Check The Ryman Off My Bucket List!
I am a very lucky woman indeed to have been able to see an icon like Merle Haggard perform at the iconic Ryman Auditorium!
As soon as I saw the concert announcement, I knew I had to grab a ticket quickly. It was good that I did because the two shows sold out very quickly.
The Ryman – the mother church – has a mystique surrounding it. Everyone wants to play there, regardless of the type of music. Sure, it was the home of the Grand Ole Opry show for many years. Yes, the Americana Music Festival award ceremony is held there. I’m here to tell you that the reputation is much deserved!
Current members of The Strangers (the band), in addition to Merle on lead vocals, lead guitar and fiddle, are: Renato Caranto – tenor saxophone; Doug Colosio – keyboards; Jim Christie – drums; Floyd Domino – keyboards; Ben Haggard – guitar; Teresa Haggard – backing vocals; Norman Hamlet – steel guitar; Scott Joss – fiddle, mandolin, guitars, and backing vocals; and Taras Prodaniuk – bass guitar.
The setlist included many crowd favorites, judging by the applause that greated the opening notes of almost every song performed. I am not very familiar with his songs but I liked what he played.
My seat neighbors told me that these performances (Merle performed the previous night while I was seeing The Time Jumpers, a fact noted by Vince Gill during the show because he thanked us for seeing them instead of Merle – but also told us the band would be at Merle’s show the following night) were rare. He had not appeared there in a number of years and I am thankful he chose the time I was in Nashville to book these dates!
Merle’s style is referred to as outlaw country which I like. Similar to Willie Nelson, with whom Merle has recorded, his songs are catchy and fun. The two-hour was so enjoyable the time passed all too quickly.
Chris Janson opened for Merle. Chris is an engaging young country musician who is open and honest with his audience and his music. He did not hesitate to tell us about his life, both the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful.
His songs are full of love and hope, and I enjoyed being introduced to this future star. Being tapped to open both shows for Merle is no small accomplishment!
He is an energetic performer who has a good band backing him. I look forward to seeing more of him.
The Ryman is a great venue. Excellent sound, a huge stage, and great sight lines all contributed to a memorable evening. I hope to be back at the Ryman in the not-too-distant future!
Posted on September 11, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Ben Haggard, Chris Janson, concert review, Country music, Merle Haggard, Nashville, Norman Hamlet, outlaw country, Ryman Auditorium, The Strangers. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.