Tonight's show was in the renowned Ryman Auditorium. Built in the late 1800's by former steamboat captain turned evangelist Thomas Ryman, as a home for his ministry. Over the years it has served the Nashville area as a theatre to see everyone from Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, Nelson Eddy, W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby and a host of popular artists of the 20th century. Its most lasting claim to fame however, is that it was home to the Grand Ole Opry from the mid-40's to 1972 when the live radio show was moved to a more spacious and modern facility. For years it remained in decline, serving as a tourist destination where one could stand on it's stage with a Grand Ole Opry microphone and have a photo taken. It was restored and modernized in the 90's and is now one of the finest venues to perform in not only for it's historical significance, but simply because it sounds so great.
We played to a sold out house of 2,400, a benefit show for the Chet Atkins Music Education Fund. A couple of days ago Mark and I were given access to the Country Music Hall of Fame's vaults where we picked out a couple of Chet's guitars that we played tonight during Rudiger. Mark using one of Chet's Gibson models and I a gorgeous 1948 D'Angelico arch top guitar. Beautiful. By the end of the song I didn't want to let that guitar go, but of course back it went to the Hall where it belongs. The show was a huge success not only from our side of the stage and the audience's, but for the Fund as well, with all proceeds going to them. Tonight was an honour and a pleasure.
There was a reception in the foyer of the Ryman and so many friends, in and out of the music community, stayed to say hello.
For Glenn, Matt and I it will be one more night in our own beds then on to Indianapolis tomorrow afternoon as we begin the final home stretch of this unbelievable tour.