Originally built as a church in 1892, the Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974, earning it world-wide renown as the Mother Church of Country Music. In 1974, the Opry moved and the Ryman was vacant for the next 20 years. In 1994, it was restored and reopened with great fanfare as a national showplace.
Since the renovation, the Ryman has hosted world-class performers ranging from Aretha Franklin to the Zac Brown Band and from Annie Lennox to ZZ Top. In addition to being a favorite stop for touring concerts, the Ryman continues to be a popular location for television and film productions. Cameras started bringing the Ryman into American living rooms during weekly Opry broadcasts in the 1950s and The Johnny Cash Show in the late 1960s. The building made cameos on the silver screen in Coal Miners Daughter in the 1970s. More recently the Ryman has been the featured location in television and film projects including American Idol, Levon Helm-Ramble at the Ryman, Neil Young’s Heart of Gold and Norah Jones & the Handsome Band: Live in 2004. Many artists have taken advantage of the Ryman’s superior acoustics to make live audio recordings including Earl Scruggs, Jonny Lang, Josh Turner, Marty Stuart and Robert Earl Keen. The famed auditorium also has been featured in the wildly popular Nashville Public Television special The Ryman: Mother Church of Country Music.
The venue has won numerous honors and awards including being named the Pollstar’s 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Theatre of the Year, an award voted on by peers and widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. The venue is currently ranked twenty-fifth in the world and nineteenth domestically based on year-to-date tickets sales in the Pollstar Theatre category. Other awards include Venue of the Year nods from both the Academy of Country Music, the International Entertainment Buyers Association and was recently named SRO Venue of the Year presented by CMA.