Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Night At The Opry

"The night is warm and humid. It is late. Almost 3.30 am. Most people around here have been asleep for hours already. Not me, though. I'm waiting for something big. It is the night between the 17th and 18th of July 2015, my time, it is a night a lot of people have been waiting for for a long time.

I am sitting in bed, alone, the cats are around here somewhere, but even they are sleeping. The atmosphere is peaceful and quiet, but I can feel the excitement in it. It's coming from me, of course. I am far, far away from where the big thing is only minutes away from happening. It's all going down in Nashville, Tennessee, USA and I'm on the southern coast of Spain.

I've got my good headphones on, the ones with a really good bass in them, some coffee to drink and my mobile phone. And, of course, the most important thing, the app for the Grand Ole Opry's live radio broadcast. I have heard artist after artist playing and singing their country songs, but I don't even remember who. I'm only interested in one special band. My favourite music band of all times, the country a cappella band Home Free, are having their debut at the legendary Opry - the show that made country music famous.

I don't know when I first heard about the Opry, it seems like I've know about it all my life and maybe I have. My parents listened to country music when I was growing up and I have always favourited it without being aware of it. It's about the harmonies and the melodies, and the stories. And the Grand Ole Opry is to country music artists what Wimbledon is to tennis player. To get to play there is a huge dream, a goal, something to aim for. And probably something surreal when you are actually there.

Anyway, this is the first I actually tune in to the show live. I like it, even though I don't remember what I'm hearing tonight. It's country and I love country.

So, here I am, in high anticipation, waiting for Home Free to come on. This is big for them. This is big for the Opry and it is big for the world. This is big for the Home Fries. This is an historical night in the world of music. The rest of the world don't know it yet, but they will.

Another artist finishes his song and the presenter starts reading an advertisement and a huge roar is heard. And I know. Home Free just entered the stage. The presenter stops mid-reading the ad to say that he's never heard that big a response to an ad before. Yeah, right, I think, nice try. The Fries know. The Fries can feel it. The energy. Home Free is in the house.

I can hear how nervous they are when they start singing, those first few lines, are tense, but they do great. I have tears in my eyes of joy and chills down my spine from the greatness of the moment. This is wow oh so big. They finish their first song Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flats, and there is another roar from the crowd. I am wondering how many of the people in the audience are new to Home Free. I wounder what they think. I wish I could see it, not only hear it!

Now, Ring Of Fire, oh Ring Of Fire, the song that made me fall in love with them, the song that changed my life. I smile a smile so big it hurts, my cheeks are still wet with happy tears running down and I'm dancing right here on the bed. When Tim does his low notes I can feel the audience take a deep breath of surprise. Oh, how I would have loved to be there in person. But this is ok too. I am so excited to be a part of this, of their great moment in life. Because I am. I do get to share this! And I am proud as a mum! Maybe it's got to do with being a Patron. Or maybe it's just the feeling of love being all around them at all times. 

Another roar from the crowd is heard when they finish the song. It is over. I am raising my hands to the ceiling in victory (I seem to do that a lot, and cry happy tears, when it comes to Home Free) and say Yes! They did so well! What a great job they did! Yes! Yes! 

The presenter thanks them and tells them how great they were. Yes, they were. They sure were."

It took me hours to get down from the high that night. What a great debut it was!

Home Free were invited back on the spot, the Grand Ole Opry was that impressed by them. How could they not be. Remember all those roars I heard from the audience? They weren't just roars, they were standing Ovations. 3. Yes, that's right! Home Free got 3! standing O's on their debut at the friggin' Grand Ole Opry! And they only did 2 songs! Lot's of Fries in the house, and the Opry was blown away. Great job, Fries! Fantabulous job, Home Free!

I heard a story about the Opry tour guide being in the back of the building when Tim hit his low note, and he felt the rumble from it. How cool is that?!

This all happened because of Duane Allen and The Oak Ridge Boys, who have truly taken Home Free under their wings. They brought Tim with them to one of their performances at the Opry and introduced them to each other. Way to go, Duane and ORB!! The Fries are you forever indebted for so much! We can't wait to see what the future will hold for the nine of you together!

The reason why I have waited this long to share this experience with you is because I wanted to be able to share an official video of it, and the Opry finally uploaded Life Is A Highway to their YouTube channel yesterday.

You can see the tension on the guys, especially on Austin. I've never seen his face to tight before. But you can also see and feel the joy and disbelief in their eyes, and their relief when the song is over. And you can see the second standing O. I hope we get to see Ring Of Fire one day too. I can't wait for them to go back there, and my bucket has a new addition. Not only do I want to go to the Opry, and not only do I want to see Home Free live, but I also want to see Home Free live at the Opry.

One day that dream will come true!



  1. Great write up Carina!!! It was a magical night, we were there. I knew there were Fries there and had talked to a few up until the show started, but I had no clue what would really happen (I don't think anyone did, not the Opry, not the Fries, and definitely not Home Free). Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top XPress (a 50+ year Grand Ole Opry member) had just got done playing "Rocky Top" and the crowd had really gotten into it. (Unofficial State Anthem of Kentucky). So the "buzz" in the air continued until Home Free walked out of stage. You could see how nervous they were and how surprised they were by the 1st standing ovation. All the Fries that were there, were all saying "Congratulations Guys - You made it!!!" The first couple notes showed that nervousness and then Home Free turned it on and there was no looking back. You could see the relief in their faces (behind the huge smiles) when the song was finished and then the absolute joy shone from that moment on with the second ovation. I am so hoping the Opry will do a video of Ring of Fire. The bass notes vibrated every wooden pew at the Opry and the 3rd ovation summed up all the feelings and excitement that had just happened). That night will always be with me as it was so special to finally see Home Free be recognized for all the hard work that they have done. I can't wait to go to the 2nd appearance of Home Free at the Grand Ole Opry (hopefully we will see you there!!)

    1. Oh, Katherine, thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds absolutely amazing and wonderful. I am, yet again, smiling with tears of joy in my eyes. Thank you, and I hope I'l be there too!

  2. Amazing! You truly brought this moment to life. I felt as if I were right there with you. How truly talented you and your family are. Loved every breath taking description. :D <3

  3. Thank you, Jennifer! I'm glad you felt it! It's easy when it comes from your heart. And, yes, we do have some talents in the family, my son is another one of them. :D <3

  4. LOVE your story. My friend and I were also up at 3:30 am waiting to hear the live broadcast. We were working in Kenya and were not about to miss it. We spent about an hour sitting together on the bottom bunk of a bed in a girls dorm room sharing a set of headphones and listening to the broadcast on my computer. My roommate was asleep so we couldn't turn on the lights or play it through the speakers. Well worth the lack of sleep to get to hear their performance and read the tweets and posts about what was going on. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thx for sharing your story, Julie! I love hearing where the Fries were this magical night. Yours is by far the coolest!

  5. Wow! Got tears in my eyes from reading about your happy tears! These guys bring out the best in us &
    I'm so happy to be a fry! Thx for putting into words how we all feel about them & their incredible music!. I'm originally from Holland, so I hope you WILL be able to see them, live, at the Opry! God bless! :)

  6. **Found awesome vid of the guys at the Morrison Fair: 'Home Free 7 Bridges Road sound check' WOW!!!

    1. Oh yes! That vid is amazing. I can't wait for the new album to drop!