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Nashville Native: The Ryman Auditorium



Each month we are dedicated to highlighting some of the attractions, events, and things that are unique to Nashville. These posts are to inform those new to Music City and possibly even help them sound more like a Nashville Native. In fact, some of the real natives of the area may not know the history behind some of these places!

So far, we’ve looked at the Nashville Flea Market and the Nashville Sounds, but you really can’t live (or even visit!) Nashville without checking out the Ryman.

Here’s the rundown on one of Nashville’s most incredible landmarks, the Ryman Auditorium :

  • Union Gospel Tabernacle – It began as a religious tabernacle. When steamboat Captain Tom Ryman gave up his wild ways, he wanted to build a religious venue that be large enough for big crowds. He also wanted it to provide excellent sound quality for Reverend Sam Jones, the man responsible for the Captain’s change of heart. Over time, it became the host for other non-religious events as well.
  • Grande Ole Opry – The radio show The Grande Ole Opry didn’t actually begin in the Ryman. However, due to the popularity of the show and the crowds that came to hear and see it, The Grande Ole Opry moved to the Ryman in 1943 and stayed for 31 years. During these years, the Ryman stage held some of music’s greatest performers and musicians.
  • The Mother Church of Country Music – Thanks to its origin and the 31 year period of incredible performances by bluegrass, country and folk singers the Ryman is still referenced by the nickname The Mother Church of Country Music.
  • It fell quiet – Many people, Nashville natives included, don’t remember a time when the Ryman wasn’t active. But, in the late 1980s and early 1990s the building had deteriorated and was fairly quiet. After massive renovations, Emmylou Harris recorded a live album there and the venue experienced a tremendous resurgence.
  • Fun fact – Another tidbit about the Ryman, legendary singers Johnny Cash and June Carter met backstage.

Interested in what’s coming to the Ryman? Here’s a calendar of events. 

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