Grand Ole Opry

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Grand Ole Opry,

weekly American radio program featuring live country and western musiccountry and western music,
American popular music form originating in the Southeast (country music) and the Southwest and West (western music). The two regional styles coalesced in the 1920s when recorded material became available in rural areas, and they were further
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. The nation's oldest continuous radio show, it was first broadcast in 1925 on Nashville's WSM as an amateur showcase. Founded and shaped by station manager George Dewey Hay ("The Solemn Old Judge"), it was called the WSM Barn Dance until 1926. Hiring professionals beginning in 1930, the Opry won wider popularity during the decade as Roy Acuff starred and other country luminaries became regulars; in 1939 it debuted nationally on NBC. The Opry moved to a permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium, in the early 1940s, and established a live stage show there. By the end of the 1950s it was the nation's favorite radio program. As it developed in importance, so did the city of Nashville, which became America's country music capital. Over the years, the Opry has featured a wide variety of country styles and its cast has been a virtual who's who of the field, including the Carter familyCarter Family,
group of singers that specialized in traditional music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains; it consisted of A(lvin) P(leasant) Carter, 1891–1960, b. Maces Spring, Va.; his wife, Sara (Dougherty) Carter, 1898–1979, b. Flatwoods, Va.
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, Ernest Tubbs, Bill MonroeMonroe, Bill
(William Smith Monroe), 1911–96, country singer, musician, and songwriter, often called the "father of bluegrass," b. Rosine, Ky. A mandolin and guitar player, Monroe founded the Blue Grass Boys in 1938, and the group began playing country and western music
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, Hank WilliamsWilliams, Eric,
1911–81, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago (1961–81). He attended Oxford and taught at Howard Univ. in Washington, D.C. (1939–53). Returning to Trinidad, he founded (1955) the country's first formal political party.
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, Patsy ClineCline, Patsy,
1932–63, American country singer, b. Winchester, Va., as Virginia Patterson Hensley. She began singing locally while still in her teens and signed her first recording contract in 1953, but did not become well known until after the release of her first hit,
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, Kitty Wells, the comedienne Minnie Pearl, and such later stars as Dolly PartonParton, Dolly,
1946–, country singer, songwriter, and actress, b. Sevier County, Tenn. Among the most popular country singers of the 1970s and 80s, Parton is known for her Nashville-style flamboyance, talent for self-parody, and intelligent and witty approach to popular,
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, Garth Brooks, and Reba McIntire. Since 1974 the show has been broacast and televised from Nashville's Opryland USA amusement park.

Bibliography

See C. Hagan, Grand Ole Opry (1989); J. Hurst, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry (1989); M. Tassin, Fifty Years at the Grand Ole Opry (1991); P. Kingsbury, Grand Ole Opry History of Country Music (1995); R. J. Bedwell, ed., Unbroken Circle (1999); C. K. Wolfe, A Good-Natured Riot (1999).

Grand Ole Opry

country-western music performance hall and radio show; “back-country” motif. [Radio: Buxton, 100–101]
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