I try to never miss our Sunday "Weekend Live" appointment together, but I know you will forgive me for being out of pocket this weekend. I will be in Nashville, Tennessee, and have been afforded the honor of serving as a guest announcer at the Grand Ole Opry (search).
I love both kinds of music: country and western! As a kid, growing up in West Texas, I would sometimes ride around the oil patch with my Dad listening to the old stuff on KERB radio in Kermit, Texas. Oh, I still listened to rock and blues and pop, but through my Dad, I grew to appreciate the heartfelt songs of Hank Williams Sr. (search) and Patsy Cline (search). The first song I learned on the guitar was Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash (which I sang at age 12 with great gusto — though I never actually shot anyone in Reno.) So when the folks at the Opry asked me if I wanted to join them this weekend, I only had to think for maybe a nanosecond before saying, "Yes!"
And to make it even better, I learned that during the holidays, the Grand Ole Opry returns to the historic Ryman Auditorium (search) in downtown Nashville. Every single country, western or bluegrass artist of note has played at the Ryman. The place has a special vibe and you can almost feel the spirit of those who have gone before.
This weekend, as is often the case, the new artists and the traditional artists will come together. The early show will feature the astonishing Julie Roberts. The highlight of the late show will be my friend, legendary 10-time Grammy winner, Ricky Skaggs (search) (who happens to have just released a new Christmas CD — I recommend it heartily.) Somewhere along the way I'm told I'll even get to meet Little Jimmy Dickens (search). Now, if the guitar shops of Nashville will just schedule a big pre-holiday sale — this will be perfect.
I'll try to make up for my absence this weekend by bringing back a behind-the-scenes report from the Opry. The folks there have granted permission to take a camera backstage. I will post some snapshots on the blog when I return.
Thanks again for your understanding, the very capable Bret Baier will be substituting.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."