The Grand Ole Opry®, in association with the Ray Charles Foundation and National Public Television, announced today that “An Opry Salute to Ray Charles.” will premiere in syndication beginning on Thursday, September 5, 2019 on public television stations nationwide (check local listings), with a first-look debut on Nashville Public Television (WNPT) on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 8:00PM CT. The special, which taped last October, celebrates the songs of Ray Charles and the influence the revolutionary artist had on country music.

Hosted by Opry member Darius Rucker, “An Opry Salute to Ray Charles” unites two iconic entities with unique collaborations and special performances of Charles’ music, performed by a star-studded lineup of artists including Boyz II Men, Cam, Brett Eldredge, Leela James, Jessie Key, Ronnie Milsap, Lukas Nelson, LeAnn Rimes, Allen Stone, Travis Tritt, Charlie Wilson, Trisha Yearwood and Chris Young.

During his formative years in Georgia and Florida, Ray Charles listened regularly to the Grand Ole Opry, beaming throughout the South via Nashville’s WSM-AM. Charles blended the blues and gospel into his original brand of R&B, played jazz, and recorded two volumes of the influential album Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music, reissued on digital and CD on February 22nd, 2019 via Concord Records, also becoming available for the first time on streaming platforms. These landmark recordings are available here: https://found.ee/RayCharles_ModernSounds.

For more information on how Ray Charles shaped country music please visit https://www.opry.com/articles/how-ray-charles-shaped-country-music.

“An Opry Salute to Ray Charles” was produced by Opry Entertainment Group, Black & White TV, Inc. and The Content Farm in association with The Ray Charles Foundation.

About the Grand Ole Opry: The Grand Ole Opry® is presented by Humana®. Opry performances are held every Friday and Saturday of the year, with Tuesday night shows through December and season Opry Country Classics shows on Thursdays. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit opry.com.. The Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville, Tenn. Celebrating nine decades of entertainment, the Opry can be heard at opry.com. and wsmonline.com, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM. The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP). For more information, visit opry.com.

About The Ray Charles Foundation: Ray Charles was equipped with a keen sensibility to the needs of others. It was this selfless generosity that motivated him when he founded, The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, Inc in 1986. The mission and purpose of the foundation was to provide financial support in the area of hearing disorders and support institutions and make donations to organizations for educational purposes. Charles thought “the inability to hear was a handicap, not the inability to see.” In 2006 the official name of the foundation became The Ray Charles Foundation, in order to bring awareness to his name but the mission remained the same. Ray Charles often made contributions anonymously to help fund cochlear implants for those who could not afford the operation, and shortly thereafter started supporting educational institutions for those who could not afford an education.

About Nashville Public Radio: Nashville Public Television, Nashville’s PBS station, is available free and over-the-air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area. NPT’s three broadcast channels are NPT, the main channel; secondary channel NPT2; and NPT3, a 24/7 PBS Kids channel. NPT is also available to anyone in the world through its array of NPT digital services, including wnpt.org, YouTube channels and the PBS video app. NPT provides, through the power of traditional television and interactive digital communications, quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve. Join the conversation at facebook.com/nashvillepublictelevision, on Twitter @npt8 and on Instagram @nashvillepubtv.

About APT: American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. Founded in 1961, APT distributes 250 new program titles per year and one-fourth of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. APT’s diverse catalog includes prominent documentaries, performance, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, AfroPoP, Rick Steves’ Europe, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Television,Front and Center, Doc Martin, Nightly Business Report, Midsomer Murders, Lidia’s Kitchen, Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Kitchen, Simply Ming, The Best of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, and P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home are a sampling of APT’s programs, considered some of the most popular on public television. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service and distributes Create®TV — featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming — and WORLD™, public television’s premier news, science and documentary channel. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org.

Media Contacts:

PMK•BNC for “An Opry Salute to Ray Charles”

Brian Rubin / Pipere Boggio

310.854.4800

Brian.Rubin@pmkbnc.com

Pipere.Boggio@pmkbnc.com

For more information about the Grand Ole Opry:

Jessie Schmidt (615)-491-7988, jessie@schmidtpr.com

Dixie Owen (615)-440-6171, dixie@schmidtpr.com

The Brokaw Company for The Ray Charles Foundation:

David Brokaw

310.614.4188

db@brokawco.com

National Public Television:

Michelle Jones

615.259.9325 x2110

mjones@wnpt.org

Concord Records:

Mike Wilpizeski

718.459.2117

mike.wilpizeski@concordrecords.com