Listenin' to the Opry
Mike Sudhalter | June 30, 2007
Once again, I'm spending Saturday night listening to the Grand Ole Opry and Jimmy C. Newman is closing with "Jambalaya".
Every time I listen to the Opry, it makes me realize that the heart of country music is still beating. We're so lucky to have a venue like it whereas most Saturday night radio shows have been canceled, due to television and other technologies. Ironically, it's one of those technologies - the Internet - that allows me to listen to the Opry every week. As late as the 1990's, I wouldn't have been able to pick up the show in California. In my home state of Massachusetts, it would come in clear late at night but it was fuzzy earlier in the evening.
I learn about different artists every time I listen to the show. Even though he's a country legend, I hadn't heard a lot of Newman's music. He's an icon in both country and cajun music and a 50-year member of the Opry. Then, I heard Opry member Ray Pillow for the first time, and you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody with more of a pure-country sound than Mr. Pillow.
Moving on, I found a great way to connect with other country music fans, upcoming artists and some established ones. Digital Rodeo is kind of like a myspace, specifically for the country community. I first discovered them when they were giving out free sample CDs at the CMA Music Festival.
You can buy points to download music on there, or just add friends and e-mail people. It's a great way to hear a lot of the independent artists out there, many of whom sound just as good if not better than the well-known artists. It really makes you understand that the well-known artists aren't just good, but they're lucky too. Alan Jackson or Garth Brooks could have easily given up on their dreams, returned home to live normal lives and nobody would have even known about it. How many potential Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson's were there who we'll never know about?