Aside from the toll taken on human and animal lives, one of the most heartbreaking results of May's record-setting floods in Nashville was the damage done to the Grand Ole Opry. The American landmark, home to a staggering amount of country music history, sustained exensive water damage and was forced to relocate its shows to a variety of other area venues while repair work went underway.
However, there's finally happy news to report: The Opry will open again--and ahead of schedule! On September 28, the doors will open in grand style with an all-star concert dubbed "Country Comes Home." Scheduled to appear are Brad Paisley, Little Jimmy Dickens, Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, the Charlie Daniels Band, Diamond Rio, the Del McCoury Band, Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton, Mel Tillis, and Josh Turner.
Paisley, who along with Dickens and a crew of construction workers, helped install the historic wooden circle in the center of the newly restored Grand Ole Opry house stage this week. The 6-foot circle, originally made in 1974, was created from a part of the old stage from the Opry's former home at Ryman Auditorium and is considered an iconic spot for musicians to stand upon. It was submerged under almost 4 feet of water during the flooding.
Dickens, an Opry member since 1948, said the damage to the landmark had literally brought him to tears. In a touching moment, after the circle was set in place on stage, he and Paisley stood upon it and performed a rendition of the standard "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."
"I've always said that the circle still contains the dust from Hank Williams's cowboy boots," he added. "Well now it contains that dust, but also the heart and soul of this town and all the people who have worked to rise above this spring's floods."
Check out Brad and Jimmy performing in the circle here. I admit, I choked back a tear or two.
As always, be sure to: