Between the COVID-19 flare ups and the fast-approaching winter months, there’s a lot of uncertainty in America around the holiday season. Despite a plethora of innovations allowing for life to “go on” during these pandemic days, the sad reality is that many folks will have to forgo a gathering of friends and family around the Thanksgiving table and instead embrace a digital, socially-distanced approach. Daunting as that may be, there is still one trusty source of solace serving up holiday magic this year: country music.
On Wednesday, November 18, the Mother Church of Country Music herself — the Ryman Auditorium — will host a country-fied Friendsgiving concert featuring performances from some of the hottest rising stars in the scene. Produced in partnership with DREAMSTAGE (a new, premium livestreaming platform), the Ryman will be broadcasting the performance worldwide in addition to opening its doors to a limited number of socially-distanced, in-person music fans. With a lineup featuring Riley Green, Matt Stell, Laine Hardy, Laci Kaye Booth, Dillon James and Grace Leer, the evening will be a vibrant celebration of music and community.
“2020 has been a rollercoaster, and it’s also brought me a lot to be thankful for,” Stell told American Songwriter. “Whether it’s writing or listening to music, there’s no doubt songs have definitely made this time easier to live through. I also think that this period has allowed writers and artists to create more than they ever have. I think that means we’re in for a bunch of great new music! That’ll be one of the lasting silver linings to all of this. I’m pumped to get to play some of my new music for fans at Ryman Auditorium and around the globe.”
And it’s true — 2020 has been a rollercoaster for many. Although touring has virtually ceased and things feel as uncertain as ever, the Ryman hopes that Friendsgiving can offer some much-needed comfort and stability for music fans. “We are thrilled to present another unique live music experience with Friendsgiving and all of the talented artists involved,” Ryman Auditorium General Manager, Gary Levy, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to provide fans from across the country and around the world a way to experience live music from home while also safely and responsibly welcoming back a limited number of guests to the Ryman Auditorium.”
In a way, this event embodies the important cultural role that country music has always played in America. Just as the golden voice of Roy Acuff gave soldiers strength in the trenches of World War II, the young torchbearers of the grand ole genre continue to give strength, hope and joy to a nation enduring a great challenge… that’s worth celebrating!
Friendsgiving: Live At The Ryman will be broadcasted worldwide at 7:30 p.m. CT on November 18. Tickets for the livestream will be available HERE, and tickets for limited, in-person seating will be available HERE. In the meantime, check out some hits from the show’s lineup below: