter how happy you are, you hear it, and blammo….you dissolve into a tearful mess? Yep. He does have a fun song on the new CD titled, “Somebody needs a Hug”. (Follow the directions on that website, wait for the hokey intro to end and listen to the acoustic version.) Come to think of it, I could’ve used a hug or two yesterday.
After Anderson, another gentleman of country music’s past, Jim Ed Brown, came to the stage. He’s a seriously funny guy. You will recognize him when you listen to THIS. I think he was one of my uncle’s favorites. He told a joke that made my eyes pop out a little. He was saying how he loves applause (and who wouldn’t). His comparison: “It’s like making love to an old maid. Can’t get enough of it.”
The next group that performed was Restless Heart. Currently, the original five members are on a 25th anniversary tour. I saw them a lonnnnnng time ago (20 yrs?). They were excellent….top-notch musicianship. I wish they could have done a few more songs, though.
Ever hear THE SONG about the kid that cusses and dad realizing it is his own fault? Well, that is Rodney Atkins. (O.k. Snigs, this is for you: He was super-tall with super-tight jeans–bad audio, but nice viewing.) He sang a second “parenting” song (better audio) about advice to give a boy picking up your little girl for a date: telling the kid you’ll be up waiting, cleaning your gun. It was funny to hear the lines of the song. I kind of wished I had a dad that said those things to prospective boys. Then again, the boys I hung around with I wouldn’t let near my house. (Except for two of them….they were “safe”.)
The night ended with Trace Adkins. Adkins is 6’6″. I don’t think a bull could run into him and survive (again, Snigs would have been mightily jealous–he even had his hair down). He sang his current HIT. He also sang a couple of songs from the new CD that will be released in the fall. They were really good songs. One song is about finding a sweet girl. /snark….part of a line? “Sweet like hidden tattoos.” The other song provided a little glimpse into his past. I remember watching a show that talked about him getting shot by an ex-wife (in the chest, I believe). So, I knew he had a tough go in his younger adult years. Apparently before that, he sang in a gospel quartet. He said the song he was about to perform took him back to those years. I can’t remember the title of the song, but it is a prodigal son type of song. It was beautiful. It reminds me that we are completely lost without forgiveness, whether we receive from God or someone we’ve hurt, or if we are the one providing the forgiveness. He seems so humble, too which makes watching him all the more enjoyable. I was truly impressed with him on The Apprentice, and Tuesday night confirmed it. He also had a wonderful “live” voice.
The really nice thing about watching the shows I’ve been to is that I think I’ve seen some pretty down-to-earth people. Back in the day, I used to always be around musicians. I’ve seen plenty who needed to get over themselves and some that were genuinely nice people. I know that is true for any walk of life, but to really connect with people in such an overtly putting-yourself-out-there business, you kind of have to be good with yourself. I haven’t left one show thinking, “Wow, that guy/gal was a bit arrogant.” They all just seem truly grateful to be where they are, enjoying the moment. I especially like watching the older performers. There is a grace about them. They have an appreciation for where they are and where they’ve been, and know it doesn’t last all that long. Trace Adkins acknowledged that fact.
I wonder how many musicians depend on their fame or the appreciation of others to give them worth? What happens when that all goes away and they haven’t found a way to give themselves worth in their own eyes?