Now Thru October 31! For the first time in its history, the home built for Roy Acuff will open its doors to tell the story of the King of Country Music. Inside, the house also showcases the limited-time exhibit Family Reunion: The Opry Family Photo Album.
Acuff House Tour
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The exhibit, which runs through October 31, provides an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the Opry through the photography of 32-year Opry staff photographer Les Leverett. The photographer befriended and captured images of genre-defining stars including Acuff, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl, and more.
Leverett spoke exclusively to the Tennessean about the exhibit and the historical accounts of his time spent at the Opry. Read “From Loretta to Garth, Les Leverett Recalls Career as Country Music’s Resident Photographer” on the Tennessean website.
Leverett’s corpus of photographic images spans over three dynamic decades of postwar country music history, and documents iconic artists from a wide range of styles including bluegrass, honky tonk, the Nashville sound, and outlaw music. The beloved photographer captured numerous performances and candid backstage moments of Opry stars as well as other renowned musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, and Pete Seeger.
Leverett’s work has also been featured on hundreds of album covers. Among his many honors are a Grammy Award for best album cover photography for Porter Wagoner’s 1966 album “Confessions of a Broken Man” and Billboard’s Best Country Cover for Dolly Parton’s 1973 album “Bubbling Over.”
The Grand Ole Opry Archives acquired thousands of slides, prints, negatives, and color transparencies from the Les Leverett collection in February 2017. The collection contains thousands of images that have never before been printed or published as well as Leverett’s handwritten notes pertaining to dates, locations, and subjects depicted; press clippings; and a homemade, typewritten index that contains additional details.
“We are delighted to be able to showcase even a small portion of the incredible work Les Leverett produced during his 32 years with the Grand Ole Opry,” said Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties Chairman and CEO. “These photographs are of paramount importance to country music history and to our company’s heritage. We take very seriously our job as caretakers of this collection and look forward to some of the collection’s truly incredible photographs being seen by fans around the world.”
The Acuff House will also share the story of Acuff, heralded as the King of Country Music, through artifacts and videos highlighting his 50-plus years as the consummate showman on the Opry stage. Acuff lived in the home built for him by the Opry from 1983 until his death in 1992.
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Opry Backstage Tour
+ Ryman Tour
Take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry House plus a self-guided tour of the Opry’s most famous former home and the Mother Church of Country Music, Ryman Auditorium.