Top 5 Moments From Rock the Ryman

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium partnered up Wednesday night (March 1) for a showcase they titled Rock the Ryman.

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The show highlighted the famed auditorium’s integral contribution to rock n’ roll. From Elvis Presley to Jackson Browne, more than 100 Hall of Fame inductees have graced the Ryman stage. Given that history, the Nashville venue has been named an official landmark by the Hall of Fame.

“More than 100 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees have performed on the Ryman’s hallowed
stage throughout its 130-year history,” said Greg Harris, President & CEO of the Rock & Roll
Hall of Fame and Museum. “We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the Ryman by
bringing together artists and fans for one incredible night to experience the power of rock & roll
through some of Nashville’s great talent.”

[RELATED: Ingrid Andress, Caitlyn Smith, and Lainey Wilson Prove Country Music is in Good Hands]

To celebrate the milestone, a host of artists came out to the Ryman Wednesday night (March 1) to perform songs from Hall of Fame inductees. Among the line-up was Little Big Town, Gavin Degraw, and The Cadillac Three.

American Songwriter was there for all the action so, we’re recapping the standout performances from the night. Check out our picks for the Top 5 Rock the Ryman moments, below.

1. Little Big Town Takes On “California Dreamin'”

There are natural connections that can be made between the West Coast rockers of the ’70s and Little Big Town. For their appearance at Rock the Ryman, the four-piece took on The Mamas & The Papas’ classic “California Dreamin.'” Their harmonies felt right in line with the original version of the song, proving once again why LBT remains one of the most engaging vocal groups today.

2. Maddie & Tae Fete Bonnie Raitt

“These two know a little something about being a girl in a country song but, tonight they are gonna show us what it means to be a rock and roll woman,” Worsham said while welcoming Maddie & Tae to the stage. Dipping a little into both genres, the duo chose Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” as their opening number. They kept things just as lively as Raitt did in her 1991 recording, but with the addition of their signature harmonies.

3. Gavin Degraw Puts His Own Spin On “Maybe I’m Amazed”

Gavin DeGraw (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Ryman Auditorium)

Whenever Gavin Degraw hops on a song, he immediately makes it his own. Even when facing a certified classic that an audience has no doubt heard a million times, Degraw manages to deliver a rendition that has a fresh perspective and feels innate to him. He pulled that monumental task at the Ryman with Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He imbued a heavy amount of soul into the track, extending the bridge out with a meandering vocal riff and a mastery of the piano.

4. The War and Treaty Pay Homage to Ray Charles

“My hero had me walking around my house with my eyes closed,” Mike Trotter of The War and Treaty shared prior to belting out Ray Charles, “Take These Chains From My Heart.” Both he and Tanya made quick work of Charles’ soulful vocal riffs. If any moment from last night brought chills down the audience’s spine, it was definitely The War and Treaty.

5. Caitlyn Smith Delivers Powerhouse Version of “Natural Woman”

Caitlyn Smith (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Ryman Auditorium)

Caitlyn Smith is a unique voice in country music. Her raspy belt lends itself well to the rock world. Though both of her song choices effectively brought the house down (the second being Prince’s “Kiss”), it was “Natural Woman” that has to take the top spot on this list. Smith put her whole body into this Aretha homage, bounding around the stage and singing from her heart. Undoubtedly a highlight of the night.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Ryman Auditorium

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