The last time I was in Nashville, I got to hear Earl Scruggs at the Ryman Auditorium, longtime home of the Opry, and it was terrific.  The Ryman reminds me of Pearce Auditorium on the Brenau campus; both are 100+ years old and have their issues.  So this time I thought I'd hike over to the new Opry House and see what's new.

It's a lovely theater with all the bells and whistles, and I'm sure that all the folks who deal with the realities of performing love it.  The young performers that I heard were very talented, but I ended up listening to them with my fingers in my ears because the sound was cranked up so loud.  The voices were distorted by the volume, and the diction just died.  I could get about 70% of the words if I plugged my ears, and I finally left because I just couldn't take it any longer.  When I shut the door behind me in the Lobby, I finally found the best place to hear the words.

Every time anyone sang a consonant (and when one young lady even spoke one), it popped in the mic so loudly that it was like a blow to the eardrum.  I remember Bill Lemonds saying years ago,"A consonant is an impression made on the ear of the listener; if he hasn't heard it, you haven't sung it."   I sincerely hope that some of the impressions made on my ears Sunday night are not lasting!

Even in Music City, the emphasis is on showmanship, not musicianship.  Let me not be heard to say that these folks were not excellent guitar players, because they were, and all the tuning was good.  I think that the singing style was probably good, too, within it's own goals, but ye gods and little fishes!  Let's turn down the sound to where it doesn't actually hurt!