Day: June 19, 2009

Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman

Next week begins the summer Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.  Known as the Mother Church of Country Music and the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 through 1974, the Ryman bills this series with the line, “Experience the best in bluegrass on the very stage where bluegrass was born over 60 years ago.”  That would be the evening where Earl Scruggs stepped on stage with Bill Monroe.  Here’s how Richard D. Smith describes that night in Can’t You Hear Me Callin’:  The Life of Bill Monroe: For Earl’s first night on the Opry, Monroe picked out a fast number that would show off the newcomer’s dazzling style – “White House Blues,” an old song recounting the 1901 William McKinley assassination.  It was a perfect selection.  Scruggs stepped up to the microphone with apprehension, knowing that nothing like this had been heard to date on the Opry or even over WSM radio. Use to the banjo as a country comedian’s prop, or hearing it picked or strummed in …